9 Questions with Pam Hill[themify_hr color=”orange” width=”75%” border_width=”1px” ]
Q. What made you want to run for this office?
I am running for Huntsville City Schools Board of Education, District 5, because as a nineteen year veteran teacher with 5 education degrees, I could no longer tell the parents of my students that their child would learn as much as they should, or be as safe as they should be. Therefore, I resigned, gave up my retirement and pension, and walked away from Huntsville City Schools. I wholeheartedly believe that the only way I could change the current circumstances was to run for the school board, and be a decisive decision maker for ALL the students.
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? 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?
Not only am I capable of researching to find answers, I am the only candidate that has served in the classroom for the five years that Dr. Wardynski has been the Superintendent. (No current school board member has the knowledge of what goes on INSIDE the classroom or schools better than I do.) I am happy to research, but I am also happy to give first-hand knowledge about the current conditions of HCS. I can not wait to ask questions about the decisions our Superintendent is making. I will frequently share what is best for the STUDENTS from a teacher’s, parent’s, or stakeholder’s perspective.
Q. Do your children (or school age relatives) attend Huntsville City Schools?
Yes. I am a graduate of HCS, my two children are graduates of HCS, and my granddaughter began Pre-K in HCS this year.
Q. What is your vision for the schools in your district?
My vision is the Mission Statement of Huntsville City Schools: To make sure EVERY student is college or career ready. However, at this time, I do not believe without changes, that HCS can do this. In District 5, I seek for my district to be included and treated equally as all the other districts. I do not think this is happening now. Because District 5 is so disjointed and covers so much space in different directions, there is no sense of community. I want to change that by having quarterly meetings, so ALL stakeholders voices will be heard in District 5. As I have been campaigning, I have learned that the bus ride for some students in District 5 is extremely long (up to two hours!), even for our smallest children. I am concerned about extra curricular activities for the middle and high school students in District 5. Some can not participate because they have to ride the bus home after school. I have personally asked Dr. Wardynski in the past several weeks for more busses in District 5. His public response was, “There will be no more additional busses in District 5.” How can this be equitable? As your board member, I KNOW the Desegregation Order insists upon equal treatment for all students. I will continue to insist that District 5 receives all that it needs.
Q. What is your view of high-stakes standardized testing, and the use of those test results for the evaluation of teachers?
I HATE HIGH STAKES TESTING. PERIOD. It is a waste of the students’ and teacher’s time. Yes, I know a few tests are required by the state. I understand that. However, our school system abuses students and teachers in the amount of testing that is required and the preparation it takes for these tests. This is NOT a best practices approach to teach for understanding or comprehension. A CHILD IS MORE THAN A TEST SCORE. These tests are used to calculate data, that I believe is not an accurate assessment of students OR teachers. It is simply a score on specific day. It is data that is being manipulated to make sure our system is “the best in the United States.” I assure you, I wish that was true. But, excessive testing must go. To judge a teacher by his or her students’ tests is absurd. Just as every child is different, so is every classroom. How can you compare test scores of different teachers, when you have different students and different circumstances? I will continue to voice my opposition to excessive testing until it stops.
Q. What is your plan for working with the other school board members, superintendent, staff, teachers, community to implement this vision?
I can cooperate with anyone who is looking out for the best interest of the students in Huntsville City Schools. I can listen to anyone who is not, but I will be vocal about any issue that harms a student OR a teacher in our system. Debate is a good thing and needs to take place in public. Our Superintendent does not believe this is true. I can work with the Superintendent. As an educated educator on the HCS Board of Education, I may be just what Dr. Wardynski needs. I will listen and respect every stakeholder that makes public comments. I will seek to find answers for them. I will listen to any teacher, support personnel, or administrator in HCS. I welcome their suggestions, comments and feedback. I want the best school system “in the United States.” By listening to stakeholders, we will progress faster towards that goal.
Q. What is your view of how the district’s limited funding should be divided among the needs of the district?
Everything needs to be publicly decided. All schools should receive what they need. I believe we could cut costs tremendously by reducing the central office administration, especially the public relations department. What I see on commercials and on billboards is pretty, but is does not represent what truly is going on in HCS. If we can’t tell the truth, let’s not pay for it. Finally, special education is NOT FULLY FUNDED. I have heard at too many school board meetings what a heavy expense these students are to our system. No. THEY ARE GIFTS. Each child should receive what he or she needs. PERIOD. (By the way, it’s against the law to NOT meet the needs of these students.)
Q. What is your view on the superintendent’s plans to close, consolidate, “turn around”, and “restart” many of the schools in our district?
Our current superintendent is not an educator. He does not understand that community schools are personal, and that we need them. My middle school, Ed White, is gone. My high school, S.R. Butler High, is gone. The disrespect that has been given to the importance of local schools is alarming to me. Johnson High School alumni have a REASON to be upset. I believe that a school is more than brick and mortar. A school is more than a line item on a budget. As a school board member, I do not want to close any more schools without the stakeholders’ support.
Q. What is your view of the role that parents and the community should play in the governance of our schools?
Our schools belong to the PUBLIC. HCS is a PUBLIC school system, supported by the taxpayers’ dollars. I believe every stakeholder has a voice. I encourage them to let their voices be heard. If they are ignored by others, please do not hesitate to contact me. I know the importance of community. As a veteran teacher, I want to see MORE involvement by all stakeholders in our city, including the large developers and business people who have money for politics, but not the schools. GET INVOLVED.
Where to Find More Info About Pam Hill
You Might Also Like…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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