Two seats on the West Bend School Board will be up for grabs in an at-large election on April 3.
Joining incumbent Monte Schmiege on the ballot are three challengers, Chris Zwygart, Kurt Rebholz and Mary Weigand. Leaving the board is Tim Stellmacher, who was appointed to the board mid-term and did not file for re-election.
The West Bend Current asked the candidates about their background. That interview material is presented below in the order that the candidates will appear on the ballot. Continue reading
Why are you running for school board?
Well, I have three years of experience in the district. I think it is important to have some experience on the board rather than new members every single year because it does take some time to get acclimated to the business of the school board and what it’s all like, what the responsibilities are, what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. So it takes quite a bit of time to get acquainted to all of that. Continue reading
What are your budgeting priorities for the school district?
Seventy-five percent of the money goes towards staffing so that is a big component of that and then you’ve got a component which would be for construction materials and all of that. The district is putting 1.4 million dollars into retaining the school grounds. Those are the primary ones and we also have debt that we have to pay for. Continue reading
What is the board’s role when it comes to curriculum changes?
That’s an interesting question because I have a different opinion on that. Some people will say that we need to leave that to the experts and I don’t necessarily believe that. If we had policies or some way to describe what curriculum should look like that would be one thing, but we really don’t. And things change so much that it is difficult to do that. I think the board’s role is oversight. But I worked with administration to update our policy to allow the board to approve standards and curriculum and this is modeled after what Green Bay does, as a matter of fact. And the board is also responsible by law and action in August to authorize a list of board-approved standards so there is a precedent of the board approving standards. Continue reading
The West Bend School Board will have a new look after the election on April 4.
Three seats are on the ballot and only one incumbent, Ryan Gieryn, is running for re-election, which means the board will have at least two new faces. Leaving the board are president Rick Parks and vice-president Bart Williams.
Gieryn will be joined by Richard Cammack, Nancy Justman, Bob Miller, Joel Ongert, and Tonnie Schmidt on the ballot. The West Bend Current asked each candidate about their background. That interview material is presented below in the order that the candidates will appear on the ballot. Continue reading
What is your motivation for running for school board and what are your intentions if elected to the board?
The West Bend School District was once among the best in Southeast Wisconsin. “Excellence for All” was something the entire community, parents, students, teachers, alumni and business owners believed in. West Bend was the district where every parent wanted to send their child… A Destination! What happened? Unfortunately, the standard of excellence has changed over the years. This is why I am running for school board, and where my campaign slogan was born. “Restoring Excellence!” We CAN get back to “Excellence for All.” We know what it looks like and our district can achieve that again. Continue reading
How do you think Galileo testing should be used in the West Bend School District?
Galileo testing should be eliminated immediately! Our students are being tested too much and this expensive platform provides no value for students, teachers or parents. Teachers should not be held accountable to tests that do not align with what is being taught in the curriculum, and neither should our students. These tests do not help the teachers individualize learning plans or improve outcomes. The time used for testing would be much better spent on teaching. The money saved by not having to pay for these tests could be allocated to positions where a need has clearly been demonstrated, such as social workers, librarians and classroom aides. Continue reading
How do you think Common Core should be used in the West Bend School District?
That is a complicated question because the Common Core discussion has been so politicized. I believe in high standards and Common Core is a set of standards. The confusion starts when people misunderstand standards for curriculum. Common Core is not curriculum. I believe that teachers are subject matter experts and should create curriculums. Administrators, the federal government, the school board do not have the knowledge base to build or approve curriculums. We should trust that we hire the best instructors and get out of their way to let them do their jobs! Ultimately, the race to meet Common Core has resulted in more testing and teaching to the test as well as haphazard curriculum changes here in West Bend. As a school board member, I will work diligently to stop that cycle. That doesn’t mean we lower standards, it means that we focus on putting authentic learning first again. Continue reading
Math courses are trying a new student-led curriculum
By Abby Gawrych and Lily Mottet, Current Staff
East ninth grader Jordan Jentsch never expected to act as the teacher in her math class.
The WBHS curriculum for algebra and geometry was altered this year, moving to a group-based learning style. Some of the high school teachers believed that a group approach would be beneficial to the students. They started their research a year ago but the plan was first implemented after observing the teaching style in person at a high school in Oshkosh. Continue reading