District 622 Q&A: Rich BennettThe Bulletin asked District 622 School Board candidates the following questions:
Education: Bachelor of science from Mankato State University in industrial relations and marketing; attended Philip Crosby's Quality College
Occupation: Former materials manager with 3M, Cargil, Honeywell and ADC among others. Acted as quality and process control consultant for several large companies such as Sprague and Phillips.
Family: Married; two children; two grandchildren
Civic involvement: Current member of the district's Citizens Finance Committee; former softball coach; former member of the Maplewood Parks and Recreation Committee.
The Bulletin asked District 622 School Board candidates the following questions:
Q: What do you see as the major issues facing District 622?
A: Education performance – our district ranks, depending on who is scoring, at about 25 out of 38 metro districts. Our students will not be able to complete in this tough economy if we cannot do better; communication – we no longer have an opportunity as taxpayers, parents or even students to query our school board, you can only comment; finance – the current board is too quick to add levies to the taxpayers even when the program that caused the levy could easily financially cover all costs.
Q: How do you think the district should address learning gaps within its schools?
A: It would appear that parent involvement is a major factor. The easiest and fastest way to reduce the learning gap issues is to find schools who have been successful in benchmark, or collaborate, with them and learn from the experts. Webster School for example has had incredible success of late, the principal responsible has even been asked to speak at the state level. Share the wealth especially within the district to accelerate the learning curve. As I discuss this issue with district principals they agree and are working hard to make learning happen for all kids.
Q: How can the district incorporate technology into the classroom?
A: We have started by introducing Smart Boards. I would like to see more communication with districts who have pioneered things like iPads or notebook computers in the schools. There would be many parents who would be thrilled with their kids hauling smaller backpacks, but many parents would be upset by the upfront costs. It would open up the opportunity for teachers in the district to create homegrown curriculum in the future that could reduce costs and provide lesson plans that work better and are easily tailored to our students.
Rich Bennett is a challenger for District 622 School Board.