Annetta Streater | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Annetta Streater 

Candidate for Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Annetta Streater
Full legal name, if different:
Date of birth: 01-23-64
Home address: 110 McGregor Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site:
Occupation & employer: Dental Hygienist, Dr. William Sulik, D.D.S
Home phone: 919-933-2592
Work phone: 919-968-0220
Cell phone: 919-215-0100

1. If elected, what are your top priorities for the school board?

  1. The minority student achievement gap: The School Board has to increase its efforts in monitoring programs, continue to advocate for increased collaboration among teachers to implement best teaching practices. The School Board must advocate for increased efforts by district and school administrators to engage parents and community leaders.

  2. Providing adequate facilities for our growing community: The cost of public education continues to rise. Facilities must be equipped to teach, engage and enrich the academic experience. I will continue to encourage the district to be good stewards of its resources.

  3. Recruitment/retention of diverse, highly qualified teachers and administrators: Historically the district has not hired nor retained significant numbers of visible minorities in teaching and administrative positions. We must advocate for increased efforts from the district. All children can benefit from seeing and interacting with persons who do not look like them. Equally beneficial is the inspiration and support that comes from a familiar face. All teachers, administrators and support staff must be supported through regular professional development. New hires transitioning to our district must know they have the support of district administrators.

2. What is there in your record as a public official or other experience—e.g., career, community service—that demonstrates your ability to be effective as a board member? Please be as specific as possible about the relevance of your accomplishments to your goals for the board.

While many may be qualified with leadership and good communication skills, what is unique about my skills is that I’m an educator and have learned and taught theory and gross/fine motor skills based on specific age groups, developmental levels and basic needs. As a dental hygiene educator and practitioner, I use methods and strategies that incorporate basic human needs. Children receive and interpret information differently. That appreciation is critical in developing district policy and examining the issues involved in implementing policy. I have served on several student admission and employee search committees and I do understand the process and techniques for evaluating the entry potential of a person. Part of my training and work experience has involved planning and evaluating institutional budgets, which require both an eye for detail and a more global perspective. I have served on the Frank Porter Graham Elementary School Governance Committee, including two years as its’ Co-Chair. That experience has enhanced my leadership skills and my abilities to examine an entire school community and serve their unique needs. With my work experience as an educator, I also fully understand the pressures and demands that come with teaching diverse populations, teaching within the confines of a strained budget, and improving one’s skills.

3. The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to the board help further that goal?

My election to the Board would help further the Independent’s mission by providing sound leadership, an unbiased view of the issues, advocacy for best teaching practices, and advocacy for equal access to those best practices. Our actions should be based on the thinking that we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. For a diverse population such as ours, it can be difficult to be sensitive to the struggles and needs of other races and cultures. But we must be steadfast - to be tolerant of our differences and to embrace our similarities. We must be mindful that a basic education is a constitutional right. There’s no one person more disserving of an education than another. We must dispel this idea that some people are more privileged than others, especially when it comes to obtaining a basic education.

4. What steps, if any, would you advocate to improve educational outcomes for at-risk students and to reduce dropout rates?

  • increase outreach to parents
  • provide access to current facts and statistics relevant to achievement
  • keep parents abreast of their child’s progress on a regular and frequent basis
  • increase mentoring to fragile, low performing and/or alienated students
  • provide positive role models
  • implement best practices of instruction

5. In your view, what is the source of the conflicts between parents and the school system regarding the education of children with autism and developmental disabilities? What should be done to improve the quality of education for these children and how would that be achieved?

The district is committed to providing a fair and appropriate education to all students. The district also appreciates the daily challenges parents experience in raising and advocating for children with disabilities. Teachers and staff will continue to pursue professional development that is meaningful and practical for their area of service. The Special Needs Advisory Council serves as a link between parents, schools and the district administrators and has proven to be helpful to parents. The Board will continue to advocate for funding that provides appropriate facilities and teachers/staff to meet the needs of all students.

6. The board has approved Abstinence Until Marriage federal funds. What is the appropriate sex ed curriculum and why?

The school district recognizes that children should have the opportunity to learn and grow; enabling them to be productive citizens in our global economy. It also recognizes that teen pregnancy and early parenthood may create barriers to the acquisition of skills necessary to be productive citizens. These federal funds were part of items attached to the end of NCLB legislation and are provided to the district because abstinence is a component of the comprehensive program taught by the district. Past funds have been allocated to purchase ‘Baby Think It Over (dolls taken home by students allowing them to experience the rigors of parenthood). This year’s funding was designated for professional development for our district health teachers. The district is committed to educating students in a manner appropriate to their age/development and at an appropriate time in their academic career. I will advocate for continued monitoring of programs, insuring that they have clear objectives and measurable outcomes and are relevant to the district’s goals.

7. How should student discipline be handled? What are your views on the district’s current policies for long-term suspension? Do you think they are fairly applied? Along those lines, there have been reports of children receiving little, if any, education while on long-term suspension. How would you ensure those children are given an opportunity to be educated?

School administrators are charged with appropriately disciplining students in accordance with district policy. The appropriateness of a long-term suspension is best evaluated on a case by case basis. There are services in place that allow students on long term suspension to continue their school work. The Boomerang is one such program that provides a place for students to work on assignments, receive counseling and discuss their concerns. I will advocate continuing to closely monitor suspension rates, the reasons for the suspensions, and the opportunities for continued study during the suspension.

8. How would you increase parental involvement in the schools? What should be the nature of that involvement? Where should the line be drawn?

There has been ongoing dialogue about and advocacy for parental involvement in our schools. The questions that continue to come up are – how much parental involvement and what type of involvement is desirable. My concern relates to whether parents/guardians and children are judged and treated differently based on the level of involvement. I will advocate for increased and varied opportunities for parents/guardians to volunteer. I will also advocate for increased efforts to make all parents/guardians feel welcome at their child’s school. It is desirable that all parents/guardians be involved in their child’s academic success; advocating for best teaching practices, providing clear and high expectations, and encouragement. But first and foremost are the teachers who are responsible for teaching and nurturing students during the school day. Parental involvement in the form of volunteering should be in keeping with the district goals and/or appropriate for the NC Standard Course of Study. Parental advocacy can take many forms. The district has site level appropriate handbooks that outline this type of parental involvement.

9. What should the district’s budgetary priorities be? What areas are currently underfunded? How would you find the resources to better fund those areas?

As a school district, we must be mindful of the escalating financial burdens on counties and municipalities. The people have made it clear that education is very important in this district, yet are becoming increasingly discouraged by the disproportionate number of minority students not meeting academic standards. When students are not prepared to be successful adults, the society suffers. The cost of public education continues to rise. Facilities must be equipped to teach, engage and enrich the academic experience. I will continue to encourage the district to be good stewards of its resources. All teachers, administrators and support staff must be supported through regular professional development. If elected to the Board, I will continue to direct our superintendent to recruit and retain teachers who care about the academic success of all children. I will advocate that the Board require that all programs and services have clear objectives, measurable outcomes and regular monitoring. The budget process can be made smoother by beginning the process earlier. The anxiety of staff is apparent when decisions are made late in the summer, so close to the opening of schools. I, along with other Board members, voiced our concerns about the lateness of the budget process. An earlier timeline allows Board members to evaluate requests and be prepared to adopt a budget. This earlier start will also allow Board members to be informed about the programs/services that are linked to budget requests and as a result be able to make more informed decisions. With these efforts, we can gain the confidence of our taxpayers and county officials as they continue to provide funding for our school district.

10. A new school recently opened in the district. Do you see additional schools opening in the next 10 years? If so, where? Even with the district’s extra tax revenue, can the district afford and obtain the land necessary to build these schools? How should the district manage its growth?

The ten year capital improvement plan details the need for additional schools. Elementary #10 will open August 2008 at Eubanks Road and Old Highway 86. Our next middle school will also be located on this site. Other sites have not been identified. In collaboration with county and municipal officials, advanced selection (land banking) of suitable sites will insure a place for growth and the opportunity to purchase the site. Overall I feel the district has done a good job in planning for growth in the district. The school district has been working with the county and both municipalities to insure that school construction is considered with new residential construction. With the School Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, overcrowding of our schools has been manageable. Recent reports and presentations on the district’s long range capital improvement needs have provided the Board insight on how it can plan for future growth. The Board will continue to work with the county commissioners and in the near future will collectively consider the use of impact fees or an impact tax to fund new construction.

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