Editor’s Note: Chris Joyce is running for the Oswego City School District Board of Education. He was unable to participate in the recent “Meet the Candidate” night due to being called into work that night. This put him at a slight disadvantage and so he has submitted his responses to the questions answered by the other candidates.
OSWEGO – Chris Joyce is requesting your vote for a seat on the Oswego City School District Board of Education.
“This vote is an important vote as we move our district forward with fresh energy and execute strategy. Below are 9 questions asked to candidates at “Meet The Candidate Night” with a goal of helping voters learn about who we are, why we are running, our vision, and goals for running for the board. I am excited for the opportunity and ready to serve,” he said.
BOE Meet the Candidate Questions
1. What made you decide to run for the BOE?
I want to give back and the timing is finally right. I have always been invested in our community and focused on the performance of our schools. I often hear feedback from my family, friends and others in the community about the district, and I am ready to represent their input. Giving back in a meaningful way that positively impacts our students and ultimately our future is important to me. This community has supported me in the development of leadership skills and it is now time for me to contribute.
2. State education law mandates that children participate in physical exercise daily. Our elementary schools have not been in compliance with the state mandate for the past 2 years. What are your thoughts on this and any ideas how this can be remedied.
I believe that physical education is an important part of child development and also favor compliance with state mandates. As a new board member, I would first seek out a full understanding of the current situation and hope to identify barriers to compliance. From there, I would support the administration, bringing my knowledge and experience to the conversation, to help create an action plan. I would ask that the topic be placed on future board meeting agendas for follow up and troubleshooting.
3. What are your feelings regarding consolidating services and contracting out services outside of our district.
I feel that we need to look at all of our options. I would recommend that we support the administration in conducting a cost benefit analysis on consolidating and contracting specified services. We should consider strategic partnerships with the college, other districts, local service organizations and CiTi BOCES. For me, transparency with the community is important. I would request that the results of the analysis be shared and seek additional input from the people I hope to represent. Ultimately, if there is a way to provide a higher level of education and support to our students in a more efficient and cost effective manner, I am in favor.
4. What is one specific goal that you would like to accomplish or maybe a particular problem that you would like see resolved during your term and how would you address it?
I would like to accomplish the goal of restoring the trust of the community. This can be accomplished through increased transparency, improved communication and consistent follow through. As a board member I would make myself available and also actively deliver information and updates to the public. I would seek out and represent feedback on district issues and facilitate productive conversations between the board and the administration. The roll out and resulting vote on the capital project is a perfect example of where we have an opportunity to improve. If our schools are going to be great, we need the full alignment and support of our community and to leverage creativity and talent from all corners. This starts with trust and it has to be our priority as a board.
5. School safety is a major concern. The new Raptor system is a good first step. But there are a great number of options available to make our schools safer. What ideas do you have to keep our students safe in addition to a School Resource Officer and the Raptor system?
I am a big supporter of School Resource Officers and the new Raptor system is promising. In addition to these, I would recommend that we consider classroom security systems, review current lockdown procedures and that we look at opportunities to improve coordination with local, county and state law enforcement. We also need to look more broadly at issues that impact student health and wellness. Our schools need to be safe, they also need to feel welcoming.
6. Social Emotional Wellness Trauma Centered Instruction has been at the forefront of education for the past couple of years. How can you help our schools better meet the needs of children in our schools that are dealing with trauma and other mental health needs?
I can help by supporting the administration to deliver training to teachers and other key staff in the schools. Giving teachers the knowledge and skills to identify the signs of trauma and the ability to intervene is critical. Ongoing support and coaching should also be available and instructional techniques should be reviewed for adherence to best practices. I can also help by identifying experts and community resources that could be potential partners for instructional design, incident review and additional intervention.
Helping students who are in need through early intervention and follow through will result in better academic outcomes and also enhance safety.
7. What are your views on class size for students?
My view is that we need to find a balanced class size that results in a manageable classroom environment for teachers and a responsible allocation of district resources. Based on my conversations with parents, teachers and school administrators I think it is ideal to keep classes at no more than 20 students. If elected I would encourage the administration to benchmark current classroom performance against class size and to review the latest literature on classroom design. I want our school to be a leader in education and one of the ways we get there is by being creative, setting goals and measuring our success.
8. The district recently proposed a capital project that was voted down by our public. What are your ideas going forward about this proposal? Do you support it? Would you have a suggestion which would possibly help this project get passed in the future?
I do support the capital project to update our facilities and athletic fields. I would suggest breaking the project down into phases and spreading it out over time in order to make the cost more manageable.
Additionally, there needs to be more communication with our community to explain the positive impacts of this initiative and why it is so important. The public needs a solid understanding of the plan and needs to clearly see how the district will manage and afford all phases in order to trust, support and ultimately pass this project.
9. What makes you the best candidate for the job. Please explain the qualities you possess that will make you as asset to both the BOE and to the Oswego City School District?
I believe that my abilities to operate as a team member and effectively communicate with other board members, the administration and the community will make me an asset to the BOE and the district.
My career experience and background in quality assurance has taught me to research topics on the front end so I am prepared to ask the right questions. Applying this approach in board meetings will support our administration to process issues and ultimately result in better decisions. I have extensive training that has helped me to create the habit of having safety and security at the forefront of all my decisions. Given the rise of tragic incidents in schools, thinking through all decisions with this filter is critical. I am motivated and ready to put in the time and do the work to support our school board and administration. The energy and perspective I will bring is exactly what our students, families and community needs.