This letter is paid content. I started my campaign with the intent of learning about our districts most prevailing concerns. What I learned is that this community, like most communities; wants the best for their children. They want a quality education k-12. They want their children to be safe in school. They want to have equal treatment for every child. They want the kids to love school. They want each child to be valued, not just for what or who they think they are, but for the potential that lies within each child. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?
The problem I found was that so many parents were frustrated and confounded by the complexity of the issues. Parents, grandparents and teachers/aides were without doubt confused by how this beautiful community could be struggling with the most basic issues in education: low reading and math scores, both, state and nationally; the lack of accountable structured disciplinary plans; decreasing enrollment and low graduation rates.
We all worry about our kids, but right now we need a call to action! I haven’t been waiting around for the election. I started working on three priorities for our school district.
1. Foster the health/welfare of our students, teachers and staff, by ensuring that we have a safe transition to full in-person learning. A progressive transition; with measurable benchmarks – this is so important for the mental/social well-being of our children. Our kids need hope as we move through this pandemic.
Early in October, I spoke with school officials and State officials about a plan to transition to normalcy. What I learned was, MDH has parameters to do just that. Every Thursday the MDH posts 14-day COVID-19 cases rates to help guide school districts. Districts and parents can check it out: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/stats/wschool.pdf
As of the 10/22/20 report, Goodhue County had 16.44 cases over 9/27-10/10; up from 8.87 cases/10,000 at the start of the school year. (State recommends in-person/hybrid learning for rates 10-19 and below 10/10,000 full in-person learning). As we get our rates down, we can expect to see our district opening up.
2. Concerns related to behavioral issues in our schools. I want every child to be held to the highest standards with fair, equal and respectful guidance. The plan: 1.) I have reviewed all district disciplinary policies. 2.) Reinstate/establish a more vibrant Parent’s Advisory Group.
3. Increase State and National test scores, graduation rates and enrollment rates. I am asking for a full consideration for keeping the Jefferson School open. The 2018 referendum was in part, to reduce the teacher/student ratio. It does not appear to have happened. Reducing the teacher/student ratio’s is a determent in a quality education. This initiative for Grades 1-4 through-out the district would provide that assurance. An excellent head-start for our children!
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults” Frederick Douglass
VOTE: CARMEN BERTELSEN: Tuesday, November 3rd or before.