VERSAILLES – Versailles constituents were able to hear from the candidates, Oct. 25, that are running for the Versailles Exempted Village Schools Board of Education in the upcoming election.
Candidates presented their desires for running and answered four questions, at the Versailles Performing Arts Center. The following are the candidates running for full term: Traci L. Anthony, Christopher S. Leach, Matt Magoto, incumbent Jim Raterman, Tony Rose, Jerry Shardo. Those running for the unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2019, are incumbent Tom Ording and Ruth A. Peters.
Moderator Dick Detrick asked the following four questions. A school community is made up of student, faculty and administration – how do you plan on reaching out to each of these members to get a true understanding of how the school community is interacting; How familiar are you with long-range financial planning, including purposes and objectives, and in particular with the Verailles School District’s five – year forecast and its assumptions? If you determine you need additional knowledge, how would you pursue that quest, or would you just place your trust in the treasurer?; Studies continue to show that early childhood education is a most critical phase in a student’s education pathway. What one resource do you believe is of greatest significance and needs most investment?; and question four came from the Versailles Government class: What is one educational challenge that the district must address, and how do you as a candidate plan on addressing this concern? The following are the candidates answers to question four.
Ruth A. Peters was not in attendance. Her answer was read by Amy VanSkyock: With the growing use of technology in classroom instruction, it is a challenge to keep our students informed in the safe use of the technology that is available to them. This includes making sure they do not access harmful or inappropriate websites. I would address this by ensuring that the school staff work closely with the Ohio Education Computer Network, to make sure we are utilizing all the resources they provide to block inappropriate material.
Jim Raterman – Overall, we do a very good job of educating our students here at Versailles, but there is always room for continuous improvement. What I see lacking, and this goes back to my business background and working with most of the manufacturers here in this part of the country, is we have to do a better job in schools, relating knowledge to career paths or job opportunities. We have students that sit in math class and don’t understand why they need to learn that equation or formula. We have to find a way to bring reality and relativity to our teachings here at the school. We can really make education more relative to career paths and job opportunities in the future.
Tony Rose – It is important as a board member not to come at this from one dimension, but the whole dimension. I don’t know of any specific areas that the school needs to improve on. The schools have done quite well compared to the rest of the state. A lot of it is understanding and listening. What are those issues? What are the technology changes? What are the teaching methodology changes, and how is our community changing? We talk about this generation, the next generation or the one after that. We need to understand that these things change. Are we offering assistance in the right way to the right children?
Jerry Shardo – I think the biggest thing is to keep advancing our kids with technology. Versailles does very well with technology, but it is only going to get faster and more challenging for our kids to stay up. Throwing a bunch of money at it is not the answer. We don’t need to be on that cutting edge of technology, but we do need to be on the blade somewhere. For instance, Versailles schools introduced Chromebooks a couple of years ago, and I think that was a fabulous idea.
Traci L. Anthony – The district should address the lack of guidance for our high school students, and lack of communication to high school parents. Our high school students and parents are not given all of the options, resources and information they need to make informed decisions, that will ultimately affect their child’s future. The district must also address the lack of resources for parents to help their children with their homework. The elementary school needs workshops or meetings with parents, to show them how common core math is done, as it is different than when they attended school. Starting in fifth grade, all students have their own personal Chromebooks, and the lack of resources diminished even further. There are no books or workbooks for parents’ reference. Our school needs to do a much better job at making resources available.
Christopher S. Leach was not in attendance. His answer was read by Amy Carman – One of the best programs available for our high school students is the College Credit Plus program. Being able to graduate high school with college credits can save a student and their family thousands of dollars. Even my own high school children are taking advantage of this great program. But, as we move forward, we will face some difficulties. We don’t know what the state may change in their biennial budget. The district currently pays for the tuition, and to save the district the most money, we need credentialed teachers eligible to teach college level courses. The requirements for credentials can and do get changed. I think we have to ask ourselves if we are fairly compensating teachers taking on this responsibility, as they do save our students thousands of dollars in the future.
Matt Magoto – How do we make sure we meet our kids where we need to? Every kid learns differently. They require different resources to be successful. What are those resources, and at what level do we need to meet them? Technology is ever-changing, so obviously budgets are very very important too. We can’t just throw many at it, but we truly need to understand what the kids need. For those kids wanting to attend college or enter the workforce; we should encourage each of them and have the resources to help them prepare for those plans. We need to understand what levels we come in at, what resources we have and make sure those are available for the kids.
Tom Ording – The one challenge I see today going forward, is trying to fit the needs of each individual child. I have received feedback from teachers. The challenges that they face in the classrooms today, are much different, as our society has changed. Those kids coming through these classroom doors are challenging our teachers on a daily basis; some good and some bad. It is a different setting today. I think that is our biggest challenge, and probably to every school district around. That is what we have to try to knock down. How do we educate these kids in their individual needs? Not every kid moves along at the same pace.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.