Candidate's View: Together, we can make Duluth's schools best in state
I am asking for your support for Duluth School Board At Large. I grew up in the Central Hillside and am a proud Central High School graduate. I am running for this seat because I believe in our public schools. I am proud of what they have accompl...
I am asking for your support for Duluth School Board At Large. I grew up in the Central Hillside and am a proud Central High School graduate. I am running for this seat because I believe in our public schools. I am proud of what they have accomplished, what they still accomplish, and what they can accomplish.
But we can do better.
I am excited about the many ways our district continues to innovate.
At Myers-Wilkins Elementary, for example, a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum has been paired with an expanding community school collaborative that seeks to create a safe, welcoming, and stable learning environment for all students, regardless of socioeconomic background, disability, trauma, or any stress students may be experiencing at home.
At Lowell Elementary, as another example, are the popular and rapidly growing Ojibwe- and Spanish-language immersion programs.
Districtwide, a recent investment was made in social-emotional learning (SEL) specialists to help kindergarteners and first-graders who are struggling to engage due to emotional or behavioral disorders.
And rolling out this fall will be the Pathways2Teaching program that will seek to recruit and encourage more students of color to pursue careers in teaching and education so future generations of students see more role models who look like them - a very basic but critically motivating indicator of future success.
This list could go on. For too long, the conversation surrounding our schools has been both negative and unproductive. It is time to move forward.
Make no mistake, our district faces significant challenges. In order to close achievement gaps, attract and retain students, and continue improving scholastic excellence across the board, we need to invest in our students, our staff, our curriculum, and our community partnerships. To make such investments, we need to make intelligent, informed, collaborative, and, at times, very difficult financial decisions. This is not an easy balance to strike. All ships must rise.
But I know we can do it. We can make Duluth's schools the best in the state. We have the right community; great students; and talented teachers, support professionals, and staff. It will not be easy, but if we can return to a place of open, honest, and civil discourse and debate - and if we can work together, believing in and supporting the potential of our schools rather than doubting what this community can accomplish - we can do it.
I believe I can help, and I am motivated to do so. We have a bright and wonderful young child in this district. I want to see our public schools succeed, as do we all. As executive director of a nonprofit assisting health care organizations that serve low-income families and uninsured and underinsured patients, I have learned how to build coalitions, navigate obstacles arising at the local and state governmental levels, and make tough financial decisions.
Help me make Duluth's schools the best in the state. I thank you for your consideration, and I humbly ask for your support on Nov. 7.
Sally Trnka is one of four candidates on Nov. 7 for two open At Large seats on the Duluth School Board. The others are Josh Gorham, Bogdana "Dana" Krivogorsky, and incumbent Harry Welty. They all contributed columns that are being published this week on the News Tribune Opinion page.