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?
Battaglia: I do believe our Teachers do deserve proper step increases. I believe CCPS has to much over head in Central Office and it needs to be re-evaluated. I would like to see salary caps for Administrative positions in Central Office. Teachers spend a great deal of “off hours time” doing work and are not compensated for that time. We need to look into the needs of the support staff who have no benefits. We need to stop doing more with less. This is no benefit to the students because they are the ones who are doing without in the classroom. Class size is a key to helping Teachers teach our children to be successful in life. When ever there are cuts, students needs are always the first to go and that only makes the actual Teachers job more difficult. The priorities need to be students, teachers then administrators for proper funding.
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?
Battaglia: We definitely need more Crisis counselors in our schools and Resource staff. The Middle School age is where this is needed the most. School Resource Officers I feel are mostly needed in the High Schools, but Law Enforcement does do property checks and walk throughs of all our schools. Most Principals have a wonderful relationship with Law Enforement that patrol the areas. I do feel our schools are a safe environment for students and staff, but we should always make sure we keep our eyes and ears open for any behavior changes that may be seen in a student. See something say something is so important.
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?
Battaglia: We really need to stop the push for students to be “College Ready”. Students need to be “Real World Ready”. Not every student is going to college. Not every student knows what they want to do once they graduate high school. We need to start looking at students interests and build a education plan based on that. Yes, students receive a Maryland High School diploma, but we should also offer a Certificate of Interest. Students will mostly pick electives that their interests are driven in such as Fine Arts, Science, English, Trades or Agricultural. Engaging students to learn what their strengths are would keep a student involved in their studies and they would more than likely go out into the world doing what their interested in. Every student is different. Every student learns different and the basics are important, but we really need to guide students in what their strengths and interests are for a student to be successful in life.
What further steps if any should the district take to improve career and technical education offerings?
Battaglia: We should be expanding class base career and technical education into the main schools and not just in a central base facility. We should also be expanding career and technical education in the evening to adults that want to change careers and not isolate that in the colleges. If a student in High School wants to look into going to career and tech, they should be doing at least a five hour internship/shadowing in a local business to be sure that is what they want to do. Then, that local business can evaluate if the student would be a good candidate for that particular program the student is interested in. This would help make sure the student will complete the career and tech program and be successful.
What are your thoughts on PARCC and standardized testing in general?
Battaglia: Our Teachers are not able to teach freely. Our Teachers are teaching the students to be good test takers. We need to do away with PARCC. Some standardized tests are beneficial to make sure the student is learning the material, but a Teacher should not be evaluated based on the scores and a school should not looked at as good or bad based on test scores.
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?
Battaglia: How can we improve the diversity work force when we need to improve the diversity in our schools first. No one should be hired based on what they look like. We should be looking at qualifications and thats it! Our schools should be more welcoming to celebrating diversity and that would be a good start. Some schools don’t decorate for holidays or celebrate them. We should be more open to teaching the culture of different holidays which would open the doors to students being understanding of others in the world. Thats how you improve diversity. This would also help in diminishing bullying and discrimination in our communities. Diversity clubs also opens the door to students to being more excepting of others differences.