My Views and Ideas

Teachers Deserve RESPECT!

When the administration shows our teachers great respect and holds them in high regard, that sends a message to students, parents and the community. This isn’t happening. As a result, we have parents who feel it is alright to disrespect teachers and students who learn from the adults that it is acceptable behavior. Our schools are then faced with discipline issues, dejected teachers and frustrated principals.  We are failing our teachers when we don’t step up and send a clear message that we respect and support them.  


A Seat at the Table

Why do our teachers no longer have a seat at our school board meetings? Our schools can’t run without our teachers. They are on the front lines if you will. They know more about what is happening in our schools than the administrative staff. It’s time to put their seat back. Their voices, ideas and concerns need to be heard so we can better serve our students.

Professional Development

As a teacher, one of my passions is learning. I’ve heard from our teachers in Indian River County School District that they have the same passion. The professional development in our school district isn’t any where near sufficient. We need trainers who will educate and motivate, speakers who will entice new passions in learning, listening tours where teachers can share ideas and information they have learned, and conferences – our teachers need to go to conferences! We send one teacher to a conference, who can then come back and teach other teachers what they learned.  Will it cost the district money? Yes. But it is an investment not only in our teachers, but our students.  There is a wealth of educational resources out there that we need to tap into and bring to IRCSD. We need to listen to our teachers when they tell us what professional development they want. Then we make sure they get it. This creates teachers who are excited to teach, students who feed off that passion to learn and schools that are flourishing. 


Teachers, instructional assistants – email me what professional development you would like to have. Let’s see what we can do to make it happen!

Community Benefits

We live in a tight community with lots of resources that can be utilized. In meeting with local organizations I have been exploring the idea of community benefits for teachers. Through the current health insurance plan teachers can get a discounted gym membership. But what about a discounted or free membership to museums, McKee Botanical Garden, Environmental Learning Center, bookstores or restaurants. Can it be done? We don’t know if we don’t try, and I am going to try. Building relationships with community organizations has many benefits and this is just one of them. 


Teachers or community partners – have an idea about this? Email me!  

Legislative Advocacy

I spent many years advocating at the state legislature and was awarded a public policy fellowship as a result of that advocacy. I know from experience that the state legislature is the place where we can have the most influence when it comes to how our schools run. Funding, testing, oversight, guidelines– all the things that enhance or impede our schools, teachers and students are a result of legislation. So that is where we must go and begin advocating. Legislators need to hear not just the good, but the bad and the ugly of our schools. They must know what it is really like to be a teacher, principal and support staff so they can make informed decisions that will have positive lasting effects. 


Teachers, support staff and principals – interested in advocating legislatively? Email me and let’s build an advocacy team! 


School Visits

I think one of the biggest disconnects in our district is between the administration and teachers. I honestly don’t think administration and school board members understand what is happening in the schools. If they did, I know they would have a great deal more respect for our teachers. 


When I’m elected I will be visiting classrooms every week.  No matter what my schedule is, my priority will be to set aside one day a week to be in our schools. Since I will be a full-time school board member I will have the time to do that. I’ve done the math – in 4 years I will be able to visit all the classrooms.  As a former teacher, I love being in our schools. I feel comfortable and happy there. I won’t be coming in my school board clothes though. I’ll be dressed down and ready to work. Decorating bulletin boards, grading papers, helping with a lesson, reading with students – you tell me what you need help with! I will be asking each teacher to be prepared for my visit by writing down their ideas and suggestions that they feel will help them in their jobs as educators. I am going to need to know what is going well and what isn’t, otherwise, improvements can’t be made. I think we all know that changes need to be made in some of our schools. 


Teachers – do you think visits to your classroom would be beneficial? Would you be open to me visiting? Email me your thoughts!

Teacher Bank

Teachers spend an inordinate amount of their own money every year on supplies. Families help where they can but it is often not enough. When we live in such a generous community, it makes sense to utilize those resources. By going out into the community and asking businesses and organizations to donate supplies we could start a “Teacher Bank”. Teachers submit a “wish list” and then local businesses are asked if they can help. It’s another way of bringing community into our schools. 


Teachers – know of any businesses that would contribute? Let me know!

Teacher Housing

Teacher housing is happening all over the country. Many states are now recognizing that due to low salaries, teachers have trouble finding affordable housing. From tiny houses in Colorado to high rise living in New Jersey, states are getting creative in ways to ensure teachers have housing that is within their salary means.

 

Home and rental prices have steadily increased in Indian River County the last 3 years. High housing costs are increasingly pricing teachers out of the market. If we want to retain and recruit teachers, we need to start thinking out of the box. I’ve been meeting with and discussing this issue with realtors, developers and financial lenders. I believe we can do this in Indian River. This is something I feel passionate about because I believe we need to support our teachers not just in the classroom, but also outside the classroom.    


Here are a few articles regarding teacher housing. 


https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/01/24/from-teacher-villages-to-tiny-homes-housing.html


https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/12/08/457994876/if-you-build-affordable-housing-for-teachers-will-they-come


https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/01/24/does-it-make-sense-to-offer-housing.html


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/03/28/teachers-living-at-school-miami-pushing-plan-for-educators-who-cant-afford-citys-high-rent/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.41a75bb66799


https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/02/where-school-employees-cant-afford-housing-some.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news1&M=58470105&U=601027


Teachers, support staff – would teacher housing be something you would be interested in? Apartments, condominiums, houses, which would you prefer?