3-year term - Two Seats Open
Published: September 19, 2011
I was born and raised in Ketchikan. I am a wife and mother of three children (7th, 3rd and 1st graders) in the district. I graduated from Ketchikan High School in May of 1994. I decided to pursue a higher education just a few years ago. I received an Associate Degree in May of 2010, and I am on track to earn a Bachelor of Science in psychology this coming summer. I have recently been accepted into a combined Bachelor to Master program through Capella University. I also work full-time as a Clerk for the Alaska Court System. I am running for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School Board simply because I care deeply about our community. I believe that when people step up to assume positions of leadership within a community that they ought to be dedicated to the cause. I can say without a doubt that I will be dedicated to assisting our School Board in setting clear goals that align with the school board's mission to “provide high-quality instruction to every student within a positive environment reflective of our community needs” (http://www.kgbsd.org/home/). I believe that the School Board should consistently set goals that will create movement toward increasing academic achievement among students.
I have had some experience serving as the President of the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Campus (2009-2010), and as the Ketchikan area representative on the Statewide Coalition of Student Leaders (2009-2010).
During my time in these positions, I learned much about goal setting and effective collaboration. Additionally, I spent time lobbying our State Capitol for needs-based aid for college students in Alaska. Although, I may lack the amount of political experience held by other candidates, I do not lack in my desire to help better the schools here in Ketchikan. I have a long history of volunteering in many capacities in our town, and by electing me to the school board you will see that I give 100% to all my endeavors.
Statement of Issues:
Borough Assembly Funding of Education:
I know that there have been issues with the assembly not funding education to the cap. I believe that educating our children should be a top priority for our community, and therefore, the assembly. Educating our children should not be viewed as a drain on our pocket book, but rather as an investment in the future of our town. With that being said, we also owe it to the community to be as fiscally sound with their money as possible. Ketchikan has so many opportunities for growth with the fisheries, hospital, tourism, shipyard, a fantastic art culture, and so much more. However, we need to be setting our children up for successes in the schools before we can anticipate on having them one day become the leaders of economic growth in Ketchikan.
High School Drop-out Rate:
The high school drop-out rate has, and continues to be, an issue of great concern in Ketchikan. This is a problem that needs to be tackled head on. We need to quit talking about it and start acting on it. I strongly suspect that our school district needs to re-evaluate the standard curriculum that is being used because our children are not getting it. We need to utilize a curriculum that teaches to high quality standards, but in a way that our children can be successful with. Recently, our district has implemented a new math program called Saxon; this is a great program from what I can tell. This program builds a foundation for a strong core knowledge in math and continues to build upon what is learned. This program doesn’t simply move on to the next lesson, it keeps incorporating the information into future lessons so the children are still using concepts learned at the beginning of the year throughout the entire year. This program is currently being used in the elementary schools, and I believe this type of program would really be beneficial to have in the Jr. High and High Schools.
Check out the report card to the public on the school website. In 2010 43.5% of grades 4, 8, and 10 tested at below or far below proficient, 26.8% of third through tenth graders tested below or far-below proficient in math, and 24.9% of third through tenth graders tested below or far-below proficiency in writing (http://www.kgbsd.org/home/). I hope it’s not just me, but I think these scores are very telling. It’s no wonder kids are dropping out of school; with these kinds of scores how can many kids hope to even pass the HSGQE? According to the Department of Education and Early Development, four Ketchikan schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirements for last year. These schools are the Ketchikan High School, Revilla, Fast Track, and Schoenbar. Revilla and Fast Track have been on the list for four years now, and Ketchikan High School has been on it for three years (http://www.eed.state.ak.us/AYP/).
What does this say about our community, our schools, and our curricula? What does this say about our expectations for our children, and their ability to one day take over the leadership of our town? Something needs to change. I don’t have a lot of experience representing other people, but I am willing to take on the position. I am willing to be accountable to the public for issues involving the school district, and I can assure you that I will not passively utilize community resources because it’s easier than doing what is right. I’m not seeking election to further any sort of personal or political agenda. I simply see something that is broken, and I want to do what I can to help fix it. We can do a better job for our children!