My name is Lillian “Lisa” Worl. Raised in Juneau, I graduated from Juneau-Douglas in 1987 and put myself through college graduating from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business in 1992. My husband and I have two children in the Juneau school district. I’m currently serving on the Juneau School Board. For eleven years, I’ve worked in our schools as a classroom volunteer and substitute teacher. I’ve chaired the site councils of both Auke Bay Elementary and Floyd Dryden Middle School. I’ve participated in hiring teachers, principals, and school counselors; joined in discussions on school boundaries, teacher collaboration, and a school discipline policy; provided public testimony before the state legislature and Juneau Assembly and served the Mayor’s Task Force on high school planning, district budget committee and Huna Totem Scholarship Committee.
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 you would facilitate this change.
I plan to focus on student retention and graduation to ensure it remains a district priority. School board policies and budgets can be structured to enable administrators and teachers to provide programs and resources designed to keep our kids in schools and to earn their diploma.
2. What would your plan be to address bullying, discrimination, racism, and sexual harassment in our schools?
The district has policy and process to address bullying, discrimination and harassment. Teachers and staff receive annual training and students are provided age-appropriate lessons in the schools on these issues. My experience in the classroom and with my children indicates the process seems to be functional and students who experience bullying or harassment have access to protection and the offenders are disciplined accordingly. However, I’d like to expand the training to make it available for families as well as engaging parents and community partners to explore their role in awareness and prevention.
3. What do you see as the priority issues affecting Juneau’s pre-kindergarten and elementary students? Explain.
1) Our kids need to come to school prepared ready to learn. 2) Parents must be afforded the tools and skills that will help them support their child’s learning. 3) Our schools need to continue their efforts to make our schools a place where parents and the community feel welcome and encouraged to participate. 4) Preschool programs help prepare our kids for learning by teaching routine, reading and social skills needed for learning. Parent involvement is the foundation for teaching students to value learning.
4. What programs should be developed to assist high school students who have difficulty passing the High School Qualifying Exams?
Currently, in our high schools, any student who is struggling with passing the High School Graduating Qualifying Exam (HSGQE) can take classes (math, reading, or writing) that are specifically designed to help them pass the exam. Additionally, high school students have two 30-minute blocks of time (extension period) during the week that they can use to access any teacher, any time in any class to assist them with their homework, project or studies. Finally, teachers are available for focused reading, writing and preparation, if necessary. Any of these options are available to students who need additional help.
5. What is your position on the value of arts and music programs for students? Explain.
Arts and music are enriching to all students and are yet another way to enhance learning and participating in the school system. Arts often are a way to motivate and engage students who may otherwise not be interested in learning. Also, art and music in the schools brings families into the schools in great numbers to see performances and concerts, much the way sports activities do. When moms, dads, grandparents and siblings come into a school or classroom, the pride displayed by our children is joyfully apparent.
6. Given that the school district will most likely face further budget cuts, what approach would you suggest to live within available resources?
Given the past few years of consecutive multi-million dollar funding reductions, our district was forced to make exceptional costs reductions. Items such as reducing energy consumption and administrative staff positions allowed us to minimize cuts to the classrooms. Despite our efforts and difficult decisions it appears that we will be forced to further cut programs and services many of us consider essential. To offset these cuts, I am proposing we look to expand our relationships with local businesses and community organizations. These partnerships offer meaningful learning opportunities and programs that are mutually beneficial to our schools and community. We have many good examples of community partnerships for the voluntary drug testing program, science fairs, language, economics, and literacy programs.