9 Questions with Carlos Mathews[themify_hr color=”orange” width=”75%” border_width=”1px” ]
Q. What made you want to run for this office?
I am motivated to run for the District Five Board of Education seat because I believe all students deserve the best education possible. Every student should have a solid foundation to prepare them for life after graduation. With family attending various schools in the district I have a vested interest in making sure we keep our school system financially sound while continuing to raise the bar for academics in Huntsville City Schools.
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?
I have served for the last three years as a member of the Huntsville City Schools Policy Committee. The Policy Committee is responsible for researching, reviewing and suggesting changes to policies before they are presented to the Board of Education. Over the last three years I have demonstrated that I am capable of doing the research necessary to ask questions and suggest changes to policies.
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?
As a board member I will have high academic expectation for our school system. I will set realistic goals for the superintendent to meet those expectations. As an administrators of the school system it is important that Huntsville City Schools financial position remain stable. As a Board of Education we must continually review the budget to make sure we have the resources needed to fund our current programs. It is also important to plan ahead and develop ways of withstanding financial changes as the State of Alabama continues to reduce funding for education. Huntsville City Schools has currently found alternative ways of funding programs for example e-Rate, Child Nutrition Program and corporate partnerships.
Q. Do your children (or school age relatives) attend Huntsville City Schools?
Yes I have a son at AAA, relatives at Providence, McNair, Chapman, Lee High School and Columbia High School
Q. What is your vision for the schools in your district?
My vision is to increase the number of students that are prepared for the academic standards and expectations of the IB Program. To accomplish that we must first improve the academics at the schools that feed Columbia High School. The ACT Aspire results show that we have students that are not reading on grade level. When students are in Kindergarten to third grade they are learning how to read. As those students transition to the fourth grade they go from learning how to read to reading to learn. If a student is not on or above grade level that student will fall behind in other subjects such as math and science. We must build a solid educational foundation to ensure our students have the tools needed to succeed as they move through the education process. The same academic improvements are expected for students that are not part of the IB program as well.
Q. What is your view of high-stakes standardized testing, and the use of those test results for the evaluation of teachers?
For years we evaluated students and receive the result of those test after the student have moved on to the next grade level. This does not allow the school system time to improve the deficient areas a student has before moving on to the next grade. The current testing model does allow teachers and parents to have information about their student while time is still available to correct any issues found.
Each year the school system should review the testing process for opportunities to reduce the number of test taken by students. An example of this type of review was used at the end of the 2016 school year. In school year 2016-2017 the STAR test for high school students will be retired reducing the number of tests taken by high school students by one.
Test results alone cannot be used to evaluate teachers. Test scores can be part of the evaluation criteria but test scores alone do not give the entire picture of a teacher’s ability to educate a student.
Q. What is your plan for working with the other school board members, superintendent, staff, teachers, community to implement this vision?
As a member of the Huntsville Council of PTA’s I have experience working with community and Huntsville City Schools. My vision is not only for District five but the entire school district. I plan to present my ideas to the other board members as a district wide plan. The vision is as follows:
- Improve student guidance by adding additional guidance counselors to our high schools.
- Increase professional development opportunities for educators.
- Improve accountability from the boardroom to the classroom to resolve issues that impact our students.
- Improve student reading skills district wide.
- Improve discipline and respect in our schools.
I believe my vision is something that the current members of the board would be willing to discuss. To improve the vision I would ask for input from our professionals in the classroom to get a different perspective on what will and will not work in the classroom. As a board member I plan to host town hall meetings to provide information to the community and visit district PTA meetings to hear the concerns of parents. Communication and cooperation from all stakeholders will be the key to success.
Q. What is your view of how the district’s limited funding should be divided among the needs of the district?
The resource of the school system should be placed where we have the most academic need while providing the required services to all schools in the district. The resources that come from our local tax dollars can be used to help reduce classroom sizes and provide extra resources where needed. Huntsville City School currently employs two hundred educators that are funded from local tax dollars.
Q. What is your view on the superintendent’s plans to close, consolidate, “turn around”, and “restart” many of the schools in our district?
The consolidation of schools helped put the system in a better financial position and allowed for educational resources to be combined. That consolidation paved the way for $200 Million dollars of construction in new schools in the North Huntsville alone. The students that now attend those schools have new facilities and new opportunities for educational excellence. The business community and local universities are now investing in our students. Community confidence in the direction of our school system has increased and now it’s time to execute in the classroom.
Q. What is your view of the role that parents and the community should play in the governance of our schools?
The community should have a voice in Huntsville City Schools. They have two main methods of partnering with the school system currently. Each district elects an individual that will represent their interest on the Board of Education. Those elected members of the Board of Education should communicate with the community and listen to the concerns of their constituents. Those concerns should be brought to the table for discussion and a solution developed to solve the problems.
The community has another opportunity to be a partner with the school system. The PTA is a recognized organization by Huntsville City Schools. The PTA is the voice of the parents, teachers and students. PTA’s are strong advocates for education and should be used by the community to get involved with Huntsville City Schools.
Where to Find More Info About Carlos Mathews
You Might Also Like…School Board Candidate Forum on Monday, August 15th, 2014. The event will be held atAcademy 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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