School board candidates offer solutions to solving district issues

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Peebles Jr/Sr High School

Rarely do so many people run for the board of education in one election.  Last week, The Informer asked each candidate three questions to print in this publication so that our readership could make an informed decision as they head to the polls.

The Informer is committed to a process that is fair to the candidates, therefore, all candidates were issued the questions with a deadline to respond.  We appreciate the timeliness of their answers.

The three questions asked to the candidates were:

1) Why are you running for the Adams County/Ohio Valley School Board? 2) Recently, the Ohio Department of Education released grade cards that were not favorable to the district.  How can the school system bring up the state grade cards and receive more favorable grades from the Department of Education? 3)

If elected, tell us your number one goal while serving on the Adams County/Ohio Valley School Board.

THE RESPONSES:

Judy Campbell:

I am running for the ACOVSD Board of Education because I place great value on education. I believe it is a vital insurance policy/safety net for whatever a person faces in life.

I spent 30 years employed in the ACOVSD as an elementary teacher and administrator, have tutored for several years and presently have served on the board for 10 years. I want to remain on the board to follow through the positive initiatives for our students and staff that are in process at this time.

In a typical classroom there are students of varying abilities. I feel that for too long we have taught toward the middle without challenging the top students and not meeting the needs of the lower achievers. We need higher expectations for every group, differentiation of instruction, practice, creative use of technology, teaching and learning with rigor focused on the standards and accountability for all involved.

We also need to do timed, computer testing similar to the state tests on a regular basis in our classrooms.

I hope to make a positive difference in the educational process for our students.

I believe our young people are the most valuable asset of our communities. My goal as a board member is to be an advocate for students and the staff members who hold their future in their hands. I will continue to develop policy and hire highly qualified leadership and personnel working toward the goal of preparing students for success in whatever career path they choose to follow.

Rick Davis:

Changing lives starts with a good education. Providing that education with new technology, in the 21st century, enables our students with the opportunities to become productive members of our society.

The challenge arises with our tax-based revenues and the understaffed classrooms.  Current teachers are willing to become certified to instruct college credit classes, therefore, students are able to gain dual credits while attending their own high school. There is, however, a strong need for additional assistance in our elementary schools. The teachers have so many young minds to educate, they need help so each child can get the much-needed attention they deserve.The post-secondary system is moving in a positive direction and is on track to becoming a competitive force for our post-secondary students, although it is still in the infancy stages.I know because I am involved with the process as a teacher.

Ashley Davenport:

I was born and raised in adams county on our family farm. It taught me so much. Respect. Integrity. And a strong Work ethic im running because i want to do good in my community i want to help these young people have a better life and future. So many bad things have happened to our young people and they have lost hope. Im here to inspire hope and change in our district.

Every child can learn the variable is time. And every child can do better if they have access to someone who will help them. All we can do is support our teachers and encourage parents and guardians to make a commitment to do better and work with our kids..Tudor them if they need it..do what it takes.

I’d love to get a mentorship program started with our high-schoolers [sic] help give them more direction and help for a better future. And i want to empower our teachers and support them better in their beliefs and teaching methods!

John Lewis:

In my first term, I saved the District over $1,000,000 by making sure we are treated fairly by the state and vendors and demanded accountability in all functions of the District.  Future success requires resources to be focused toward classroom instruction and that all programs are beneficial and sustainable.  I am seeking re-election so I may continue advocating for continued fiscal responsibility and resources focused toward improved academics and enrichment for our students.

It is unfortunate the School Report Cards do not acknowledge areas our district has achieved success.  As an example, 97.2% of our third graders met the Reading Guarantee, yet we received a C on that component.  We must continue to invest in professional development and technology instruction in our elementaries.  Improvements in instruction must continue to be guided by test data analysis.  Further improvements will require community support as we raise expectations in our classrooms.

Our schools have suffered from fluctuating funding and staffing levels for generations.  The staffing and program cuts of 2010 were a setback for our schools, our students, and our communities.  I will continue to work for the best deals possible for our district, fiscal sustainability, and programs that address the need of all students in all of our communities.

Tom Reed:

I am running for school board because I see a great need for a person who has teaching skills and business experience like myself to help run a school district where children lives are not receiving the education they need in our world today. I know what is lacking to get the job done and to keep our school doors open with what tax money we receive. We need a board member who can relate to our citizens of Adams County.

Yes, our Ohio grade card is not where it should be, and it will never get better until our administration realizes that our kids are doing below expectations from the state standards. We need to stop making excuses and get our staff to retrain and work with new ideas or with ideas from those that are doing very well in their classes even if it is outside our district or from a retired teacher that was very successful and maybe have them train others who are struggling.

Preparing our graduates much better for college or just enter the work force. We must also find jobs or the training they need to do their job when the job comes their way. It is my goal to see all graduates to be proud of Ohio Valley Schools for their success.

David Riley:

My motivation is simple, I want to serve. As a graduate of this district, I appreciate the service given by others. It helped create opportunities for me. I want to provide that for the next generation. My two young children have many years ahead in our district. We need a candidate with children currently in the district to truly understand what challenges we face! I also believe in open communication and transparency with the community.

I feel we are making improvements in our early childhood education program; however, this change takes time to yield results that would show on this type of a state measure. Making increases in the technology available to our students and teachers will also lead to more favorable grade card down the road. With the support of our community, our test scores will be as good as anywhere else in the state.

My number one goal is to ensure our money is spent in the best way possible to yield maximum return on our investment. I bring the viewpoint of a parent and a taxpayer. Parents want positive results and the best opportunities for their children, and taxpayers want to see they are getting good value. If elected, I will be a candidate for the people and this will be clear in every decision that is made.

Gay Lynn Shipley:

I have been asked by several community members and educators to run for the AC/OV School Board. Personally, my work with school systems is a full circle commitment. My role is both as an educator and as a parent. My concern about issues facing our district is real. Our district needs people willing to place education first. Knowledge is power. Education empowers our students. We must guide our youth to follow their dreams by providing the appropriate support and advisement. All students deserve the opportunity to become successful. Educators need to be trusted to do what they have been trained to do and what their experience has taught them. Our schools need to be governed by people who understand education.

The grade card received from the state is just one piece of feedback that paints the picture of our students’ academic progress. It is important to understand the criteria that is used to define each of the grades on the various report card measures. Each building in the district needs to determine the appropriate steps to be taken in order to reach the goal of obtaining an A in all areas of the report card. Each building in the district is different. Teachers and principals must be given the tools and support required to help their students grow and improve. We have many successful things happening in the classroom and those stories need to be told. The quantitative data of the report card does not reflect the full picture of student progress in the way that qualitative data through stories can demonstrate. We are dealing with people and not just scores and numbers.

My goal is to bring hope to Adams County students, educators, and families as an honored and valuable school board member. Our students, teachers, and principals need to be recognized for all of the positive things that are happening in the classroom. Adams County will be a light in our children’s future.  Education has been a priority for myself and my family and I believe it is the key to our communities being successful. I understand the processes, policies, and positions within a school system which gives me a strong foundation of the inner operations and the importance of networking as a team/organization. Systems need to be developed that bring about success through curricular alignment, formative assessments and preparing our students for jobs in the real world.

The election will be held on Tuesday, November 7.  Early voting has been in process since mid-October.

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