Elect Mark Wilde

Elect Mark Wilde

Ypsilanti Community Schools (Four year)
General Election Nov 4, 2014

We were all asked several series of questions by
the media, the YCS Unions
and by the blogger Ruth Kraut.
List of Endorsers

My answers.

Questions as asked by the media, (Ann Arbor News, Ypsi Courrier, and the League of Women Voters).
My answers.

What compelled you to run for a seat on the YCS Board of Education?
I was on the Willow Run Board and I have been told by many that I was making a positive impact on that board and the district, and I know that with my experiences from those ten years that I will be able to apply that knowledge and those experiences to help this community and make a positive impact on the new district and all of it’s students.

What in your education and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this position?
I held a seat on the Willow Run Community School BOE and took the opportunity to learn about effective School District management through the workshops led by the MASB. From 2000 on, I have been actively involved with the Willow Run High School Robotics Team and the Willow Run High Science Club. These diverse groups of students have taught me that education about science needs to come in an attractive engaging package. Additionally FIRST, the robotics organization that the teams compete under, has shown me that kids have to be told by adults that they are “college material” or else they will never pursue the millions in scholarships that go unclaimed nationally every year. In addition to emphasizing college/career counseling, I would like to acknowledge that some students may not ‘fit’ into college, so, we should be offering more student electives in the industrial arts, auto mechanics, plumbing, electrical and home construction and repair, as exposure to these at an early age can help establish their goals after graduation.

What are your goals should you be elected and how will you work to accomplish them with currently limited resources?
Improve student grades. Improve student attendance. Improve graduation rates. Ultimately, increase student engagement. In order to learn, students have to want to learn. We also have to engage the parents. The parents are our best untapped resource and they should have many opportunities to be in their child’s classroom and helping with their child’s activities. Parents need to be familiar with the classroom goals and objectives so that they can be encouraging their student at home. Our most successful robotics students also had actively involved parents. The main goal is to raise the level of education of all students, when the students are properly engaged everyone in the class has a better opportunity to learn more.

What are the greatest challenges that will face this totally new Board of Education?
Ypsilanti Community Schools faces the same challenge as every other public school district in the State; we are consistently being asked to do more with fewer resources. We are also faced with fluctuations in the number of students enrolled due to the seemingly attractive charter schools that operate on out fringes. Our funding is directly tied to the number of students we have in the classroom in a small time period early in the school year, so we need to have our students and parents engaged and present.

What should be done to improve student achievement in the District?
As I have stated previously, students need to be engaged. Students need to want to learn the subjects that are being taught to them. Teachers need to be using all the tools available to get students involved in the material. These tools can be computer software to learn phonics through teaching physics by studying roller-coasters. Our high school students need to be given the opportunity to learn about careers and then have the ability to take classes here and at the nearby colleges that give them opportunity to explore those career goals further.

Questions as asked by YCS Unions.
My answers.

What experiences, skills, or attributes do you have that make you a good candidate for the Board of Education?
I held a seat on the Willow Run Community School BOE and took the opportunity to learn about effective School District management through the workshops led by the MASB. From 2000 on, I have been actively involved with the Willow Run High School Robotics Team and the Willow Run High Science Club. I have been told by many that I was making a positive impact on the Willow Run Board and the district, and I know that with my experiences from those ten years that I will be able to apply that knowledge and those experiences to help this community and make a positive impact on the new district and all of its students.

Do you have or have ever had children attending either the Ypsilanti or Willow Run school districts? If yes, how do you view that experience(s)?
All three of our children attended all 13 years in the Willow Run District. I currently have one grandchild attending YCS at Adams. Pauline went on to a bachelor degree at U of M Dearborn, Allen earned his bachelor’s at EMU and Leanne is currently attending U of Toledo working toward a teaching degree. Both of our sons-in-law are Willow Run graduates, Chris also went to U of M-D and David is still at U of Toledo. Allen, Leanne and David were members of the very successful Team 66 FIRST robotics program. And now Pauline and Chris are mentors for the program, as am I, and Leanne and David have come back and helped with some mentoring as well. Overall I was pleased with how the district led our children in the education process.

Have you formed any opinions as to the success of the consolidation of the two districts? If so, please share what they are as well as any ideas to improve the system.
While it is easy to see that the merger has occurred, I think it is too early to address success or failure. There are noticeable milestones that have been missed as well as accomplished. “Cradle to Career” was promised as part of the new district, the preschool component of that is going to be a critical part in the overall education of the students.

How would you go about getting information regarding the district prior to making important policy decisions?
Setting policy is a very important aspect of any school board; as such it must first comply with all of the laws above the districts policies. And any policies must also be enforceable and enforced, as we have seen when you have policies regarding behavior and they are not enforced, some feel that is an invitation to ignore other policies. Stakeholders need to be involved, after you get input from staff, parents and students then the district has several resources to ensure that all policies are compliant within the laws that may affect them.

We are facing tremendous staff turnover in the district. Please explain how you would address this issue.
As big pictures go, Monies to pay the staff comes mostly from the enrollment, more students usually means more money. We need to increase to be able to raise our salaries to become competitive with competing districts. While we have to have qualified teachers, we also need to retain them for several years instead of allowing them to leave and then retraining a new batch of teachers year after year. By having and keeping proven teachers, this will also help keep students in the district. Staff has to feel valued, if we want them to stay, they have to believe their input into policy at the BoE and building levels is being heard. Additionally, we need them too feel that they have full district backing on discipline issues and other day to day issues.

What is your perspective of the collective bargaining system between the district and employees? What role do you see yourself having in that process?
As a member of the school board my role is to make sure that the district provides the best pay possible and the best working conditions possible, as this will create the best learning environment possible. And that should be the goal of a good and fair board member

Questions as asked by Ruth Kraut.
My answers.

Aside from the budget, what are your two top priorities for the Ypsilanti schools?
Student achievement, and increasing enrollment, and that will help solve the budget issue. Which in turn will help with teacher retention.

What ideas do you have for reducing students' out-of-school days (unexcused absences)?
Students have to want to learn and they have to want to be there. Back in the old days we used to give students incentives for good attendance and behavior and grades. Perhaps it is time to revisit those practices.

Staff morale has been an issue in the school district. How do you think the board should monitor and respond to staff morale issues, if at all? What ideas do you have for reducing staff turnover in the coming year?
A school board is supposed to oversee what the Superintendent is doing, it is not supposed to control anyone in the district, as such the school board needs to put measurable and enforceable milestones in place to make sure the superintendent is offering the best possible conditions available. And the board needs to make sure that the resources are available to achieve those goals.

Are you satisfied with the district’s openness and transparency to parents, employees, and community members/taxpayers? If yes, why? If no, what changes would you propose?
I have probably been to more meetings as a non-board member than almost anyone else. When you take the time and make the effort to become and remain involved then you see that the board is being open. You have to have your own open. If you do not attend the meetings then of course you will not what see is going on.

Hindsight is perfect, but: whether you are an incumbent, or not: Name one decision that the YCS school board made in the last six months that you think was a very good decision; and name one decision that the school board made in the last six months that you wish had been decided differently.
My answer to both parts of this involve the same action. Balanced school year. We are no longer, and have not been for a very long time, been an agricultural society, so we no longer need the kids to be at home helping on the farm. The students a have one quarter of the off, all in a row, that is a lot of time to forget what you learned last year. We should have longer semesters and come even closer to full year school years. But a detractor to this is teachers need time for their own professional career development that would have to be factored in for this to be successful. And now that our schools all have functioning air conditioning it’s probably more comfortable at school than at home.

Former board members from Willow Run, Ypsilanti Schools, or Ypsilanti Community Schools: When were you a former board member? Were you appointed or elected? What did you learn from your experience on the WR, YS, or YCS board that you think would be helpful on the board now?
I was appointed to WR in November of 2001. I successfully ran to retain my uncontested seat in June of 2002. In 2006 I ran and did retain my seat. I waited until 2008 to run again and was elected. In the same vote in 2012 that I approved consolidation, some 5,000 voters said to keep me if the consolidation was not approved. I went through some tough times cleaning up form a superintendent that was hired in 2007. I have learned about making sure you thourghly investigate before you hire, and I have learned some of the warning signs when things start to go bad. I attended many of the professional deleoment courses offed by the MASB Michigan Association of School Boards, effictive boardsmenship like effective teachers need professional development.

When I ran for the Willow Run Board, things were a lot simpler.

This election has a lot of people running for it, and I will need to buy yard signs and other campaign material.

I am looking for both volunteers to help me with this campaign, and for donations to my campaign fund.

Please contact me if you are able to help me in any way that you can.

Please email me at mark@electmarkwilde.com or markwilde@provide.net

! - Endorsers - ! and

*EL Weathers**Gordon Cahours**Bobby Stevens*
*Kathryn Wilde*Pauline Lesser*Cheryl Weber*
Tommy MeansEd CalhounTerry Lamb
Robert DillenResa LatourGeorge Riehl
Lisa SlawsonSteve MartinDustin Pepper
Frank Gleason Larry FitzgeraldBilly Toth
David Dzierbicki*Annette Wilde*Brian Taylor
Janalyn Kendrick-FrantzDemetrius JonesAlex Frantz
Heather Wilson*Michelle Valasin*Ben Darnell
Jim HerbstBetty KendrickJulia Herbst
Sarah HuntJanalea Baker*Robyn Fullerton-Miller*
Sean MartinHendrika FullertonKathie Pereira
Kathryn ThomasCrystal HodgesCheryl Taylor
Allen WildeCharlie SellsVincent Hall
*Kristine Thomas*Mike GiesRochelle Cooper Kowalski
Jeff MartinSteve TamerDaviana Kay Gustafson
Virgina Lee KenworthyVirgina A. MurphyBonnie Binswanger Eckert
*Steven Dininsky*Kelly KroskeAnna Martin
Thomas HumbargerGlenn ThomasGary Jones
John WildeTravis GreerCathy Barnard Nickels
*Betsy Stevens*Donald WilsonJames Turner
Peter HenningTrudy AdamsBeth Darnell
Keith McClary*Gail Kornbluth*Brandon Reeve
Mike LandtVickie LandtAlbert Trewren
*Terri Sharp**Sally Epskamp*! - Gayle Green - !
Leanne Wilde MartinDave EpskampScott Wilson
Katie Epskamp BurDavid MartinJill Hosmer
*Jim Weber*Beth MooreColleen McEldowney
! - Arthur Penhallow - !Cathy Bowen HayesRobin Baker VerCande
Sherry Glenn HallDenis SchmiedekeJim Black
Bette Caminker