Understanding the ballot: meet school board candidate Cindy Looper
In addition to ballot initiatives and city council, the people of Moffat County will also decide who will sit on the Moffat County School District board of education. One of those candidates is Cindy Looper, an incumbent running unopposed for an at-large seat.
Craig Press: What would be your three top priorities as a school board member?
- Passing the bond issue that is on the ballot is important to guarantee that our schools will be viable for the next generation. A small cost now will prevent having to totally replace a school building at a later date.
- Educate the students in our care in the best way possible. We found out last year that in-person education is really the gold standard and the way that most children learn. So much of our time in the last two years has been in mitigation. The administration has spent exhaustive hours trying to find what works to educate kids in a safe manner. The teaching staff is exhausted from trying to teach remotely and in person, and for covering for colleagues who are out sick. The staff has been working extra hard with constant sanitation and extra cleaning in addition to being short staffed.
- Continue to work on helping our students to be ready for their next steps after graduation. We had been making great strides on early literacy, and had just begun the work with the new math curriculum. Once we navigate through COVID we can again start to work consistently on increasing outcomes for kids.
CP: Some parents in the community are worried that masks may be enforced in schools. What is your approach to these concerns, and how would you balance that with public health concerns?
Looper: Our first desire is to keep students in person in front of teachers. We have an obligation to keep the staff and students safe. We have a plan in place that is working so far. It is based on the positivity rate in each building. At 2% positive, staff are asked to mask. At 3%, the students will also be required to wear masks. There is a lot of contention in our area regarding masks and their effectiveness. Everyone has to make their own decisions, but the School Board is doing their best to weigh those feelings while still being concerned about transmission and trying to keep to our primary focus of educating children.
CP: What is one way you would suggest that could get more community engagement (especially from citizens without children) in school matters?
Looper: The District Accountability Committee has been reinvigorated. If people are interested in helping form the direction of our School District, this is one area where they can be involved. Other options are for people to fill out the comment form on the website. The Superintendent is committed to meeting with people each Thursday morning at 7 a.m. at the downtown bookstore. These are all current options for people to express their opinion. Another way to get involved is to help volunteer at the school of your choice. With staff being quarantined it causes a shortage at the schools. Become part of the solution by helping to serve lunch one day or work with students in small groups. Small steps will allow you to get involved and be part of the solution.
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Moffat County schools’ administrative and leadership team has been working on an updated strategic plan and identified five priority initiatives for the district over the next five years.