Press release July 7, 2013 | Candidate announcement
Sara Barron announces school board run
IOWA CITY – Sara Barron, community relations director for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Grant Wood Elementary parent, announced that she will be seeking one of three seats in the September 10 school board election.
Among Barron’s top priorities are to engage the community in more accessible ways, to promote the health and well-being of students and staff, to ensure equity in resources throughout the district, and to boost achievement for low-income students and students of color.
As a member of the Facilities Master Planning Steering Committee, Barron voted to leave Hoover open. She also voted against closing Hills or Lincoln. Barron supports construction of a third comprehensive high school in North Liberty to relieve overcrowding.
A resident of Johnson County since 1994, Barron, 36, lives in Iowa City with her wife Melissa, an ICCSD special education teacher. The couple has two children, Liam, 11 and Mae, 9.
“Through my work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, I know families and community members from every part of the district,” Barron said. “I’ve listened to their hopes and dreams for their children. I’ve seen the commitment to children that we all share.
“I believe that the district has the opportunity and the obligation to make a big difference in children’s lives, and I want to be a part of that.”
The Gazette July 8, 2013 | by Gregg Hennigan
Iowa City school facilities committee member running for school board
Candidate is community relations director for Big Brothers Big Sisters
IOWA CITY – A parent who is a member of the Iowa City school district’s facilities steering committee is running for school board.
Sara Barron, who also is community relations director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County, is seeking one of the three seats available in the Sept. 10 election.
Barron, 36, of 1903 Grantwood St. in Iowa City, is a member of a district committee that recently sent two recommendations to the school board for a long-term facilities plan. Both call for three new elementary schools and a new high school but differ on the closure of some elementary schools. The committee’s votes were anonymous, but Barron said in a news release that she voted against closing schools.
She said her priorities as a board member would be to engage the community in more accessible ways, to promote the health and well-being of students and staff, to ensure equity in resources throughout the district and to boost achievement for low-income students and students of color.
Barron said her job has let her get to know families and community members from across the school district.
“I believe that the district has the opportunity and the obligation to make a big difference in children’s lives, and I want to be a part of that,” she wrote.
Barron’s wife, Melissa, is a special education teacher for the school district. Their two children attend Grant Wood Elementary School.
Iowa City Press-Citizen May 18, 2013 | On the Same Page: Bridging the achievement gap
Can a test score measure a child’s success?
Adults have many dreams for the kids we care about. We want them to be healthy. We want them to be safe. We want them to learn and grow with curiosity and enthusiasm. We want them to show empathy for others and to have a strong circle of friends and role models.
Most of all, we want them to have hope and promise for their life as adults.
Major disparities exist between white students and students of color, between students whose families have more money and those whose families have less. If the only disparity that existed was a difference in test scores, we’d have an easier road ahead.
Unfortunately, the test scores are only a symptom of larger issues. Teachers in ICCSD schools are highly skilled and compassionate. Family Resource Centers are staffed to provide extra support for out-of-school needs. But some of our children still don’t have adequate access to food and shelter, or they have physical and emotional issues that need more attention. Black youth in particular report being ignored, misunderstood, or unfairly targeted in their everyday lives.
The school district’s proposed solution of balancing the free- and reduced-lunch participation rates is well-intentioned. It recognizes that we need to integrate and engage our community in order to better support students.
However, the policy doesn’t address all of the other factors that determine a child’s success. We need more solutions that support the whole child. More importantly, we need solutions that are honest about our shortcomings.
If we want to improve student achievement, we have to dream big for each and every one of our children. Then, together, we need to get to work dismantling the mistrust, prejudice, and lack of opportunity that we’ve been harboring.
When we finally do achieve parity in test scores for students of color and students with lower socioeconomic status, it won’t simply be a measure of their success. It will be a measure of the whole community’s.
Sara Barron is the community relations director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County