Name: Helen Hall
Age: not provided
Occupation: Information Systems Manager for the City of Fullerton
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected or reelected to the Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Education.
Marital Status: Widow
Two Children, both attended the WVUSD schools
EDUCATION: California State University, Fullerton: BA, Business Administration, Emphasis in Management Information Systems.
OCCUPATION: Information Systems Manager for the City of Fullerton. I manage the Computer Services Division for the City of Fullerton. My responsibilities include managing the day-to-day operations of all software and hardware for all 13 departments including Police and Fire. I also teach computer classes for employees at the City of Fullerton.
Experience on elected positions, commissions, etc.
· Past President & Vice President of Community Club
· Served on United Way Committee
· Past Treasurer for Northminister Presbyterian Church
· Volunteer for American Diabetes Association
· Volunteer for American Lung Association
· Treasurer of Municipal Information Systems Association of California
· Delegate Assembly Representative for School District for the California School Board Association
· Board Representative for East San Gabriel Valley ROP
Why I should be re-elected:
Because of my strong commitment to quality education, I am seeking re-election to the Board of Trustees. My twenty-eight years as a Walnut Valley Unified District Board Member has allowed me to be an advocate for the student and to contribute to many outstanding accomplishments within the district. I am especially proud of my shared achievements with the Walnut Valley Unified School District:
· Highest achieving school district in the San Gabriel Valley
· API scores above 800
· International Baccalaureate programs
· National Blue Ribbon Schools
· California Distinguish Schools
· U.S. News & World Report named Diamond Bar and Walnut High among America’s Best High schools
2. What do you see as the primary role of the school board?
School Board's primary function is to provide each student with an education of
the highest quality in keeping with his/her capacity to learn. The Board is
ultimately responsible for school district
operations, but the Board does not get involved with the day-to-day operations
of the school. The Board sets the
direction and goals and the administration decides how to get there. Finally,
the school board provides leadership for the district, adopting a vision and
mission, getting participation and input from members of the community, and
advocating on behalf of the educational needs of children at the local, state,
and national levels.
3. One key thing school board members are tasked with is voting on budgets and making sure the district is spending wisely. What kind of experience do you have working with budgets?
As the Information Technology Manager for the City of Fullerton I create yearly budgets for my division. I have to make sure that all of the technology hardware and software are accounted for each year including replacement costs for hardware and software. Also, I have to forecast staffing levels for Information Technology each year.
Secondly, I am treasurer for the Southern and State chapter organization (Municipal Information Systems Association) that I am currently a member. As the treasurer, I am responsible for creating and maintaining the budget for both organizations.
4. If elected or re-elected to the board, what will be your top 3 priorities for the upcoming term?
· Further improve academic excellence by implementing the State’s new Common Core Standards
· Continue to seek equal funding for our District and to implement the new Local Control Funding
· Continue to execute our District-wide technology plan, which provide teachers and students with the appropriate tools in our classrooms in order to be competitive in our global society
5. What are your thoughts on WVUSD’s District of Choice Program? Do you support it? If so, why? If no, why not?
The WVUSD provides an outstanding education for all of our students. We know there are a lot of parents outside our district that would love to enroll their children in our District. We make sure our students have first choice in the District and if we have openings we allow other students to attend. When the District was experiencing declining enrollment we were able to fill the vacancies with DOC children. Our first priority is our students before accepting students outside of the District.
6. Do you have any specific changes you want to make in school district policies, .programs, or the various school curricula being offered? If so, what changes do you want to make and why?
One of the responsibilities of a Board Member is to set policies for the District. We review policies each year and update the ones that need updating. It is critical for the District to review our safety policy as least once each year or on an as needed basis. Our students’ safety has to be number one especially in our current environment.
7. School districts, including WVUSD, are rolling out new standards known as common core. What are your thoughts on common core? What are some key issues, if any, you see with implementing it?
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a coherent progression of learning expectations in English language arts and mathematics designed to prepare K-12 students for college and career success. The CCSS communicate what is expected of students at each grade level. While most states already have English language arts and mathematics standards in place, they vary widely from state to state in their coverage and level of rigor. The CCSS will replace our current California Content Standards. I do not foresee any issues, but we do have to make sure our teachers and supporting staff have the proper training and the necessary tools in order for this to be successful at implementing the new standards.
8. What are your thoughts on how the district’s test scores are trending year to year? How important of a measure do you feel test scores are in determining student achievement? How important do you think they are in evaluating teacher performance?
The WVUSD tests scores are among the highest in the State. Under No Child Left Behind implementation, Districts are to have students be 100% proficient and under the state’s programs districts are to achieve an API score of 800+ with a maximum of 1000. We have been making great strides each year. With the implementation of the Common Core Standards, we will be testing students’ critical thinking skills using technology with the testing. The State will reduce the number of tests that we administer each year.
I do not think tests should be the single indicator in determining a student achievement. Some students may not be good test takers. Multiple indicators should be used in evaluating students.
Again, I do not think that a single indicator should be used in evaluating a teacher. There should be multiple indicators when evaluating teachers.
9. The WVUSD recently hired a new superintendent. What do you think the board’s role is in working with a superintendent?
· Overseeing the development of and adopting policies
· Setting a direction for and adopting curriculum
· Establishing budget priorities, adopting the budget
· Overseeing facilities issues
· Providing direction for and accepting collective bargaining agreements
10. What are your thoughts on the importance of parental involvement in helping students achieve? How will you engage the community to improve public schools in the district?
I believe that one of the key components of a student success is to have parental and community involvement. We are very fortunate in the WVUSD with the great support of our community and parent involvement. The Community Clubs, Booster Clubs and varies other clubs at our schools helps us stay in touch with parents.
With the new Common Core Standards we need to make sure that we communicate these standards to our parents. The Board has started conversations on how we can get the Community involved. We need to have parent nights where we communicate what we are doing and what are the parents’ expectations from the district. We also will be using more technology to communicate with our community.