What do you believe is the fundamental role of education?
It is our role to educate our children to prepare them for tomorrow's jobs and give them the tools to be productive citizens in our communities. Education teaches our students the importance of hard work and the values of right and wrong.
How would you promote rigorous academic instruction and excellence in your school district?
We need to continue to challenge our students "to think, perform, and grow to a level that they were not at previously". As a former teacher of 35 years, I know that the educators in our school district continually work to improve their teaching by furthering their education and adhering to the content standards set by our state. By providing strong and relevant professional development opportunities to our educators and valuing their educational endeavors, we can continue the excellent work they are doing in our district! As a board member, I plan to make routine visits to the teachers of our students, listening to their thoughts and concerns with academic instruction and involving them in decisions made regarding instruction - they are the experts who spend the quality time with our students!
How do you define Critical Race Theory? When implemented in school policies and curriculum, do you think Critical Race Theory differs from simply “teaching history?”
In regards to CRT, Idaho Code 377 states: "It is the intent of the legislature that administrators, faculty members, other employees, and students at public schools, including public charter schools and institutions of higher education, respect the dignity of others, acknowledge the right of others to express differing opinions, and foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and freedom of speech and association". CRT has no place in Idaho schools and cannot, based on law, be implemented in Idaho school policies and curriculum. I am in 100% agreement with IC 377!
How do you define Social Emotional Learning (SEL)? Would you encourage the implementation of any SEL model in your school district? If so, which model and why?
SEL is the "process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success". As a former teacher of 35 years, I have seen students benefit from SEL projects and programs. Many students learn these skills from their parents and from life's interactions and can continue growing from the tools learned at their schools. Our district uses Core Project in grades 6-8 and in our high schools and Character Strong/Character Counts for k-5. A team devised of administration, counselors and teachers did the research for these programs and having been involved in implementing them with our students, I can fully say that their research is providing a quality program.
How would you respond to the Idaho State Board and Department of Education’s recent dissemination of resources such as the SEL Roadmap for Reopening Schools, which argues that schools should adopt anti-racist practices, focus on social justice, and conduct staff-wide implicit bias trainings? Should teachers be required to attend these kinds of trainings?
If, in fact, that is the case, as a board member, I would research the positions of both ISDE and ISBE. I would also rely on information provided to me from our district superintendent, our district's leadership team and other district staff in making training decisions.
Should your school district be required to teach a sex education curriculum? If so, should this curriculum include instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity? Should parents and guardians be required to provide consent before their children participate in any sex education curriculum?
The Idaho Content Standards for Health clearly define the concepts to be taught for Human Growth, Development & Family Life. Our district/staff sends out a letter to parents prior to any instruction for this content standard and parents have the option to pull their children from this course of instruction. Sexual orientation and gender identity are personal matters and should be left for individuals to decide.
How should school districts respond to the Idaho School Boards Association’s recommendation that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify?
Law 6479 requires school districts, BOCES, charter schools and nonpublic schools to designate all single-occupancy restrooms as gender neutral. Should this issue come across to our board, I would gather the information collected by our superintendent/admin/staff/parents, etc. to address it accordingly.
Do you support mask mandates in schools as a COVID-19 mitigation strategy? Do you support implementation of any other policies or practices designed to mitigate the effects of COVID-19?
I personally do not support mask mandates. I believe anyone can wear a mask if they choose to do so and if they choose not to wear a mask they accept the risks of that choice. Our District has information regarding COVID-19 procedures accessible on our website that patrons can access which specifically addresses the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services. School Administrators consider multiple factors when they make decisions about implementing prevention strategies against COVID-19 on an ongoing basis. Specific details of all extra and added precautions are included in this document related to COVID-19. I attend board meetings on a very consistent and regular basis and COVID information, etc. is at the forefront.