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Meet the School Board Candidates: Laurie McCaulley (District 1)

Meet the School Board Candidates: Laurie McCaulley (District 1)

[themify_box style=”lavender rounded”]EDITOR’S NOTE: With the goal of keeping local parents (and voters) as informed as possible about all things parent-related, the editors of RCM compiled “9 Questions for the Candidates”. We asked all the Huntsville City School Board candidates to answer the same nine questions, and have run their responses each unedited and as they have sent them to us. We encourage all of our readers to exercise their democratic right and vote on Tuesday, August 23.[/themify_box]

9 Questions with Laurie McCaulley

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Q. What made you want to run for re-election of this office?
I am seeking re-election to continue being the advocate for equity in education for our children. As a single parent, my life journey mirrors many of the families currently residing in District 1, not only I have heard their struggles but have experienced many of them. We have shared thoughts of inequitable instruction, paying course fees, and having lunch money for our children weighed heavily on our mind. I listened then responded by championing changes in policies. Policies changes such as HCS has standardized the curriculum, eliminated all core course class fees, and joined the community feeding program which has fed over one million free meals to our children.

You elected me to improve the education in District 1, and my commitment to doing that has been and is unwavering. It is more than just the $120 million in new facilities but the vast array of new opportunities they bring to our community—Project Lead the Way, Cybersecurity, Greenpower USA racing, Advanced Manufacturing, College Academy, Esthetics , Logistics, Biomedical and Law academies. We were promised equity over 50 years ago –we have equity in action–once promised is now being fulfilled.

Q. Are you capable of and willing to do the research necessary to ask questions about the policies, procedures, and recommendations that the superintendent is bringing to the board for approval?

Q. How do you plan to fulfill the board member role of administration and supervision of the public schools as detailed in School Board Policy 2.2?
How do I plan to fulfill the board member role of administration and supervision of the public schools as detailed in School Board Policy 2.2 is to act or model what is within the applicable statutory and parliamentary procedures. The applicable state statute that clearly defines the conduct of a local school board member is the School Board Governance Improvement Act of 2012. This act states “board members should function collectively, not individually, to govern a local school system that promotes student learning and prepares students for college and careers. Board members have the duty to act in the best interests of the local school system as a whole, without self-interest.”

Q. Do your children (or school-age relatives) attend Huntsville City Schools?

Q. What is your vision for the schools in your district?
My vision for District 1 (D1) is it to become academically competitive with the rest of the corridors of this city. Before I was elected, HCS had 12 schools on academic alert –now we have 1. For the first time in over 10 years, all of our primary schools are achieved the academic clear status. Lakewood Elementary was selected as a Mega Conference model transformation school and is in the competition for a Blue Ribbon School. Dawson Elementary is also scheduled to join the competition for the Blue Ribbon School this spring. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary was designated by the state as a CLAS Banner School. The graduation rate in District 1 has grown from its lowest level of 31%-now it is 85%. The scholarship offers have soared from $300,000 to over 4.1 million.

My vision for D1 facilities is to be equitable with the other corridors of our city. This is one of the reasons; I secured approximately $120 million to build Sonnie Hereford Elementary School, Ronald McNair Junior High, and Mae Jemison High School as well as the renovation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary school and Rolling Hills Elementary School. Also, $1 million was secured to replace all of the elementary school’s playgrounds with the state of the art equipment.
My vision is to improve the quality of life for the families who reside in D1, therefore I supported the adoption of the USDA Community Feeding Program (which was established in 1968 timeframe but HSC had not ever applied for it). This program has fed over one million meals and this year we will be feeding all students in HCS free breakfast. Another avenue I assisted the families in which I represent was spearheading the elimination of core class fees for everyone. All of my collaborations have been laser focused on providing equity to all students.

Q. What is your view of high-stakes standardized testing, and the use of those test results for the evaluation of teachers?
I personally know from my own experiences, one test should not define the intellect of a student. However, if we do not have some standardized testing, some of our most vulnerable communities would be left underserved. In Alabama student growth in teacher evaluations is a part of Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA). ESSA has written teacher and leader evaluation and support systems must include student learning and observation.

Q. What is your plan for working with the other school board members, superintendent, staff, teachers, community to implement this vision?
My plan for working with the other school board members, superintendent, staff, teachers, community to implement my vision is to work together to establish a vision for the school system by adopting goals that address student needs, advance student performance, and review data to monitor implementation of policies and programs.

Q. What is your view of how the district’s limited funding should be divided among the needs of the district?
My view is in agreement with the current position of HCS which is to allocate local funds for student support services to areas facing challenges but does not meet the poverty threshold to receive federal assistance. Also, just as important; I support the allocation of funds whether local, state or federal to provide the wrap- around support systems for our most vulnerable children no matter where they reside or matriculate.

Q. What is your view on the superintendent’s plans to close, consolidate, “turn around”, and “restart” many of the schools in our district?
All of the superintendents dating back to the early 1990’s to the present e.g., Dr. Ron Saunders, Dr. Eugene Thompson, Dr. Ann Roy Moore and Dr. Casey Wardynski, presented plans to close, consolidate, “turn around” and “restart” many of the schools in our district. My view is all of the previous plans were extremely more radical than the consolidations currently in existence.

Q. What is your view of the role that parents and the community should play in the governance of our schools?
My view is other than teacher quality and classroom size nothing impacts education greater than parent involvement. Even though, HCS has over 17, 000 families from different socially, economically, religious, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds, I believe, we have the potential to mix all of these life experiences together to adopt public policies to improve the quality of public education for all students.

Where to Find More Info About Laurie McCaulley

Ask Her a Question: Send Email
Campaign Facebook Page

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[themify_box style=”light-blue announcement rounded”]WANT TO MEET THE CANDIDATES IN PERSON? The Huntsville Council of Parent Teacher Associations is hosting a School Board Candidate Forum on Monday, August 15th, 2014. The event will be held at the Academy for Academics and Arts from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. This forum will also be broadcast live on ETV (Channel 17 on Comcast and Channel 3 on Wow!)[/themify_box]


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