Aileen White for 281 SchoolBoard
"Bringing the Community into the Conversation"
My name is Aileen White, and I am running to be your representative on the Robbinsdale Area Schools District 281 School Board.
As a parent for 25 years & counting, a staff member for 10 years, and an involved community member in tangent to this timeline, I am prepared and qualified to bring the community into the conversation as a member of the District 281 School Board.
Email me your questions at AileenWhiteFor281@gmail.com
I have been a volunteer within Robbinsdale Area Schools for 20+ years. My personal philosophy has always been "don't ask another to do what you will not do yourself".
Being in the front and center has never been something that came naturally to me, however, the timing is now right for me to consider doing what I have encouraged others to do.
RUN for ISD281 School Board.
-I have shown that I can show up for meetings.
-I and am informed about what is happening in the community.
-I have shown that I can ask the needed questions even if they do not get answered.
I am running to be a voice at the table for those in the community who can't make it to School Board meetings, to be a voice for those who due to circumstances can't speak up.
I am running to ensure that at the bi-monthly meetings, there are updates on district finances.
I am running to ensure that students are heard, their concerns are listened to and they are part of the solution.
I am running to ensure that staff on the ground in our buildings are seen, and that their knowledge and experience is part of any and all policies. These are the individuals who know our students and know what district students need. They need to be heard.
I am running to ensure that contracts and decisions are made in a timely manner. Why is the district administration presenting contracts to the School Board, with no turnaround time for investigation and discussion (Ex. Transportation, recent warehouse lease)?
I will work towards a timetable that district staff, are NOT working without a contract.
Why Vote ?
For many years, I have attended many district meetings, town halls, and focus groups within RAS.
Why did I show up?
I was new to MN, new to being a parent of school-aged children, and new to what education looked like in the area where I lived. I showed up to all I could, to learn, and understand how education worked so I could be the best advocate for my children as they navigated the various school systems.
What I learned
It takes a community to support a school system.
It takes being informed.
By being involved you find "your village"
There is no "one size fits all" however within RAS we have very skilled staff within our schools that show up every day for every student, to meet students where they are.
What has changed?
In a word "everything".
I am aware that not all parents and guardians have the same privilege that I had to be as vigilant about what is going on with their child's school, or what is happening within the politics of education. This is why informed communication matters and adequate notice about meetings and agenda items is important. Time needs to be given to those who want to engage so they can participate in the conversation prior to the decisions being made that impacts their student(s).
There seems to be a shift within the RAS. Decisions are being made away from the classroom, away from our students, who need to be at the forefront of our decision-making. RAS appears to be putting funds into positions away from the Classroom and Students. RAS has become administrative top heavy, these are changes I have seen over the years. Changes, if elected I want to question and know the reasoning why!
If elected to represent my community, those within the boundaries of Robbinsdale Area Schools, I will work to ensure that:
Community Voice is at the Table
Having attended the various School Board meetings held by the current board, I have noticed a huge disconnect between the Business, Regular meetings, and the Work Sessions. I will advocate for agendas to be published in a timely manner before meetings, so community members can submit questions/concerns on matters up for discussion.
Your Listening Time
As a school board member, I will work to ensure that parents' and community members' time and questions are respected and answered honestly and in a timely matter.
Accountability is an extremely important quality to see in our elected representatives. In the case of our current school board, I struggle to find accountability, especially in relation to our district finances. For example, a listing of disbursements in the monthly consent agenda is not showing accountability. A PowerPoint on budgets by the Director of Finance is not showing accountability. Where is the discussion about how the district is doing when comparing actuals to budget etc. ?
All meetings need to be recorded.
All meetings need to be available for community members to access, either in-person or recording.
All Community members should be given an opportunity to be heard by the School Board, and communications to the School Board should not be filtered through the school district.
My family moved into Robbinsdale Area Schools (RAS) with my husband and 3 children for for almost 30 years. My family started to attend programs within RAS immediately. Our then 2-year-old daughter and few months-old son, participated in Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes, where we met many lifelong friends and became involved in our community.
Our children attended their local elementary school, and when we moved within the district, they were able to stay attending the school where they had built relationships with friends and staff. Throughout Middle School, our children followed the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, initially at Sandburg Middle School, then following the program to Robbinsdale Middle School, when the district made decisions to close and move programs. All three continued in IB at Cooper High School graduating in 2015, 2017, and 2020.
Throughout the years that our children attended RAS, I was able to support district programs as a member of the ECFE Parent Advisory Committee(PAC). While our children attended elementary school, I was involved in the PTA/O, assisting in classrooms when available, fundraising as needed, and showing up to help at events when others couldn't. In their middle school years, I supported the school administration by working with others to establish their current Parent Teacher Advisory Council (PTAC). At Cooper High School, my time was spent attending monthly meetings with the Principal at the time, who had a Parent Task Force. While a parent of IB students, in both MYP & DP programs, I participated in two different evaluations of the program by the IB governing body. However, most of my involvement at Cooper was with the Cooper Performing Arts Boosters (CPAB) -- you may have seen me standing in concessions at the various concerts and theater performances!!
While a member of the various school groups above, my time allowed me to also attend the district Inter-School Council (ISC). This was a monthly meeting with a school representative from each of the district school buildings. ISC members shared what was going on at the grass-roots level within the district, resources were shared, and questions/concerns were discussed. Most importantly, this Council had the undivided attention of the Superintendent (at that time), cabinet members who were available, as well as a School Board Member for 2 hours each month. Over the 18+ years that I attended these meetings, I saw a change in the district. Participation from schools dwindled, I saw this as a direct correlation with the change in the district administration. The reduced participation in these meetings had a ripple effect, and so reduced the number of voices heard from the community.
Seven Dreams Education Foundation (SDEF) was revived in earnest back around 2006, and although it had been in existence prior to this, the time was felt that the foundation should step up its game and do more for RAS. My role as Volunteer Treasurer was from this revival until approximately 2012, when I stepped away to allow other voices to be heard on the board.
My move from stay-at-home parent back into the work world, brought me to RAS as an employee, initially to work around my children's schedules, I worked part-time as a district substitute. This allowed me to be in many school buildings and see the heart of the district. I then began working in a part-time position at Armstrong High School, and after some years, this position morphed into a full-time position in the school office and later in the guidance office. I remained at Armstrong High School until Spring of 2021, when another opportunity came my way, and I resigned from RAS.
No longer an employee, I now found myself in the position of being able to run for RAS School Board.
For a great many years, I have attended School Board Listening Hours, School Board Meetings as a community member, and where possible or necessary, as an employee. I have witnessed many community members come to Listening Hours with their questions/concerns for the members of the School Board, yet I often felt their issues/concerns when unnoticed. The entire School Board was not present to listen. The report back from the Listening Hour Chair, never adequately represented what the attendee said. It has long been my concern that members of the Robbinsdale Area Schools Community are not heard. It has been my experience that staff on the front lines have no voices at the School Board Table. If I am elected and get to sit at the table, I hope to be a voice for those whose voices are not at the table.
If you are 18 prior to the November 8th, 2022 elections, PLEASE VOTE!
If you still attend RAS and want your voice at the table, please reach out to the candidates for RAS School Board, and see who will be the voice at the table for you.
Please consider me for one of your votes, as a member of the RAS School Board, I will continue to advocate for students, within RAS, as I have prior as a community member.
There are many within our community who currently do not have the right to vote.
Prior to 2002, this was my status.
Spring 2002, I received my full citizenship and was given the ability to vote. I have voted in every election since.
If I am elected to the School Board, I will be there as an elected representative of the community of RAS.
That means, whether or not you voted for me, I will be there to represent you and hope that you will contact me with questions or concerns. Please know you can participate as community members, you will have a voice at the table.
RAS School Board needs to hear more voices directly from district staff that are front and center in the education of our students.
RAS School Board needs to hear more from the voices in out buildings, not from administration.
Anonymous Surveys directly to School Board is needed.
District Building Staff need to be heard and NOT filtered.
Ways to support my Campaign for Robbinsdale Area Schools
As a parent and employee of Robbinsdale Area Schools, attending meetings and supporting the schools, staff and students who I crossed paths with was what I did.
"The consent agenda is a tool used to streamline meeting procedures by collecting routine, non-controversial items into a group whereby all are passed with a single motion and vote. This method has grown in popularity in recent years and there are many variations on the theme to meet specific needs."
Full disclosure, I stole this from a friends thread today!!
Why because this spoke to me because I can relate.
Coming from a different place,
coming from a different background
coming from a different culture
sometimes all I have to do is open my mouth and see the reaction, that says, you're different, you're not from here!!
Sometimes, I get treated differently, sometimes not.
One thing, I do know as Mr. Rogers shared, we are more the same than we realize, as a parent/guardian/care-giver, you name it, the single most important focus we have is our children and helping them be the best they can be.
As a member of Robbinsdale School Board of Education, how decisions impact your children, our students will be the forefront of my focus.
(36 days to go)
In the last month, I was invited by DFL Senate District 43 to complete a questionnaire and panel interview.
My name is Aileen White, I was initially a reluctant candidate for the School Board, I took my time making the decision to run, until realizing it was now or never.
How are we to build culture within 281?