Equity. Advocacy. Accountability. Budget.
Those four words sum up the nearly four years of me working as part of the Duluth School Board. In addition to keeping my nose in the business of the district, I have volunteered in schools and celebrated students and their families benefiting from the changes I have been a part of helping the district make.
My resume hasn’t changed much. I am still passionate about education and how it is delivered to our families. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a teaching license, and a master’s degree in teaching, including continuing-education learning. I have had my license for 10 years. I remain current with what happens in classrooms through weekly and special-event volunteering at many schools across the district. I’m serving on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Title I Committee of Practitioners, where we discuss how districts can best serve families experiencing poverty with federal funds the state receives.
Additionally, I continue my work helping underserved families in the district after working in the Education Equity Department and with integration specialists. I continue to do so by working with the NAACP, the Education Equity Alliance, the Education Equity Advisory Committee, and various other community organizations.
Being the person responsible for bringing the equity conversation to the community by insisting that individual school budgets be given to the board, I want to continue to oversee the positive progress we have begun to improve the systemic issues and barriers affecting every student and their ability to experience the education that is right for them.
At the forefront of the equity conversation is fair representation on the board from across the city. I am one of only two western-Duluth representatives on the board.
The development of Tool of Equity Accountability is one of my proudest accomplishments — along with changing how compensatory-education funds are used. I want to remain on the board to ensure we continue on the equity path.
I remain focused on customer service. I have been an advocate and resource for families which do not know how to get a question answered or need further resolution when things do not go as expected. I have met many incredible people who have chosen to ask questions rather than abandon our district. And I have had a part in helping our district stabilize its enrollment with successful resolutions.
Asking for accountability has improved our decision-making processes in becoming more transparent and community-centered. Systems are changing as the board continues to remain focused on students and families while working productively together. Our recent headlines are a testament to members’ ability to vocalize accountability and have change occur in a fully transparent fashion. Community members are now being included with building-level decision-making teams, and our new budget process allows each building to manage its budget to meet its needs as best as it can within the constraints of our limited financial resources.
I ask that you allow me to continue to help our district better our systems for our entire community. Education is for everyone, and I believe my competence and advocacy are helping keep the focus on continuous improvement to benefit the future of our community.
Alanna Oswald is an At Large member of the Duluth School Board. The seat is up for election on Nov. 5. She wrote this at the request of the News Tribune Opinion page.