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PLATFORM

  • Why I'm Qualified to Accomplish the Primary Functions of the Board
    “The primary functions of the board are to establish policies for the operation of the schools.” -UCPS Board of Education Overview https://www.ucps.k12.nc.us/domain/126 Most of our current Board members don’t have any experience in education. Having that experience is so important to understand what policies are needed and how to successfully implement them in an educational setting. I spent 14 years in education, following those policies, experiencing firsthand what worked and what didn’t, and working alongside those with the authority to make changes. When deciding on policies, I will truly understand what it will be like to follow them and how they will affect our children’s education.
  • What Makes Me Stand Out As a Candidate
    Though we do have other candidates with teaching experience, I stand out because not only was I a teacher for 14 years, I taught specifically in UCPS for 11 of them. I loved working for UCPS and now love to see the fine adults my students have become! As a UCPS teacher, not only did I involve myself in multiple aspects of the school community, but I was also a county-wide leader as chairperson for the elementary music teachers and chairperson for two county-wide music festivals. These tasks, among others, gave me the opportunity to work alongside Central Office staff, all the way up to the Superintendent. So from my classroom duties to my involvement in entire-school activities, to my leadership roles for the school system and collaborating with Central Office staff, I have substantial experience and understanding of UCPS before even walking into the Board room!
  • The First Thing I'll Do as a Board of Education Member
    I will create a plan to visit every single UCPS school and meet with their administrators, staff, and even their students. I will listen to what works well in their school, what needs improvement, and most importantly, what they need from the Board of Education. Whatever they want me to know, I will want to hear it all. And I will take notes, look into everything I can to satisfy what is requested of me, and I will communicate with members of that school to ensure that they never think they’ve been forgotten. When deciding which schools to visit first, I will prioritize the schools that need the Board’s support the most. We talk about UCPS test scores being top notch, but that’s not entirely true. The average of our schools’ test scores are top notch, but when we look at our schools individually, it becomes very clear that not all schools are being given the same attention. Remember, test scores aren’t everything! Don’t get me wrong, of course we should be praising our top-scoring schools for their efforts. But we should also be praising our lower-scoring schools for their accomplishments, which there are many, and then pour extra attention into finding out what else they need to score like the others (since scores are still unfortunately relied upon in many ways). What’s being done at some schools but not others? How does the school’s community influence its test performance? Do the schools have equal resources? And so on. As I make my way down the list of school visits, I know the balancing act will become clear. We can learn so much from each individual school, and use what we learn to spread success across the county from one end to the other. Every school is equally important and must be treated as such. And that’s exactly what I plan to do!
  • Safety and Security at our Schools
    A UCPS parent just asked me a very important question, publicly on Facebook. Upon being asked, I have an obligation to answer in the same public fashion. And in showing complete transparency, I have the obligation to share. This is an incomprehensible yet real issue that should never be ignored. Question: “What would you do or propose as possible solutions to minimize the chances of events like this [Uvalde school shooting] happening from the position of a School Board member?” Answer: First and foremost, as a School Board member, I would start by visiting every single building in the district to evaluate what their safety procedures are and the status of their building in terms of safety. I would also enlist our incredible resource officers, other law enforcement, and security experts to provide their valuable assessments. Are the doors being locked? Does every single person know what to do in an emergency? Do they have a code to indicate a lockdown and does everybody in the building know what that means? Do visitors and substitutes know what to do? Is everybody actually following procedures? Are there weaknesses in the building that someone with ill intentions might take advantage of? From an educational perspective, are classrooms set up to support school safety measures while still being conducive to learning? And very importantly, what concerns and suggestions do staff members and families at the school have? As a Board member, anything that I decide is irrelevant if I don’t even know whether or not it would be appropriate in the school community. Something we can all do right now is to email our school and ask them if they require visitors to show their ID before entering the building. Most schools, if not every school, have a buzzer with a camera at the front door. The problem is, a lot of the schools just let someone in when they buzz without knowing who they are or why they're there. They should be asking for an ID and the reason for visiting before ever opening the door. So, email your school and ask if they are following that procedure. Ask if they require a visitor to show their ID through the camera or do they just let them in. It's such a quick and easy step for them to do, but bypassing it defeats the purpose of the cameras all together. If we point that out, hopefully they will prioritize that first step to keep danger out of the building! Putting cost and other logistics aside, I hate to say it but metal detectors may be a way to go. We can also have a walk-up window outside where a visitor would come and speak directly to office personnel on the other side of the window. Picking up your kid? They’ll come outside to you. Dropping something off? Here’s a drawer to put it in, just like they have at the drive-through pharmacy. For visitors who plan to come into the building and stay a while such as volunteers and parents wishing to have lunch with their child, there should be a comprehensive identification procedure that must be completed before entering the building. We also need consistency across the entire district! I know our staff members are doing everything they possibly can to keep our kids safe but there must be no conflict or confusion from one building to the next. Consistency with procedures that must be followed, keeping doors locked, making sure that every adult and child in the building knows immediately what to do in an emergency. Outside doors need to remain locked at all times; no boosting it open with a rock or any other item. If a high school student needs to go to their car and they bring a buddy (which is what they should always do), they bring a key to get back in or they go through the front door. They don’t have the buddy hold the door open or even stand there waiting, because an intruder could then come to that door and threaten the student to open it. We also need to address what happens at home. Yesterday’s shooter was relentlessly bullied for years due to a disability. His home life was poor and he was extremely lonely. He had only one friend and when that friend moved away, that was possibly his tipping point. We all need to take the time as parents to talk to our kids about acceptance and kindness. They need to be told that just because somebody is different, that doesn’t make them wrong. Nobody has to mimic somebody else’s lifestyle if they don’t want to; we have free will, we have our own opinions, we have our own values, and we have our own beliefs. We have the right to that. But part of that right is to understand that others have that right, too. Bullying for any reason is unacceptable and probably played a huge role in sending this kid over the edge. The affects of constant bullying keep building over time and there’s only so much someone can take without help, and the shooter felt he had nowhere to turn. If we look back at past shootings, this is a huge commonality. I can personally say that being bullied as a child permanently affected my life. It never sent me to the lengths that these shooters have gone but the fact of the matter is, it made a negative impact on me that I still carry to this day. At school, bullying needs to be addressed and shut down hard without hesitation. When I was teaching, if a student said something about bullying during my lesson, I would immediately stop teaching that lesson and address the bullying. My lesson could wait. We would have a respectful conversation about what’s going on and what should happen next. I always made my classroom a safe space where even the bullies were listened to. You never know what causes somebody to bully another person and more often than not, bullying is their way of acting out due to something in their own lives that they can’t control or cope with. So many of these kids just need somebody to listen to them because they don’t get it elsewhere. It’s amazing how much a kid’s disposition changes when somebody simply gives them some attention. Just listening to what they have to say and speaking with them about it respectfully could make all the difference. But it still comes down to the fact that nothing will ever be as impactful for these kids as hearing about acceptance and kindness from their parents. I would love to put every school in an inpenetrable bubble, however, schools are not prisons and even in a prison people find a way to escape. We all need to do our part to minimize these tragic events so that it doesn’t happen to us. Teachers, parents, and community members alike.
  • Our Children are More Than a Test Score
    If you haven’t heard by now, and let’s face it, you probably have, test scores from last year were recently released and UCPS is amazing! That said, we talk about our children being more than a test score so why are we so focused on being number one? And does being number one mean that we’ve reached the peak of our potential? No, of course not. But we cannot say that our children are more than a test score while at the same time boasting that our scores are the best. By focusing so hard on our place on the leaderboard, we’re showing our kids that being number two isn’t good enough. Instead, our focus should always be about our students doing the best that they can personally be! And we need to put that focus equally on every student, in every school. UCPS has been a high performing school district since I moved here almost 20 years ago. This is because UCPS maintains high expectations combined with a love of learning, and that’s why we see success year after year. School districts build on those successes (and failures), constantly tweaking what works and what doesn’t in order to keep moving forward in our ever-changing educational world. It’s a team effort from every single person involved, and implemented by our teachers and staff who work with our children face to face every school day. So thank you, all of UCPS, for doing what is best for our children. Whether we’re number one or number twenty one, our children are the best because of you!
  • My Priority is ALL of UCPS
    My priority will ALWAYS be what’s best for ALL of UCPS equally. Every political party. Every voting district. Every high school cluster. Because when you sit at that table, you represent the potential of every UCPS student. Every single one. A class full of students will never be successful if they don’t work together; students, teachers, and parents alike. We teach our students teamwork and cooperation from day one so that they grow up to be respectful and productive members of society. As adults, it’s our job to model that behavior because our kids are always watching and learning.
  • How I Plan to Bring Unity to our Schools
    I would love to see UCPS repair the wounds it has suffered over the past two years. After all, we share the same goal to do what’s best for our kids! I feel that communication is a big part of what failed us during this time and we need to start by bringing that back. For example, it would’ve been very productive had we had a committee consisting of parent representatives and UCPS officials specifically for managing the pandemic, to bring a citizen viewpoint to the table. We always talk about how important it is that parents involve themselves in their child’s education, and that should extend past the classroom whenever possible. So a committee formed to deal with unforeseen events we may face in the future would be invaluable to have established in advance, to ensure that we don’t overlook how these events affect our children. We should also have a UCPS-sponsored, anonymous communication method available to all stakeholders, no matter their angle on an issue. Some people don’t feel comfortable joining a committee, speaking at a Board meeting, or emailing school officials, so this would give them another avenue to go by. Great suggestions often come from the most unlikely of places, and we need to make sure that the entire UCPS community has a comfortable option in which to speak. Finally (at least for the time being because my brain is constantly spinning), we need to start having fun again! Over the years, many of our schools have held fairs and festivals for their school community. Similarly, it would be fantastic to have a festival open to an entire cluster or even the entire UCPS community! We need to get back to laughing together and listening to one another. We don’t have to all agree, but if we at least lend each other an ear we’d be making a world of difference in the environment we’re giving our children. Social media is great for a lot of things but unfortunately the lack of inflection in a typed conversation often turns a pleasant comment into a defensive one. But put people together, face to face, in an atmosphere of fun and laughter, and you immediately have the potential for some wonderful understandings. Or at least an easy way to put differences aside and just be neighbors again.
  • Let's Work Together As a Team
    It's so important that we ALL work together for the benefit of our childrens’ educations. When parents and teachers communicate as a team, the sky’s the limit on what our children can accomplish!!! This school year, remember: Ask your child about what they learned in school each day. Ask them questions about it, even if you know the answer, to help them recall the information. And if they’re anything like my kids, don’t take “stuff” as an acceptable answer. 😉 Check their bag daily for notices from the school (I usually find these crumpled up on the bottom). Check their agenda daily to see what they should be doing at home. Communicate any concerns or questions directly to your child’s teacher. They are your best source of information! Teachers always have a plan B when it comes to required reading. If you have concerns about a book your child is given, kindly ask your child’s teacher about it. They will be able to explain to you why the book was chosen from the perspective of the lesson. They can also give your child an alternative book to read, if necessary. You can see all the books that your child has checked out of the media center at https://destiny.ucps.k12.nc.us. After clicking on your child's school's name, you will be taken to Destiny Discover. Click on the blue circle in the upper, right-hand corner and choose "Login". On the next page, enter your child's student number as the username and the word student for the password. All teachers must teach lessons based on state and federal standards. Go to https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/classroom-resources/academic-standards/standard-course-study to see it all. Teachers sometimes do have the choice of HOW to teach a concept, but they usually don’t have much choice in WHAT concepts they teach. Canvas and PowerSchool are important resources not only for students, but for parents as well. Checking these daily will keep you updated on what’s happening in your child’s classroom. Go to https://ucps.instructure.com/login/canvas to create a Canvas account. For PowerSchool, you will need to contact your child’s school for login credentials and then visit https://ucps.powerschool.com/public/home.html to create your account.
  • My Involvement with UCPS Voices Unsilenced
    When I started the page, I wasn’t planning on running for the Board; I just wanted to provide a safe space for people to share the thoughts and worries they felt they couldn’t express elsewhere. As the page’s admin, reading the hundreds of concerning statements I’ve received so far is what motivated me to run. I want to ensure that all voices are heard. As a candidate, I plan to listen to every one of them because as a Board member, I will act on behalf of all UCPS stakeholders; not just the ones in my district that voted for me. I’m currently in the process of building my campaign team and evaluating my obligations and responsibilities. The Unsilenced page is one of the projects that I plan to delegate to trusted members of the community, allowing me the time I need to focus on my campaign and all UCPS stakeholders. If elected to the Board, I intend to remove myself entirely from the Unsilenced page to ensure it always remains a safe place for disclosure and for people to anonymously speak truth to power.
  • My Thoughts on Politics
    I hate politics. Can't we just talk? My husband is a Republican and so are many others in my family. We don’t argue about the issues. We either discuss them with respect and understanding or we agree to disagree, and that’s okay. Knowing different perspectives is what makes us stronger as mature individuals. I have my own personal political opinions but they have nothing to do with our students’ educations. I never shared those opinions when I was a teacher, I’m not sharing those opinions as a candidate, nor would those opinions affect my judgement as a Board of Education member. We must work together for the benefit of our students and staff because personal politics have no place in making decisions for ALL OF UCPS EQUALLY. They deserve at least that much. I remember when I was younger and first learning about politics, I didn’t understand why politicians were always arguing (at least as a kid, that’s how it felt). Why didn’t they just talk about their views and find a compromise? I didn’t even want to register in a Party but when it came time, I think I felt an obligation to register in line with my parents. Nobody pushed me to do that; it was just young, inexperienced me. We weren’t a very political household. When it was time for my son to register to vote, we told him to register with the Party he identified most with. When he voted for the first time in 2020, we told him the same thing about his choice in candidates. We didn’t want him to blindly follow us as his parents, but to make educated decisions as an individual mature enough to make those choices on his own. He didn’t even need to tell us what Party he registered with or candidates he voted for; that was his business. We now tell our 16 year old daughter the same thing as she gets closer to registration age. I do not vote straight ticket. I vote for the candidate who I feel is best for the job, whether they are Republican, Democrat, or another. I hope you do, too. 😊
  • What I Think About Mask Mandates
    Because the pandemic is constantly changing, my stance on masks will depend on several factors at the time of question (which is the reason why the BOE is required to vote on it every month). I will NOT make a decision based on my personal opinions; I will decide based on the big picture for all of UCPS. I will research the medical information known at the time using multiple sources, and I will share those sources with the public. I will also welcome input from all stakeholders, no matter their viewpoint. The factors I will consider are: ~ What are our LOCAL doctors saying, especially pediatricians? ~ How severe is the dominant Covid strain? ~ How small are the viral particles (so we know which masks may even be effective)? ~ What is the current capacity at Atrium Monroe (and Atrium Union West, when open) and how busy are our local Urgent Care centers and doctors’ offices? ~ What is the current positivity rate in Union County and how does it compare to neighboring counties with both similar and differing Covid protocols to ours? ~ And for perspective, how do these answers compare to other communicable diseases? If the above questions indicate that masks are not beneficial, I will not be in favor of a mask mandate. If masks are found to be necessary, I will advocate for guidelines and procedures that must be in place for legitimate exemptions. These exemptions will include (but not be limited to) those with sensory processing issues and certain respiratory disorders. Applications for exemptions will be evaluated by medical professionals in conjunction with school officials and if approved, exemptions will be respected without question.
  • What I Think About Covid Vaccine Mandates
    When it comes to vaccines, I am opposed to a Covid vaccine mandate for our schools. Though my family chose to be fully vaccinated and boosted, I was honestly surprised that the question of a mandate was brought to the table so soon, and I was thankful that our health leaders denied the petition.
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