Citizens of White Hall District:
Crozet Town Hall, Sept. 11
How to vote for Joann McDermid for School Board
Joann believes that ABC is at the Core of an effective School Board member and a successful School Division
Academic accountability will be at the Core of my School Board focus
It is not good enough for the School Board to endorse a mission where the District “will know every student”…at the same time as student after student advances grade levels or even graduates with insufficient academic foundations to succeed beyond school.
We know too many White Hall District students are failing grade level core academics. This has been going on for years. This harms all students; and is more common in students with disabilities and racial, ethnic and economically disadvantaged groups.
We know that even the state-level assessments do not tell the whole story. For many years, the Nation’s Report Card showed that Virginia scores were above the national average. This is no longer the case. Now, grade 4 math and reading, and grade 8 reading have fallen to average, and the grade 8 math is slipping year after year towards the average.
We also know that exam data does not tell the whole story. What about academic accountability for the student who passes their classes and exams, but is bored and frustrated from insufficient academic challenges? What about the student who is content to remain ‘academically invisible’ by just meeting the minimum expectations, but deserves to go so much further – if only they were given a little nudge.
The status quo cannot continue. As a School Board member, I will ensure Academic Accountability is centered in every School Board policy, budget and performance evaluation in order to serve every student in achieving their educational goals, hopes and dreams. Academic Accountability starts with an upfront and clear agreement between the Board and the Superintendent on academic goals. It lays out the timeline and metrics to evaluate success. It is linked to consequences (for failure) or rewards (for success).
I believe that every student who is academically struggling, academically invisible or academically stifled deserves no less. I believe that every parent worried whether their children will graduate with a public education that is sufficient to succeed in the path they choose in life deserves no less. And I believe that every teacher, staff member and administrator who works hard to educate and support our children deserves no less.
B=Balance Budget Appropriations
Budgets balanced with appropriate expenditures will be at the Core of my School Board focus.
As a School Board member, the public is entrusting me to carefully review and, if, and only if appropriate, approve the District Superintendent’s budget proposal. If necessary, I will seek independent accounting advice to guide my decisions. When reviewing the budget, I will evaluate the following:
- Is this a mandatory funding obligation? In other words, is this a local, state or federally-‘mandated need’ with a legal obligation to fund?
- Is this a ‘justifiable need’ that directly, demonstrably and positively supports academic accountability or safety?
Once the above needs are funded, I will then consider the wants.
- Is this an ‘appropriate want’ for the current budget?
Most budgetary requests come from a desire to do better or wanting to do more. Give me any budget item, and it is likely a reasonable case can be made to support it. However, being a rubber stamp is irresponsible. Appropriateness must be weighed against the opportunity costs of doing something else, and sometimes, doing nothing at all. I believe that White Hall District constituents need a Board member to guard against the (fiscal and practical) impossibility of funding a budget to ‘do it all’. Questions must be asked whether the school budget is requesting funding for expenditures that are ‘aspirational wants’ but can be or are already provided elsewhere in the community, from the family or in our external system of supports or deferred to another year when the inflationary, tax and other economic pressures on individuals and businesses have eased.
C=Community-Derived Policy Input
Community-derived policy input will be at the Core of my School Board focus.
Some people believe the order of school business is: 1) The School Board create policies, 2) The District Superintendent operationalizes policies with procedures for day-to-day running of the system; 3) The individual schools communicate the policies and procedures for the students, parents and communities to accept and follow.
Instead, I believe that good policy must start with and be derived the perspectives of the White Hall District community constituents. This is a difficult challenge. Many people have remained silent about School Board policy for various reasons. Others may have spoken up in the past (e.g., at meetings, on surveys), but felt ignored. Some people may feel they are no longer stakeholders in public education because they do not work or volunteer at a school, have children or grandchildren currently enrolled or for other reasons. As all school board members actually serve at the will of the community that elects them, I intend to make ongoing and genuine efforts to actively solicit the representative perspectives of constituents over the course of my four-year term of office.
Take the School Stakeholders Quiz – is ABC + 123 at the Core?
Core Actions in the First 60 Days
1=Board Policy Audit
Audit existing School Board policy with ABC in mind (Academic Accountability, Balanced Budget Appropriations, Community-Derived Policy Input). After this comprehensive review, I will prioritize my efforts and begin working to improve existing policies or to develop new policy as needed.
Scrutinize the 2024-25 District Superintendent Budget proposal (that coincides with the start of my term in January 2024), with an aim to funding the ‘mandatory’ and ‘justifiable’ needs, and negotiating the ‘wants’ to ensure the budget funds academic accountability but not unjustifiable expenditures.
3=Establish Community Conduit
Establish a White Hall District Community Advisory Council that I will engage with throughout my term of office. This Council would be a conduit to grassroots community policy perspectives and guidance. Membership might include small business owners who employ current students and recent graduates, parents and grandparents of current students and recent graduates, higher education professionals who educate current dual-credit students or recent graduates in local community and technical centers and universities, and retirees who have accumulated a lifetime of wisdom (and arguably earned the right to tell it like it is)!
Campaign News and Events
See all the latest coverage of Joann McDermid’s School Board Campaign:
Joann McDermid Campaign Announcement Speech
NBC29: McDermid Announces Candidacy
Joann McDermid: "Why I Want to Serve"
A word about voting
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