My Top Priority: Student Achievement
Without a doubt, student achievement is my number one concern, and it should be yours, too. Over the past five years, Whitnall students' proficiency in reading and math has declined on state tests in all grade levels, and our most recent composite ACT score has fallen to 18.6 -- which may leave many of our graduates not fully prepared for college and careers. Although the Whitnall Board, administration and teaching staff worked very hard to keep schools open in 2020-2021, our student achievement declined. We cannot allow our schools to continue to decline and let students perform so poorly in grade-level reading and math. We must do better. Student achievement must be the top priority at all times.
I OPPOSE CRITICAL RACE THEORY
The most frequent question I've heard while talking to voters is regarding CRT (critical race theory). Critical Race Theory does not belong in our schools. As your board member, I am watchful for and will speak up when there are curriculum concerns. I believe kids should learn real, unvarnished American and world history, including an honest look at the tragedies and ugly parts. I believe kids should be taught to look at many viewpoints and perspectives. I 100% oppose teaching kids that America is a fundamentally racist or white supremacist nation because that is a LIE.
CHILDREN SHOULD NOT RECEIVE GENDER IDENTITY LESSONS AT SCHOOL
School is for academic subjects, not social programming. I promise to protect kids from age-inappropriate sexual materials.
YOUR LOCAL BOARD CONTROLS THE CURRICULUM
While the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) publishes many standards and guidelines, all curriculum is approved by your local Board. Without an excellent curriculum and excellent instruction, our kids will struggle to learn effectively. The board must take a real interest in learning outcomes.
Hiring and Retaining Great Teachers - Best Place To Work
Children's learning is accelerated by the guidance and leadership of excellent teachers. Hiring and retaining great teachers at Whitnall is an essential part of becoming a high-performing district. Additionally, encouraging teachers to become subject-matter experts and respecting them as such should be an essential part of our school culture. We should support our teachers' lifelong learning and make the Whitnall teaching environment preferred through collaborative, thoughtful, and supportive leadership.
In the past five years, Whitnall has seen an exodus of experienced educators that I believe is a contributing factor to the decline in our schools' overall performance. Educator turnover, particularly at the high school, in our music faculty, and our special education teachers and aides, has been high. We have been blessed to bring in new, talented teachers, but we cannot afford to constantly cycle through staff members.
When Whitnall loses a teacher, it negatively impacts our students because relationships matter. If every child is expected to have a trusted adult in the building but the adults in the building are constantly changing, the relationships suffer. Teachers are not a commodity. We must respect, value, and trust our teaching staff, and be 100% committed to their success.
Effective Roles, Governance, and Accountability
The Superintendent works for the Board, not the other way around. Sometimes, school board members become "one of the team" with administrators and neglect their responsibilities to be the community's check and balance on school district performance. Board members are taught that administrators are experts and should be trusted with running the schools. This is true. The Board is the "what" and the Administration is the "how". The Whitnall Board needs to take greater and more active leadership in defining, owning and measuring progress towards the district's goals. Without clear roles and extremely well-defined accountability and performance measures, it is too easy for the board to allow the full-time administration to overpower the Board's responsibilities to the public. I would like to see the Whitnall School Board adopt and take full responsiblity for a coherent governance model that explicitly defines the Board's expectations and enforces district accountability.
Respect for Parents, Encouraging
Parent Input and Involvement
Parents, you are the boss of your children's education. You are the authority over their health and well-being. Most importantly, you have rights.
I am 100% committed to supporting parents' roles and rights in their children's education. You have the right to see your children's curriculum and education materials. You have the right to inspect their records. You have the right to be involved.
You are important. Your involvement makes a difference. I believe that the Board of Education has the responsibility to seek out and listen to parent feedback to inform decision-making, and engage in two-way communcation with the community.
I would like to see the Whitnall School District initiate annual parent satisfaction surveys to measure our performance and progress. The Board should also schedule regular community listening sessions and outreach to stay in touch with the community. We work for you.
Research-Based Student Growth
I believe that in an effort to improve student college and career readiness, Whitnall schools should commit to the research-based National College and Career Readiness Indicators (Redefining Ready). As Whitnall works on it's own scorecard, we do not have to re-invent everything from scratch when other leaders have paved the way. Our neighbors in New Berlin have incorporated these indicators in their high performing school district, and I believe their results and methods are worth imitating.
Increasing Achievement Through School and Community Culture
How do high-performance teams win? How do people grow and succeed? So much has been written, researched and understood about human learning and performance. We have exemplars locally, nationally and internationally to learn from and emulate.
Let's dig into what makes high performing schools work, and copy those methods here at Whitnall. Let's make our schools the best place to work in the Milwaukee area and give our staff great, satisfying careers. Let's make our parents and families feel welcome, respected and supported. We can help our students learn more, do more, and achieve more.
Please, stay interested and involved in the Whitnall School District's progress and performance. It takes the entire community to make a difference.