Leatherneck Blogger

Issues Facing Jackson R II School District

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Brad Noel                                                                                                                       Candidate for Jackson School Board

With the April 2nd school board elections right around the corner I wanted to take the time to talk about some issues currently in the forefront of discussions right now. While I have previously written about some of them I hope this serves as a refresher of sorts for those who have been keeping up and helpful for those now trying to become informed on the candidates. We are at a time now that some new leadership is needed in Jackson R-2 and I am ready, willing, and able to do just that.

*Spelling- We must bring spelling back. The current method or theory used in Jackson is failing our children. Since 2009 Jackson has used the premise that good readers make good spellers, they say that they do not want children to memorize a list of words rather learn how to spell using the “rules” or invented methods. I know in my house I have two children who are very good readers, above grade level actually, who misspell words that they read every day; I’m sure I’m not alone. The foundation of reading is spelling not the other way around. Bringing back the weekly spelling lists and tests is a priority I intend to tackle if elected to serve you.

*Security- Jackson has taken steps in the right direction to ensure the safety of the children and staff during their time at school. I feel there are many more things that be done to further maintain the security needed for a safe learning environment. I do not however believe that the answer is to arm our teachers, they already have enough on their plate and security guard duties should be left up to those that have made that their profession. Now, Jackson has not indicated that they are looking in that direction but should that option be presented I will not support it, there are other viable options.

*Technology- This is an ever changing field, as we all know something bought today is outdated by tomorrow. Jackson has done the best job possible working within the confines of a budget to keep pace. There are massive technology issues coming up very soon and I feel that I have the ability to continue to make the decisions needed to keep Jackson headed in the right direction. I understand that the time of textbooks that we all grew up with is slowly riding off into the sunset; however I do not feel that we can completely abandon that method of instruction.

*Standards Based Grading- I think everyone knows where I stand on this issue. It has its good points and its bad points. I do not feel that the manner in which it is being used in Jackson is benefitting the students or parents. Should this system remain in place I believe it is need of major tweaking in order to properly demonstrate how our children are performing. I feel that a hybrid system in which you have an overall letter grade for the subject qualified by the performance of the standards is a much better use of the system, a method suggested by the author of the book that Jackson has used as reference in implementing this grading system. The current use is making our children lackadaisical in their study habits and does not serve them well for the future. The parents do not like this style of grading and if you have ever been to middle school orientation you know how loud the cheers are when they are told of the return to the grading system we all grew up with.

*Morale and Support- This may be at an all time low here in Jackson right now. All across the district we are losing experienced well qualified teachers to surrounding districts at an alarming rate. The current board will tell you that when they ask the frontline staff how things are going the reply is favorable, of course they would reply in that manner because they have not been shown a willingness by the board to support them, when a teacher does give an opinion that is contrary to administration they are told that they are not being a team player. Our teachers are, as they have been referred to, professionals and should be treated as such with valued opinions and respect. They are the ones who have devoted their lives to the education of our children. They are the ones who see firsthand how programs, policies, and methods are working and their feedback should be held in the highest regards if Jackson is to continue to educate our children to a high level. They should not be confined in their teaching styles and are the heart and soul of our fine district. My door will always be open for our staff to come to me in confidence with any and all concerns so that we can make the best decisions possible for our children.

I understand and am fully aware that these are not the only issues that must be dealt with as a board member. We have a middle school that is jeopardy of being outgrown as our elementary school population increases which will require attention in the near future. How will the district fund such a project? I do not have that answer but if elected I look forward to the opportunity to work together with fellow board members along with the public to achieve the best outcome possible for our children. We will have a brand new elementary building that will need to be filled with students and staff eager to teach and learn. This will require careful redrawing of district boundaries in order to distribute the students properly. Along with this is the fact that we currently have outlying school buildings that are going to be in need of repair and upgrades to continue to use, an issue that I would very much welcome the opportunity to work on for the betterment of our district. I know that the time and energy required to oversee the issues we face within the district are and will be tremendous and I feel I am more than capable of doing the job that must be done. Being a board member is not a status symbol, it is at times a thankless job, and does not come with a paycheck. The payment for this job is the gratification a person receives from seeing the district grow and flourish from the decisions made and the success of our children after having have completed their educational life here at Jackson R-2. On April 2nd please get out there and vote and elect me Brad Noel to represent and serve you the public and our children on the Jackson R-2 School Board.

 

 

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

March 27, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

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