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Destiny Sargeant

Posted: September 21, 2012 - 11:09am
Destiny Sargeant  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Destiny Sargeant

Resident of Alaska since 1990 and Juneau since 1993. Born in Portland, Ore. on July 2.

Education: Ph.d. in Psychology from United States International University now known as Alliant University in San Diego, California.

Occupation(s): Work full time as a Psychologist at S.E. Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

Family: Two children; one currently still in the Juneau School District at Floyd Dryden.

Community Service: Juneau School Board from 2007 – 2010; Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC); Clinical Director of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team of SE; MMRS (Metropolitan Medical Response System) to assist in a S.E. Alaska disaster if needed; Alaska Peace Officers Association

Other experience: Alaska State Psychological Licensing Board; Coast Guard Auxiliary member; Suicide Prevention Group in Juneau; Board of Juneau Youth Football League (JYFL); Parent Groups and Site Councils; Behavioral Health Disaster Response Plan Advisory Committee; Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities - Critical Incident Stress Management Task Force.

1. What is your highest priority for the school district to accomplish during your term in office? Explain why this change is a priority and how would you facilitate this change.

School District should be one of the top 100 performing schools across the nation in similar sized school districts. More effective standardized curriculum both to prepare students for college and work but to also better understand and utilize measurements which may not be measuring the same thing at this time. Research and choose the best for Juneau School District. IT services to update to top of the line 21st century learning to prepare students for the future.Students today must handle and process mass quantities and volume of data. Maximize on line program and curriculum and training for students and teachers/staff. Choices for student learning because one size doesn’t fit all students. Continue to individually prepare all our students for their future life both college bound and work bound

2. What would your plan be to address bullying, discrimination, racism, and other equity issues in our schools?

Collaboration, education, and a sense of community to assist with bullying and discrimination. Educating all students and staff about expectations and unconscious expectations which contribute to institutionalized racism. Enough caring adults and adult volunteers to assist in managing what may exist. Programs such as “Challenge Day” with proven results in assisting students in breaking down barriers between students. A willingness to call it what it is and assist some who may not know or understand how to make changes. Willingness to remove as many barrier to equity as possible in a fair manner. Zero tolerance

3. Would you support a mandated course in Civics and Social Studies to empower students to understand and participate in society and government? Please explain why or why not.

I would support a mandatory course in Civics and Social Studies because many of our students don’t understand our government, their power in making things happen in their world, nor their responsibility to being a contributing member of society. Students lose an opportunity to empower themselves and become natural leaders without this knowledge.

4. What role should the No Child Left Behind federal testing standards play in the Juneau community’s evaluation of its public schools?

No child left behind has not worked effectively anywhere including Alaska. States now have an option of coming up with their own education plans. It appears that Alaska needs to get on with a plan. There is no reason Juneau School District shouldn’t be in the top 100 school districts in the nation of similar sized school districts It is up to our State to stretch our students and their minds.If standards are raised for students in general, research has shown that all students benefit.

5. Considering budgetary constraints as well as educational concerns, what do you believe is the optimum pupil-to-teacher ratio for Juneau, and how would you work to achieve or maintain it?

-Pupil to teacher ratio is always on every parent’s wish list. Research shows that a smaller number is much better for students. This makes reasonable sense. School budgets go up and down which means classroom size will vary. All students will benefit from smaller classrooms for both academic and emotional, and connectedness reasons.

• it is crucially important in K-4th grade to keep the sizes smallest because students need to read well by then to succeed with their education down the road. If they miss those crucial years their educational experience is much more difficult for them.

• it is important to keep up with the research and choose program and ratio size with thoughtfulness and the best curriculum available that make a difference to students.

• in an ideal world we will have both fairly paid teachers and a smaller pupil to teacher ratio. Often, it seems there is a conflict between these two.

6. What is your position on the value of arts and music programs for students, and what steps would you take to implement that position?

• Research shows arts and music assist brain development in students especially mathematics.

• Students also need a connection to school and music and the arts often provide that connection especially for students who may not be interested in sports or clubs. Research shows this is connected to graduation rate and drop out.

• the community of Juneau has been generous in the past and has shared its’ collective wisdom on continuing to support the arts and music even with dwindling budgets

7. What additional programs should be developed to assist high school students having difficulty passing the High School Qualifying Exams? Would you be in favor of offering specific classes in reading/writing and math that would target these students?

• There should be special classes for students who would benefit with the assistance to assist in passing the High School qualifying exam

• There should even be individual tutoring if necessary. It makes no sense to take a child clear through high school and then have then unable to pass any portion of a test. This directly effects high school graduation rate and high school dropout also.

• these students should be identified early if possible and given as much support as possible. Preventative programs and assistance is much more productive than dealing with delayed lives and having no high school diploma

8. Health and family problems impact the quality of the classroom experience. In your opinion, what should the school district do, if anything, to address such problems?

• Health, family problems, and poverty definitely impact our children. Schools can’t fix everything on their own nor should they, but understand and know how to work with the resources in the generous community of Juneau is paramount.

• All students should have advisories and be connected by name and have a school that welcomes them everyday. All students need someone to believe in them and someone to inspire them

• all students need a safe place to live and have enough to eat. School staff can help identify and collaborate with community resources when necessary

9. Given that the school district will most likely face a fourth year of budget cuts, what approach would you suggest to live within available resources and with legislative funding uncertainty?

• In declining budgets it is more important than ever to look at research and make sure the money spent is well spent.

• it is also useful to distribute the money to as many proven programs as possible that have worked for the betterment of students and not necessarily just matters of the heart which are not proven.

• it is very important to remind the people of their power to campaign at the capitol for more educational funds

• again, good research and proven programs and curriculum are often the money best spent

• consider allowing staff to bring forth excellent ideas on how to limit unruly spending

10. What measures would you suggest to increase Juneau’s high school graduation rate?

• Identify early on which students needs more assistance and be prepared to assist them with classes and tutors

• keep students stimulated and feeling respected

• keep student connected with the school system

• have as many educational choices as possible as all students learn differently and choices offer the best learning styles; verbal, auditory, visual, hands on

• all children need to be prepared for their future whether college bound or work bound. Students need advisement and choices

• the issue of numerous definitions of what graduation rate vs drop out vs. even the age that students finish vs. whether they did it continuously or came back all make a difference in the difficult to understand statistics. Clarifying and making these issues more user friendly and clear would be very helpful.

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