Why are you running for the Minneapolis Board of Education now?
I am running for School Board to advocate and be a champion for students, parents, staff and the community within Minneapolis! My vision is for our Schools to be fully funded and a safe learning environment that provides the best quality of education for our youth from Pre-K through 12th Grade. All students have a right to a quality education. As a School Board Member I will advocate for schools to have clear pathways for students and families to choose. Making sure we are preparing scholars for life beyond High School.
We must re-imagine ways to connect, educate and achieve excellence within our schools or district. The old way of educating our scholars our black, brown and indigenous scholars has failed us for years. Now is the time not only for change, it time for change to make sure we are no longer left behind. I understand that we all have different needs and I will advocate and be a champion for all of us!!! As a mother of three, I realize the need for more staff within the schools, more educational resources, more parent involvement, and more staff training.
We must re-imagine they way we can improve Minneapolis Public Schools together. I will be that voice for you. I will work diligently to make sure that all needs are heard and considered as we govern and make decision as a board.
I will be the voice that will bring balance and experience from living, working and worshiping within North Minneapolis. This is my life. I am a vested in North Minneapolis and I will work hard for what we need and want for our families.
I am excited to get to work for your family! With your support Together We Win!
If elected to the board, how would you be accessible to your community (e.g., having bimonthly or quarterly meetings with the community, visiting schools, responding to emails within 24 hours, etc.)?
As District 2 Board member I will create everything that I have always wanted and needed as a parent. I will start with visiting the schools under my leadership to introduce myself and connect with the principal and the parent liaison, learn and understand how parents are being included. Once connection is made I will attend a parent meeting to meet, hear from and learn the needs of our parents. I will hold town-hall meetings every 6-8 weeks to allow stakeholder and business owner to join us, learn ways to build partnerships and inform them of success and failure of our District. I will establish office hours during the evening to make myself available to answer and respond to email or meet with individual or organization as requested. My goal is to also start a student lead newsletter for the district. This will recognize and highlight the success, failure, and any upcoming events.
The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting communities of color, and societal injustices are perhaps more visible than ever before. This includes widening educational inequities that range from academic outcomes and engaging in distance learning to responses to discipline and culture. Do you think the district’s current strategic approach adequately addresses the educational inequities—inequities that the pandemic is exacerbating?
I think the district approach is more of a surface cure and does not address the academic disparities that our black, brown and indigenous family face on a daily basis. We need more than just laptops and hot spots. We need training courses available for both our Scholars and Parents? MPS is way behind in academic, resources and engaging with parents. MPS is the worst in the nation in Math and 4 out of 5 of our black and brown children cannot read at grade level. There are staff member that are learning this new normal and how to virtually teach, educate and keep our scholars motivated. There must be extra or additional time given for this training we are all learning as we go together! Covid 19 has pulled the cover off our heads so now the world can see the disparities and the gaps among black and brown families. Parents are finding out that their child/children really does not understand the work and learning that the B or C they received was just based on them showing up everyday and very little comprehension. Teachers are recognizing their strengths and weakness and this is a learning process for us all. We need to build a strategic plan which puts the child who cannot read at grade level as priority. The district must work with the families directly we need to hear from the Superintendent live weekly. Parents need to feel supported, Teacher need to feel supported and we must work together and re-imagine they way we educate our scholars. We cannot continue to push the scholars through the system, allowing t a mere check in on-line to be the matrix for pass or fail. This is layered and MPS must address the bias and the reality of the achievement gap and attack it at it’s core. We need to figure out how to give our ESL, ELL and Special needs Scholars more direct service. NO, the plan does not address the disparities and we must re-imagine the way and work to create a new normal where all children will receive a quality education regardless of there zip code or the color of their skin.
In a recent national survey conducted by Learning Heroes, only 39% of teachers report their students come prepared for grade-level work at the beginning of the year. What’s more, most parents believe their children perform at or above grade-level, because they typically rely on only one measure of achievement—report card grades.
However, many large school districts and U.S. cities are using multi-measure school performance frameworks to define, measure, and manage school quality, communicate information on school quality to families, and guide decision-making. These frameworks provide information on school performance across a variety of academic and non-academic measures to support transparent, equitable decisions, and identification of school improvement strategies.
Do you think Minneapolis should adopt a multi-measure school performance framework that aggregates data into a single rating—including academic proficiency and growth data, but also broader measures of a school’s performance (e.g., student attendance and retention data, social-emotional data, discipline data, and information on teacher and school leader diversity and retention of those educators)? Why or why not?
I do not believe there is one way to measure the success of all schools. There must be a way to measure the success, failure and challenges that impact the outcome. I think whatever measure is used must be custom made, designed to address all the layer that affect the way a child is educated and how the school operates. There should be clear transparency and accountability for all schools both individually and collectively as a District. We must create the narrative for our District and hold everyone accountable on making it a success. When we have a success story to show or tell then other will lead the way for us and champion for success within Minneapolis Public Schools.
In recent years, the Minneapolis district has made new investments to meet students’ social-emotional needs. What goals or measures do you think the board should use to ensure this work is producing positive outcomes for students? How would you hold the district accountable for meeting social-emotional goals?
The board are the eyes and ears to govern and make sure the district implements and carryout what is needed for quality education for all children. The investments that are made should be collective from the beginning. There should be educators, parents, students and staff represented. I would start by identifying what are the plans for success for MPS. I would begin to ask and seek clarity on where we are within the goals of the social-emotional learning for our families. What measure are we using to understand if they are working or not. How are we sharing this information with our families and our communities. Transparency along with accountability improves outcomes for student, family and community.
Following the Minneapolis Board of Education’s approval of the Comprehensive District Design in May 2020, what results do you believe will be important to track to ensure the CDD implementation is grounded in equity?
I am running my campaign on A.C.T.I.O.N(Accountability*Community Engagement* Transparency* Innovation*Opportunity*Next Generation) The CDD was designed to strengthen Academics, Equity and Sustainability within all schools. Having clear, easily accessible transparency on what magnets have been birth out of the CDD and where. How are families benefiting from them? How are students performing academically from beginning, middle to end of the school year. How have we made the schools safe or safer in some cases. Assessing the climate improvement. How is staff, families, and community being included what are we doing differently now that we were not doing before. How are we sharing and telling our story. Staffing, how are staff being placed within the district. The district must communicate on a regular basis with families and communities with results and next steps within the CDD design. The district must work hard to regain the trust of black, brown and indigenous families.
Across our community, many schools of all types (geography, grades, programs, sectors) enroll especially large numbers of students from a low-income background. Across these schools we see dramatically different results (with similar student populations), including, for example, the number of students reading and doing math on grade level and, for high schools, graduation rates and college persistence. In large U.S. cities that are effectively closing opportunity gaps and have great, high-functioning schools, districts use a myriad of tools to address low-performing schools that aren’t working for kids and families.
What do you think are appropriate solutions for addressing chronically low-performing schools? From the solutions below, please identify three you would advocate for and see the Minneapolis Board of Education able to affect:
— Equitable allocation of resources—financial and/or access to highly effective teaching
— Significant school redesign, including new model and new staffing at all levels
— School leadership change
— Additional programming
— Enrollment flexibility for students zoned to that school
— School closure
— Other [insert solutions]:
Please explain your selections. What quantifiable outcomes do you believe the board should use to determine if disparities are shrinking?
Parents must have a choice in where they send their child/children. Our children are our future, we are expecting the school we choose to help educate and prepare our child/children for success. Enrollment flexibility within the community helps to strengthen the community and build relationships with families. Families grow up together, get to know the staff and refer other families and friend to attend the neighborhood school. Having additional programming for families to choose from a variety helps to engage and introduce our scholars to life, success. Access to strong programs should be an optional for all scholars regardless of the color of your skin or your zip code we should all have equal access. Resources are needed for all scholars, we know some area of MPLS need them more then other. Within our educational system there should not be a difference. All students have a right to quality education. All children have a right to highly effective teaching. All children must be held and given the opportunity to achieve excellence. Academics, are our children reading at or above reading level we want to see 4 out of 5 reading at or above their grade level. Math, are we seeing an increase and being removed from being the worst in the nation. What programs have been implemented into the schools and how are families responding to them. Do we see an increase or decrease in enrollment. How is staff placement being determined and implement for the success of the schools. Those are a few ways to access and determine if disparities are shrinking within MPS. Transparency is key!
As the state of Minnesota permits open enrollment and the formation of charter schools—publicly funded schools that are governed by a nonprofit board of directors and a state-approved authorizer, but not by a local school board—large numbers of families of color in Minneapolis have enrolled their children in neighboring district schools and/or public charter schools.
What are your thoughts on the above dynamic? How do you think about the role that charter schools play in the K-12 ecosystem?
Parents should have a choice on where to send their child. All families have different needs. Our educational experience are different so no one way or model will fit for all. Working together to ensure all children have a quality education must remain the focus. North MPLS has a very large and diverse population. Families come from many different background and experiences. I can remember when my daughter started High School she did not want to be around alot of people so we had to find a smaller school that was a little more personal and felt like home to her. Parents are the first teacher to their children, we know what’s best for our children. We should have the choice to decide where they attend school. As a parent my #1 priority was a quality education. Would my children be challenge and able to succeed. What opportunities where available. What was the school model on excellence. Did i feel like my child was safe, was there room for me to be involved and was the school clean. Was there staff that look like me and what was other families saying about the school of my choice. Our education system should be as diverse as our community and the families we serve.
One of the four critical responsibilities of a school board is to hire and evaluate the superintendent. What 3-5 quantifiable outcomes do you think are the most important to include as part of the board’s evaluation of the superintendent’s performance?
I believe three quantifiable outcomes are student achievement and growth, well trained faculty and staff, and climate improvements within all MPS. As a board member it is our responsibility to ensure all children have a quality education. Insisting and working with the Superintendent to make sure staff is culturally trained and responsive toward the community we serve. That we work diligently to hire and retain teacher of color. That we question the placement of staff and leadership. Academics across the board, seeing the results how are children excelling in academics, if not why and what are we doing achieve better results How does the Superintendent show up, not only in good time we need leadership present at all times. If we focus on student achievement and growth, ensure staff is culturally trained and responsive and the climate for all schools is built on excellence, then we are giving all students a right to quality education.
What public or private organizations have endorsed you and/or contributed to your campaign?
My endorsements have come from community members, leaders, parents, current and former students of MPS. My average contribution is $25-$50 from many who never have given to a political campaign before. We are running a grassroots campaign and building a movement.
I go out in my community and talk to the families about the state of education in north Minneapolis. I hear the frustration and pessimism of parents and students who just want access to a good life and future. Many parents don’t understand how the school district works or the POWERFUL voice that have in shaping what education looks like in our community. I share my vision of Accountability, Community, Transparency, Innovation, Opportunity and Next Generation (A.C.T.I.O.N.) to earn their support.
We invite you to expand on answers to any of the questions in the survey:
I am running for District2 Minneapolis School Board. I am focused on ACTION: Accountability, Community Engagement, Transparency, Innovation, Opportunity , Next generation. As a parent and grandparent of MPS graduates, I have experienced the best and the worst that MPS has to offer. I know we can do better and under my leadership we will do better.