Kathleen Parsons for

Southern Lehigh School Board 2013

Informed, Dedicated, Honest

Q & A with Southern Lehigh Educators Association

1.  What are your top three priorities for public education?  1) Continue the excellent education that has been the hallmark of Southern Lehigh while dealing with budget constraints.  2)  Making sure that each graduate of Southern Lehigh High School is prepared for the next step whether that’s college or the workforce.  3) Dealing with unfunded and underfunded mandates is going to be a continual challenge and priority.

 

2.  What aspect of education can be run as a business and which aspects should not be run as a business?  Facility management and budgets need to be run as a business. The athletic budget should be held to the same criteria as the academic budget.  Curriculum and teaching in general should not be run like a business.  As my friend Morag Churm likes to say, students are not widgets. 

 

3.  What experiences do you have that will make you a good school director?  Unlike most of the other candidates, I’ve been in Southern Lehigh classes and schools for many years and served on several district committees including the Middle States review, two Strategic Planning Committees and I’ve been a member of the Act 48 committee for several years.

 

  I was the parent that you all counted on when you needed something organized. I was the PTA president, the parent that organized the end of the year Music Parents dinner, the parent that raised funds for the robotics club and the parent that volunteered for any field trip.   And I’m now the librarian at the public library that helps the kids research their projects and defend the summer reading program.  I’ve been attending school board meetings for over ten years and understand how they run and perhaps how our schools should be run.

 

4.  What role should teachers play in the creation and planning of policies and procedures related to day to day operations?  Discipline policies should be a collaborative effort between the administration, board and teachers.  Teachers are the people in the trenches that must make the discipline decisions on the spot but they need the policies in place so students can be held accountable. Curriculum related policies, such as block scheduling and small class sizes should be another collaborative effort and where data driven decisions are crucial and teachers who have firsthand experience can inform the policy.



Dedicated, Honest, Informed.

About 12 years ago when I was the President of the Lower Milford Elementary School Parent Teachers Association (PTA), a friend of mine told me that she attended the School Board meetings. At that time I had three kids in three different schools, so decisions the school board made were important to me. From that time on, I attended School Board meetings as often as I could.  Over the years, I have attended over 100 meetings. I've since decided that it is time to become an active participant.

When my kids were in school I was one of those parents that did everything, and I loved it. I was a part of PTA, involved in Scouts, church, Music Parents, and more. Along the way I was invited to be on various District Committees, including two Strategic Meeting committees. I served on two weighted grade committees - both coming up with the same results.

My life went from helping out in the classroom to guiding all three of my kids into college.  I enlarged my life by starting a job at The Southern Lehigh Public Library eight years ago, which merged three of my passions - research, helping people and teaching.

 For the most part I feel that all members want the best for the School District, including the teachers, but that often they don't quite know how the schools work. Most had not been involved in the classrooms or worked with many parents or children. I've been and currently am involved in the district through committees, through my children and everyday with the community. I've served on boards and created budgets.

Good to know!

 Southern Lehigh School Board

http://www.slsd.org/districtandboard.cfm?subpage=82180

 How School Boards work

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CEIQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ceopa.org%2Fhowschoolbdswork412.pdf&ei=60NgUeOoAsfj4AOx3oDoAg&usg=AFQjCNFsmpKW7fJrrSkZc9NCO2MQ_V51zw&sig2=lJpnTOezsRUETgnJ4B2uvA&bvm=bv.44770516,d.dmg

 Budget info

http://www.slsd.org/community.cfm?subpage=307122

 My candidacy on-line:

http://uppersaucon.patch.com/articles/meet-school-board-candidate-kathleen-d-parsons

http://uppersaucon.patch.com/articles/librarian-announces-candidacy-for-southern-lehigh-school-board

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/southernlehigh/mc-southern-lehigh-may-primary-20130430,0,2533934.story

http://uppersaucon.patch.com/articles/op-ed-school-board-don-t-vote-for-macs

http://uppersaucon.patch.com/articles/apple-computer-leasing-program-on-hold-while-exploring-pc-option

Full answers to Morning Call questions

1) Why are you seeking a term on the SoLeHi school board (if incumbant, seeking re election, if first time, or returning after a break, why)-

After attending school board meetings for over ten years on a periodic basis, I've decided it's time to become an active participant.


2) What are the biggest challenges facing the district? Please address fund balance and perception the district has become "over cautious" about spending- address issue of increasing class size in lower grades-.

The biggest challenge for a school board is always deciding how to prioritize spending while still meeting the needs of each student . Unless you attend the School Board meetings, it's difficult to understand all the factors that come into play including unfunded mandates and the increasing pressure for standardized testing and standardized teaching.  I don't think there is a perception of the district being over cautious about spending. I think there is a frustration about money being spent on things that are not priorities for parents.  Small class size should be a priority.

3) Do you have thoughts about how to address the district's issues regarding either finances or delivering educational programs?  

I am a researcher by profession and personality.  There is nothing I relish more then digging into a topic and finding solutions.  For too long Southern Lehigh has been doing things because neighboring School Districts do them.  It's time to think outside the box and find the tools to help our teachers, to save money for the community and most of all to educate our students so that they are prepared for the world when they leave Southern Lehigh. 

   Find me on Facebook -    https://www.facebook.com/KParsonsForSchoolBoard

Contact me via e-mail at ParsonsForSchoolBoard@yahoo.com