Friday, October 30, 2009

Nancy Nilsen

At Large school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for two)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
The School Board creates and governs policy, and gives guidance to the Superintendent on how the community would like to see our children educated.
2. Nutritional health
I believe our students are currently not in the best nutritional health. It is imperative that we have healthy food choices available to students and guide them into selecting them as their food of choice. Limits have already been put in place as to the amount of junk food available to help with this process.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
I support the Long Range Facilities Plan. I do not believe Plan B offers the improvements and upgraded technology necessary in today’s day and age. Through experiences with my own children going through high school, as well as listening to other parents about their concerns, I believe we need a larger number of students per grade to offer the programs the students need to prepare them for their next endeavors. Plan B does not address this problem.
In order to soothe divides over this issue, I think more people need to be involved in the designing of the new and upgraded schools as well as the transition to the new schools. Ideas need to be easy to submit and seriously reviewed for possible inclusion.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
I believe in closing the achievement gap, which is what No Child Left Behind is suppose to address, but I don’t believe that is what it is really doing. Within a very short timeframe, all schools will not be able to make adequate yearly progress, because their measurement methods are not realistic. They keep increasing the bar, with no additional support and new children being measured instead of the same children. It doesn’t measure the advancement each child is making. It needs work.
5. Weapons policy/small pocketknives?
I don’t believe school is a place for any type of knife (except in the cafeteria), including pocketknives. I would be open to gaining a better understanding as to why this would be needed.
6. Role of U.S. Constitution
Any and all decisions made by the school board need to follow the laws laid out in the U.S. Constitution, although it has been recognized that students do not have the same rights as adults because of their lack of maturity and judgment.
7. Class size
There are no elementary classes that have 40 students in them, but there may be classes such as band, choir and gym at the middle and high schools that have 40 students. The average class size at the high schools is 32 students. When, for example, we have classes such as calculus (which we do need to offer) that runs with only 15 students, there will be another class that ends up running with 35 to 40 students. By implementing the Long Range Facilities Plan, we will have more students to draw upon to help fill up the classes, so the same Calculus class will run with 25 to 30 students. This is a better utilization of our resources and will keep class sizes closer to the average of 32.