1. If elected, what issues do you feel require the board’s immediate attention?
Debbie Cary, District 7: If elected, I feel the way we deliver education to our students and the way we support the staff and communities are essential to the success of our students and our district. The idea that each person fits inside a cookie cutter needs to be looked at and addressed on an individual basis. Not every student will learn the same and not every teacher will teach the same yet given the tools and resources each can thrive in an ever-changing environment.
We need to look at the budget process and lobby the state to forward fund our schools. We potentially lose some highly qualified individuals because there is always a battle as to whether the district will have the funds to higher the staff needed.
Healthcare cost and the PERS &TRS system are costs which directly affect the classroom yet do not necessarily benefit the education of the students.
2. The methods by which student and district progress are measured continue to evolve. How do you measure the district’s progress?
Cary: The current method by which students and the district are measured on the public level is a just a snap shot in time and not necessarily reflective of the overall outcome of the student and staff.
There are many measures used to quantify the progress and ability of a student already implemented. We tend to focus on the negative reports and forget to celebrate the accomplishments of the individuals. I feel the district is moving in the right direction with personalized learning and their collaboration with Ed Elements. I measure the progress of the district by interacting with students, staff and community, by listening and analyzing information to make positive educational changes. I feel, it is the districts responsibility to Teach, Inspire. Motivate and Empower the students, the teachers, the staff and the communities so we have well rounded individuals ready and able to face the dynamic world around us.
3. Does the school district provide adequate options for school choice? Are there other options to be explored?
Cary: While the district offers many different choices to students and families for school choice it is important to look at how we can best assimilate them in an effective manner. For some students and families, school choice may become a hybrid of what is currently offered.
The district is in the process of integrating the brick and mortar classroom with virtual classrooms. While the district has had distant education for many years the utilization is just beginning to reach all level of learners. The idea of being able to access class assignments from anywhere will help with the unique family dynamics of our vast state.
I personally, feel the school choice options could be taken even further with the opportunity for students to receive credits for out of school activities which meet the qualifications of district standards. There are always ways to improve and look at options from different angles.
4. Have you been in a school recently? Describe your experience.
Cary: I have served on the site-base council for Ninilchik for the past 12 years. I have volunteered in the classroom and on field trips, taught 2nd grade reading for Project Grad for 3 years and I have students, employees or children of friends at the school for the past 27 years. I have always felt valued and respected at Ninilchik. I appreciate the partnership Ninilchik has with Project Grad, Ninilchik Traditional Council and numerous community members who volunteer within the school. The old saying “it takes a village to raise child” surely holds true for Ninilchik. As adults, we are the anchor for not only our own children but for many of the other students around us. It is so important to build those positive relationships and trust within our communities. While most of my interactions have been with Ninilchik School, I look forward to branching out into other communities.