My main issues are to decrease class size, discipline holistically, and develop valid county-wide assessments. To see my views on those issues, use the navigation for those pages.
Don’t see an issue here you want discussed? Send us your thoughts through the contact page! As a School Board Member, I want to make your voice heard at School Board meetings. Although I represent District 5, any changes I advocate will be for the better of all of Pasco county schools.
QUALITY OF EDUCATION
While out canvassing, I met a mother who chose to pull her children out of the public education system in Pasco because her daughter, who was doing 2nd grade work in kindergarten, wasn’t receiving the individual attention she needed to truly benefit from her education. Her teacher said that with 20 children that needed to pass their standardized tests, there wasn’t enough time for her to give attention to this child who wasn’t meeting her zone of proximal development, that special window of learning when students are pushed just enough to improve.
How can we fix this? One thing I would love to accomplish is to bring more magnet programs to our county. The county I taught in essentially had a magnet program of some sort at each middle and high school. After a few had success after a decade, there was a countywide push to bring more into the schools. This can be done through motivated teachers and administrators finding grants and programs to build the curriculum at their school. This will help students who have engagement issues by giving them a focal point for all of their classes that they are interested in, can be fun for the teachers teaching it, and can help with some of our school choice issues by having students choose school not by school grade or location but by the program they are interested in. Some magnet programs even give students the opportunity for certifications they can use when applying for jobs. The magnet program I worked at even began offering assistance with getting the first two classes complete before even entering the post-secondary program, giving them a competitive edge in their field.
While I have not researched this issue on my own yet, I was told by a parent that students who go to the school, even if for just a few minutes, are counted as present for the entire day. This creates issues with truancy that aren’t being addressed. In Pinellas County, we had truancy issues as well. Students were counted as present only if they attended school for four out of their seven periods. Students would either leave after getting marked present for fourth period, not be marked as truant, and spend the rest of their day at home. This creates issues for parents with children not being in school, for students not getting the education they deserve, and for teachers attempting to give an equal education to students regardless of how often they show up.
I propose we implement a better truancy and attendance policy, create more community engagement to keep our kids in schools, and work with our schools to allow teachers to make their classes more engaging to students want to be in school.
Poverty is a serious issue in Pasco County. While many of the changes that can be made to assist the impoverished are going to be at more of a state and national level and therefore out of the reach of the School Board, there are still some changes we can make. Many of our schools are Title 1, meaning they have at least 40% of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch. In District 5, every single school is Title 1.
I propose we make better community programs and systems within the school to make sure our students are fed so they can focus on learning and to make sure they have assistance in focusing on their homework and assignments so personal life situations don’t interfere with academic success.
ALLOCATION FOR FUNDS
I am currently researching how much of our funds go to each individual school including charter schools, per student, and per disabled student through IDEA funds. As with many school districts around the county, the more affluent the neighborhood, the better the school.
I propose we make changes to funding so that lower-achieving schools receive more funds to assist their students reach higher levels, maintain some benefits for schools that are high-achieving as a reward for their focus on student achievement, and create a system that has more of a flat-rate per student style that allows every student regardless of their school access to an excellent education.
ADVOCACY FOR STUDENTS
Current, School Board meetings only take place on Tuesdays at 9:30 AM and 6:00PM in Land O’ Lakes. For parents in my district, that’s quite a hike. For parents in my district without transportation, it’s virtually impossible. I plan on making myself available at schools at regular intervals for teacher and student input, at local businesses near those schools after release hours so parents can stop by after picking up their children also at regular intervals, and at local areas throughout the county on weekends and popular county events also at regular intervals. As a School Board Member, I hope to have an open ear for every student, parent, teacher, and community member so the changes I make help the people of the county.
Please share your thoughts about any issues you want addressed. Visit our contact page and send me an email or give me a call!
Paid by Kassie Hutchinson, Nonpartisan, for Pasco County School Board, District 5
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