Second Council District
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR BOE?
The BOE is a major organ of the BCPS, impacting o the system’s collective team, advocating for the education and safety of our children, staff, and faculty in Baltimore County Schools! It is the System’s manager. I want to serve as part of that team. Funding for our students/schools must be addresses to give ALL students a balanced and equitable opportunity to meet their intellectual and social potential with well trained, retained and financially supported faculty and staff. Programs to support, engage, and expand the intellectual progress of students, continuous and current staff development, and support services for students and staff must be offered and funded to address the needs and potential of every child and to demonstrate respect for the professionalism of faculty/staff members in every school. Funds must be levied to ensure that schools are safe and healthy environments in which to learn and work. Relationships with parents, community representatives, board members, system associations, system hierarchy, and elected officials must be forged to support all systemic initiatives and funding efforts.
Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow means, in my mind, teaching which is predicated on exploration, diversity, and creativity to open students not only to information but what to do with it….how to apply, evaluate, use, and synthesize that information. It is a circle; it is a circle that only a human being can direct, guide, or offer. Technological devices are wonderful and necessary tools but not substitutes for human interaction and support. Classrooms should be work/college readiness centers, possessing necessary accoutrements, both human and technical, which combine 21st century technology with interactive strategies using common core standards with an emphasis on “literacy, numeracy, and writing” in every class. In other words, a human can teach a child to use a computer for information and even to display one’s creativity, but a computer cannot replace the many ways a teacher can support a spirit, inspire creativity, challenge an intellect, or open the possibilities for tomorrow. The human and the technical tool, together, will prepare our children for the 21st century world in which we live.
Rules and policies are only as good as the ability to enforce them. Equitable, clear, consistent are adjectives that must be attached to behavior and discipline policies. Other components of meeting the policies include MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, REFERRALS, STAFF DEVELOPMENT, and PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. These words and services must apply to all stakeholders who are impacted by the policies. Parents must be an active part and force in knowing the policies and recognizing the consequences when the policies are broken. Everyone in the school must be speaking the same language about behavior. I believe in the Faculty Council as a force to make sure that the students get consistent policies and rules in the classrooms. When the rules and policies are violated, action must be immediate, equitable, and in concert with the policies of the school and System. Human relationships often stave off possible problems; school officials and teachers should understand and use this as a means of supporting a nurturing, yet disciplined school culture and environment; staff development must be an integral part of what school personnel have under their belts. Policies, laws, and consequences must also be measured by mental health and protective services rendered to our students; often these health and screening services are unavailable to families, leaving the policies and rules pointless, and creating a cycle of poor behavior. Policies must be levies with means to implement and enforce. Everyone deserves to feel safe in a school…everyday!
Clearly, there needs to be increased and improved protocols for spending in BCPS. The System must ask for bids for jobs. Outsourcing should be given a great deal of thought; if we have staff members who can handle jobs, we should do that before outsourcing. If training of system personnel to do certain jobs is cost effective, that should be done before outsourcing. Before engaging in large contracts, whether for infrastructure or instruction, careful needs assessments should be done and then vendors should be sought on a competitive basis. There must be consistency and oversight for funds allocated to the System. When schools are overcrowded, services cut, and buildings falling apart, the thought that bids are not consistently sought, that contractors and vendors are often over paid, money wasted and not directed to schools and children, then we are not serving our children. Those managing the System must be vigilant about how and what funds are shared, recorded and levied. We have seen the mistakes under the microscope; I believe the changes will now happen.
Schools must be monitored and maintained on a regular basis. No school should ever get to the point of brown water, lavatories that do not work, mold, or existing with serious infrastructure problems. If there is consistent facilities oversight then priority lists and protocols for maintenance and building can be set. School System personnel, local, and state officials should be kept apprised of the state of schools for funding purposes so that problems do not get to the point of costing more and being unsafe.
Overcrowding in many areas has existed for so long, I believe it has become the new norm; it is still counterproductive to a learning environment. I would like to see a more informed staffing process which considers the needs of the school as reflected in its demographics as a real solution to reducing over crowdedness. With this, administrators need training in how to organize a school to more effectively meet state requirements for graduation while offering students opportunities.
More thoughtful and designated funding and the monitoring of the facilities and of class sizes is a must! These require conscious planning and development of protocols to guide school administrators, facilities personnel, Board members, and elected officials with the information to address the needs of the schools, in terms of the structures and the precious human capital in them.
Special education services are mandated by local, state and federal guidelines. How these guidelines are implemented in the schools is often where the services break down or not addressed. I think most schools do a credible job of addressing, on paper, the needs of students who have been identified. The average teacher does not always know how to follow the directions for meeting the IEP and 504 plan, and the student is left in the same position as before a team. The average teacher is not qualified to always recognize and assess the students encountered on a daily basis. Staff development should be offered to teachers and administrators as a means of offering next level of the understanding of the children taught and how to meet their needs throughout the school and in the classroom; this would give more insight than what might be noticed in the midst of teaching the content…AWARENESS! Beyond the school based personnel, there are not enough trained professionals to support the wide range of needs of our children. Children with disabilities also fall into an abyss if they have disciplinary problems. Who provides services if they are not in the home school; what is the level of the services; what happens if parents cannot afford services or if they make a little too much for the services but not enough to pay for them out of their pockets? Funding must be found to offer services to students with special needs and to train those who work with them on a daily basis.
I worked in Baltimore City Schools as an English teacher from 1971-1983. I worked in BCPS from 1988-2012; I have been an English and theater teacher, English chair, Equity Office specialist, assistant principal at both Carver Center and Sudbrook in their first years, and principal at both Old Court Middle School and Randallstown High School (from where I retired in 2012). Every year I was an administrator, I taught English. In teaching, I found my “center”. I have worked on several BCPS committees and initiatives since retirement. I believe in what the Board does and must do to bring equity and parity for all students in this system.
Please contact me through:
P.O. Box 32122, Pikesville, MD 21282