Hayden School Board candidates discuss standardized testing, school calendar during forum
Hayden — Three Hayden School Board candidates agreed that educating families about the importance of education is crucial for the district and students to succeed.
The candidates spoke during a forum held Tuesday evening at Hayden Town Hall. There were 18 people in the audience.
There are four candidates running for three open spots on the board. The Nov. 5 election will decide who gets seated.
Candidate Tim Frentress Sr. wrote in letter handed out at the forum that he was unable to attend because he already had committed to taking a trip to sell his calves. The other three candidates are Medora Fralick, Brian Hoza and Sharon Johnson.
The forum was moderated by Kevin Kleckler, Hayden’s vocational education teacher and director of the Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center. Each of the candidates took turns answering a series of questions. Among them, Kleckler asked how the schools in the district should measure student achievement. The board members addressed the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, or TCAP, testing.
“I truly believe that a more accurate measure is individual student process and tracking the process,” Fralick said. “You can’t take the TCAP from one year and compare it to next year because it’s not apples to apples.”
Johnson agreed that they need to look at each student individually to gauge achievement.
Hoza said that TCAP scores are only one measure and that one of the school district’s strengths is that students are given an opportunity to be highly involved at all levels.
“All sorts of activities are available.” Hoza said.
All three of the candidates said they were against vouchers that parents can use to send their children to private schools.
The length of the school year and length of school days also were discussed.
Fralick pointed out that Hayden has 158 school contact days with students compared with the state average of 180.
“I think the school day right now is pretty darn long,” Fralick said. “I think that could be a detriment to the student. I think we should consider extending the school year.”
Johnson said she was not sure the school year should be extended, though she acknowledged that the school days are long.
“I’m not sure there is a correlation between the number of days in class and TCAP scores,” Johnson said.
Hoza said the board should listen to the staff and administration when considering any changes.
“Any changes are always difficult and challenging, but I don’t think we should be afraid to take risks or make changes if that will help our schools,” Hoza said.
Kleckler also asked the candidates about their ideas for improving the district.
Hoza said it was important for the district to help parents know what their roles are and to keep involved as the students go through the elementary, middle and high school.
“It increases or improves the whole sense of community,” Hoza said.
Fralick said it was important to educate families and students about why education is important.
“I see a lot of kids that go through our school that think standardized testing is a joke,” Fralick said. “It’s got to start with the family.”
“There are lots of ways the parents can be invested and engaged and help the students understand how important education is,” Johnson said.
After four years of hard work, members of Moffat County High School’s Class of 2019 are striving to keep going for greatness in the world, and the Bulldogs who took top honors during graduation aren’t just sitting on their laurels.