School Board Questionnaire
1. Why are you running to serve on the Board of Education for Modesto City Schools?
2.What are the top three challenges facing Modesto City Schools during the next several years?
3. How can the Modesto City Schools Board of Education improve preparing students for jobs in our local economy?
4. What can the business community do to assist the Modesto City Schools Board of education to improve preparing students for jobs in our local economy?
Amy Elliott Neumann
1. I am seeking re-election to the Modesto City Schools Board of Education to continue what I started – advocacy for our students and our community. As a mother of two children who attend District schools, I bring a needed parent perspective to the Board. I see firsthand how decisions made by the Board impact our students. Since being elected in 2011, I worked to increase student instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Additionally, I made decisions that helped raise our graduation rates, expand services to English learners, and support students with special needs. I will continue to advocate for increased excellence at all levels and for the support and expansion of successful District programs. My voting record reflects the accountability and high standards I expect across the District. I am an engaged and informed board member and I bring my skills as a practicing civil litigation attorney to the Board. I know what it takes to run a business and I use these business skills to represent the community.
2. The three biggest challenges facing Modesto City Schools are
student performance, aging facilities and the infusion of technology
into the classroom.
Student performance on standardized tests has declined across the District. We need our students prepared and ready to succeed at college or career. I will continue to push for accountability at all levels in the District to increase student performance. MCS has thirty-four schools to maintain, many over sixty years of age. These aging facilities will require major upgrades to keep them safe for our students and staff. The infusion of technology into the classroom is expensive and challenging. Costly investment in our technology infrastructure, training of staff and replacement of old computers need to be made. While it is a challenging time in education, the possibilities for our students are exciting. I look forward to being a part of meeting these challenges.
3. We need to raise student performance and provide more vocational education opportunities to our students. To bring high paying, quality jobs to our community, we have to better prepare our students. Our college education rate lags behind most of California and to bridge this gap, student performance has to increase.
At the same time, we need to recognize that not every student will go to college. Our local economy needs workers who have a variety of vocational skills. The District neewds to continue to provide students with vocational skills and increase the opportunities to gain those skills, so that our students are ready and able to enter the workforce upon graduation.
4. The greater Modesto area business community has been an incredibly generous partner with Modesto City Schools. From funds, to free food, to free health exams, the business community has responded with enthusiasm to our schools. The continued generous support of our students and our programs is greatly appreciated.
As we look to the future, I would like to hear more feedback from our business community about how prepared our students are for our workforce. In response to the feedback, I would like to see the District collaborate with our business community to better meet the needs of the community and provide our employers with better prepared workers.
1. I feel that there needs to be a voice for teacher, students, and parents that has a background in science and technology that is opposed to the false narrative that we have raised the bar on standards.
2. First would be allowing our teachers to get back research-based, tried and true teaching methodologies. Second would be getting out of the current testing mentality that is driving instruction instead of instruction driving the test. Lastly is that current high school graduation requirements will not get students into selective Universities such as the UC system.
3. I believe the most important two things we could do is get back using research based, scientifically proven textbooks instead relying solely on online content / applications. Second would be getting the English Language Arts back to traditional literature instead of the current focus on informational text.
4. I believe the community reading program that began this summer should be continued and expanded in any way possible. The individuals who can get our legislators and school board members to listen and change their position on the lowered standards are and always will be the business community. Your help in not only needed it is critical to changing our course towards one that will allow us to succeed in a changing world.
1. I have already served five terms, and there is still a lot to do. I have several pet projects I would like to see accomplished. More selections for non-college bound students a ROTC program, and a district wide safety staff are a few projects.
2. A. Safety
B. Selection of new Superintendent
C. Implementation of common core.
3. We can offer more courses for non-college bound students.
We need to form Partnerships with local unions to provide
4. Tell us what you need, and we can do our best to provide it. Continue the Stanislaus Partners in Education (SPIE) programs another way.
1. I am uniquely qualified and willing to serve. I have an MBA degree, 12 years of experience on the Sylvan School Board and have run a successful property management business locally for 30 years. My passion for community service, especially for kids, has been a driving influence throughout my life. Most recently, I serve as a board member on the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County. Mine will be a voice of hope, reason, and accountability.
2. A. Student Achievement. Recent test scores show tremendous need for improvement. Scores will improve when the entire community takes ownership of the challenge! Change comes one student at a time, through mentoring, parent education, and effective community involvement in the LCAP process.
B. Allocation of Education Funds. New funding formulas have resulted in an influx of additional funds. Priority needs to be focused on student achievement, and safety, and the need to retain and attract the best educators and staff. Technology and modernization also need to be addressed.
C. Aging Schools and Modernization. The Average age of the schools is over 50 years. Modernization is a constant need. We to ensure the best learning environment for all students.
3. A. Encourage increased collaboration between businesses and the district to define needs and create more on and off campus learning opportunities for students.
B. The Board can support and encourage more business involvement in career development opportunities through the high school learning academies, and events such as career workshops and assemblies at elementary, junior and high schools.
C. Board members are a conduit for collaborative sharing. We become cheerleaders for educational excellence on an off campus!
D. The Board and District need to increase the focus on teaching job readiness skills and the importance of learning a trade. Even college prep students benefit by learning skills that help them “earn while they learn”.
4. A. One-on-One Mentoring. Business leaders can set the example and encourage their employees to do the same. One hour a week of positive mentoring can make a huge difference for any child!
B. Employers can encourage parental involvement by offering flexible scheduling that permits parents to volunteer in classrooms, attend parent conferences and attend important student events.
C. Business and Trade Organizations can get more involved within the learning academies. They can create more ROP and summer jobs for teens.
D. Employers can encourage and provide parent education opportunities.
E. Trade groups can offer service opportunities for students to work side-by-side with trade professionals on projects like Habitat for Humanity, teaching skills while helping students fulfill service requirements for graduation.
F. Businesses can provide mentoring, ROP jobs, summer internships, scholarships and future employment opportunities to students so they have incentives to return to the community after completing a degree. We can start early, nurture strong relationships, and support their return as future leaders!
G. Collaborative efforts can help build a strong workforce that will help attract new businesses to Modesto!