Madison Metropolitan School Board, Seat 3
Vote for one
Skylar Croy [candidacy withdrawn]
[Skylar Croy withdrew his candidacy on 1/4/2019.]
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I have spent more than a decade attending school board meetings, listening to members of our community and advocating for students, staff and families. I know the issues facing our district. As a founding member of the public education advocacy group School Community Alliance for Public Education (SCAPE), I have invested countless hours organizing for better schools. I have dedicated my life to public service as a Peace Corps volunteer, non-profit director, and currently as an associate director of the UW-Madison sustainable agriculture research center. I am well-prepared to serve our community on the school board.
2. How should the school district address disparities in student achievement? The achievement gap is rooted in racial inequality, and addressing unequal opportunities and outcomes for students of color is of utmost importance. The district also must confront disparities for English language learners, students with disabilities and students living in poverty. We must serve every child, every day, in every local school to address the numerous inequalities our students face. Underrepresented families and communities need a stronger voice in school decisions. Investments should include small class sizes, culturally-relevant teaching, culturally-inclusive music and art, professional reading interventions, racial equity in advanced learning, early childhood education, hiring diverse staff and retaining experienced staff.
3. There has been continued debate over the school district’s Behavioral Education Plan. Should the district modify implementation of the plan, or are there other steps you would recommend? While I support the shift to restorative approaches for managing behavior, disruptions in our classrooms and hallways are pushing some students, families and staff to their limits. That said, we can’t go back to zero tolerance policies that exclude children from learning. Instead, MMSD needs more psychologists, social workers and school nurses to better support students with intensive social and emotional needs. The district should expand Behavioral Health in Schools, where partner agencies provide therapy and other services for students. Staff should have a voice in determining the professional development and support they need to successfully implement the BEP.
4. Are there additional steps the district should take to effectively recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse workforce? While more than half of MMSD students are Black and Brown, teachers of color are only 13 percent of our workforce. Teacher resignations before retirement age have increased nearly five-fold since 2010. MMSD needs more capacity in its teacher preparation programs focused on racial equity. To attract and retain outstanding and diverse staff, the district should give them a strong voice in decisions about teaching, curriculum, school improvement and professional development. Quality public schools that serve all staff and students will make MMSD more welcoming for both teachers and students of color.
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? Kaleem Caire is a native Madisonian and the founder and CEO of One City Schools, which includes two preschools serving ages 1 through kindergarten in Madison. A native of Madison, Kaleem has successfully led three national and regional organizations focused on education reform, and community and workforce development. He’s been recognized locally and nationally for his efforts, including being named a Distinguished Alumnus of UW-Madison in 2008. He has had a hand in many of the successfully education initiatives that were established for children in Madison, and has worked on groundbreaking education initiatives nationally as well.
2. How should the school district address disparities in student achievement? We must reach children in their first five years of life through expanded early childhood education programs and partnerships, and educate parents who are prenatal, about strategies to raise healthy and successful children. We must offer innovative and engaging K-12 school models and programs "within" our public schools that foster high levels of student achievement and attainment, and positive attitudes towards school and life. We must establish stronger partnerships between parents and schools, and promote high expectations for parental engagement. Additionally, we must give students, parents and educators a greater voice in decisions that impact them and our schools.
3. There has been continued debate over the school district’s Behavioral Education Plan. Should the district modify implementation of the plan, or are there other steps you would recommend? Positive behaviors are reinforced when the adults in their schools, homes and community need to have great relationships with them. They need to spend quality time with children, and actively teach and model healthy behaviors and values that emphasize effort/practice, persistence, self-care and being of service to others. Additionally, all children need to feel valued, and be held accountable to high expectations for school achievement, community stewardship and personal/professional (student) conduct. They should have opportunities to participate in the culture of our city, and to celebrate the positive, diverse cultures they bring into our schools and classrooms as well.
4. Are there additional steps the district should take to effectively recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse workforce? MMSD should involve community leaders in its recruitment and retention efforts, including having them attend recruitment events and activities, make recruitment phone calls, and tap into their local and national networks to reach a broad candidate pool of diverse prospects. MMSD should also work in close alignment with local government, area businesses, housing providers and social organizations to make moving to Madison easier, and to implement community-based strategies that foster a climate in Madison where teachers of color will want to teach, raise their families and stay. Expanding the “Grow Your Own” initiative should be a priority as well.