School Board Questionnaire
The WCIA D&I Community survey indicated that only one third of respondents feel that all citizens are treated equally in Wyoming. If elected, what would you do to ensure that all students are treated equally?
I think some of the reasons schools are now at the center of the culture war battleground is that as places of learning they are foundational to how we begin to think critically about the world around us. As we evolve as a society to understand the role of race in our history and present day, we can bring a new lens to try to understand how everyone’s experience in our schools may not have been the same. While inclusion is often discussed through the lens of race, the work of belonging intersects in a number of ways. No matter a student’s gender, sexual orientation, religion, academic talents, physical abilities, political point of view, or socio-economic status, our job is to support kids and give them firm ground from which to launch. I believe that teaching students to think and talk about the full scope of history and the facts in any subject has the power to create empathy, not division. When we give students the skills to be critical thinkers and to discuss difficult issues, we are not only creating a more equal learning environment, we are developing future problem solvers and leaders.
Ensure students and families have access to all the same opportunities and resources. Leverage experts and community partnership such as our equity coordinator and belonging and inclusion collaborative to enable, encourage and empower our schools with the tools and ability to understand, value and respect each other as unique individuals. This will create a culture of belonging and community where students can be themselves, feel supported do their best and reject behaviors and language that go against those things.
As Wyoming City Schools strive to foster a culture of inclusivity it is important to be responsive to community concerns. I know how important it is to be heard and that trust must be earned through action. As a board member I will work to develop strong relationships with other board members, students, families, teachers, staff and administrators. These relationships must be based on mutual respect, clear and open communication, and being self-reflective about my own actions and words. Through these relationships we will be better equipped to collectively address issues related to equality because we will have a foundation for engaging in difficult discourses. I am also commited to being proactive and seeking out areas for potential improvement by utilizing listening sessions like the ones described above or other forms of data. This would include both achievement data and information related to program access, college and career readiness, behavioral refererals and school discipline.
I believe listening and acting on the voice and experiences of our community members is important. I support programs in place that look at individual needs of students. If re-elected to the Board of Education, I would support the continuation of digging in deeper to individual experiences and listening to the voices of our students. Some manners in which this currently occurs is feedback from Senior lunches, the Annual Family Survey and the Alumni Survey from the Citizens Advisory Committee. Checking in with and continually educating teachers and staff in this area are also important and is another example that brings expertise and guidance. One final area of how to evaluate where we are doing well or have room for improvement is through the Belonging and Inclusion Collaborative. Again, I support the work that has been happening in this area and know that it is important to continue.