Citizens For Delaware Schools

Website:  Brian Swain for Woodbridge School District
Why are you the best candidate for School Board?

I was involved in education for many years as both administration and as a teacher. I am not persuaded by political agendas. I want to spend time improving the Woodbridge Community as a whole and given my time in education, I think this is the best way to help.

Man with glasses and beard smiling into the camera
How will you prioritize improvement to student academic achievement, particulary reading and math?

As reading and math continue to be a challenge, I will focus more attention and share effective strategies for increasing scores across the board through remedial programs, after school learning sessions, and parent/stakeholder succession plan meetings. The community deserves to know our strengths but also our weaknesses and together through funding such as a consolidated grant, we can make programs like this a reality in our district. I participated in programs like this as a teacher and have implemented programs like this as a principal.

What steps will you pursue to strengthen the connection between parents and the school system?

One of my main reasons for running for the School Board was to build stronger community, parent, and stakeholder relationships. As a member of the Woodbridge School Board I will encourage teachers, administration, and staff to welcome parents into our educational settings not only for academic purposes but to build trusting relationships with each other. As a teacher, I often invited grandparents into the classroom for lunch to celebrate their grandchild’s success. As a principal I continued that tradition but also involved local community members such as local police departments, Lion’s Club, and other organizations to build a vested interest.

How will you ensure that parents will be made aware of proposed or new regulations or policies that affect their children?

As a School Board Member and as a parent of three children, I feel it is essential to have open communication with all parents and guardians. This will be done through school events like parent and community nights, emails, phone calls, and text messages when necessary. It is important that parents and guardians not only understand what is being proposed for students but have a voice in whatever matter is at hand.

What steps should be taken at schools to create a safer learning environment?

We are at a critical point for safety in our schools. Parents and guardians need to know that their child will be safe from the moment we pick up their child until they are safely delivered back home. To achieve such level of successful safety we will continue with the utmost safety in our schools through resource officers, constables, and security camera surveillance in and outside of the school. I will pay serious attention to teacher and staff input as they share specific safety issues in their school learning environment.

What changes should be made, if any, to local and state funding to maximize the amount that goes directly to producing academic achievement?

There needs to be a strong focus on implementing effective research-based curriculum. The curriculum should prepare students for the 21st century but is also realistic and attainable. Alignment to state standards is vital to student success.

How will you commit to increasing classroom transparency - including but not limited to curriculum - with parents?

Parents should have access to their child’s curriculum, sequence of learning, and teacher expectations for understanding. I will encourage staff and teachers to communicate in effective means which many are already doing. Right now classrooms are utilizing class dojo, class tag, and other specific classroom learning apps where parents can have effective means of communication with their child’s teacher .

How will providing curricula that defines people as oppressors and oppressed based on group identity such as race or sex either help or hinder students in their interactions with the world around them?

To raise children without access to curricula that shares our history but also current events would do a disservice to the children trusted to our care. While there are many appalling and horrific parts in our history, there is a great opportunity for students to understand that we can all learn together, learn from history, and continue to be the change that not only a local community would be proud of, but the entire world could use. Ultimately we want all of our students to be successful.

In what circumstances would it be considered acceptable for material that contains visual or written depictions of sexual acts to be presented to students in the classroom or in school libraries?

If and when such material is noted directly in our Delaware state teaching standards this would truly be an opportunity for our parents and school stakeholders to collaboratively share their input on such depictions and have a voice on how they choose or not choose for their learner to participate.