I am writing to announce that I am seeking re-election to Shenendehowa’s Board of Education.
As a current BOE member, I would like to continue to offer my experience and passion to advocate for our students, teachers/staff, families and our extended Shenendehowa community. I have the experience serving in this capacity and have built a positive rapport and trusting relationship with our teachers, staff, administrators, and our community—most evident this past year with the contested land sale during which I stood firm in my position of preserving a quality of life and ensuring safety for our children and community. I have a strong voice with an honest approach and high expectations for accountability and transparency. It’s imperative that residents feel they can instill their trust in our BOE and Administration to give careful consideration to input, and make objective, sound decisions with the best interest of our students in mind—improving outcomes for our students and enhancing the efforts of our teachers and staff, while being fiscally responsible with our community’s investment.
Our school district, and public education as a whole, continues to be challenged by political agendas, regulatory and budgetary constraints, and challenging societal issues. As a large district, effectively balancing the complex needs of all our students — academic, social, emotional and physical — while providing our teachers and staff with the right tools, resources, and training is a lofty mission. Our children are growing up in a time with much higher expectations and demands on them due to changes in family dynamics, technology and access to a competitive global world, an unsettling political environment, and large-scale societal issues (e.g. school and community violence; mental health issues; families struggling to meet basic needs; and opioid and heroin epidemics). When students are faced with such real-life stresses (and sometimes crisis), it becomes difficult for them to focus on school. It becomes equally stressful and frustrating for our talented teachers and staff to deal with issues beyond their experience and expertise. Our teachers and staff are committed to our students’ achievement and overall well-being, but how do they provide an engaging learning environment, while addressing and balancing the complex needs of all students? There is not a single solution to this question, but a collaborative effort is essential -- collaboration among students, families, teachers, staff, administration and BOE, and connecting with our community to foster a partnership offering open dialogue, feedback and resources to help our district carry out our student-centered goals and mission. Shen has made strides in addressing our students’ unique needs by investing in mental health services and other supports (special education, ENL), but we need to continue looking at and implementing sustainable initiatives that fill the gaps and help secure the overall well-being and safety of students and staff.
I would like to be a part of the solution. My professional experience includes serving on a leadership team of a human services agency that provides services to youth and adults impacted by mental health issues, alcohol and drug addictions, domestic violence, food-insecurity, and homelessness -- issues that do not discriminate and affect students and families in our own “backyard”. In addition, I have first-hand experience in working with children with special needs through a former career path and as a mother. I feel the combination of my experience and knowledge is an asset to our BOE as we competently address the multifaceted needs of our students and district.
I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve on Shenendehowa’s Board of Education. I encourage all district residents to get out on Tues., May 15th, 7:00 AM—9:00 PM at the Gowana Middle School to vote for our school budget, bus proposition, and board of education seats.
Christina M. Rajotte