How do you feel about trying to remove books from libraries?
Mark Jarman - Certain books are inappropriate for small children, but I oppose banning works such as To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, and Lord of the Flies for middle and high schoolers. That said, parents have a right to know what their children are reading and curriculum and lesson plans related to those materials.
Dorothea Macon - Honestly, I would be less concerned with what is being removed and more with what is staying on the shelves. As a former researcher, material is often dated after a few years. Is the material more peer reviewed, empirically sound? I would need to consult with the Superintendent and School Board Member to determine what is economically feasible and appropriate for the needs of our diverse student population.
Sheena Polachowski – I think it’s unfortunate that districts are trying to remove books from libraries, as it appears many of those books are from or about disenfranchised groups. Removal of these books cause children of those groups to feel unseen and unheard, and no child should feel that way. As long as the subject matter is age appropriate, I support not removing books from the libraries.
Lisa Walker – I don’t agree with it. Books are meant to challenge and educate. For students banning books means a denial of First Amendment rights and a narrow world view.
Under what conditions do you think you would recommend, if ever, a return to virtual schooling or mask mandates?
Mark Jarman - These should only be re-employed as a last resort. It was prudent when there were many unknowns about the virus; that’s no longer the case. In-person instruction is critical for social development and, for some students, the school day may be the only time when they are safe and secure.
Dorothea Macon - If students’ and staff/administration/teachers health is at risk and it appears that the incidences of viruses are spreading.
Sheena Polachowski – Brown Deer has done a good job at requiring masks, however, I would recommend a return to virtual learning when the numbers reported by the Northshore Health Department shows unsafe amounts of infections in our district.
Lisa Walker – I believe students need to be in school learning and would only recommend masking if county mandates are in place.
What in your background or experience makes you a good choice for the school board?
Mark Jarman - My private sector experience means I’ll bring a practical approach, understanding that tough choices must be made. Statewide and here in Brown Deer, our per pupil costs are very high, but we treat taxpayers as a never-ending source of revenue.
Dorothea Macon - I have previously served on Brown Deer’s School Board and have first- hand knowledge of what is required of Board Members (time commitment and service). I was present during some hectic times…hiring of a new superintendent, new referendum for the school additions, and the start of the pandemic. Many hours were spent determining what is best for students and, also assisted in determining the best fit of staff/teachers/administrators to the district.
My previous background: Certified educator, hold a BS in Education, MS in Vocational and Technical Education, MS in Educational Policy Leadership with (All But Dissertation) status. I have over 30 years of demonstrated teaching experience (Communications/Adult Basic Education/ESL/K-12 Education/Careers/Business) with experience managing classrooms.
Sheena Polachowski – I have always been an advocate for youth and education. I’m a two time alumni of Americorps, where I worked closely with students on literacy and college readiness. I am also a former Care Coordinator for youth with serious emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs. I currently serve as Fundraising Chair for the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors Youth Foundation and Vice President of the Brown Deer Elementary PTO.
Lisa Walker – My daughter graduated in 2021 and my son is in the 9th grade and I care about what happens in the Brown Deer Schools. I see the importance of continuing the great things about our school district, and working to fix some of the needs, for all levels in the school district.
I want to state that I am NOT a politician. I am running for school board because I am concerned about the educational achievement of students in the district and want to ensure our children obtain the best education possible to prepare them for the future.
I am a candidate who has an open mind and a willingness to listen and learn. The board needs to listen to the voices of the administrators, teachers, parents, and students. I don’t have all of the answers and I won’t to try to convince you that I do. I am dedicated to do my best to continue to build a strong, healthy, and viable school district.
I am just a working mom who wants to get things done.
Are there curriculum-related or diversity-related issues that you think the current board members are not addressing? If so, what would you do differently?
Mark Jarman - The district must be fully-transparent about the curriculum. Instead of links to the rabbit hole of the DPI website about state standards, detailed information should be available on the BDSD site, including detailed lesson plans for all grade levels and classes.
Dorothea Macon - I believe that the Board addressed matters that are important to their students’ well-being and that any work in that area is on-going and ever present in the minds of those who work in education. Much has changed and much more can be done. It can only be done on a case by case basis…”cant eat an elephant in one bite”!
Sheena Polachowski – I think that our district does well at acknowledging diversity and equity, but I would like to see more equity pedagogy. Equity and diversity is not just exclusive to race, but also learning abilities. It is important that teaching practices have a focus on who, what, and how teaching happens.
Students deserve to see themselves in their lessons. To address this, I will advocate for more diverse curriculum plans and staff training within our district.
Lisa Walker – I think our current board is doing a good job with diversity/equity. However, like many other parents I’m more concerned with the violence at school. There needs to be more serious consequences for offenders.