Given the financial situation facing CCPS and assuming no significant changes to state funding formulas or commissioner funding support, where does improving teacher salaries rank as a priority for you and why? If you believe it needs improvement, how do you propose doing so?
Lord: Improving teacher salaries is my number one priority. Educators in this county did not receive raises for seven years prior to my election to the board and we still have not been able to make up the lost steps in the last four years. We must continue to examine our budget for cost savings as well as advocate for increased funding from local, state and federal governments.
In light of current school shootings and security discussions, what do you believe are necessary steps CCPS should take to ensure the safety of its students? What are your thoughts on School Resource Officers? Crisis counselors?
Lord: Our funding priority should be crisis counselors in the high schools, counselors in middle schools and behavioral specialists in all elementary schools. By doing this, we can identify and address individual student needs in a pro-active approach. School resource officers are there to build a positive relationship with students and the community and provide an extra level of security should a situation arise.
In previous years, there have been discussions about CCPS graduates having to take remedial math and English classes at Carroll Community College. Do you believe CCPS curriculum is rigorous enough and what specific improvements would you like to see made at the local level?
Lord: CCPS curriculum and student outcomes are continually reviewed to ensure our curriculum prepares students for the rigors of college-level courses. Changes to require math be taken all four years of high school will help. We have seen improvements over the past years and will continue to monitor student success. Recent changes in math instruction have shown positive results, but the students have not yet reached high school age.
What further steps if any should the district take to improve career and technical education offerings?
Lord: The Carroll County Career and Tech programs are phenomenal. Other counties have used our programs as a model. We have a facility that is forty years old. Unless we modernize or replace our Career and Technology Center, we will fall behind those counties that have made that investment for their students’ futures.
What are your thoughts on PARCC and standardized testing in general?
Lord: Standardized testing, including PARCC, is designed to test the system, not the student. Results take too long to come back to be useful in instruction. The tests are being given in a different way than the students are taught. Too much instructional time is lost due to testing and preparing for testing. Future tests must be modified to reflect instruction, not instruction modified to pass the tests.
How important is improving the diversity of the CCPS workforce and how would you proposing doing so? What would be appropriate goals for diversity hiring?
Lord: It’s hugely important. Last month, CCPS modified regulations to ban hate symbols. This action sends a message to everyone that Carroll County want to be a welcoming and inclusive school system. We continue to prioritize compensation to attract good candidates and then keep them here. At a minimum, our workforce should match our student enrollment. All students benefit from a culturally diverse environment. We must prepare our students for a world beyond Carroll County.