Letter to the Editor as to Why I am Running for the Elwood School Board

Filed under: Elwood,Elwood School District,Greenlawn,Hamlets,News |

To the Editor,

My husband Mike and I, and our two daughters, Lilli and Emma, have lived in the Elwood community for 13 years.  Having a 9th grader and a 6th grader, I have enjoyed many years of volunteering in the schools and have had ample opportunity to observe and evaluate the District’s strengths and weaknesses.  I have witnessed the varied unfortunate impacts that the pandemic has had upon students’ learning experiences.  I am a passionate advocate of student choice.  My efforts were instrumental in securing the choice of full-time, live instruction for our 6th grade students last November, as the only elementary grade without such choice.  I remained committed in my cause until a comparable choice was finally afforded to all secondary students in April.  Due to the success of my advocacy thus far, several community members encouraged me to run for a seat on the board of education, citing the need for a new perspective after 6 years of the same board culture. 

 I believe that my outlook, as a licensed attorney, will help to reestablish the board’s supervisory role and will bring greater accountability to the community.  I am dedicated to my goal of restoring the District’s commitment to academic excellence and to reinstating constructive conversation during board meetings, in effort to ensure the most effective advocacy for Elwood.  In short, I am committed to ensuring that a lasting effect of the pandemic will not be a lowering of expectations in Elwood. 

Just a few short years ago, in 2018, John Glenn High School was one of only four schools on Long Island to be named a National Blue Ribbon school, in recognition of its academic excellence and decreasing achievement gaps.  This honor was indicative of the collaborative efforts of Elwood’s students, parents, teachers and administration at that time.  I will work to reestablish this alliance and to reprioritize academic excellence, the primary factor that earned Elwood its Blue Ribbon designation, as a central component of “whole child” learning.  I will continue to advocate for the preservation of teacher relationships and in-person instruction in order to maximize each student’s motivation, enthusiasm and potential.  I will work to ensure that Elwood continues to provide a wide variety of course selections, including vocational instruction, and extracurricular activities that suit all students’ interests and needs.  In this way, I will strive to find ways to promote equity and diversity without discounting the values of goal setting, achievement and merit as motivational tools in our buildings. 

I believe community values and concerns must be at the heart of policymaking and budgetary practices.  I will reinstate constructive conversation during board meetings to increase the board’s transparency and accountability to the community.  In furtherance of this goal, I, recently presented to the current Board, the need for an open legislative committee that permits community involvement as do other Board committees.  The Elwood community deserves an open legislative committee, with an actual legal presence, in order to ensure the most effective course of District advocacy and clarity in policymaking.  The District must hear the voices of the community prior to making critical decisions that purport to represent community interests. I will also strive to increase transparency with respect to Elwood’s budgetary practices, in effort to raise community confidence in the District’s effective management and application of school resources and community tax dollars.

I hope that the Elwood community will consider supporting me at Elwood’s Annual Budget Vote and Trustee Election on May 18, 2021 at Elwood Middle School (6:00 am-9:00pm).  Applications for absentee ballots are available upon request from the District If elected, I promise to honor the trust of the community and to bring all community voices to the table. 

 

Amy Kern

Greenlawn, New York, April 16, 2021

 

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