Address: 3620 N Elmwood Ave.
Family: Husband, Kai Dickmann. Expecting first daughter in January.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Family Consumer Sciences from Illinois State University, graduated Cum Laude from the Honors program.
Job: Soon-to-be stay at home mom
Experience: 5+ years working with children and 3+ years organizing progressive community events
What is the most important issue facing your district?
The school district is obviously facing tough choices on budget issues but there are also issues such as the achievement gap, the truancy and dropout rate, and the perception of the quality of some of the schools. I would like to see the board reaching out to the support staff and teachers for ideas on how to save money and raise revenue through grants and fundraisers. The achievement gap, truancy, and the dropout rate are some things that I hope to address by giving teachers more freedom and support to reach students that are struggling to learn in their current setting. I feel that if students are engaged and feel like they are benefitting from their educational experience that they will try harder and be more likely to stay in school.
What do you see as the primary role of a board member?
I think that school board members should take a proactive role in coming up with solutions to problems the district is facing and they should be advocates for the students and the district. However, they should still be open to new ideas and perspectives. School board members should also make an effort to get to know all the buildings and the staff in each one.
What are your goals if you are elected?
My primary goals if elected are to reduce focus on high stakes testing, promote a well rounded curriculum with art and physical education programs, and empower teachers with the resources to reach out to struggling students. It has been proven nationally that students will do better on their test scores when they have a well rounded curriculum and experienced teachers who have the resources they need.
How should the district balance the sometimes competing financial needs of buildings, technology, instruction and athletics, especially in times of uncertain state funding?
The board should look at the drawbacks and benefits of potential spending and make decisions based on need and long term benefit. If funding from the state falls short I would rather look for fundraising opportunities such as applying for grants or holding a fund raising event than make drastic cuts.
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What made you decide to run for school board?
I have always been inspired by the idea of “make the change you want to see” and I had been looking for an opportunity to get more involved on the local level. The school board feels like the perfect place for me to make positive change because I have always been an advocate for education and I will be having my first child soon. I would like to make sure that the Davenport schools are somewhere that I will be proud and happy to send my daughter to.
What in your background prepares you to help lead a multi-million-dollar school district?
I graduated Cum Laude from Illinois State and have been a leader in local organizations since moving to the area. I am an avid reader, a fast learner, and have an aptitude for numbers. I may not know everything I need to know yet, but I am very determined.
Earlier this year, Gov. Terry Branstad announced a proposal that would make it more difficult to receive waivers to start the school year earlier. Do you believe that your district should start earlier or within the same calendar week that includes Sept. 1? Why?
I know this is a controversial issue because of economic factors verses educational priorities. I personally feel that the Davenport School District should consider the educational needs of its students first and foremost; the board should have local authority to make a decision on school year length based on the will of the parents of Davenport.
This year, the school board made the decision to restrict transfers between schools within the district, as well as re-draw boundaries, in an effort to curb overcrowding at some elementary schools. Do you agree or disagree with this decision? Why?
I talked to many parents who felt that the process for re-drawing boundaries was botched because many last minute changes were made with little effort to engage community input. While I support efforts to keep the schools up to date with population density and create equality between schools, I felt there should have been a much more transparent process.