I will continue to share more about my passion for children and education over the next months leading up to the November 2019 election, but I believe a few things to be true when it comes to early childhood learning. (1) All students should be afforded the equal opportunity to learn in a manner that is best for them and sets them up for success in school and in the future; (2) The learning environment should foster creativity and collaboration ; (3) Any and all allocated funds should be used responsibly to maximize the learning and growth opportunities of all students in the district.
Customized Learning Agendas
As the mother of a child with special needs, I have seen the ways in which my son excels in learning and the ways that he just can’t wrap his head around. His teachers have been extremely accommodating and creative to make sure that his learning experience is a positive one. I would like to continue to help the district find ways to do this for all students, even those who may not be in special needs or do not hold an IEP for adapted learning.
Diversity in any community or organization is important in ensuring that all affected parties are represented in decision-making. Diversity is not limited to race or gender, it includes thoughts, experiences, backgrounds, opinions, personalities. It is crucial to have a healthy balance of ideas from various viewpoints that allow decisions to be made that will work for the greater good of those who are supported by the mission of the organization.
Tools for Success
In late 2018, the Ohio Department of Education release overall report cards for all Ohio school districts. Pickerington schools faired well when it came to graduation rates and several other factors, while receiving an overall grade of a B. However, when it came to "preparedness for success", although the highest grade among Fairfield County schools, a D is just not acceptable.
Schools and learning have changed since I was in elementary and high school, but I have worked with younger associates in the business world and beyond and there are some who are just not ready to be in the real world. Whether it be immaturity, confusion, or just not being appropriately prepared outside of typical "school learning", we owe it to our children to set them up for success in all aspects of their lives, not just through letter grades and test scores.
Creative Outside Learning Opportunities
When I was growing up in elementary and high school I looked forward to taking field trips to get out of the classroom! We spent time at the local land lab where we got to study tadpoles and plant life and sometimes we left the confines of our little town and ventured to the big city to visit COSI, but of course that was the OLD COSI on Broad St! My son is in 5th grade and he has yet to take a trip outside the classroom, other than to the outdoor playground or a trip around the block in a limo that he earned for a fundraiser. Field trips are important for students to not only get outside of the school and move around and be active, but they learn responsibility, how to act in public, social skills, and they learn about different cultures, and maybe even about careers they might be interested in. I understand that budgets are tight in all of our schools, but I believe it is important to put our kids in diverse learning situations to foster their creativity and curiosity for life-long learning.
In 2017, Pickerington residents turned down a levy that would have provided additional funding for buildings, maintenance, and construction of a new football stadium at Pickerington Central. Pickerington is one of the premier athletic programs in the state of Ohio (this includes Central and North) and the facilities should be indicative of that. While I believe this, I do not believe that homeowners should have to foot the entire bill to pay for these necessary improvements. I have been involved in multiple large-scaled fundraising efforts in my career and I would like to bring some creative fundraising ideas to the table in order to provide things such as a football fields at both Pickerington Central and North worthy of hosting regular season home games as well as revenue generating state playoff games and other possible revenue streams in the off-season. Our students in Pickerington are fortunate to have access to many programs in addition to athletics and I support the inclusion of any appropriate activities that allow our kids to grow socially, physically, and emotionally.
From 2016 to 2018 I served as board president for Franklin County Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS), an organization whose mission is to support those who are grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide. Prior to joining the board I had limited experience with suicide, but I wanted to learn more about the epidemic as it is one that continues to grow in the Central Ohio area. Having dealt with my own bouts of depression in my life, I understand the importance of a solid support system, reliable resources, and a place to let loose when the time is needed. In the world that we live in, kids are dealing with a lot of issues that we just didn't deal with when we were growing up. The advent of the internet and social media and the ability to hide behind faceless words and a profile along with the feeling of taboo behind "mental health" have made it more difficult for kids to know when to say something and who to talk to.