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Here are various statements I've made from questionnaires and surveys:

Of three major issues facing your district, which one is the most urgent?
The three major issues would be: 1) Reducing class sizes and portables amidst a surging enrollment 2) Maintaining classroom choice despite pressures regarding Testing 3) Ensuring teachers have the professional development programs that benefit them. Given that Puyallup is one of the largest school districts in the state with the most portables and more people moving into the area, it is most critical that we find creative ways to keep class sizes to manageable levels.
While it is true that class sizes and having the most portables in the state amidst a surging enrollment is the most visible problem in our district, I have another issue to present. I believe the biggest challenge that we will need to manage is how we maintain our "Tradition in Excellence" as we roll out 1:1 devices to our students over the next several years. The implementation appears well thought out, but parents do not know how effective these devices will be for classroom instruction.

What is your position on Charter Schools as a part of your public school system?
Charter schools do not truly foster Classroom Choice so long as we’re tied to the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessment. I-1240 was also highly flawed and passed by a very narrow margin as bankrolled by corporations. I am sensitive towards protecting Public Education as I’ve known it and the McCleary funding battles are not going away anytime soon. As such, I would not support charter schools in Puyallup if I were elected as a school board director. They are unnecessary in Puyallup and I am proud of the academic excellence that our district has had for many years.

What is your position on testing of your students?
I have tremendous concerns about the Smarter Balanced Assessment which I believe to be unfair, invalid, and unreliable. The assessment is being used for high school graduation decision-making, which was not as originally intended. As proposed under the proposed SPI plan, I also do not want to see 8th grade and 10th grade SBA results driving further coursework. My strong preference would be for low stakes testing to inform curriculum selection and to study how students learn, via paper and pencil tests like the Iowa Assessments used to be. In Puyallup, the current STAR tests are reasonable and norm-referenced to the grade level which is working out okay. I will be closely watching future testing results.

What is your opinion on "start times" for elementary and secondary school?
Puyallup has a good two-tiered bell start time system that appears to be working well for busing needs. There is a current bottleneck problem at Emerald Ridge High School and Glacier View Junior High which have similar start and finish classroom block times. One solution could be to stagger the classes by 0.5-1.0 class periods but that would entail examining if the block time set-up is effective. 
I am concerned about the proposed SPI plan to expand the academic calendar year to add 30-60 minutes per day for an additional 20 school days per year. As that would potentially increase the instructional hours from 1000 to roughly 1230 under state law, I believe that would open up another set of additional problems and not necessarily lead to narrowing the achievement gap. In Puyallup, the close proximity of JBLM leads to many students arriving in the school district after September 1st. As such, such an increase in the calendar would work against the realities of our community.

How can the on-time graduation rate be improved?
Currently, Puyallup has an on-time graduation rate of 90% which is well above the state and national averages. One instant change that would benefit our district is if Testing completion was delinked from graduation requirements. Not every student is destined for a Science career and the Smarter Balanced Assessment itself is neither fair, nor valid, nor reliable. Earlier interventions in the 9th grade will be critical now that we’re under CORE 24. This 9th grade passing rate will be a big part of the future Achievement Index under the state’s submitted ESSA plan.

How should bullying be addressed? 
I have inquired about people’s thoughts on Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) and a fair number of people believe the current programs are not working. We do need to remember that we only hear about the problematic situations and not of all the times that kids are “caught doing good things”. We need to ensure relationships are being forged but also bearing in mind restorative practices that need to be utilized on a consistent basis. It’s important that classic and common situations are being handled in a consistent manner. We also need to ensure that the most egregious and harmful situations are being captured via the reporting form that many people may not know that exists. I have heard of too many situations where physical harm was done and there was a perception that nothing was done about it. Proper 1:1 communication is key and more direct links online should be made available from OSPI’s resources on how HIB should be managed to in the context of the state laws.

What would be your plan to see that your school district students earn their civics credit required by the new state law?
I appreciate the main goal to ensure that every student is provided a high-caliber civic education from kindergarten through high school. We need inspire learning with solid and passionate classroom instruction with limited factual memorization, and emphasize “the big picture”. We need to incorporate discussion of current events in understanding the “what/how” in earlier grades and the “why” later on. Service learning and extracurricular activities should offer ample opportunities for involvement with meaningful student participation in school governance. This can include outside volunteer activities and on a “student council” that builds civic skills. These can capstone into simulations of the democratic process while build an appreciation for our type of government in a constitutional republic. It is also important to build an appreciation for the Development of Western Civilization in the disciplines of History, Philosophy, and Literature, and a respect for other countries.

What is your opinion of student suspension for classroom disruption?
Gone are the days of suspended a student and sending them home which is not effective and only leads to being further behind their academic coursework. Earlier interventions and relationship building are much more effective means of averting significant problematic behaviors. Intrinsic motivation and extra-curricular activity involvement would also be effective ways to help a student show up ready for learning. I have spoken with a principal about these concerns and a book referenced to me was “Paper Tigers”. I look forward to learning more about the concepts discussed in this book which curtailed suspensions by 85% at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA.

What's the biggest problem facing your school district and how do you plan to address it?

While it is true that class sizes and having the most portables in the state amidst a surging enrollment is the most visible problem in our district, I have another issue to present. I believe the biggest challenge that we will need to manage is how we maintain our "Tradition in Excellence" as we roll out 1:1 devices to our students over the next several years. The implementation appears well thought out, but parents do not know how effective these devices will be for classroom instruction.

Washington is now among a handful of states that requires students to pass certain tests to graduate. Do you think passing these tests should remain a graduation requirement? Why or why not?
The signing of HB 2224 into law now supposedly gives students more testing options leading to graduation, but I have tremendous concerns about the Smarter Balanced Assessment which I believe to be unfair, invalid, and reliable. As proposed under the proposed SPI plan, I also do not want to see 8th grade and 10th grade SBA results driving further coursework. My strong preference would be for low stakes testing to inform curriculum selection and to study how students learn, via paper and pencil.

Tell voters about the one program in your district that you'd "go to the mat for" in a tight budget fight.
I’ve heard on several occasions that teachers are not being supported with enough relevant professional development opportunities and related budget to be deemed effective. I would do my best to see that the maximum dollars were allocated for the professional development opportunities that teachers wanted. I would survey the current needs by speaking with several teachers across differing grade levels and subject specialties.

Personal statement
If elected, I would apply my solid education background that led to my Bachelor’s Degree in Economics along with my interpersonal skills, which is supported with a well rounded volunteering background in the schools and in the community. I have great appreciation for classical/traditional learning opportunities and hope we can avoid more “teaching to the test." I am opposed to longer school hours and longer days. Parental choice and education freedom for teachers is very critical!

 

More responses on special topics:

Pursue bargaining agreements which require measurable services to families for any local-funded wage increases (Currently many district engage in the questionable practice of obligating increasing amounts of finite discretionary levy funds to payroll without any new services being provided to district families, often called "TRI," or "deemed done days of pay." )

Being a first time candidate for School Board, I was not aware to the extent that these practices were occurring in other districts, and that sounds concerning to me. I am a financial analyst with a concentration on reimbursement auditing for a major Seattle hospital and work with all Government Payors. My mindset is to appropriately think critically and collaborate to achieve the right solution. I look forward to applying these transferable skills if elected as a school board member. I am comforted to know that Puyallup has had fifteen straight years of a clean audit. I will be sure to do more research on this topic.

Pursue expanding the range of options families and students have for education services (Do you think the district should encourage or discourage options for families like Skills Centers, Running Start, College in the High School, Alternative programs, online learning and other options?)

I believe the Puyallup School District should try to find a way to tap into the existing Pierce County Skills Center, which resides in Bethel School territory. Vocational/Technical schools have been a great part of education in American for many decades and we need to ensure this continues appropriately under the realm of CTE for high school students. Puyallup offers a robust Running Start program which my oldest son will soon partake in at the nearby Pierce College campus. The hope is that he will graduate high school with an AA degree and I hope to help other students have the same opportunities. I would like to see more utilization of classes being held from 4-9pm and perhaps, someday, Puyallup can reconfigure from a junior high format to a middle school format. The benefits would cascade down to elementary schools and curtail the overcrowding that we have. For now, Puyallup is unable to build another high school due to the tax base not being large enough to support that, such as would be the case in a larger city.

Pursue budget policies which efficiently manage public funds for fundamental purposes without excess taxation (Should the amount of the levy be the maximum allowed with decisions about how to spend it made later? or should the services sought be priced first, and a levy requested to cover those costs?)

I would prefer to see a specific levy that outlines what the operational costs will be up front first so that transparency prevails. Since Puyallup passed a construction bond in 2015, future levies will be critical to ensure we manage the portables that we have as they continue to age. Puyallup has among the most portable classrooms in the state. Fortunately Puyallup has a wide tax base and that has kept levies to be manageable. I have heard concerns, however, that the district has gotten top-heavy and I look forward to assessing to the extent that is true by speaking with parents and teachers. We need to ensure maximal dollars are getting into the classroom.

Pursue policies and practices which conduct the public business with transparency and public engagement (Should the district invite engagement with surveys, working groups, open meetings for collective bargaining, ongoing news and radio outreach to highlight the district efforts, specify the levy expenditures in the resolution, and budget with clarity about changes from year to year?)

Puyallup has a solid Communications office and there have been noticeable improvements over the past few years. The meeting minutes are also very detailed but I would like to see our meetings video recorded taped so that the public can feel more like stakeholders in the business that is conducted. Puyallup would do well to have more open forums and more focused topic surveys in order to get the pulse of the community. Puyallup should have more district wide news about budget making.

Pursue calendar changes which put student learning as the highest priority (Should the district shorten the school year and have many partial school days on the calendar? Should the bell schedule and timing of various activities serve the interests of students as a first priority? Should summer be longer or shorter?)

Ever since Puyallup did away with having every Wednesday be a half-day for professional development, there have been more disruptions with half-days occurring at inopportune times, in my opinion. We have since switched to one-hour late starts on Mondays and I am not certain that is the best use of time and for the benefit of working parents. This also has created situation where families might not be able to take certain after-school activities on Wednesdays like they used to and students need more enrichment opportunities with a consistent schedule that we once had. Being in the Pacific Northwest, I am not in favor of expanding the school calendar instructional hours from 1000 to approximately 1230 by increasing school time and adding 20 days, as proposed by Supt. Reykdal. There is no evidence that such an expansion would work statewide and I have reached out to a national subject matter expert (Dr. Sandra Stotsky) who affirmed my opinion. I look forward to conversing with parents and teachers on this topic. As of now, it appears there are roughly 8 early release days which is understandable.

Pursue personnel policies which assure consequences for public employees who collect public funds without rightly providing public services (What should the culture of the district be regarding the work habits and quality of those performing services? What should evaluations of principals and others accomplish?)

I know that one of the many duties as a school board member would be to hear cases of disciplinary issues of various employees and I would look forward to learning more about how these issues are adjudicated. Public employees must be held accountable to high standards. Principals should be evaluated to ensure great communication with families and maintaining a positive morale in the school which greatly fosters learning. Firm and fair would be the guiding ideals.

Pursue curriculum and programs which are respectful to the heritage of the American world view of individual liberty and personal responsibility (Should the district erode or shore up the understanding of the merits of liberty? Do you think the original world view of the founding fathers is outdated and should not be taught? Should current trendy topics in social values be the priority in these modern times?)

I absolutely believe a Classical Education should be retained and with a focus on our American heritage and to promote civic responsibility. I have had tremendous concern about AP US History being watered down and being changed to match the agenda of David Coleman and the College Board. The original documents should be studied early and often and capstone with the Federalist Papers in high school after having a solid basic understanding of our constitutional framework. There will always be value in what our founding fathers made for our great nation and it cannot be under emphasized how important that is. It is also important to understood our roots in the development of Western Civilization and how that impacts our place in the world today.

Do you support collective bargaining?
I support collective bargaining at the local level and am concerned things are being set at the state level but these are conversations happening at the legislative level and beyond my personal control. As I stated in my interview with the PEA, I would be committed to an open door policy and ready to discuss an issue any week. I have nothing against the teachers’ and other classified workers unions and support the work which brings integrity to our school system. I trust the right people are running it and would look forward towards building a stronger rapport. I also want to point out that there is a trend towards open bargaining sessions which I stated in my interview should give anyone pause. For one, it causes scope creep which could adversely affect the overall effort. At the end of the day, the teachers elect who represents them and I as a community member elect the school board members that represent me as a citizen to the district. I believe the system works here in Puyallup and that we are very fortunate to have the District leadership that we have. One last point on why open bargaining sessions should not be instituted here in Puyallup. We have yet to see open and transparent negotiations in the closed door 4-corners negotiations that go on in Olympia. I think it’s a safe bet that there is a sour taste in many peoples’ mouths with how the 2017 Legislative Session concluded. Now we have to see how local levies will be handled moving forward and I believe we will soon have a local levy that needs to be renewed before the voters.


How many hours approximately have you volunteered in classrooms--not in other PTA areas?
I cannot quantify the number of hours overall that I’ve volunteered since 2007 but in many situations where I’ve been needed, I raise my hand and gladly serve as I’m able. This was much easier to do when all three of my kids attended elementary school at the same time. I’ve helped with AR tests with the younger grades and I’ve done clean-up work at the end of the day- either way I know it has been appreciated. Bear in mind that I work full time (take the train to Seattle) but have utilized opportunities to coincide on days when I’ve been able to work from home. I have found needs to get filled, and proudly organized the committee that led to our solely needed Left Turn Arrow on Gem Heights Drive that surely reduced school wide tardiness. Over the years, I’ve chaperoned on many field trips such as Mud Mountain Dam, Fish Hatchery, Olympia, and a junior high honor society trip to Portland, Oregon via Amtrak which encompassed a 13 hour day!

I have spent much time researching, analyzing, and coordinating efforts for action regard the concerns of Education Reform matters. Since late 2013, I would imagine this part has been over 100 hours total.  I have organized several library info sessions and coffee meet-up’s outside of school hours and have given fellow parents opportunities to connect with a school board member on occasion, and legislators (who all know me). Given that I have been a state/local level organizer in the Washington State Against Common Core network, there are only so many hours in a week. I am proud of my track record with service in the community (church, YMCA, Scouts) and would not trade it for the world. My candidate facebook page also extensively describes my overall attributes of being a candidate as well as my positions on key matters.