Mary Parker's Priorities for Our District
Mary’s top priority for the 2021-2022 school year:
Keeping our kids in the classroom, safely, for uninterrupted education.
Other key priorities
- Investing in the recruitment and retention of highly qualified educators.
- Ensuring all neighborhood schools are high-quality, high-performing schools.
- Guaranteeing transparency and effective communications between our school board, our community and our schools.
My priorities are based on the following beliefs:
Ultimately, it is the student who counts the most in a school system. They need to graduate with the skills necessary to be successful in life. Ideally, they will also leave K-12 with a love of learning and an appreciation of knowledge.
In order to successfully prepare our students for life’s opportunities and challenges, we need to recruit, retain and respect great teachers. There is nothing more critical to a student’s learning than a teacher who motivates and encourages them to put in the effort to succeed.
For any school system to be successful, parents must have confidence in the administration, the school board and the schools. There must be strong lines of communication and mutual respect.
Why these priorities?
Keeping our kids in the classroom, safely, for uninterrupted learning is critical to getting them back on track with their education after a year of chaos and turmoil. Our biggest challenge is getting a handle on COVID-19. We must do everything we can to minimize the exposure to and spread of this highly contagious disease. Masking and vaccination guidelines should be revisited as conditions change throughout the school year.
Investing in the recruitment and retention of highly qualified educators is another critical concern in Jefferson County. Even before COVID-19 we had a teacher shortage and a lack of funds for substitute teachers. Now, more and more teachers are choosing to retire, take time off, or leave the profession altogether. Our educational support professionals are often the last in line to get the resources they need and are feeling the stress too. There are so many factors contributing to this situation – budget constraints, high teacher turnover, exhaustion and burnout, competition from other districts, and fear of COVID. We need to listen to our educators when they tell us what they need.
Ensuring that all neighborhood schools are high-quality schools is a core responsibility of the Jeffco School District. My experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for neglected and abused children has given me great insight into the needs of foster kids and of struggling families who benefit from schools that are close to home. When parents are looking for the best school for their child, one of their choices needs to be a strong, high-quality neighborhood school.
Guaranteeing transparency and effective communications between the School Board, the community, and the schools is key to student success. Everyone needs to be pulling together to give our kids a high-quality educational experience so that they graduate with the skills necessary to succeed in life.
This past school year was a tough one for our students, especially our graduating seniors. Congratulations to our students who persevered and made it through!