Whether or not you have children in the school system right now, we all benefit from having educated and engaged young people in our communities. I look forward to hearing your ideas to improve our school system! Grow with Gloe!
When I decided to run, I knew I wanted to fight for teachers. Now that I'm out talking to voters, it's pretty apparent that they want someone to fight for teachers, as well.
Many of the problems people tell me about boil down to a lack of both equipment and personnel in our schools. We need more paraprofessionals, counselors, social workers, special education teachers, gifted and talented teachers, and substitute teachers. We need more hands on deck. We should work to keep individual class sizes small, not just overall teacher-to-student ratios. This focus supports teachers and enhances educational outcomes.
We should strive to create an environment where teachers not only are told they are valued, but are valued; where they are provided with the resources they need to be able to focus on educating. Without this necessary focus, they'll leave our schools for schools that can give them such support while positive educational outcomes for our schools will fall through the cracks.
My partner and I moved our family to Moorhead specifically for the school system. The day I found out that Moorhead not only offers a Spanish Immersion program, but it is also part of the public school system, was the day I was sold on Moorhead. When it came time to enroll my oldest daughter, I was ready to camp out the night before but was surprised to learn that enrollment is not very competitive for the Spanish Immersion program. I asked some friends and teachers why there was not more interest in the Immersion program and found out that bussing for that program is only available to kids who live in a certain school district, putting it out of reach for some families. We have this amazing resource available to our community, but unfortunately it is not accessible to all of our community.
The Spanish Immersion program is an example of the groundbreaking programming offered at Moorhead Public Schools. However, without equal access to bussing services we are creating a two-tiered system in which all Moorhead Public School students do not have equal access.
I recognize transportation costs are real and that MPS runs on a tight budget. However, I believe providing educational equity to be vitally important (not just for Spanish Immersion but for all programming). I will work to advocate for funding from state and national levels to help bridge this gap, and I will work to build coalitions for creative solutions.
Roughly one-third of all students in Moorhead Public Schools are enrolled in free and reduced-price lunches. However, this program doesn’t cover milk/snack breaks for K-5th graders. Additionally, this program does not meet all of the need in our community. As such, I recently organized the PB&J School Lunch Fundraiser.
I came up with an idea. I partnered with a local business and, in less than three weeks, a small group of us organized a fundraiser that brought in over $3,000, raised awareness for the great work being done in the food services department, and raised awareness of the Moorhead Schools Legacy Foundation.
A school’s business is to educate children, and hungry kids can’t concentrate. I will continue to work toward ensuring all kids are fed and ready to learn. I will also work to facilitate public/private partnerships to enhance healthy options in our schools. I don’t believe in one size fits all solutions in education or nutrition; I believe in offering more healthy options and increasing nutritional education to support our kids in choosing those options.
My family is just getting started in Moorhead Public School system, so we’re looking toward the future. There are lots of changes coming down the pike for Moorhead schools and I want to be on the frontline shaping what that future will look like.
Moorhead schools are already doing amazing and innovative things. I want to support programs that allow children to work at their own pace and highlight individual learning styles. I believe our school board should show flexibility and responsiveness towards teacher needs to create an environment that allows them to give extra support to students as necessary. With my strong community building experience, I will work to ensure we provide and maintain a high level of quality in all our public schools, and provide equal access for all children in Moorhead. I look forward to building an educational system that’s no longer a one-size-fits-all, but rather multifaceted and capable of helping students at all levels, so that they may better achieve their potential.
I believe that we are better together. I believe parents have a right and an obligation to be involved with the decisions that affect their children’s education, and that the school board will be better with increased parent involvement. That’s why I absolutely believe we should be breaking down barriers that inhibit parental participation and airing school board meetings on the public access channel.
We all know Minnesota has a well documented achievement gap. We also know that Minnesota schools don’t have enough social workers, school counselors, specialty teachers, or other support professionals. At the same time, we are seeing children affected by opioid epidemic, homelessness, and other such societal crises coming to school and experiencing profound barriers to learning and participating in classrooms in meaningful ways. The types of problems these children face are systemic and require people across a spectrum of organizations working together to develop meaningful solutions.
First, we need to advocate for more funding from state and local sources, and use that funding to hire more staff. However, we can’t stop there. The problems our students are facing are bigger than any school district can be expected to manage on their own. These are societal problems, and as such they will need a broad coalition of support to help solve them. We need to build partnerships with the City of Moorhead and Clay County to get to the root of these problems. Yes, we need more counselors, more social workers, and more support staff, but we also need more affordable housing, increased access to addiction services, increased food stability, etc.
Children don’t learn in a vacuum. They are parts of families, who are parts of communities, who are parts of states, who are parts of this country. The issues facing our school systems are the result of issues facing our cities, states, and nation. We need innovative ideas and new coalitions dedicated to improving the lives of our kids and their families, in order to improve our schools.