This letter is by Katie Parent of Springfield, who is running for Springfield School Board.
I would love to tell you about myself and why I am running for school board. I am a mother to two incredible girls and wife to an Army veteran.
We purchased our home here in Springfield, Vermont, in 2020 and soon after I became a substitute teacher for our district. Through that experience I’ve made many new friends and learned a lot about our students. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a substitute and have met some amazing children, parents and teachers. I believe there is much more that can be done to better support our students. I will fight to make that happen as I support transparency, resepectful communication and parental voices in the process. After joining the budget committee I can say that it has been an incredible opportunity; I have had the opportunity to engage and ask questions about things that aren’t clear or don’t add up. As a board member I will continue to always ask hard questions that have the best interests of the parents and students at heart. The issues I would like to address and help resolve are as follows:
- Allow parents to be a bigger part of the team and have a stronger voice in their child’s education.
- Implement transparency as the administration having full engagement with the community about what takes place in our schools.
- Removing personal politics completely out of our childrens classes. Students should not know their teachers’ political leanings. One idea is to offer elective after-school debate teams or groups to navigate these waters for parents and students that are in agreement with such teachings. All viewpoints should be heard and respected.
- Not allowing teachers to openly ask a student in a classroom their personal health choices.
- Teachers should not be instructing students on personal gender identification, racial bias or offering targeted therapy for students who don’t fit the bill or follow an agenda.
- Involve parents in decisions about in-class gender conversations, and allow parents to have a seat at the table regarding these topics and whether or not they feel their students should in fact participate.
- Teaching a pro-human approach that all of us are created equal and it is not acceptable for teachers or school administrators to tell any child that they are a product of racism.
- When a parent or taxpayer asks questions, rather than ignore them or not answer their questions, or even belittle them for having a difference of opinion, answer their questions and address their concerns with a plan of action of how we can remediate the problem.
- Working for our tax dollars to be spent on teaching actual academics versus culture, climate and equity.
- When considering “Social Emotional Learning,” I would like to emphasize emotionally supporting students as they pursue their academics in a culture of respecting themselves and others, and learning to socially interact without labels or division. A school’s main role is to support them and guide them to academic success with the tools and skills necessary to navigate a rewarding career path; interacting with each other respectfully and with integrity is part of that process. Questioning and reflection are vital tools for developing the critical thinking skills that will help students succeed. These can only be exercised fully in a culture of mutual respect and integrity, not segregation and division.