My View / Elynn Simons – Why Im running


I am running for School Board in District B because it is time to refocus the spotlight away from the School Board members and Central Administration of the School System and back on the classroom.  

This election is not about the past and the partisanship that it engendered but rather how we can work with the new superintendent and the educators in the classroom to make our schools even stronger. 

In a time where the economy is taking a toll on all aspects of the city budget, we need to be focused on what our priorities for our schools should be.  I believe that we must look at the following issues: 

1) Take a strong look at the central administration budget and place more of those resources directly into the classroom.  At present only 54 percent of the school budget goes into the classroom. 

2) We need to improve the quality and commitment of the schools to special education.  The system is broken and it is a lawsuit waiting to happen. 

3) We need to focus more on what is happening at the elementary and secondary school levels.  We cannot fix many of the problems that arise in the early years of learning at the high school level. 

4) We need to stop social promotions in the school system and focus on teaching these children, not simply passing them along. 

5) We do not need the International Baccalaureate (IB) program that many are promoting.  It would be a costly experiment when resources are shrinking. Our current Advanced Placement (AP) program is working quite well and can mean college credits for any student willing to put forth the effort. We need to shore up our present teaching system so that many more students are ready to face the rigors of the AP classes and go beyond simply teaching to the SOL level. 

6) Make the entire community part of the school system, equal stakeholders whether you have a child in the system or not. 

7) We need an educator on the School Board who is willing to look at curriculum and is not afraid to advocate changes where necessary.  We need someone who will take into account the needs of all of our students.  

8) Get parents more actively involved in the schools at all levels, get them to fully understand the challenges at each level of the system (elementary, middle school, high school) and what it means for their child and them. 

9) Make the system transparent on all decisions especially how resources are spent. 

10) Be an advocate for the system in the community and promote what is good about our schools and encourage greater support. 

As someone who has spent nearly two decades involved in the schools in Alexandria as an educational consultant, tutor and student advocate, I believe the above are some of the top challenges for the School Board.  I am confident with my extensive knowledge of ALL levels of the school system and an intimate knowledge of what happens in the classroom, I can benefit our community as a School Board member.  I look forward to a vigorous campaign where all we can debate the crucial issues facing our schools.