Young children look at the world in awe of its wonder, continually asking questions like, “Where do rainbows come from?” or “How do fish breathe underwater?” These inherent curiosities reveal the inner scientist in all of us, seeking answers to big and small questions. As we’ve grown, our difficulties have matured as well, but the desire for understanding persists. Our science curriculum has been a strength for many years, helping to educate future scientists and healthcare professionals. But the rate of new scientific developments and techniques far outpaces what a typical school district can keep pace with. Let’s move Charter Oak beyond the ordinary through the upgrade of science equipment and laboratory experiments. We can partner with local universities and grant providing institutions to develop a rigorous curriculum prepared to match stride with the speed of innovation.
Studies on learning and academic achievement provide evidence of the positive influence the arts can have on a rigorous academic curriculum. Students who study music show increased proficiency in math while elevating their cognitive development and reading aptitude. The visual arts help improve writing skills and the ability to interpret complicated texts. Drama programs enhance understanding of social relationships and complex emotional issues. Beyond academics, the arts improve student behavior, attendance, and overall school climate. Unfortunately, these benefits are often lost as districts fail to recognize their true value. Following the data, I will push to reinstitute music into the elementary curriculum and return dedicated arts faculty positions for Royal Oak. By expanding and supporting our award-winning arts programs, we will have provided our students with more tools for immediate and life-long success.
Though historically not emphasized within an academic curriculum, the advent of the internet and the emergence of social media have changed the common avenues through which we receive information. With information provided from multiple sources, expert, and lay alike, it is necessary for education to provide students with the tools to distinguish factual reports from opinions or misinformation. Information literacy is a skill that can be taught and developed, much like literacy in any field. We must integrate this skill at all levels of education to best prepare our students as active learners, critical thinkers, and contributing members of society.
Exceptional schools must also be safe environments for our students to learn and practice their developing life skills. Students perform and learn best when free from fear induced by perceived threats. We can protect our schools through enhanced security measures and screening of all campus visitors. As we begin this fall with remote learning, our goal must be to determine the safest course of action to return to in-person instruction where our faculty genuinely shine, and students thrive. With expertise in infectious diseases and transmission, I look forward to enacting best practices in addition to state guidelines, with a high degree of vigilance to establish the Charter Oak community as a leader in health and safety to overcome the current pandemic.
As public servants, it is paramount that our school district adheres to the highest degree of integrity and transparency. I believe that policies must always be formed from a place of understanding and support of the community. In times of budget shortfalls and underfunding, fiscal transparency ensures the Board’s priorities reflect the community’s priorities at large.
Extraordinary school districts draw support from the community they serve and provide resources for our society at large. I will promote community engagement in our schools with every opportunity available to foster deep connections with our faculty, staff, and students. I look forward to hearing the concerns and suggestions from all constituents to inform new and changing policies best. By coming together, we can foster our youth’s development and instill Charter Oak pride in all residents across the community.
Our current implementation of distance learning as the core for instruction has highlighted the need to acquire additional technological resources designed to best facilitate the learning process, on the student’s side and for the teacher. Students from every background should have reliable access to technology so that their learning is effective and uninterrupted. Our teachers strive to be experts in delivering education. We can provide them with the necessary online resources and training to serve the best of their ability. Undoubtedly, the current pandemic poses challenges to us all, but we choose to face our challenges whole-heartedly to emerge better prepared moving forward. These improvements to our technological resources will add to our repertoire of instruction while positioning us favorably for the challenges ahead.
Our students have the best opportunity for success in life when they have the chance of success on the field. Healthy competition teaches invaluable lessons and equips students to tackle adversity. The Charter Oak community has a proud history of champions, both on and off the field, thanks to skills developed such as teamwork, cooperation, time management, accountability, and responsibility. By providing the tools and resources for our winning athletics program, we will ensure our students have every opportunity to win at life.