Bring a needed perspective to the Board of Education as a person who has children who currently attend our schools and as a mental health professional with a long-standing knowledge and understanding of our community.
The biggest challenge for our schools is meeting the needs met by schools in the context of these times. As a mental health professional and involved parent, I understand the challenges meeting the physical, academic, and social/emotional needs of all children and families.
I would like to see choice in how students and teachers safely go to school. However, social distancing and other State health mandates do not come with adequate funding by the State or Federal Government to hire the additional teachers and staff needed for the choice between full in person instruction and remote or virtual learning. I will advocate for adequate funding.
Not everyone feels safe returning yet. Not every child does well with remote learning, or with isolation, or is safer at home, or has caregivers who can work from home, afford to not work, or who are education professionals. Families, teachers and administrators alike feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I support and have volunteered with community organizations like those who have stepped up to help meet some needs like supervision for young children and tutoring. I have devoted my career to the social/emotional needs of children and families, and am concerned about the impact of all of this.
It is also important, however, to recognize that the current State health mandates preclude many aspects of the usual social and academic experiences we are used to in school. Things are different right now. I will continue to seek solutions that can help.
Other school safety and mental health considerations:
I’ve discussed school safety at length with our Sheriff and am grateful for the collaborative relationship between local law enforcement and our schools. Dare County is extremely fortunate to be able to provide a School Resource Officer in each of our schools and to provide two district-wide School Social Workers.
We have expanded programs and policies directed at school safety and mental health, nevertheless, we can and must do more and capitalize on the momentum.
Mental health is an important yet often overlooked aspect of school safety. My professional experience as a mental health professional in our community gives me valuable understanding and expertise to help guide school safety policy. I believe we should work towards being on par with the recommendations of the relevant professional organizations regarding ratios of mental health professionals to students.
Advocate to increase the transparency of the Board of Education
Did you know that until the spring of 2020 our Board of Education didn’t stream or publish recordings of meetings?
And even then, it has only been audio! During the meeting about reopening schools this fall it was never more clear why we need both audio AND visual for meetings.
We need meetings to be available live with both audio and visual on digital cable, streaming on devices and to be able to watch meetings online like our county and municipal governments offer. This would be a simple way to increase transparency and community involvement for our fellow citizens who may be working and can’t make the 5 p.m. meetings. I advocated for this last campaign and will continue to do so on the Board when you elect me. I will listen and represent your interests. You can count on me to bring ideas and to advocate for more transparency and access on the Board of Education.