I am fiercely passionate about the critical importance of public education to our community’s future. I am running to present a bold vision of Rochester’s future as a center of excellence in public education. While Rochester is in the midst of an exciting growth phase, the next several years present huge opportunities to lay the foundation for an even more vibrant, robust economy to come. Rochester already has much to be proud of. Rochester is regularly ranked among the best cities to live, and home to the finest center of healing in the world. Let’s add Rochester Public Schools to the list of things Rochester is best at.
I became a candidate for school board to invite this community to share my vision of Rochester as a center of excellence in public education. Public education is the single most durable, most effective, and most broadly-based form of economic development. Because I am long on Rochester's future, I want to unlock the best possible version of our future community by raising the bar for our public school system. You'll find more on the issues, upcoming events, and my priorities on this site, and please get in touch -- I can't wait to hear from you.
I want to push the boundaries on curriculum programming, grading practices, infrastructure resources, community partnerships, and ultimately on educational outcomes. Let’s feel an overwhelming sense of urgency about making sure each and every student is equipped with the opportunities to develop into the best version of themselves. We may remain Minnesota-humble about it, but the results will speak for themselves.
That is my vision. If you can glimpse it too, then I sincerely ask for your vote in November.
Our greatest opportunity, our greatest potential lies in meaningfully addressing systemic educational inequity. Achieving the cultural shifts necessary to unleash the full potential of each and every student offers the highest value proposition of any one area for improvement at RPS. From the Office of Civil Rights investigation and subsequent agreement with the district regarding discipline disparities, to graduation rates, to test scores, to attracting and retaining a diverse group of teachers, to curriculum upgrades that will better foster critical thinking skills, to students that simply feel disengaged: the time for platitudes is over, it is past time for specific, measurable actions.
Let's create smaller schools, particularly at the elementary level. Schools with 100+ students in each grade is not conducive to a strong inclusive community, where students and their families are engaged with one another and with their school.
Let's increase our capacity for K-8 education. Lincoln K-8 is phenomenal, and every single student, teacher, and family I've met with loves it. It should be little wonder with 50-60 students per grade together for 9 years that these students form a strong connection, and facilitates greater empathy, teamwork, and inclusivity. The only problem is that Lincoln K-8 is dramatically over-subscribed; there is far more demand for this type of learning experience than we can supply. Instead of proposals to get rid of Lincoln K-8, let's make it the model!
Upon completion of the new elementary schools and the new middle school, the next board will need to adjust school boundaries. I will expect boundaries that at stable and predictable while accounting for a 10 year outlook, informed by realistic enrollment growth forecasts and that recognize the varying patterns of enrollment from neighborhoods of different ages. The constant threat of an upcoming boundary adjustment destabilizes our neighborhoods, and I will push to make that looming specter a thing of the past.
Mentoring, internships, and experential learning are all incredibly important to getting the best from our students by helping students find role models, by helping them find and engage with topics they have a passion for, and by helping them connect their learning to real-world pursuits. But they're also valuable for our community to have a stronger connection with our students and our schools and to connect the dots more clearly between the value of an excellent public school system to our future community's future.
And let's also move the high school start times back. Starting high school after 8:30 has been recommended by sleep experts and parents. We can make this change with a minimal impact on cost by moving elementary start times up to 8:00 or 8:15, and moving high school back and middle school to 9:15 or 9:30. Community survey data has shown a preference for this arrangement.
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