As published in The Gazette and press-citizen.com
by Sara Barron, ICCSD school board candidate
Through our public schools, we have a great opportunity and a great obligation to help all of our children reach their full potential. I’m running for the school board because I believe that every child is important, and our schools must reflect that value.
My work at Big Brothers Big Sisters has given me a valuable perspective on the strength of our students and families. I’ve sat down with countless families in their homes, and each one has told me about their hopes and dreams for their children. Their future success depends on an education that meets their needs, fosters their love of learning, and inspires them to become an involved member of their community.
Both my personal and professional life demonstrate my strong commitment to equity and action. My wife Melissa is an ICCSD special education teacher. Our children, Liam and Mae, attend Grant Wood Elementary because we value and gladly contribute to its diversity. I’m the co-chair of the Johnson County Disproportionate Minority Contact committee, a group that reviews and works to correct racial imbalance in our juvenile justice, school discipline, and child welfare systems. I’m a Big Sister to a wonderful third-grader. I have served on the PTO, the District Parent Organization, and the Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee. (As a member of that committee, I supported the development of our third comprehensive high school and advocated against closing schools, including Hoover.)
Our public schools are at a crossroads. Over the next four years, we’ll be making decisions that shape our community and its resources in significant, lasting ways. To lead us through this process, we need a school board full of compassionate, thoughtful listeners. We need board members who can be informed facilitators of community-wide discussions about our priorties. We need smart, creative, and decisive action that moves us forward. With a seat on the board, I will work my hardest on behalf of each neighborhood and community.
My goals for the school board can be summed up in four themes:
Equity: All students should have equal access to outstanding learning opportunities. Our schools must be responsive to individual needs and respectful of cultural, economic, social, and racial backgrounds. Facilities are also a critical part of this equity.
Excellence: Our schools must invest in a range of programming for students of all abilities. We must also support the health and well-being of students and staff through nutrition, physical activity, the arts, and social supports. Our teachers must be given the resources they need to do their jobs.
Community: Neighborhood schools and community partnerships benefit us all. Decisions need to be evaluated for their impact on community development, especially in more vulnerable areas. We need to be good stewards of our financial resources.
Vision: I vow to be an engaged listener and learner, seeking opinions and perspectives from people throughout the district. We owe it to our children to move forward and work together, both when tackling our challenges and when building on our successes.
With your vote for me on September 10, we can seize this chance to fulfill the promises made by public education: the resources for every student to succeed, and true community investment in our collective future.