Photo by Max Goldberg - Iowa State Daily
Iowa's state legislature has drastically underfunded our public schools for multiple years in a row. We as taxpayers and as a community need to demand more, and school board members are a key part of that - if elected, I would fight for a funding increase to ensure quality education and advocate against cuts whenever possible. We must represent our schools not only within our community, but within our conference and our entire state. My previous experience lobbying state legislators as a youth leader will help in pushing for more state funding for our public schools and ensuring property taxpayers in Carlisle are not paying an unfair burden.
Teachers have one of the most underappreciated jobs in the United States. They are vital to our schools, and we should strive to hire and keep the best and brightest. We are fortunate to have many outstanding educators at Carlisle, and they deserve the best salary for their work. I want to ensure that teachers in our community get a fair deal and are getting what they should earn, especially after the bill passed and signed into law by the state legislature that stripped public workers of their collective bargaining rights. Educators are a key part of the lives of students, and the impact they have will be remembered for years to come - their positive work should be rewarded and admired.
Our students should not only learn at Carlisle, but lead. Our schools need to prepare students to be effective members of our democracy and actively participate in it. We should strive for excellence in everything we do and prepare students for every aspect of their future. I want to ensure students have plentiful opportunities not only with their academic education, but their extracurricular one as well. Students should want to be involved with their school and take pride in their passions, and I want to encourage every student to learn and to lead.
Proficiency versus growth
Measuring proficiency in subjects is important to a student's success, but I'm also an advocate of growth. I want to see students improve from year to year, not just maintain a set status quo. For example, you could have a 5th grader go from a 2nd grade reading level to a 4th grade reading level, and that's a marked improvement, but they still won't be deemed proficient. I want to champion growth in students!
As a young leader who has been an active advocate for youth representation, I want to make sure our students' thoughts and concerns are heard on the school board. If elected, I will seek to add a new position to the school board: a student member. This position would be non-voting and could be filled by a rising junior or senior at Carlisle and would be recommended and appointed by the high school principal. It's important to me that students are engaged with the board and informed on the decisions impacting them and their education, and I feel adding a student member can help offer valuable input to board members and establish a strong connection between the board and the students they represent.
The classroom is the center of learning, and our teachers shouldn't be restricted to certain guidelines that affect their ability to teach students and create individual thinkers. Every student is unique and learns in a different way, and teachers should be allowed to apply different approaches in the classroom to guarantee success for each student. I want teachers to be able to test new ideas and ways to learn, confer with their colleagues and figure out what worked, and then chart the best course forward for their students.
If elected, I want to have an active presence in our schools and our community. It would be my goal to have everyone - students, staff, parents, and community members - be comfortable in reaching out to me about an issue they're passionate about or problem they've experienced. When possible, I'd also like to visit the schools, stop by classrooms, and have constant and meaningful interactions with those in our education system. It's important to me that I do more than just show up to school board meetings, listen, and vote. I also would like to have a designated time and place where people with concerns could come in and meet with me one-on-one. Should I be fortunate enough to be elected, I'll strive to be open and available to all those who want to meet with me!
Our schools are fortunate to be leaders in many different areas, but our district is behind in technology when compared to other schools around the conference and state. We need to be innovative in introducing and utilizing new technology within the district, and that starts by putting more technology into the hands of students. Hartford has done an excellent job in this regard, and the middle and high school continue to push for more technological opportunities for their students so they aren't hindered by a lack of technology. We also want to empower teachers so they are proficient in the latest classroom technology and can use it to the best of their ability. We've got much work to do in this area, yet I remain optimistic because of the fantastic staff that are passionate about engaging students with new and exciting tools.