This platform reflects the needs I have seen during my time in the classroom and through my conversations with parents, teachers, students, and community members. But I want to hear more.
Tell me your story.
Tell me what you think we need to do to get better.
Tell me what you agree and disagree with.
Help me to be a voice for the community.
Fiscal Responsibility/Transparency:Public dollars that are intended for education belong where education actually happens: inside the classroom. As a teacher in a public school, I should not have to worry about where my next ream of paper or pack of pencils is coming from, because these are the tools that help my students learn. The Indianapolis Public Schools’ budget is unclear and clouded from public view–so much so that it’s difficult for board members to truly understand what they are voting on. If a majority of the school board demands fiscal transparency, members will be better equipped to make tough decisions about where our dollars go. Then we, as a board, would be able to direct dollars to where they belong: as close to the students as possible.
My Actions: I will demand, with my fellow board members, a transparent budget before I will approve it. I will question fiscal recommendations that move funds away from students and classrooms without sufficient explanation.
School Autonomy/School Accountability:With fiscal transparency and more dollars in the classroom, there is an opportunity to innovate at the school level. In my experience in the classroom, one fact has become increasingly evident to me: the strategies that work at one school will not necessarily work at another school. The curriculum used at Emma Donnan might not serve the students at George Washington. The students at Broad Ripple might benefit from a different after-school program than those at Manual. School leaders need the ability to innovate with their staffs and create a student-centered plan for increasing achievement. These leaders need to be able to take advantage of community resources and organizations that have a vested interest in helping their students. Assuming that a mandate from our central office will adequately serve more than 30,000 children in Indianapolis is not acceptable. Our schools must operate differently from the factory model in which they did decades ago. Schools need autonomy from central office mandates, and teachers need to be trusted to know the needs of their students better than anyone else. When schools are given this level of autonomy, they can realize their potential. As the governing body of this district, it is the board’s responsibility to be sure we are the driving force behind district-wide collaboration and cohesiveness.
My Actions: I will support and advocate for a review of the efficiency of our current central office, with the goal of creating a structure that allows leaders the freedom to do their job to the best of their ability. I will communicate with school leaders about how they feel they can be more effective, and I will vocally support measures that allow school leaders to be autonomous from district-mandated instructional and operational strategies, if they feel those strategies do not serve the students in their building. I will advocate for holding schools accountable for accomplishing their goals and achieving academic results as a part of this autonomy.
Teacher Voice and Leadership: As a teacher, I am blown away by the resilience and passion many of our teachers have for their jobs. I also witness their frustrations with a system that feels impassable at times. Individuals who choose to dedicate their lives to working in our classrooms deserve to know that there are existing opportunities for growth and advancement. Teachers are our most valuable assets, and to remove their voices is to virtually remove the voices of the students that we serve. I would advocate for the creation of School Leadership Committees (SLCs) that give teachers the opportunity to meet on a regular basis to craft ideas about making their schools better. I would meet with these committees at the schools within District One, in order to learn about what we, as a board, can do to make our schools better. Teachers deserve a voice in the collaborative process of educational transformation.
My Actions: I support the creation of SLCs in order to give teachers a voice in transformative policy changes. I will advocate for policies that recognize truly excellent teachers, either financially or through other incentives. I will support teacher-led reforms, if they are in line with the best interests of the children being served.
Innovative Human Capital Management: Under the current budgetary constraints of the district and under legislation passed in 2011, we have the opportunity to be innovative in the way we hire and recruit excellent leaders to our district, schools, and classrooms. The “lemon dance” or shuffle of ineffective practitioners at any level is not acceptable. I would advocate for greater board participation in the hiring and recruitment practices of IPS, and I would encourage fellow board members to join me in an evaluation of our efficiency as a district. There is no doubt in my mind that the district employs some incredibly effective leaders, but treating all employees as cogs in a wheel is no longer an effective strategy. The district I envision is one in which leaders are encouraged to be creative, efficient, effective and innovative in their roles. Excellent leaders will identify themselves when they have the ability to do so.
My Actions: I will support recruitment and hiring efforts that set high standards for incoming employees. I will support efforts to increase diversity among the employees of IPS. I will support initiatives that reward and recognize innovation. I will vocally oppose any human capital decisions that appear to simply shift ineffective leaders from school building to building.