Meet Marie Haupt
1. Why are you running for election? It has always been a dream of mine to be on the school board. It is a family tradition. My great-grandfather, my grandfather, and my great-uncle have all been on school boards of a school in the Francis Howell district. I believe I can provide a different perspective on the board since I was a teacher in the district for 34 years. I have been in the classroom and I know how the decisions of the board can effect the students, teachers, and staff.
2. Why do you think you should be on FHSD’s Board of Education? I think I should be on the board because I have been in this district all of my life. Having been a teacher here I have an understanding of how our district works and its history. I have served on several district and building committees. I am approachable and stay in touch with several staff and patrons throughout the district. I think their input is very important to the decisions that are made by the board. I have the perspective of being a former student, a parent, and an employee and I want what is best for our students and teachers.
3. What do you hope to do for the district, if elected? I hope I can put a voice to the students and staff on all issues. Being a retired teacher I want to help to maintain and improve our high curricular expectations. I hope to restore lost positions.
4. What types of things do you think the Board should be focusing on right now? I think the board should be focusing on the uncertainty of the financial situation facing the district. They need to be exploring ways to keep our programs and staff in light of possible cuts due to less money coming from state and local taxes.
5. What has the school board been focusing on this year? From my observations during the meetings the board has spent a lot of discussion on the bond money projects: FHHS, Castlio, Daniel Boone, etc. They have been reviewing some curriculum’s that are up for revision.
6. What do you like most about our district? That is hard to say since I have lived here for so long there is a lot I could say. I guess I would have to say knowing where we started the progress we have made to make this a quality district. We continue to grow and make improvements. We are one of the leading districts in the state. Our perseverance to continue to improve and the recognition we have received in that area. Our students continue to soar and make us proud.
7. Why has the district been focusing a lot on bullying? Is that seen often throughout the schools? What are ways you would like to help fix that problem? I think this is a district focus because we care about our students. We don’t want to see anyone hurt. As an educator our first instinct is to protect. It is hard for anyone being bullied to be able to focus on improving their life when they are always looking over their shoulder. I think it happens more often than most adults know. Being a teacher I would see things that students didn’t think I was noticing. Bulling most often happens when adults are not around. A bully doesn’t want to get caught, it is all about the power they have over that person. I think there are some “fixes” already in place in the district, but it is not an easy fix. Having the SROs in the buildings help, having the counseling programs we have, having counselors available for students to go talk to, having “care and concern” boxes/email for students to contact, teachers have been trained on how to handle these situations, and our code of conduct. I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of right now. I am open to any programs or ideas that the staff may find helpful.
8. How has technology changed throughout the schools? (Smart Boards, iPads, tablets, etc.) How will that impact students’ learning? What are your thoughts on the district using more technology – and social media – in classes? In our district we started getting computers in the classrooms in the 1980s. The focus was “how can we improve student’s learning?” We found computer programs that would help. Our focus was all about the curriculum and students’ learning. As time went on the focus changed to the infrastructure of the technology and we lost some of the curriculum focus. Now we are back to focusing on the learning. Although there are studies out there that say technology improves learning there are others that say it does not. I think we are moving in the right direction. Students need to be exposed to the right technology and how to use it safely. I think using the new technologies along with BYOD (bring your own device) can be helpful as long as it is supervised. Students will be using technology in their jobs and we need to prepare them on how to use them and to adapt to new technologies. We know there will be jobs out there for a lot of our students that aren’t even invented yet. We have to prepare them to be ready.
9. How did the $4 million get overlooked last year when a lot of teachers were laid off? What is the school using the money for now? Not being on the board and not being privy to everything I don’t think the money got overlooked. For example, we get about 25% of our funding from the state. For the upcoming year, 2012-2013, the state still hasn’t decided how they are going to pay the districts. We don’t know how much we are getting from the state, it could be $4 million less or $4 million more. I think that is what happened this year. We didn’t find out about the money until our budget had already been decided on. That money we received is not renewable, meaning we can’t be sure we will have it next year. We can’t hire staff if we don’t know if the money is going to be there. As far as I know the money is being used for capital projects. That is a one time expense. For example, it could be used to replace carpeting, fix a heat pump, provide technology, or furniture.
10. How long has the district been working on the School Messenger? Why did the district decide to do that? I’m on the district technology committee and if I remember correctly we have been talking about a notification system for the last 3-5 years. School Messenger was the most inexpensive and it is a more efficient way to let the parents know what is going on in the district. For example, when school is called early because of weather some parents are at work and are not around a TV or radio. This way they can get informed immediately to make whatever arrangements they need to make. It can be used for other type notifications as well.
11. What are your three main priorities if you are elected to the board of education? My top three priorities for the district are to maintain/restore our academic programs, keep the class size at the state’s desirable standards with a quality teaching staff, and maintain district balances. With the economy having a critical impact on our district we have to find a way to keep/restore our academic programs and keep/hire a quality staff.