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Why We Need to Elect Professional Educators to Run the School Board of Trustees

Did you know that historically the CCSD Board of Trustees, which manages the fifth largest school district in the nation, has been run by business people and non-educators, not professional educators? Did you know that it is impossible for a public school teacher to be on the Board of Trustees unless the teacher quits their job? The CCSD Board of Trustees is a policy making board that provides oversight to the Superintendent. Each individual Trustee is responsible for the schools, educators, staff, and students in their respective district. Citizens often complain about our schools being 49th in funding and 35th in student achievement. Let’s do something different. Let’s elect Professional Educators to the CCSD Board of Trustees!

Imagine how inefficient and unsafe a medical board or dental board not run by qualified physicians or dentists would be? Imagine CCSD being managed by caring, highly qualified, experienced, and licensed Educators? You don’t have to imagine it… you can achieve it with your vote!

Our community deserves excellence, not mediocrity. Our children deserve a safe place where they can thrive. Our educators and support staff deserve respect for what they do. Our children, and our children’s children should be confident as their education prepares them for success in life for generations to come!

As every modern teacher knows, and right now since we’re at home, every parent is getting to know; that teaching is so much more than just lecturing and grading papers. Teaching has become a juggling act, with something always in the air. Standardized testing has risen to the top of the priority list as opposed to learning. We now see that test results account for how our schools receive funding. How teachers are evaluated. How our children learn. This coupled with data collecting, meetings, new programs, new curriculum, constant changes in standards, and a myriad of other things that seem to change on a regular basis, has resulted in very little time for teachers to spend on the art of teaching and perfecting lessons.

With experienced educators actually running our policy-making CCSD Board, we can save money and time. Difficult decisions are made by the board. Decisions that have a lasting effect on our community for years. We currently have millions of dollars in unfunded mandates, without a plan to pay them. This is stressful for all involved, from the CCSD Board to parents. Short term-thinking has kept our school district from rising to the top. Our teachers, support staff, and most especially our children deserve a safe place to thrive in. Together we can make it happen!

We have real problems in our school district. In classrooms throughout the valley, we have students without enough desks or books in overcrowded classes. Schools in dire need of repair. New schools needed where new homes have been built. Students lacking food at home. School safety (both physically and emotionally), a lack of respect, a need for accountability, and eliminating discrimination should be the Board’s focus. If you elect me, I promise to keep you informed of not only the issues, but of the solutions. As an educator, it is in my blood to break confusing topics down and to teach and to lead. I have been a North Las Vegas resident for over 20 years. I will do everything in my power to ensure the best learning conditions for our children, the best working conditions for educators and staff, and the safest learning environment possible.

Unlike some who have run for or have been elected Trustee, I am not just trying to be an elected official. I’m not a politician. I’m a Professional Educator who wants excellence for Trustee District C! I will use my authority to help create a common vision for the future and success of our Public School System, bringing my 20+ years of experience to the Board of Trustees. I will improve communication between CCSD and the Community. I will work with our different political branches, communicate with builders and local businesses, and do the work necessary. Your voice matters!

Please mail in and cast your vote to help ensure a better, brighter future in District C and Nevada!

Copyright © Barbara A. Dreyer
Candidate for CCSD Board of Trustees, District C

Barbara A. Dreyer, M.Ed. is a former public school teacher who is running to serve on the CCSD Board of Trustees for Trustee District C. The current Trustee, Dr. Linda Young, is term limited and cannot run for re-election… The Editors

Ten Things You Can Do at Home with Your Kids or By Yourself

Before we get into ten things you can do at home with your kids (or by yourself), remember this moment. For generations to come, we will tell stories of how we survived this pandemic. We will sound similar to our parents and grandparents who raised us with their stories of how they “walked to school, uphill, in the snow, both ways” as they drove us to school in the warm car.

Looking forward, many good things are coming from this time:

  • A slower, healthier pace of life
  • Looking out for our neighbors
  • Family time increased
  • Taking more walks
  • Appreciation for the little things
  • Sharing our skills and resources more freely
  • Innovations
  • New policies to prevent this from happening again

I ❤love❤ to brainstorm ideas and create lists, so here are the first 10 Things You Can Do at Home with Your Kids (or By Yourself) to keep the boredom away, for little to no money:

  1. Get 15 minutes of sunshine ☀ daily. Our bodies make Vitamin D in the sun, which helps fight depression and helps support the immune system.
  2. Read a book. 📖 Yes, pick up an old favorite off the shelf or one you just never had time to read. Modeling behaviors (reading, for example) is more effective and longer lasting than telling kids to read. I authored a book entitled; “Negative Past, Positive Tomorrow”. I am giving away signed copies with every $45 or greater donation to our campaign.
  3. Su Do Ku, the math puzzle that uses the numbers 1 through 9. It is addictive! You can only use 1-9 once in each small box, as well as only once horizontally, and once vertically.
  4. Turn on some music 🎶 and dance like no one’s watching! Music has healing properties, and the act of dancing creates healthy, happy endorphins in the body that help us stay happier longer. If you have lots of kids, space, and chairs -> play musical chairs!
  5. Do a jigsaw puzzle. If you don’t have one, they’re very inexpensive to purchase online. Difficulty ranges, as do the number of pieces. Be nice to yourself and pick a colorful puzzle to start with, and work up to a challenge. *Tip: put the edges together first, then fill in the middle.
  6. Bake or cook a new recipe, or a family favorite together (or alone). Kids enjoy feeling helpful, and jobs like measuring, stirring, pouring, keeping the timer ⏱ can engage everyone. Celebrate by eating together.
  7. Work in the garden; 🌱 see if you can get the base end of a veggie clipping to grow (celery works well). It is very grounding to work with soil and plants, also a great way to connect our kids to the value of food we eat.
  8. Write in a journal 📓 or diary. It’s not a secret that we are all going through a difficult and very different time together, and alone. One of the best ways to get feelings out… to see, reflect, and learn from experiences as we go through them is to write. Again, modeling the behavior you want to see your kids do is so effective.
  9. Call/Skype/FaceTime/Messenger or reach out to a friend or family member every day. ☎ Staying connected is a part of staying healthy, for our social human species. Your call can absolutely brighten someone’s entire day! Encourage your kids to jump on the call, even just to say hi, so the kids feel connected with the outside as well.
  10. Move the body to get your heart ❤ rate up daily. Ideas:
    • Go for a walk
    • Bike
    • Online exercise classes (I am live on Facebook Tuesday/Thursday 1pm & Saturday 10:30am feel free to join us) alone or the whole family, and workout from your home.
    • Challenge yourself and count how many jumping jacks you can do before you get tired, and then add one to the total each day!

If you found this blog to be helpful, please share it. Take care of yourself and your family. Be safe and stay as positive as possible.

Copyright © Barbara A. Dreyer

Ten Things Highly Effective Teachers Do (Part II)

In Part I, to recap, I listed the first five of ten things highly effective teachers do:

  1. Being Positive
  2. Encourage Discussion
  3. Never Hold a Grudge
  4. Feedback is Key
  5. Value & Encourage Parent/Guardian Involvement

Part one of this blog was written before I knew we would be fighting a virus worldwide. Now that parents are at home with their children everywhere, the message of this blog is now not only for the educators in the classroom, but for the parents at home, as well. Now, on to Part II…

Here are the second five of ten ways highly effective teachers keep their class interested and engaged in learning:

  1. Make Learning Active – Finding ways in which students can be actively engaged in their learning, leads to more impactful takeaways. We now know that it’s more than just listening or watching that give us a firm grasp on how to do something. Actually trying it out for yourself, you are more likely to get it and remember it!
  2. Advocate – For yourself, your students, for families, for supplies, for services, for training, etc. Teachers are busy people, and need to remember it’s ok to be your own advocate. Like putting your oxygen mask on first in an airplane. The most important thing you have to remember is to take care of yourself.
  3. Be Resourceful – In this unprecedented time, while we are all asked to stay home, thinking outside of the box is a must more than ever as we navigate new waters together. Be creative, reach out!
  4. Get Uncomfortable – Teachers and parents lead by example, whether trying to or not. Students learn that it’s okay to be uncomfortable trying new things when you show them it’s okay. Projects, options, innovations.
  5. Encourage Life Long Learning – Having hobbies, passions, and learning new things all benefit the teacher and students! Benefits are endless.

Copyright © Barbara A. Dreyer

Ten Things Highly Effective Teachers Do (Part I)

We can all most likely remember a teacher we did not connect with, just as we can all probably remember our favorite teacher, and it can all come down to the ten things highly effective teachers do. The teacher definitely makes a difference in how we learn, for example: when a teacher is enthusiastic about the subject, it makes learning more exciting for the class. Teaching therefore is both a science and an art!

Here are the first five of ten ways highly effective teachers keep their class interested and engaged in learning:

  1. Being Positive – Even the most uninteresting and tedious tasks can be made easier and more enjoyable when approached from a positive point of view. It goes a long way when the teacher is excited about the subject matter.
  2. Encourage Discussion – No one likes the feeling of walking on egg shells, right? When students feel like they can ask anything or say anything to their teacher, then more teachable moments naturally happen. When students are comfortable, they are able to absorb and retain more.
  3. Never Hold A Grudge – Be willing to offer second chances. After a student has an outburst, a meltdown or a bad day, begin the next day with a clean slate. This allows for a fresh start and the opportunity for the students to learn from your example.
  4. Feedback is Key – Give frequent and timely feedback on assignments so students are able to learn how they can improve. Just as formative assessments are important for teachers to gauge where their students are at throughout the lesson, feedback is crucial for students understanding and comprehension of what they are supposed to be learning.
  5. Value & Encourage Parent/Guardian Involvement – Find a way you can connect with your student’s family as frequently as you can. Telephone, email, and always invite them to class to sit in, pop in, help out… A mid-class phone call home if needed can really make a great impression on the whole class! Find ways to connect.

Ten Things Highly Effective Teachers Do Part II

Copyright © Barbara A. Dreyer

The Power of Public Education

I believe in the power of public education! Having attended public school in California, earning a Master’s Degree in Education, and then choosing to teach in a public school classroom in Nevada, this says a lot.

No matter where you come from, or who you are public schools have a critical role to play in ensuring that you are prepared: prepared for college, prepared for work, prepared for a successful life. Across the nation there are millions of children waiting for an opportunity to realize their potential, and many find it in the classroom: through a caring teacher who takes the time, through practice and experience, through trial and error, through self-learning and discovery.

Meanwhile, our schools and our students are struggling to keep up with an ever changing world. Public school employee turnover is way too high, as teachers leave depressed and overwhelmed in their first few years when they were supposed to be the most excited. Many employers are increasingly struggling to fill job openings because there’s a lack of qualified applicants. Simultaneously the growing divide in economic opportunity is tearing at the fabric of our society. Sadly, we now question the likelihood of whether the next generation will do better than their parents did.

Students And Teachers Need To Be Heard

Over the last hundred years, nearly everything has changed yet our school systems look and function the same pretty much as they did when our parents and grandparents attended. Whether we see it from the point of you of the young people attending school, or from the point of view of the betterment of our great Nation, we need to be bold and creative as we look to the future.

When a teacher supported, and curriculum is aligned, and class sizes are manageable, and the environment is healthy, then students can thrive in public school as they develop into valuable productive contributing members of society. Businesses then have a great selection of employees and opportunities for success increase.

Across the nation, Nevada has been at the top of the wrong lists in education and at the bottom of the right lists in education for way too long! Public schools can and need to be once again a safe haven, a productive interesting learning environment, and effective means of raising our children to be happy, independent, and successful adults.

Public education has the power to change lives. Public education has the power to encourage, to inspire, to guide and to help make our great country believe in the American Dream once again.

Copyright @ Barbara A Dreyer