I am running for my 4th and final term on the La Crosse School Board because I believe in involved citizenship. Citizenship in a community is more than being obligated to pay taxes. It also gives me and all of us rights, privileges, and duties.
I was educated in the La Crosse public schools, UW-L and Viterbo, and earned my livelihood by teaching children music in La Crosse public elementary schools. In gratitude I chose to run for school board in 2004 and have proudly served in that capacity since my teaching retirement.
As a La Crosse School Board member I have served on the Executive, Governance, and Communications Committees., and have recently been chosen by the full board to serve on the design team for the new Northside Elementary School.
Our board governs by policy. We are in contact with students, parents, teachers, community groups, businesses, and legislators through meetings called Linkages. Our policies are derived from and inspired by these Linkages. We also attend state and national school board conventions and regional meetings to educate ourselves on current educational initiatives. In addition to two regularly scheduled monthly meetings, linkages, committee meetings, occasional conferences, the board holds workshops at which we discuss governance, strategic plans, and boardsmanship. This position of school board member carries a huge time commitment – one that I am very willing to shoulder.
Three issues that the school district is facing:
1) The Budget - Doing more with less. As of this writing we do not know if we will receive additional per student funding for 2013-2014. Do we need to lay off staff? Cut programs? The administration is preparing for all scenarios. The Board will act only after hearing ALL options.
2) Technology - The necessity of having one device per student for testing as well as day to day work and collaborative projects. Will we be able to provide what is needed? And, will we be able to afford the cost of additional band width needed to support additional technology? We will need to be creative in our thinking and discussions.
3) Individualized Learning Plans – One size does not fit all. New initiatives, Core Standards implementation, and new report cards, all support a growth model. Is the student making adequate yearly progress? Our governance policy approach will guide us in our discussions and decisions.
We, members of the Board are not working alone. This community has voted to give us referendum dollars to increase technology efforts, step up security, provide upgraded HVAC systems, and build a new Northside Elementary School. Businesses and Universities are partnering with us to get us out of the One Size Fits All outdated educational mode. Our Medical Partnership, Design Institute, Environmental School, International School, year around program at Hamilton Elementary School all speak volumes to the dedication of the Board, Administration, AND the community's engagement in their citizenship.
Together we make it happen so that we can prepare students for jobs that they most likely will create and that we can only dream about. I humbly serve so that this can happen.
In her retirement and in addition to serving on the La Crosse School Board, Mary is currently organist/choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church. She was an organist at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church from grade 5 through college, and organist and choir director at St. Paul's Lutheran for many years. She also enjoyed many years serving as accompanist for the La Crosse Choral Union.