Question 7 – All Candidates Please explain your views on additional charter schools given the success of Nuestro Mundo here in Madison and several offerings in Appleton just to name a few?
I think that it’s very important for the Board to be open to new ideas. We have to be sure that they fit within a long range plan for the whole district and that the innovation will benefit the entire district. I will make decisions based on what is best for the district and all of our students. Nuestro Mundo is a great success and shows that our district can support a program that offers an alternative style of teaching and learning. Appleton offers many different types of charter schools, and the Board and district need to use them as resources to study potential innovative charter schools here in Madison.
Question 8 – All Candidates How can the school district provide for second languages to be taught to all students starting in Kindergarten and continuing through all grades?
As a former language teacher and a former resident of El Paso, TX, I am a strong proponent of foreign language instruction starting from a young age. The middle school
redesign calls for foreign language every day in 7and 8grade, but we need to give students in younger grades at least exposure to other languages. Some elementary teachers take it upon themselves to integrate some Spanish into their curriculum each day. Our elementary schools have such a wealth of nationalities and cultures represented, that we need to tap into that resource to expose students to Hmong, Korean, and Romanian, to name a few languages. Leopold Elementary has a wonderful World Language Program that grew out of a grant written by a UW faculty member/part time teacher at Leopold. In each class several mornings/week, education students give 30 minute lessons in different languages. Grants such as this are not possible in each school, but as a district and Board we need to recognize the importance of learning a foreign language and with the teachers come up with a way to integrate it into the curriculum.
Question 9 – All Candidates The Board will be hiring a new superintendent. Please discuss what you believe is the top 3 criteria for a superintendent. You are free to ignore my request to address communication between Board and Administration/Superintendent, Boards communication with public, Superintendent and Public.
The next Board has a very important charge of hiring the new superintendent. The Board needs to look for a person who has experience in a district with similar demographics and challenges to Madison. This person needs to see Madison as a place to commit and become a stakeholder in the community, not as a stepping stone to another job elsewhere. A district from one of the Minority Achievement Networkand are similar in size and demographics to Madison, would be a good place to start. The new superintendent must also understand the high expectations the community has for
educating our students and the importance of our schools to the identity of our city. Experience with severe budgeting restrictions is a must.
The Board needs to find a person who has shown an effective and open working relationship with the School Board and with the community and staff and who will use the University as a resource for effective educational practices. We need someone who has the respect of staff and teachers as an effective leader, seen as a fair administrator, willing to look first at streamlining administration in difficult budgetary times. An understanding of how important relationship building is to school success and a commitment to inclusion of students who have been marginalized in the past, including those with special needs and ELL students are also very important. Creative ideas for raising achievement levels, especially of low income and minority students will assure that the district continues to improve achievement for all students. An understanding of evidencebased best practices in education will ensure consistency in choosing curriculum and teaching methods.
The Board does have a very important job ahead and must involve the community, students, and staff in making this decision.
Question 10 – All Candidates What role should School Board, Parents and Educator play in changing state law which adversely affect our schools?
I believe that the School Board needs to participate in a coalition of School Boards around the state and organizations representing constituents, superintendents, business leaders, and elected officials to come together to overturn the unfair state financing laws. The Board is in a unique position to help educate and galvanize the public and to lobby the governor and legislature to change school financing laws. I have attended Legislative Council meetings and am a member of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools.
Question 11 Rick and Maya What accountability mechanisms do you envision?
Question 12 – All Candidates What is your position on the health insurance issue for teachers, that is the WPS option versus HMO’s?
The Board must continue to provide alternative health care options to the union to consider during the collective bargaining process. MTI members make the final decision on which health care plans they choose and what percentage of the negotiated amount of money (always very close to the state mandated QEO) they want to spend on health care and what percentage on salary increases. Historically the union has chosen to continue with the current options of WPS or Group Health; it is significant that more and more teachers are choosing Group Health.