Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

FUHSD, FUESD boards quiet on the election front

Fallbrook Union High School District

There will be no official election for open seats on the Fallbrook Union High School District Board, as its two empty seats will be filled by Frank Cerda and Sharon Koehler.

Once these two individuals are appointed, they will join existing board members Bill O’Conner, Mike Schulte and Marc Steffler.

Both Cerda and Koehler were afforded the opportunity to share their various viewpoints regarding the Fallbrook Union High School District Board. Cerda opted not to participate, but Koehler shared the following information for the benefit of the community.

Please provide your full name, occupation and/or retired occupation.

Sharon L. Koehler: Retired educator, wife, mother and grandmother (not retired!)

How many years have you lived in Fallbrook?

Koehler: “I have resided in Fallbrook for 15 years.”

How do you feel you will be of benefit on this board?

Koehler: “I have almost 40 years experience in the field of education and I have the concerns of the students first. I have worked as a substitute teacher, summer school teacher and home school teacher at Fallbrook High School, so I am aware of the unique needs of this school in particular and high schools in general.”

How can the district achieve higher test scores in the student body?

Koehler: “Many subgroups exist in our 3,000-member student body. Whether they are English-learners or members of another subgroup, we must tailor our educational programs so that all students can and will succeed. Our standards must be high. Students will rise to the standards expected of them.”

Given the number of classes that have been cut due to budget problems, if further cuts had to be made to the budget, where should they be made?

Koehler: “First of all, I want to clarify that programs have not been cut due to budget problems. No teachers’ jobs were lost or classes cut because of the budget. Some classes or small sections were eliminated, but only to consolidate, revamp or bring in new classes. Some administrators took cuts in pay so that no teachers would be affected. The 2007-2008 budget closed in the black. Through good fiscal management, the board has been able to offer excellent educational opportunities during financially troubled times. My hat is off to them. However, we still don’t know what the future will bring, so the board will have to remain diligent and make any cuts, if necessary, as far away from the students as possible.”

Should teachers be held accountable to improve the average test scores in their classes? If so, how should that be done? If no, why not?

Koehler: “I believe strongly that teachers should be held accountable for the success of their students. The administration must support teachers and give them the opportunities for professional development they need to be successful. I also favor mentoring for new teachers by highly qualified teachers already in the school.”

Despite the national and local economy, and state of the district’s budget, in any given year, should union workers (teachers and classified staff) be given raises? Why?

Koehler: “I believe all teachers should receive Cost of Living Adjustments each year at the least. The board should look at other school districts and be aware of pay levels in the area. I don’t think Fallbrook should be the highest, but I also don’t think they should be the lowest paying school district. We must be competitive to attract and keep top-notch teachers.”

What is your biggest concern currently in regard to Fallbrook High School?

Koehler: “First let me say that I see FUHS moving in the right direction. I have been concerned with security, but fencing is now going up to alleviate that concern. Test scores are rising (up 26 points in two years). The new teachers on the staff are well-educated, energetic and bring fresh ideas. Returning teachers are optimistic and look forward to working with the new superintendent, Dr. Mitchell. Morale is high. In spite of state budget problems, the school budget is balanced and in the black. I hope that these improvements will usher in a new era of communication and cooperation among the students, parents, staff, administration and the community and that confidence in our high school will be restored.”

Fallbrook Union Elementary School District

No election will take place for the candidates who filed for the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District board on November 4. Their two empty seats will be occupied by incumbents Lisa Masten and Anne Renshaw.

Masten and Renshaw were afforded the opportunity to participate in this series.

Please provide your full name, occupation and/or retired occupation.

Anne Renshaw: Governing board member

Lisa F. Masten: Current FUESD board member and paraprofessional in special education at Fallbrook High School.

How long have you lived in Fallbrook?

Renshaw: “I have lived in Fallbrook for 26 years.”

Masten: “I have lived in Fallbrook with my husband and son since 1994.”

How do you feel you could be of benefit on this board?

Renshaw: “I feel I have been a voice for children and our district for the last 14 years. I am a delegate to the California School Board Association and so we have a voice in our state organization that endeavors to influence legislation and decisions in Sacramento. My children attended Fallbrook schools and so I have the parental as well as board member point of view. I always try to be thoughtful and fair.”

Masten: “I believe I work well with the other members of the board. I have a son in public schools in Fallbrook and am in touch with current issues. I have an open mind and am willing to listen and learn and put in the necessary hours required to be a good board member.”

How can the district achieve higher test scores in the student body?

Renshaw: “Both our administrative and teaching staff work very hard to give the children of our district the tools they need to have a well rounded education. As a board, we try to make sure our district is using the best pedagogies that are available.”

Masten: “I believe there are many ways to raise student achievement. Our district recently opened a preschool, jump-start kindergarten and preppy Ks. Reaching kids at a younger age is just one of the ways to raise student achievement; offering good and relevant professional development for educators is another example.”

Should teachers be held accountable to improve the average test scores in their classes? If so, how should that be done? If no, why not?

Renshaw: “I would like to see more emphasis on how parents and the home environment influence the education of a child. Teachers only have children for a few hours a day and children come to them with what they have learned at home. A child’s home life will be a much greater indicator of how well a child succeeds in school than anything else. We have some good parent education and support in our district and I would like to see us expand on that.”

Masten: “I think early teacher support and mentoring – like the BTSA program – helps a district ensure teachers have the tools and support they need to be successful educators and thus improve test scores. Support, training and common planning time help teachers meet the rigorous and increasingly challenging goals put on schools by No Child Left Behind [NCLB]. To expect that all teachers can continue to reach all goals set by NCLB is unrealistic.”

Despite the national and local economy, and state of the District’s budget, in any given year, should union workers (teachers and classified staff) be given raises? Why?

Renshaw: “Everyone deserves to make a good wage. We try very hard to have our staff paid the same as comparable districts in our area. Teachers and others are probably not going to be able to perform their jobs as well if they have financial concerns. Everyone needs to be appreciated for what they do.”

Masten: “Step and column raises are a part of our staff’s contracts. In the past we have always negotiated raises within given budget constraints.”

What are the top two issues you think need to be addressed immediately?

Renshaw: “As I said, parental involvement has always been a concern that I have had. The other would dovetail with that and it is closing the achievement gap.”

Masten: “The top two issues addressing education are the continuously challenging demands of NCLB and closing the achievement gap.”

To comment on this story, visit http://www.thevillagenews.com.

 

Reader Comments(0)

 
 
Rendered 02/20/2024 07:29