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Jon Simonson: We must support success of all students, enhance professional development for teachers, engage in public-private partnerships

I was interested to read an article in the Clackamas Review about the upcoming school board election regarding a squabble between two people not even in the race.

One is supporting the incumbents, while the other is supporting a slate of new candidates. While they are arguing about things that do not matter to the success of our children, I am planning how we can take our schools beyond five full days.

I am running for the North Clackamas School Board Position 5. I am married, and we are the parents of two students currently attending school in the North Clackamas School District. I have my master's degree in business administration and a bachelor's degree in business administration accounting.

I am a proven problem solver and a leader with more than 20 years of experience in business management, having managed union employees for more than 10 years. I am an assistant football coach at Clackamas High School and the treasurer for BSA Troop 33. Previously, I was the Cubmaster for Pack 32 for several years, which met at Verne Duncan Elementary.

The current school board has needlessly extended our online learning. Equivalently sized districts with 6A schools in Oregon have transitioned to hybrid education and full onsite education, months before NCSD. Since last year, the CDC, WHO, OHA, UNICEF, Harvard, Duke and other public health authorities have said it is safe and necessary for students to be in the classroom.

We will return to full days in class. However, when we get there, we need to take our district beyond five full days. To do this we must:

Jon Simonson1. Support the success of all students

2. Enhance our professional development for teachers

3. Engage in public-private partnerships

Some students plan to head to college, others intend to enter the workforce directly after high school. We must continue to prepare those headed for college to succeed on that path. We also need to better enable those directly entering the work force with the skills, direction and entrepreneurial spirit necessary to enter apprenticeships in high-demand trades.

Students need someone to believe in them and show them the way. We need to continue and grow the work already started at Sabin-Schellenberg. We must enable all students with the know-how to secure family-wage jobs through partnerships with businesses and trade organizations that need skilled employees.

We must also support our teachers' professional development. There are many benefits to effective professional development. These include gaining a deeper understanding of the subject matter they teach, and staying up to date with technology and other changes. The school board must drive the adoption of standards and find ways to assist with funding. Support for teachers will turn into results for students.

Public-private partnerships are the next step in preparing our students to succeed. These partnerships between schools and private organizations can provide superior education through direct connections to professionals already working in the student's field of choice and alternative funding sources.

The sheer scale of the challenge justifies the need to collaborate. Public-private partnerships can help NCSD face challenges in financing, implementing and maintaining quality education services.

Jon Simonson is a candidate for the North Clackamas School Board.


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