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What are the opportunities for Dolores Schools?

Seven candidates are running for two open seats on the Dolores School Board. They are Sandra Corbitt, Rebecca Frasier, Lisa Holz, Casey McClellan, Kay Phelps, Eugene Reininger III, and Jerry Whited. Terms are for four years.

The Nov. 7 election will be by mail-in ballot, and the top two vote-getters will earn board seats.

Each Friday, The Journal will publish candidates’ answers to a different question submitted to them.

This week, the question is:

What do you see are the opportunities in the school district?
Jerry Whited

There are several opportunities in the district that will be affecting the new board.

One of the major opportunities is the new medical clinic that will have counselors and other health care professionals to help with the mental and physical health of our students and community.

Also, another opportunity will be to help stop the transferring of students to other schools and bring back a pride that the school once had.

Eugene Reininger III

I believe that the opportunities for the district are all here in our own community.

We have a diverse group of people spanning many ethnicities, socio-economic classes and backgrounds. There are endless opportunities for education to be gained from this diversity, and I think the district would benefit from reaching deeper into those channels.

The more engaged the community is in the local educational institutions, the more relative information and life experience can be passed on. The opportunities lie in the support of the community, and if we can harness that, as much as possible, we’ll be on the right track.

Kay Phelps

Opportunities are abundant:

Connecting students with local, national and global communities through citizen science, problem-based learning, and service learning; nurturing students’ healthy relationships with the natural world in their beautiful Dolores backyard with place-based education; cultivating innovation and authentic learning with expeditionary learning; inspiring entrepreneurship by highlighting local businesses such as Osprey and Alpaca Rafts; utilizing hybrid learning that connects students face-to-face with Dolores teachers and students and digitally with a broader community; and participating in National History Day activities that help students learn from historical contexts.

The replacement of PARC and CMAS tests with a test promising results in 30 days in order that schools can use data to drive instruction instead of stealing from instructional time is an opportunity, as is teacher leadership that empowers, and gives voice to, teachers.

Also important is viewing challenges as opportunities – for example, hate speech and bullying can lead to an examination of school climate and culture, an in-depth study into social media, and/or a historical study that humanizes struggles by putting a face on real people.

Casey McClellan

To make a well-rounded and strong education the No. 1 priority of the school system in order to ensure the kids in the community are well prepared for college, the military, vocational schools or the workforce.

In six short years, the district has gone from a School of Distinction (top 10 percent in the state) to the lower end of the scale. If academics was the highest priority this wouldn’t happen. To get the parents and community more involved in the education process. Currently there is a disconnect between the parents and the school board as the parents feel ignored.

To bring some respect, order and discipline back into the classrooms by providing an environment conducive to learning while allowing teachers to focus on teaching versus classroom distractions.

Ensure a strong anti-bullying program is in place and hold the superintendent accountable for taking any disciplinary action necessary.

To construct a running track, either around the existing football field or in Joe Rowell Park, whichever makes the most financial sense for the district. There are few schools without a track.

Lisa Holz

Because we are currently experiencing lower enrollment due to a number of factors, I would prioritize creating a more holistic culture that draws families back into the Dolores schools.

I am a forward-thinking and open-minded person who would consider bold change in order to achieve this goal.

One specific opportunity I see is to begin an optional bilingual education program in the elementary school. Not only does speaking two languages provide numerous benefits for students, childhood is a potent time for learning language. I believe there are many families in this region who would love to have their children participate in a dual language immersion program – thus, bringing more students (and funding) into the Dolores district.

Rebecca Frasier

The opportunities are our students. They are the future and why we are here.

Sandra Corbitt

The opportunities in the school district varies between school board member, teachers, students and the community.

There are many different opportunities from watching a student learn, to volunteering to help with the many activities that the school has.

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