Dayton Public Schools Parent with a daughter attending Ruskin PreK 6. Certified Public Accountant with experience in public accounting and government accounting. Former Dayton Board of Education member for 12 years including chair of the Finance Committee. Served two years in the United States Peace Corps as a legislative financial advisor in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
Graduated from the University of Dayton in 1982 with a degree in Accounting. Attended Springfield Catholic Central, St Joseph Elementary and Emerson Elementary in Springfield.
DPS needs to focus more on classroom instruction. Over the past two years the budget for regular ed and special ed teachers went down over three million dollars while administrative expenses went up several million. The district should invest in smaller class sizes that will help students through more individual instruction and communication. It appears that the district is relying on investing in administrative strategies to get results, a strategy that was relied upon fifteen years ago with no results to show for it. It's time to try investing in the smaller classroom to get results. Smaller class sizes would also make DPS a much more attractive place to work and that would help the district attract and retain high quality teachers. Other strategies would include after school and summer programs to that include fun with instruction.
Academic performance, as measured by the state, aligns directly with the median family income of the school district. This is because the problems associated with poverty make educating a child more difficult. Just one example is that children in poor families are less likely to have a good attendance record. The state's academic performance measures should take into account the median family income of the district when that measure is used to determine that a district needs state help. And even then, the state should help the district by assessing the problems behind their difficulties and helping the district find solutions.
I would budget more for regular ed and special ed teachers to allow for lower class sizes. I would budget for after school and summer school programs and implement these programs if grants cannot be attracted for them. Many administrative increases need to be studied for their effectiveness on academic achievement. The net increase in the office of academic administration of nearly four million dollars may include a fairly heavy investment in teacher training that needs to be assessed for how well it's working.
Also the 160% increase in the Board of Education Service Fund that the Board budgeted for fiscal year 2020 appears to violate state law ORC 3315.15 which limits the amount to $2.00 for each child enrolled. This is the fund that board members generally use for trips to conferences around the country. The law is intended to keep boards of education from using school funds that should be spent for the benefit of the students.
As a parent of a DPS student I have a perspective that is helpful to the Board. I see the results of the district's efforts every day as I see her working on her homework, in teacher conferences and in the results she brings home in her backpack. As a Certified Public Accountant, I am trained to look at the economic reality of our decisions. Also as an accountant I am proficient in putting together spreadsheets. In the past, my spreadsheets have helped board members analyze and understand financial information. I have twelve years experience as a former board member and a couple additional years as a DPS classroom volunteer at Ruskin and Lincoln. I have often helped the board with information about how a decision or program was tried before in the recent past and how well it worked.
Some of the skills required to improve academic performance are the same skills that employers are looking for. Analytical thinking, communication and language proficiency should be the part of the focus of classroom instruction. Skills that are not as directly a part of our academic performance, such as leadership, decision making and collaboration, are an important part of what we should also teach.
The district needs to make sure every student gets to sit down with their guidance counselor to make sure that that student is on the right track be it college or career tech. Counselor also need to make sure students are taking advantage of the College Credit Plus program at their school.
Currently our preschool programs are 4 days a week, Monday through Thursday. Studies have shown that full day preschool is more effective than half day at preparing children for kindergarten and those studies are based on children attending preschool 5 days a week. The district should teach preschool 5 days a week for the benefit of our children. It would also help working families in our district, very few of whom have jobs that only require them to be there Monday through Thursday.
As a board member I had been to every school building. It is important for board members to see what's going on in our schools first hand. Board members should also attend parent/teacher group meetings to hear the concerns of parents. Board members should also support our student athletes and instrumental group members by attending games and concerts. My daughter plays in Ruskin's Q the Music orchestra. Town hall meetings may be helpful with regard to a particular topic but the district administration tends to keep them overly controlled. Asking community members to come to a town hall and ask them to limit their comments to positive descriptions is not helpful to the district.
I would say yes but I do hear too often of examples of situations where students are out of control and too little is done to protect our students and staff.
Restorative justice techniques need to be practiced in the district even if it requires more training.
The building leadership and teacher changes for this school year have been too great and the amount of upheaval could hurt performance, especially where successful building principals are moved or pushed out. One example, Ruskin's loss of their former principal has not reflected well on their current school report card. The direction that Elizabeth Lolli is taking the district relies on heavy investment in administrative strategies. I believe there should be more focus on strategies that more directly affect the classroom such as smaller class sizes.
Her recommendation that the district discontinue to have an independent internal auditor is unwise as our former internal auditor was great at finding problems and setting up systems to improve the district. The Superintendent's recommendation to not continue to employ someone to audit her is also a conflict of interest.
I am one of the organizers of the parent organization at my daughter's school. The district's greatest problem is getting families together with their children's teachers. Currently, parent-teacher conferences that should take place mid-quarter are not happening for the vast majority of our students. The district's current strategy of trying to create parent teacher organizations in all of our schools is good but a more direct approach to getting parents and teachers together for the particular purpose of discussing a child's performance is what should be the focus of a family engagement strategy. In the past the district has paid parents to put together a parent organization. This has had very limited success. The district needs to provide incentives to parents and after hours pay to teachers in order to get them together to talk about the student's performance.
The main career tech school in our district, Ponitz, generally fills up fairly quickly at registration time. We need to make sure that career tech opportunities are available to more students in other high schools.
In the past few years, overly conservative budgeting and forecasting has led to an unnecessarily large surplus. When actual expenditures are tens of millions under budgeted expenditures, our budgets are not serving our district and community well. The district had a $106 million surplus at the beginning of this fiscal year and there is no reason to have such a huge surplus. We don't need a high bond rating because we are not planning to borrow money any time in the foreseeable future. I have supported tax levies for our schools in the past but for now I see no need for a levy.
Currently DPS is not a neighborhood system. At registration, families generally may choose any elementary school from a list of sixteen elementary schools. This hurts our community's sense of ownership of our schools and creates a nightmare for our school transportation system. The district should move to a neighborhood system for elementary schools with the exception of the Montessori school which is centrally located in the district. Families that live in the neighborhood or region around a school should be given priority at registration time at their neighborhood school.
I would choose to increase the number of teachers to lower class size. Our teachers deal with non-academic issues every day. Counselors/social workers/mental-health therapists are important to our district and I applaud their work but if I had to choose I would choose lower class sizes.
When the district lowered the academic eligibility for students to take part in athletics or other extracurricular activities from a "C" to a "D", it hurt our athletic programs and our students. Studies have shown that our level of expectations can affect academic performance. Lowering expectations for our students is wrong and that's why I voted against it when I was on the Board.
I am a mother of six, a painter, an activist, an educational researcher, and a squeaky wheel who is always ready to speak up for someone who's being overlooked. My family and I came to the United States from Mexico almost 30 years ago, and I've been proud to call Dayton home for 18 years. Helping my children and others navigate challenges in Dayton Schools has inspired me to run for school board so struggling families can have a voice.
1) BA in Studio Art from Wright State University
2) Masters in Humanities with Concentration in Art and Political Science from Wright State University
3) Ph.D. in International Education from Northcentral University
The path to better student outcomes begins with investing in the people who teach them. That means:
1) Hire more teachers and support staff.
2) Pay them well so we attract talented educators.
3) Provide them ample training in the best teaching methods.
Shrinking class sizes is one of the best ways to create better learning environments for students. It’s impossible for a teacher to give individualized attention to a room of 30 kids. If we hire and retain more teachers, we can get classroom sizes down to 20 students per teacher and give each learner the individualized attention that is proven to improve outcomes. We also need to give every teacher access to a trained aid who can help with classroom management. Though we have increased teacher pay, it is still not enough to decrease our reliance on substitute teachers, who receive almost no training. I hope to expand teacher training programs like UD’s Urban Teachers Academy to encourage DPS students to come back to teach in Dayton.
The best schools I’ve been a part of have deep engagement from parents and the community as a whole. The state “school takeovers” that I’ve seen in Ohio have taken the school out of the community’s hands, diminishing community engagement. If the state is truly concerned for the wellbeing of children in struggling schools, I believe it should work with the community to improve the school instead of cutting us out of the process. Ohio’s process for identifying schools to take over is also deeply flawed, and needs to be reformed to reflect all of the realities that teachers and parents face in getting children the education they need. Our Dayton community is strong and resilient, and I believe in our ability to find the answers to our education system’s problems. We just need the state to support us.
Students need a highly-trained teacher in front of the room, a solid roof (that doesn’t leak!) over their heads, and a healthy meal that keeps them focused throughout the day. If we have the money to pay for cosmetic touch-ups and renovated offices to try to hide our underlying problems, then we have the money to invest in our people, the most important asset in the district. We must stop “quick fixes” like outsourcing our critical services to private companies. New stadiums and the latest technology are attractive to some, but all the evidence shows that the best investment for a young learner is in the people who educate them. My top priority will always be to find ways to increase our support for teachers, whether that’s in their pay or in the training programs we make available to them. We can’t just throw money at the problem. We need to really invest in things that are proven by research to improve learning outcomes, and it always comes back to the teachers and support staff.
I intend to help DPS improve and grow for years to come, especially as my children get ready to enroll in high school. I’ve organized forums and community events with teachers and parents to identify ways to improve the schools, and I got tired of seeing our recommendations ignored by the board. I have done as much as I can to improve DPS from the “outside,” and felt it was time to put my experience with DPS families to use. In 2017 I received a Ph.D. in International Education so that I could find answers to the burning question: what is the best way to educate my children? I value facts, evidence, and transparency -- not the latest fad. Will Smith (with whom I’m running) and I share the experience of raising children with special needs and neither of us can afford to take a “hands off” attitude toward our kids’ schooling. I hope Dayton’s voters will entrust us with the most important job possible: ensuring that their children get the education they deserve.
I strongly support apprenticeships and Career Tech, and would like to expand these programs. Learn to Earn and City of Learners are doing great things for Daytonians who want to gain career skills. As a board member, I would work with our friends in higher education and business to build more of these partnerships. An expansion of union apprenticeship programs would also benefit our future workers, as I have seen how students can find their true purpose through these pathways. Hands-on training next to seasoned workers is the best way to learn, and I’m excited by the possibility of building more apprenticeship opportunities with business and labor partners. It’s no surprise that the improvement on Dayton’s report card has come in the time that we’ve expanded these programs. In our budget, I would prioritize Career Tech and apprenticeship programs and give them the investment they deserve. By connecting students to a career they love, we help the entire city.
If we want students to stay in school so they can attend college, we need to make our classrooms into places where they actually enjoy learning, and aren’t just preparing for a standardized test. I would use my experience as an education researcher to find curriculum that helps students discover a love of learning while developing critical thinking skills needed for higher education. We also need to address the issues happening outside of school that get in the way of students learning. The biggest hurdle is attendance -- students simply can’t be ready for college if they’re not in the classroom. But often what we think is causing the absenteeism isn’t the real cause. One of the ways we can get at the root causes of low attendance is by expanding programs like the Equity Fellows. Some schools have used Equity Fellows to identify the barriers that are keeping students from school and then design creative ways to boost attendance. It’s time we try this across the entire district.
Every child deserves access to quality preschool education. We are moving in the right direction by pushing for universal pre-K. The best ways to prepare preschool students are not secret, and some schools in the area are already on the cutting edge of early education strategies. Like with any learner, young children need hands-on learning that is relevant to their lives, small classrooms so they can get individual attention from a teacher, and space to be creative and explore. It seems so simple, and yet the unrealistic demands on pre-K teachers make it hard to focus on what works. As with all grade levels, we must increase hiring of pre-K professionals so that we can get closer to that individualized attention that works best to prepare kids for school.
The Board should be actively visiting schools, attending events and holding town hall meetings. Some candidates have said that the board member’s only responsibility is just to hire the superintendent and treasurer. I disagree. I don’t see how board members can vote on issues that affect schools, students or staff without seeing firsthand what goes on at the school level. To make the right decisions, our school board members need an awareness of the issues parents, teachers and students face on a daily basis. I know those issues because I've advocated for parents and kids for years. Many times I’ve gone with other parents to voice concerns to the school board and have been greeted with indifference. Knowing the issues requires being in the actual classrooms. I would commit to be a “hands on” board member and keep a close eye to make sure that our budgets and policy decision reflect the values that Dayton voters want us to champion.
We need to focus on changes that improve the day-to-day level of safety and peace in our schools. Right now, our schools are pressure cookers, and when you combine all of the baggage and trauma that students are bringing, it’s no wonder that we see conflict. We can change how we deal with those conflicts. I think that we rely too much on suspending kids to solve problems. Sometimes suspension or expulsion are necessary tools, but I also see many situations where conflicts could be solved with mediation or restorative justice practices. As a member of the Dayton Mediation Center, I have seen highly effective examples of mediation that have improved levels of safety in neighborhoods. Students need these tools to deal with conflict, and other districts have already started training their students and teachers in mediation and restorative justice. Let’s do what works instead of putting on bandaids.
I have been encouraged by the progress under Dr. Lolli’s leadership as superintendent, and intend to support her in continuing the changes that DPS has seen in the last two years, especially in regards to teacher pay. It’s no coincidence that this is the best report card Dayton Public Schools have gotten in years. We are already seeing the benefits of investing in our teachers and the programs that help connect students to career options. My support for any superintendent depends on their willingness to address the main issues I mentioned above, and so far I have seen progress in terms of community relations, staff support, and responsible budgeting. DPS needs a superintendent who is in it for the long haul, so I prioritize those who commit to the position for at least four years and do not intend to use the superintendent’s office as a stepping stone to "higher office." I would work to hold our superintendent accountable for making the changes that DPS families want to see.
Research is clear: Parent-Teacher relationships are crucial for academic achievement. We should strive to see our schools as community centers and as an extended family. But first we must listen to what parents have to say, a concept that some past board members have forgotten. Many times parents speak for 3 minutes and there is no follow-up on their comments or concerns. How can we ask parents to be more engaged if we won’t listen to them when they come to us with concerns? The board should explore their ideas, and if an idea isn’t feasible, we should provide clear explanations and reasoning instead of just dismissing them. Too often we engage parents when we’re reacting to when a child is failing or in trouble, instead of actively trying to build relationships. Engagement should be constant. We also must tap into the immense gifts that DPS parents bring to the district. I want our board to invite parents into roles within the school district that give them space to use their talents.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been encouraged by the progress made in DPS’ career tech programs, and would like to see these programs expanded to even more young people. I’m especially interested in building a career tech path for future teachers so that we can identify DPS students with a passion for education and foster that into a career. People who grew up in Dayton Public Schools understand what students are going through, and we should encourage them to become teachers in the district that raised them. I look forward to working with business, labor, and higher education partners to build even more pathways to meaningful careers.
Yes, but first we must show that we have used the funds that taxpayers give us wisely. I propose an independent audit so that Dayton taxpayers can see where DPS is spending their money and can decide for themselves whether or not we’re using it in the right way. When we invest in our schools, everyone wins, whether you have children or not. Quality schools are one of the main drivers of property values. They give people opportunities that make them less reliant on crime and public assistance. Dayton school events are also one of the main places where we can come together as a community and enjoy each other’s company. Building great schools means we all pitch in, but I commit to only ask for taxpayer funds if we’re sure that it will lead to an improvement in our schools. If I wouldn’t put my own money into something, I won’t ask you to put yours into it.
My ideal school system would blend neighborhood schools and magnet schools. You should not have to wake up at 5am to bus your kid across town just to get a quality education. My kids graduated from Stivers, and I’m so grateful for the education they got at that magnet school, but I was also lucky in that we lived nearby. I would like to see a district where students can find those programs in their neighborhood. My focus will be on improving neighborhood schools by adopting the practices that we know are working in high-quality magnet schools.
Ideally we do both, but if I had to choose, I would pick increasing the number of teachers, as classroom instruction quality and class size is one of the best ways to improve student outcomes. But our focus should not be on choosing between the two of these options. We should be finding ways to bring in more revenue to the school system so we can increase both teaching staff and support staff. These are two halves of the equation. Our counselors and mental health workers are absolutely vital for addressing the mental health crisis in our schools, and they can't be treated like an afterthought. Teachers and mental health professionals working together is the key.
I love this community with everything I have. When my family came here 18 years ago as immigrants, people welcomed us and helped us navigate the challenges of being newcomers. My life has been dedicated to giving back to Dayton and making it into a community where one day my kids and grandkids will want to return. Whether I’m hosting art nights at our Missing Peace Art Studio or teaching people how to get dressed up for Dia De Los Muertos, I spend my time building places where we can come together to create and find joy. I believe our schools should provide that same feeling. The Dayton Public School is facing tremendous challenges that require strong leadership. We need a board that speaks for and listens to parents and students, that stands up for teachers, that invests in people first. I’m committed to building schools where I’m proud to send my kids, and I look forward to working with all members of the DPS community who believe we can be the best district we can be.
Twenty-five years as a community servant and leader working in the field of education to help transform school culture and climates through Restorative Justice practices that help decrease suspensions and expulsion while increasing academic performance while promoting growth mindset in students.
1989 Graduate of Dunbar High School
B.S from Trinity Bible College and Seminary in Urban Leadership and Management
There is this quote by Adam Beck that states, "In teaching...You can't do the Bloom stuff before you take care of the Maslow's stuff."
Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who developed the Hierarchy of Needs in a pyramid form with five levels. He describes human motivation as being driven by unmet needs. The lower level of needs must be met before one can move on to the next level. So when students are hungry, with no running water, or no place to sleep, then their academic performance is going to be compromised.
One of the things that could be done to increase academic performance is to increase the resources to help meet the basic needs of the students through collaborating with businesses and community organizations to help in meeting those needs would help with increasing academic performance. Providing wrap around services for our students will require the work of not only the school district but also the community.
Usually when a district is being threatened to be taken over by the state they know in advance the severity of the situation, however in most cases failing districts don't have the tools, resources, or expertise to facilitate change. Now the state comes in and attempts to make some drastic changes in structure and school districts that have been taken over have found that the achievement has slightly changed, has had no change or have gotten worse. Now the adults have gone back and forth about who is right and who can do it better, and when nothing changes who has been failed twice? Another problem with state takeovers is that it seems to target districts with large populations of black and brown students.
I believe that the state must realize that local control of the school district is essential. A state takeover should be the last resort and only take place if an actual emergency exists and only happen if the state has the capacity and expertise to help the district succeed.
I believe that the district needs to reevaluate all of its executive and district leadership and see if all of these positions and offices are actually needed or can be consolidated, as well as look at those same positions to see if there needs to be resources used to expand certain departments or positions. Evaluating how to be competitive in salaries for teachers, administrators, and support staff is essential as well. Lastly, we have to provide resources for educators to teach to every student; every student doesn't learn the same, whether they are visual, auditory, kinesthetic or tactile, resources must be distributed to meet the needs of every student. From alternative seating to improved technology, the district must engage teachers in a conversation of what their needs are versus telling them what their needs are.
Being a native Daytonian and a product of Dayton Public Schools, I know this community and I know the potential that this district has because it has produced so many great people.
Being a parent of four children who attend Dayton Public Schools also gives me an advantage because I am always going to want what is best for them.
I have been a community servant leader and working in the field of education for 25 years. I know how to work with administrators, educators, parents, community leaders, and most importantly students.
One last advantage that I have is that I am not a politician. I am not looking to use the school board seat as a stepping stone for another political office. Which means I can ask the hard questions, that most wouldn't, to ensure that our district can become the nest that it can.
I would have to promote not only college readiness but also career readiness. We don't have to wait for high school to explore those occupations either. Being able to identify what goals or careers that a student might have at an early age could help a district identify ways to create a "road map" for those students to follow that would have the skills needed to achieve those goals.
I think the district has to not only prepare students for college but also prepare them for careers because not all students will go to college. To do this we must provide exposure to both college and careers.
We would have to continue to empower parents to assist in this preparedness. Whether through informational flyers, workshops, or community meetings, we have to get parents to see the importance of not relying on schools to prepare them. They have to know that reading to their children everyday, visiting the library, singing songs. encouraging them to write their name, taking them on "field trips" to the zoo, the grocery store, to the park, and allowing them to go outside to jump, run, and climb are just a few of the things that they can do to prepare their child for school.
It baffles me that school board members only show up at schools for photo opportunities. School board members should visit schools, talk with administrators, teachers, parents, and students. That way they can get first hand knowledge of what is going on. Oftentimes, non active school board members rely on what is being presented to them, and sometimes what is being presented isn't always what is. The school board member is elected by the people to work for the people. It is problematic when a school board member isn't connected to the people.
I believe that our school district is always seeking ways to improve safety throughout the district. I believe that our district has some amazing School Resource Officers who go above and beyond the call of duty for our schools and students. As with anything there are always things that can be improved, but I think are Safety Department in the district is always trying to figure out how to do and be better.
Overall I approve of the job that has been done, and those things that I don't approve of is only because I may not know the rationale behind some of the things. That is why I believe that increased transparency is needed withing our district. Habit number five of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is to Seek first to understand, then to be understood. We don't understand because in most cases no one is wiling to help us understand.
Community and parent engagement is what I have been involved in for some time now. First we have to know do we want families involved or engaged because they are two different things.
I believe the start to getting families more involved is to first ask! We have to also understand that the model for parent involvement is not the same as the 1980 model when parents would come to parent meetings, have bake sales, and attend all the games as the "Booster Club". The lack of involvement that we see now is not because parents don't want to be involved, we have parents now who are working two and three jobs to just provide for their family so they don't have the time to attend the parent teacher conferences and sporting events. We may need a paradigm shift to what parent and family involvement looks like
I believe that we could offer more tech and vocational programming but I would have to see what is being offered to make an informed decision on what changes to propose if any.
In order to make an informed decision about the placement of a tax levy on the ballot in the next two years, I would have to know the rationale and understand the fiscal state of the district. In times past, our community has approved levies and what was said would happen didn't. So I would definitely have to understand the total picture since I am representing the community.
If there is equitable distribution of resources and quality programming in our schools, I don't think there would be a problem with a neighborhood-based system because students are receiving quality instruction and programming close to their homes. I think that a STEM school should transition to a STEAM focus to include the arts. I also think that the district should think about expanding the Montessori school model into a middle and high school.
Increase the number of counselors/social workers/mental health therapist. We have to have people in place that can help our students deal with life and the many things that they are dealing with.
As a school board member I will expect excellence and quality service throughout every fiber of our district. I will not only advocate for our students but I will also advocate for those individuals who are serving our children everyday in our schools. I believe that there is no greater trust and responsibility that can be given an individual than to be entrusted with a child's education and to serve others. I am not a politician, I am just one person who wants to serve and make a difference in the lives of young people and my community,
Community Organizer with multiple non profit organizations
Engagement Specialist - training organizations on how to deal with their bases.
Currently a contracted consultant working with the City of Daytn to create neighborhood safety plans to reduce violence and promote safe and healthy neighborhoods
Tutor (Math and Reading)
Meadowdale High School (Dayton, OH)
Xavier University (Bachelors, Information Systems)
In order to improve academic performance, the entire district must share a vision of high goals and high achievement. To reach that vision, there must be accountability and transparency in leadership. Our students and families need to see stability in our buildings to help grow the relationships needed for improvement. We must offer a creative and challenging curriculum in addition to providing our students with the extra curricular activities that promote growth in our students . We must value our educators by providing them with training and professional development to help them reach their potential as teachers. We must provide wraparound services to deal with issues facing our children and their families. We need to focus on building up trust from our community. That starts at the top.
It is clear that the state taking over "failing" districts has not been successful. I believe that the state should instead look at assisting these districts in addressing some of the root causes that are prevalent in the failing districts across Ohio. Working WITH poor performing districts to help provide assistance in identifying problems and action items for solutions is far better than stepping in to run the district.
Fist, I must say that we must be fiscally responsible and do our due diligence with any financial decisions. I believe we must focus on expenditures that directly effect student performance should be the primary focus of the district. I believe we should look into funding restorative justice and trauma-informed care practices in schools, reading programs, and restoring arts, music, and other extra curricular opportunities. We also need to fund programs to enhance our workforce as well as initiatives to retain and create new candidates. We must make sure we also are responsibly maintaining our facilities while providing better access to them for our community, especially with the lack of recreational centers in many areas.
As a product of Dayton Public Schools, I feel a sense to give back to the district that helped me become the person I am today. I also am dedicated to working with the board, administration, staff, families, students, and the community to lift the quality of education in the system I feel so strongly about. As a parent of DPS students I have been an advocate for my children and will fight for all of our children in the district the way I do for my own. Through my experience as a community organizer, I have an intimate understanding of the many socio economic issues that create barriers to learning in our community. I have built relationships throughout Dayton that allow me to have difficult conversations needed to grow as a district. I have been involved inside of schools where I have witnessed issues that our teachers, staff, and students face. I have dedicated my life to connecting and empowering our community and will do the same if placed on the DPS board.
Preparing our students for the future must start at a young age. We must begin to close the learning gap that exists in order to effectively close the skills gap. Achievement in reading, math, etc is vital early to ensure we are closing the gap before middle and high school. Also, we must provide a curriculum associated with many of the skills required in our world today. We must increase the access to the type of trainings that prepare students to be successful upon graduation. We need to also encourage our children in their aspirations. Engage them, see what they want to become, and work towards exposing them to the qualifications needed to achieve those aspirations.
The first way to better prepare our students for college is to understand that all students will not and may not want to go to college. We must focus on making sure we prepare our students for success in life post graduation. Simply getting students to college should not be the goal. We must do better to provide students and their families with guidance for navigating the post graduation world. Too often we see students that get to college and aren't prepared to stay. That should be a focus. We must do a better job at identifying partnerships in the community to assist in college and career readiness as well. Starting earlier is a must. We cannot make a push in 12th grade, the work must begin early.
We must make sure that we engage the community on the importance of preparing our pre-school age children to be ready for kindergarten. Moving to a 5 day preschool schedule may help parents that have schedules that are conflicted with the current setup. We have highly rated pre school programs in the district. The next step is making sure we are doing the work to provide more parents with the opportunity to get their child prepared.
School board members should be highly visable to the community in which they serve. We should make an effort to not only attend sporting events, but other events in our community as well. Communication is vital to improving the district. Not only should we hold town hall meetings, we should hold sessions to show that we have listened to the concerns of the community and are taking action on those concerns. That is accountability and transparency in action. As a school board member, I would make visiting our schools a priority. We must be able to see what is going on inside our buildings to obtain a sense of what must be done to improve the district. This does not mean we must engage in micromanaging each building, we must allow leaders to lead. However, we must also be mindful to build relationships with those that are inside the schools if we are going to create a positive learning culture.
We can do more than what we are doing now. Protecting our children is a high priority for me. I believe we have to protect them from dangers outside and within. We should be looking at mental health reaources, restorative justice practices, and trauma informed care as measures that not only help the educational environment but also enhance the safety of our students. We must make sure that we take concerns from students and parents seriously and be proactive in dealing with conflict. We must do a better job of conflict resolution We need to teach our students the warning signs of possible dangers and how to react and respond. My work creating neighborhood safety plans has given me an insight on root causes of violence that spills over into schools. We must hold our children's safety up as they cannot succeed in unsafe environments.
Dr. Lolli stepped into a difficult position. There have been many difficult decisions made. From the recent state reports, we are starting to show some improvement in areas. However, there is a lot of room for continued growth. In order for that growth to occur, we need a school board that will work for the community and take the role of assessing the performance of the superintendent seriously. As a board member, I pledge to work with the board to keep an open door policy with the superintendent. There must be clear goals and expectations for Dr. Lolli. Those goals must be centered on creating and maintaining a healthy culture throughout the district. I also would see that we are open, transparent, and accountable to the public as to what our expectations are.
I was part of the planning committee that helped with the creation of the Parent Family and Community Council. I believe we must do a better job at engaging parents where they are, making them feel valued, listening to their concerns, and then showing then that we are listening by addressing the concerns. We have many parents that want the best for their children. The district must prioritize allowing parents and families to get involved. As a parent, I want to feel like I am part of the educational process. We must hold our parents to a high standard, but in order to do so we must properly engage them as well We must understand the challenges facing our community in order to properly make asks of our families. Getting out into the community to build relationships is vital. Once we know our community we can have the more difficult conversations it easier to expect more. Improving our customer service is another way to get more families involved in the district.
In my opinion, there is room for improvement on different levels. We need more community buy-in, promotion of programs offered, a higher number of programs, and resources to provide career readiness.
We can also start getting our students and families aware of various career tech programs at an earlier age. We must develop partnerships with the business community. We must engage our students and families on what they want to see in our schools. We live in a rapidly changing world. We must do all we.can to help our students with being prepared for the various pathways to success. We need to develop sound programs to focus on apprenticeships and mentoring in career tech.
First and foremost, our community needs to feel like they can trust the board and Dayton Public Schools before we can come to them with a levy. Previous board decisions have made many people skeptical about how the board uses the budget. We need to address those concerns. As a district we are facing the reality that there may need to be a tax levy soon. Providing a high quality education in a district that has the challenges found in our city comes at a cost. Before any levy, we need open and transparent discussions about where we are as a district. We must outline our needs and layout a sound plan for any new funding. We must be sensitive to the financial situation of many Dayton residents. Many Daytonians live in poverty. That must be in the minds of the board when any discussions of a levy are had.
I believe the only way to successfully have neighborhood based schools is to ensure there is equity throughout the district. Currently, that is not the case. Parents should not feel like their child must attend a certain school to receive a quality education. If the equity issue is properly addressed, I believe parents would feel more comfortable sending their children to the local school.
We currently have schools that specialize in different areas. I believe that is a good thing. However, we need to look at extending some of those programs to other schools as well. For instance, our younger children would benefit greatly from experiencing the types of arts programs that Stivers offers. We must be creative in what we offer our children in order to move the district forward. A mix of various programs equitably distributed is what I feel would work best.
This is an interesting question. For me, the answer is making sure that we do what is necessary to better the learning environment in our schools. That means making sure that our teachers are given the necessary tools to perform at their highest level. In order to make that a reality, we need to work on both of these things. It isn't a "this or that" type of solution. Having counselors, social workers, and mental health therapists are a must in a district that faces the types of challenges we have in our community. Making sure they are readily available and working in tandem with the teachers can be a huge benefit. Class sizes are definitely a problem, but more teachers doesn't address the totality of the issue. We need more highly trained teachers as well as support staff to address other needs that many of our students face. As the parent of a special needs student, I have seen what having good wraparound support has done for my child.
I am dedicated to the city of Dayton. I have spent countless hours in the community, working with grass roots organizations to raise awareness to issues in the community as well as identify solutions to those problems. I pledge to continue to be visible in the community if elected to the DPS board. It is my passion. I have been a youth sports coach, tutor, and mentor in the community. I believe that we have the resources to improve the district in our own backyards, we just need leadership that allows these gems to shine. I am dedicated to working with every part of our educational system: administrators, educators, staff, bargaining units, parents, families, students, and the Dayton community. We all play a part. I believe accountability a d transparency in leadership, better engagement, fiscal responsibility, and customer service are keys to creating a district that seeks high goals and achievement.
Lastly. I want everyone to remember, "Our community is only as strong as our schools