1. What are your thoughts on reinstating student resource officers in our schools?
As part of the work to prepare the bond request and Student Success Act, we engaged repeatedly with hundreds of parents, community members, staff and students through surveys, forums, work sessions, and planning groups. During this process, the district asked open-ended questions in order to determine where our community thought our district excelling and where we needed to improve. I believe that it provided a roadmap for where our community wanted our schools to be in 5-10 years. As a result of this work, we heard about the desire to reduce class sizes, reduce crowding, increase mental health services, expand career/technical education, increase student achievement and closing the achievement gap. This work guided our investments for the bond and Student Success Act. As part of the bond, we made capital improvements to our buildings to address safety/security but we did not hear about issues that could best be solved by increasing the FTE of the SRO program.
2. Share with us your thoughts on diversity, equity and inclusion in the schools. How are students impacted and what can be done to allow all students to learn and thrive in school?
This is a big topic for a short Q&A format but I will share a few thoughts knowing that it is a much larger discussion that deserves more than ‘sound bite’ answers. In general, I believe considering these attributes when making decisions benefits everyone. After having these discussions, even if there were no adjustments to the initial plan, I think just having the conversation provides more assurance that you are providing the best solution for all kids as you move forward. I would also want all students to be comfortable with their genuine selfs and be accepting of those around them even when they may have differing viewpoints or options. When you have confidence in yourself and compassion/tolerance for those around you, everyone benefits. Lastly, because we are a high achieving district, it can be easy to overlook gaps in achievement when you only look at the aggregate. As a district, we should always consider our Equity Lens when making decisions to ensure that all students thrive.
3. How and to what extent should religious and political expression be allowed in schools?
Sherwood School District is a public K-12 school system and not affiliated with any religious organization or political movement.
4. What changes, if any, would you make to the current curriculum and why?
By law, Oregon school districts have to evaluate updating curriculum on major subjects on a staggered 7 year cycle. During this process, it takes substantial effort to evaluate materials, pilot key sections, align standards, purchase materials, train staff and evaluate the results. As a result, Sherwood has always been very focused and purposeful when considering curriculum updates as evident from our stellar academic outcomes. During this process, we have multiple communications to families about the need for the change, process timelines, forums, feedback, and sharing results. In the last cycle for Reading and Math, we made significant investments in materials/methodologies and saw significant increases in student outcomes across the district.
In general, I believe our curriculum is focusing on critical thinking skills, problem solving, group collaboration and engaging material across all subjects which allows our students to develop the required skillsets of life-long learners.