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 EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES

Goal of Education

The goal of education is to effectively prepare students to become lifelong learners, productive contributors to society, critical thinkers, independent and responsible citizens who respect diverse points of view and understand and promote the foundational principles of freedom and individual responsibility.

Roles and Responsibilities of:

Students

Students are responsible for coming to class ready to learn and taking responsibility for fulfilling the requirements of their coursework. Students should have the freedom to express their point of view and have a mutual respect for points of view that may differ from their own. Engagement in civil discourse and debate are the hallmarks of a vibrant educational community that fosters individual development and personal growth. All students, regardless of socioeconomic background, ethnicity, or special needs have the ability to learn given appropriate instruction and the support of resources needed to fulfill their potential.

Parents

 Parents are the first teachers of their children. As such, they are responsible for preparing their children to be ready to learn and provide them with the necessary foundation and tools to be successful in a learning environment. Parents play an active role in the lives of their children by working with and supporting teachers and administrators in the educational system. Parents should also have the freedom and ability to choose what kind of learning environment would best fit the needs of their child whether it be through home schooling, public/charter schools, or private schools.  At the same time, the school administration should respect parents and engage with them as true co-partners in the education process. This means that parents have the right for a meaningful opportunity to engage the School District in dialogue, and should not have their 1st Amendment Rights violated by School Board members who may want that parent removed from an official public meeting.

Teachers

Next to the parents, teachers play the most important role in the education of students. Teachers should be knowledgeable about the latest research in their field and also cognizant of the mental, social, and emotional needs of students at different stages of their development. Teachers should be recognized and rewarded, through bonuses and pay raises, for increasing their expertise in their discipline and proven effectiveness in the classroom. This can be accomplished through advanced graduate degrees, certificates, participating in quality professional development, and observations and evaluations by their peers and administrators. Teachers should also be aware of different learning styles and recognize the importance of providing different teaching techniques to address the different learning styles of students, with reasonable access to additional professional consultation and service resources. Teachers are able to cultivate a caring and supportive learning environment that fosters critical thinking and an openness and respect for diverse points of view as well as academic and “real world” experiences that effectively prepare students for the 21st century.

Curriculum

Curriculum that is state of the art, unbiased, research based, age appropriate, free of stereotypes and fosters open discussion and debate should be reviewed prior to adoption by a committee consisting of parents, teachers, and administrators. For example, in a social studies or history class, special emphasis should be given to developing an appreciation and respect for the founding principles of our country and how our Constitutional Republic differs from other political and economic systems in the world. Practical connections to current events, field trips, internships, mentoring programs, and experiential learning helps students to recognize that knowledge is not stagnant but is dynamic and on-going and has applications to the real world. As new curriculum programs are adopted, appropriate and high quality professional development should be provided to teachers to effectively integrate curriculum materials into their classroom.       

Administrators

Effective administrators provide a collaborative open partnership among parents, teachers, students, and the community to foster a safe and enriching learning environment for all of its students. Responsive to the needs of the students, teachers, parents, and the community, administrators communicate an “open door” policy where all viewpoints and perspectives are respected and valued. Fiscal responsibility, transparency, effective communication, and developing public/private partnerships with the community ensures that all the key stakeholders are actively involved in the education of our students.

Board of Education

As elected officials, members of the School Board of Education represent the interests, concerns, and needs of all of its constituents. School Board representatives are responsible and accountable to the public for the safety, security, fiscal and academic oversight of the Douglas County School District. Openness to public opinion and civil debate, rather than censorship of ideas, is the hallmark of a free and open society. Modeling that behavior is critical to developing trust between the School Board and the community it serves.

Community

There are a wealth of resources that exist in the community that can be effectively tapped into and utilized. With the rise of teen suicide, drugs, alcohol, and school violence, school-community partnerships can be developed with mental health agencies, police agencies, and other profit and non-profit organizations. For example, community mental health agencies are responsible to provide outreach to the communities they serve. At no additional cost to the school, a partnership can be developed where a psychologist can be assigned to a school to provide information, resources, training, and counseling to students and teachers. Additional partnerships can include internships, mentoring, and experiential learning opportunities with the surrounding businesses, technical trades, and the community. Application to federal, state, and county grants that are compatible with the mission of the Douglas County School District is fiscally responsible and provides additional financial resources without an additional tax burden on its citizens.


Paid for by Kory for School Board, Marge Klein registered agent
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