There is a lot of work to be done to improve our School Board for the benefit of all stakeholders in District 5 of Lexington and Richland County. I am dedicated to doing the work it will take to achieve the changes our community so desperately needs.
Mental health issues are a growing challenge facing our schools. Years of underfunding social services has led to the development of these issues in our classrooms. First and foremost, I feel it is imperative we equip all of our schools with a sufficient number of trained mental health professionals. I feel we need to enable our teachers by providing them with training in dealing with their own mental health concerns as well as those of their students while working to alleviate the mental health weight which has been placed on them in our classrooms. I also feel we need to implement curriculum designed to educate our students on mental health issues and on the resources available to them in handling them. I feel programs developed in coordination with outside partnerships which further these aims as well as enable the families of these students to receive resource and education on these issues is imperative to a holistic approach to the issues.
Teacher Retention and Recruitment:
First and foremost our teachers must feel valued and supported. I believe including them in discussions and plans regarding our schools and district is vital in achieving this. Not only do they bring valuable input, but it also ensures they feel they have a say in decisions which impact them. It is important that they feel enabled to contribute constructively and freely whether this is through committees or using digital anonymous feedback systems. I will also factor this participation into decisions as it is useless to gain the contribution if you don't actually use it.
I will advocate that we offer competitive compensation and benefits. I will also continue to advocate for our teachers on the state and federal level so they know our board is working for them as well as our other stakeholders.
A 2018 study outlined a great deal of improvements and maintenance needed to facilities across D5. While some of these have been addressed, there are still many left to be seen to. This work is necessary in order to ensure we are providing quality facilities in order to enable our teachers to provide the best education possible to our students.
I will work with other board members as well as all of our district stakeholders to balance the vital need to address these issues in a responsible and timely manner with the fiduciary responsibility we owe to our stakeholders.
More Cooperation and Better Relationships on the Board and Increasing Transparency:
Good communication means I must first and foremost be a good listener. I believe differing perspectives and opinions are productive contributions to great decision making. Recognizing the value of these opinions means that I treat them and their bearers with respect. I also open myself up to the reality that I must allow these differing perspectives to have weight in my own perspective which means they may cause me to change my mind on an approach to an issue.
Approaching other board members and stakeholders with this mindset means I don't take personal offense to the different perspectives and I am less likely to cause personal offense with my own. This makes disagreements less likely to breakdown relationships.
As far as transparency, recent board meetings have demonstrated the unique challenges presented by their format. I would like to see more opportunities outside of these meetings for stakeholders in our district to become informed and to engage in discussion with our board members and district. It is possible this could be achieved through Cluster Meetings or some sort of PAC style committee for other stakeholder groups.
I feel providing opportunities for stakeholders who wish to be informed and involved serves to benefit not only relationships between the board, district, and all stakeholders which benefits everyone, but will also mean more well rounded and thoughtful decisions.
Elect April Alsup to the D5 School Board
I am committed to being a fresh voice for all stakeholders as a Trustee on our D5 School Board!
I welcome you to contact me with questions, concerns, or ideas. Email me at: