School Board Candidate Response - Nancy Peppler
2942Edgehill Road Cleveland Heights 44118
Children: 2 Schools: Roxboro Middle
Education: BA and MSSA, CWRU
Occupation: VP, External Relations, Beech Brook
Qualifications: Served on CH-UH School Board since 2007. I have worked with, and on behalf of children, youth and families since for 25 years.
Community: Coventry P.E.A.C.E., participation on Transition Team Committee for Cuyahoga County Government.
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. The Most Important Thing: We must continue to improve the performance of our schools and strengthen the community connection to our schools. As a Board, we need to maintain support for the administration in developing building-level accountability for school performance. We have made strides; test scores are up, enrollment is up, and changes to the school schedules (such as block scheduling) have already begun to show a positive impact.
As a Board member, I will work to strengthen support of our schools through improving communications and connections with the community and will support policies and budgets that improve school performance.
2. The Budget: We have proactively cut over $6 million from the budget in the past four years. Due to these cuts, we delayed a levy request to 2011, when it was originally planned for 2010. This will be the smallest levy request in over 20 years. Our administration negotiated with our unions for all of our staff to receive a two-year pay freeze. These efforts may not be ‘innovative’, but they were necessary and effective.
3. Facilities: Our buildings simply cannot, in their current state, adequately support 21st Century teaching and learning. Teachers and administrators have been extremely creative and adaptive in their use of the district’s facilities, but the essential tenets of 21st Century teaching and learning require flexibility, work in groups both large and small, and maximizing the use of technology need to be supported. We can, I believe, through a combination of renovations and new construction, create facilities which support-not hinder-21st Century teaching and learning.
4. Communicate: The district can communicate regularly through electronic and print and through face-to-face communications with parents and community members. We have increased our communications vehicles but must do more to get ‘thought leaders’ and other community members to visit and learn about the schools. We can also work with the cities to continue to tell the story of the CH-UH schools. One area that I believe we can improve upon is to engage the local business community/leaders. We need to develop a plan to improve communications with this important stakeholder group.
5. Student Performance: I am in full support of the steps taken to improve student performance over the past several years. The administration identified the need to increase instructional time, made the change, and we are already seeing the impact. I also support the recent focus on literacy through re-deploying staff at the elementary level. This decision was made after significant data analysis and consultation with teachers and building level administrators, and I believe will have a positive impact in the years to come.