These questions were received from school SAC’s, students, community members, and parents. These questions were gathered from the DAC website and from the DAC candidate forum.
Submitted from Stone Mountain Elementary
What do you see as the biggest challenges to our school district in the next 4 years and how will you address them?
We must continue to administer the teacher pay for performance initiative and further attain teacher “buy in” of the concept, by a large-scale inclusion of our teachers in the design and mechanism of measuring a teacher’s individual performance, including comparison of that performance with his/her peers. The concept of pay for performance is valid and beneficial. The implementation and conduct of measuring excellence Is the large challenge, requiring the attention and expertise of our teachers, in addition to our principals.
Do you believe the District is better off today than it was 4 years ago?
Yes, most definitely. Our student graduation rates and test scores are improving and the retention rates of our teachers are preserved simultaneously. The 400% increase in applications for open positions speaks for itself — as qualified teachers across our nation clamor to be part of Douglas County School District’s innovation and improving quality.
Much has been made of politics driving BOE decisions. Please describe the role politics would play in your decision- making if you were re/elected to the Board?
My primary objective would be to continue the fine, innovative reforms of the current board — Teacher Pay for Performance, Parental Choice, Choice Scholarship (vouchers), local school administrative authority and accountability, and sound conservative fiscal policy, as advanced by our current BOE. I also have a few ideas of my own to improve education quality, which I will bring forward if elected. Although I agree that “politics”, per se, should be diminished, my principles and values are aligned with traditional/conservative institutions of our country.
What is your assessment of the current Pay for Performance system employed by the District?
Submitted from Sand Creek Elementary
What is the primary objective that you wish to accomplish during your four-year term?
Continue and improve the current reforms. I also want to insure academic freedom and intellectual diversity is thriving within our schools.
Submitted from HOPE Online
How do you feel online education fits into the menu of choice options available to Douglas County students/ families/ parents?
Online education is evolving rapidly. Although I have an open mind and am learning about and observing the implementation of MOOGS and other initiatives within Higher Education, I remain convinced that, certainly for K-12 students, a live, dynamic and caring classroom teacher will always be our most important asset. The quality of these individuals will determine the quality of education of our individual students. There is no question in my mind that teachers who create “eager learner” students, those who look forward to attending school and who enjoy intellectual conversation with their teachers and others, are the key to a truly “world class” school system. Such teachers will optimize our children’s potentials — leading to happy, productive lives of continued learning.
Would you put the students at the high school level back to more classroom — meaning more subjects verses off hours’ time, and if not why not?
As I understand, our high school students have a number of options to take advanced placement and “college prep.” courses along with actual college credit courses — all of which result in such students graduating with credits beyond the minimum for graduation. Our current graduation requirement is 24 credits, which matches the highest standard of any the metro-Denver public schools. Perhaps students who are not destined for higher education are well served by these graduation requirements, whereas our college bound students are encouraged to gather additional credits consistent with their ambition and plans for further education.
Where do you stand on vouchers?
I fully support the concept of a robust voucher program that would allow all parents a substantial financial assistance obtained from the school district should any of our parents determine that a qualified private school setting is best for their own child. Such a parental decision may be in response to the particular characteristics and learning issues of their own child, or in response to the parents’ desire to have their child educated in an environment that respects and promotes the values and principles they hold dear.
What is your opinion of the pay for performance system?
I am in favor of the teacher pay for performance system, which will enhance progressively the quality of education in our classrooms. The classroom teacher’s quality is the determinant of classroom education quality. All of our students deserve and must have a high quality teacher every year of their K-12 education. Teacher pay for performance will powerfully move DCSD teachers and classrooms toward superb quality — where every student’s potential is optimized, and a maximum percentage of “eager learners” are created.
Do you support common core?
I don’t support federal common core — as I believe with great teachers on board, our school district will create the optimal curriculum for our districts students. I also see some agendas within some of the common core federal language that concerns me.
Do you think that our children should graduate from high school ready for life or ready for college?
For those wishing to continue their education at a college or university, I believe in both “ready for life” and “ready for college” are required. For those who do not aspire to college, then “ready for life” is also desirable.
What does that really mean? My view is that “ready for life” implies a preparation for continued learning and critical thinking, which is important for both groups — and both groups should have repeated experiences during their K-12 education to that end.