District 101 Board Candidates Discuss Budgets, Curriculum
Five candidates are running for three, 4-year seats on the Batavia Unit District 101 board on April 5. Incumbents Kathleen Roberts and Matt Winkle will run for another term and will be challenged by Gregg Hodge, Cathy Dremel and Patti Kozlowski. Here are their thoughts on issues selected from a Daily Herald questionnaire sent to each candidate.
Q. How satisfied are you that your district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
Cathy Dremel: I currently only have experience at the elementary and middle school levels. I have been pleased with the transition into middle school. I also receive e-mails concerning transitioning into high school, as well as preparing for college. It appears Batavia is doing a good job, but experience will give me a better understanding of this topic. Because it appears that Batavia is doing a good job of preparing our students, I see no specific changes that need to be made.
Gregg Hodge: Very satisfied.
Patti Kozlowski: Batavia is very effective in preparing our students for the future. I recently met with the principal at Rotolo Middle school. Batavia is known for having an outstanding middle school curriculum, program and school setup. This is usually a very awkward time for students. In talking with the students, they expressed an enthusiasm and joy for their learning. The only change I would like to see is the information provided to students and parents on ways to receive an excellent education by means other than the traditional four years of college. There are special technical schools, apprenticeship programs, work programs, etc. that are very effective. The student of today needs to realize the need for lifelong education and training.
Kathleen Roberts: We are fortunate that BPS 101 is a high-performing district. I believe we do a good job transitioning our students from elementary to middle to high school. I do, however, believe there are some areas, especially in the high school math curriculum, that negatively impact students entering from other districts or transferring to attend elsewhere. I also think we adequately prepare our high school students to be successful at the colleges typically attended by our graduates. We could do a better job preparing those students who aim for Ivy League and other Tier 1 colleges and universities.
Our building trades program and other vocational courses available through the Fox Valley Career Center provide our students with exceptional opportunities to prepare for continuing vocational education or to directly enter the work force. I would like to see us do placement testing for students entering middle and high school.
Many of our students know more than they have an opportunity to demonstrate in school, and many are followed by an elementary or middle school assessment that may no longer be valid. Placement testing would give students an opportunity to demonstrate what they know and are able to do and would allow parents and the school district to knowledgeably advise and place each student in the proper course level.
Recently, we have begun to survey parents and students about their experiences in BPS 101, which is providing information needed to evaluate our programs.
Matt Winkle: Satisfied would not be the correct word. I believe Batavia has excellent schools and, as a whole, administration, teaching staff, support staff and board members are never satisfied. Our philosophy must be one of continuous improvement. Currently, for example, staff is implementing strategies that target reading improvements across all levels. In addition, a new high school math sequence was implemented to better target student learning. Those are just two of many examples of ongoing improvements.
Q. What budget issues will the district have to confront? …