We Can Do Better

Since announcing my candidacy for Manitowoc Public School District (MPSD) School Board, I've been asked "What are the biggest issues right now in MPSD?" and, "What ideas do you have to address them?"

The biggest issues stem around the lack of accountability the superintendent has had to the School Board. Below are some of the big ones I have identified in no particular order.

As a board member, I am going to ask questions to ensure we are making progress that will improve our results in all these areas:

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What are the biggest issues right now in the MPSD?  

District Performance

MPSD District Performance as measured by the Wisconsin DPI District Overall Accountability Score. MPSD is currently ranked #387 out of 420 - bottom 8% in the state and has been steadily declining since 2015. Step-by-step instructions to calculate this data can be downloaded here:

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  • Our Focus needs to be on the Basics. We need to master proficiency in Math, Reading, and Science.

  • Bring back accelerated reading and math in our middle schools so we can provide programs for all learners.

  • School Administrator Executive Coaching: We need “A” performance out of our leadership and they need to direct focus in the right areas. Having a professional coach will push our Superintendent to get the best possible performance out of them and their staffs/teachers.

  • Develop a functional dashboard measuring activities by administrators and teachers that will cause results to improve. This will serve as an easy to read “scoreboard” to help our schoolboard measure progress towards better outcomes every month as opposed to once a year when we get the report card and trying to backtrack from there to understand why we missed or got worse. Having a better “scoreboard” will help identify issues and course correct when needed to make sure we are staying on target and provide transparency to parents and taxpayers.

  • Collaborate with MPSD Administration and Teachers to decide what are the top 3-5 activities we need to measure at each level (administrator, teacher) to know we are consistently executing in the right areas. Make this information easily available and transparent to the public each month.

  • Identify and profile who the best teachers are right now. Use DISC assessments to identify the traits that make them great and use this to help increase likelihood of better hires in the future.

  • Ensure our teachers have the support they need by providing anonymous and private communication to the board if the administrators are not able to support them properly or if they may fear being reprimanded for voicing concerns.

  • Implement Objectives and Key Results (OKR’s) framework to guide annual and quarterly objectives for MPSD Leadership and to help measure our progress - make this fully transparent to the public.

  • Benchmark with top ranking schools to find out what they are doing different.

Disciplinary Issues

Advocate for programs that restore order in our schools and classrooms.

  • Advocate for “Dads on Duty” program to help restore order in our schools and classrooms. Find out how these Dads in Louisiana made it work in their school:

  • Continue and expand work with local leaders, including the church community to develop an outreach and mentorship program for at risk youth/repeat offenders.

  • Develop a task force of teachers, parents and administrators to come up with ideas to address this issue.

  • Get to the “WHY” of what is causing these issues with a thorough review of the profiles for offenders, and discussion with them if appropriate. Then formulate a long-term strategy and plan to address the root problem, not the symptom.

Cultural Issues

This includes Woke propaganda, Critical Race Theory, Anti-America sentiments.

  • Make publicly available all the goals from anyone involved in the Derute Consulting training program. Full transparency on any subsequent training in our district by the 30 original participants to see how many have been trained in this ideology, including any new goals. Inform staff that any continuation of this training is not allowed in the MPSD and that any future contracts would require board approval.

  • Make sure staff knows any antiracist programs should not:

    1. Target “Whiteness”

    2. Use the terms “White privilege” or “White fragility”

    3. Stereotype or scapegoat groups because of race

    4. Polarize people into “oppressors” or “oppressed”

  • Raise awareness in our community on the downside and risks of pushing an equity centric agenda. This includes having honest and open dialogue with community members on issues like gender neutral bathrooms and what has gone wrong in other parts of our country because of that.

  • Bring to light any negative equity elements that may exist in the MPSD today including:

    1. Eliminating programs or resources to achieve equity

    2. Any watering down of curriculum or instruction to achieve equity

    3. Using correlation to prove causation

  • Advocate for a principles-based approach in lieu of an identity-based approach in our schools

  • Any potentially controversial or offensive content that might be displayed in hallways or classrooms must be board approved. This includes any content released by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Suggest and encourage our youth to all watch the Martin Luther King “I have a Dream” speech annually and be able to explain its message and significance. Have our administrators and teachers reinforce this message and instruct that no person should ever be judged by the color of their skin- but rather the content of their character.

  • Suggest and encourage every grade level to start their day with the pledge of allegiance and advocate for teachers to instill a sense of pride about being an American.

  • Suggest and encourage research to vet alternative curriculum options including but not limited to:

  • Limit access to inappropriate materials in the Library. There are not enough security measures in place now to prevent students from getting access to “mature adult” content through the Manitowoc Public Library website and virtual library cards. The Virtual Library program called Libby makes it easy for kids to access pornographic materials.

Student Preparedness

Prepare our students for productive lives outside of high school.

  • Suggest and encourage financial literacy courses (Ramsey Education or similar) as a requirement for every student.

  • Provide an option for entrepreneurship with the Ramsey course for motivated and high performing high school students.

  • Increase youth apprenticeship programs with outreach to more businesses in our community.

Leadership Accountability

Hold Superintendent accountable to the school board and community.

  • Redefine the roles of the board-superintendent structure to one that provides accountability as opposed to the current structure which allows the superintendent to operate without appropriate oversight or engagement from the board on major issues. It is a dereliction of their duty for the 3 incumbent and longest serving board members seeking re-election to allow this to continue for as long as it has. 

  • Collaborate with the Superintendent to provide clear, measurable agreed on targets.  Here is a great example of a high performing district with clear targets: https://www.elmbrookschools.org/board (see ANNUAL GOALS)

  • Any future contracts must have board approval prior to moving forward.

  • Better optics so that the Board can measure progress throughout the year in key areas and provide meaningful guidance and insights to the administration, helping them better see potential blind spots and course correct as needed.

  • Board report/packet/agenda needs to be provided in full at least 5 business days prior to the meeting so all board members have adequate time to review, digest content, and prepare to provide meaningful insight, observations, and questions. 

  • When presenting problems or issues to the board; Administrators will use the following protocol and include with their board packet:

    1. Reduce the problem in writing to 2 or 3 sentences

    2. Provide the 2-3 best solutions (or more, if possible) they can come up with, and a thoughtful analysis on which one they think is best and why

Forced COVID-19 Protocols

Advocate for parental choice surrounding COVID-19 protocols.

  • The board will have final say on any COVID-19 protocols and not the superintendent.

  • Suggest and encourage that our schools never again implement a compulsory mask policy.

  • Against any mandatory vaccination requirement for COVID-19. This should be optional and up to parents to decide what is best for their child.

  • Launch a campaign educating parents on the probability of their child contracting and dying from COVID-19 vs. the risk of an adverse event or death from a COVID-jab.

  • An open forum to discuss the recent change of definition of a vaccine which no longer prevents transmission or infection or produces immunity. Now it only produces “protection” and an immune response, but no immunity.