In the coming years, Hopkins Public Schools will have to tackle many complex issues. Patch asked this year’s School Board candidates about how they’d handle some of the major issues facing the district.
Today’s question is:
- What issue or program would you like Hopkins Public Schools to focus on more? What issue or program would you like Hopkins Public Schools to focus on less?
Education and academic performance is my No. 1 concern. Spend tax $ in a more effective way is 2nd.
I would like to see continued emphasis and attention being placed on early childhood programming to help address the achievement gap. Fortunately, our district is already working on strategies, such as expanding our Ready 4 K programs. A related issue would be to explore the possibility of smaller class sizes, particularly in the primary grades where fundamental skills are being acquired. Cutting programs is never an easy task, and I’d like to think every program, service and position was created because it was deemed worthy and a necessity at some point in time. I’m more concerned about keeping our vibrant programs going and exploring innovative ways to expand and design new ones. I do, however, make it a personal practice to review existing situations and see where revisions might be beneficial. For example, I think the district does a great job in providing technology to students, as seen through the iPad initiative and installation of interactive white boards. I wouldn’t suggest focusing less on technology, but rather focusing more on getting the kids passionate about the wonderful benefits the district has to offer. Technology is more than a device. It’s a culture.
If I had my wish, I would see our District spending more energy and resources on student achievement at all levels. This includes wonderful programs like our Ready 4K preschool, Response to Intervention, Hopkins BOOST, Advanced Placement and Honors courses, and IB in the middle years. Our main objective is to foster inquisitive, bright, critically-thinking, community-minded young people and prepare them for amazing futures. I wish we could spend all of our time on this goal. If I could focus less on something, I would want to decrease the amount of testing that we schedule for our students. Instructional time that is interrupted by testing is a lost opportunity. I believe we better serve our students by giving their classroom instructors the freedom to teach, and allow them to be creative and inspiring teachers. When we are constantly teaching to the test (because there is always another test coming down the road) we do a great disservice to our students and their teachers.
Since I’ve built my career around technology, I’m keenly aware of the fact that our world is changing rapidly, and we need to be at the forefront of STEM education in order to guarantee Hopkins students success in college and their careers. Hopkins already does a great job of providing STEM instruction at all levels, but these fields are constantly evolving, and we need to be diligent about keeping up with emerging technologies and curricula. I am a firm advocate of continuous evaluation and improvement of curriculum.
Each year the school district’s needs change, and current programs should be revisited to ensure that they are still serving the needs of the students. As a school board director, I will strike a balance between maintaining existing programs, and retiring those that are no longer popular in order to make way for new ones.
In a public school setting, there are many areas to focus on. One of the most important is to close the achievement gap. First, it's critical to get kids ready for kindergarten, so they are not behind at the beginning of the educational process. Second, an important benchmark is for all kids to be able to read at grade level by the third grade. Third, by intervening with students who fall behind, we can focus additional educational assistance and support where it will benefit those most in need. There are many obstacles facing our learners that the school district does not have control over, but by seeing where the roadblocks are we can advocate on behalf of the students in other areas of their lives.
This candidate did not submit a response.