Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Abbondanza Pizzeria

April 25, 2008

Bob Goff is a remarkable business person.  I like the pizza he serves and his calzones.  My admiration for Bob goes beyond his food.  He goes to remarkable lengths to serve our community and our schools.

I see Bob at Rotary most Wednesday mornings.  He gets up extremely early each week to serve us breakfast.  He certainly doesn’t charge us enough to make it worth his while.  But, Bob’s support of the club is in line with the Rotary motto: Service above Self.

Bob provides untold amounts of support to our schools, too.  He says yes, probably way too often, without hesitation when asked for support by local schools, soccer teams, and many other grops.  He provides discounted food for numerous school events.  Bob also supports a mill levy override – even though commercial property owners like Bob will be hit hardest by an increase in property taxes.  Bob understands the importance of good schools.  Good schools are good business.

Bob holds no official positions in our community.  He is a typical small business owner, tending to his business most hours of the day.  Bob also is a true public servant.

I encourage you to visit Abbondanza Pizzeria.


Longmont Chamber Questions

September 14, 2007

Here are answers I submitted to the Longmont Chamber to be published in the Business Advocate.  I encourage you to read a copy of the next Advocate so you can read what other school board candidates said, too.

One thing I learned in answering this questionnairre is that you can say much in 50 words.  That’s tough when you’re answer broad questions such as these.  When you’re limited to 50 words, you have to cut out all context, there’s no room for nuance and, in some cases, you must leave out critical details.

So, please consider these answers as conversation starters.  Please ask questions.  What would you like me to expand on or clarify.  What questions do my answers lead you to think about?

Please don’t assume context, motives or hidden agendas.  Let’s talk.

1.     Do you feel that business should play a role in public education?  If no, why not?  If yes, how?

Business is in a unique position to rally the community around meaningful goals (Madison, WI business helped boost 3rd grade reading by 33%); launch special initiatives such as bringing science & technology schools to the district, and break down walls between school and community to create real world learning opportunities for students.

2.     Do you feel that the business community’s interests impact public education?  If no, why not?  If yes, why?

Public schools are a recruiting tool for business.  Families want options.  Business can’t stand idle.  Businesses must lead the charge to help St. Vrain create a portfolio of high demand schools that already exist in neighboring districts.  We need dual-emersion language, Montessori and science focus schools to name a few options.

3.     Do you feel that the educational community’s interests impact the business community?  If no, why not? If yes, why?

We must make the transition from our 50+ year-old system and step into the 21st century.  Schools must offer tailored instruction, enable teachers to focus on high-value instruction and give students more responsibility for their own learning.  Transitions take up front investments for long term pay-offs.  Business must help chart these investments.

4.     Are you satisfied with the pay scale for the first year teachers?  If you are, why?  If you are not, what are your suggestions to increase the pay?

I need to learn more to answer this question.  The pay scale must be tied to specific goals.  Is our highest need to recruit new teachers or retain veterans?  Are we able to recruit math and science teachers?  As a board member I will ask these types of questions to reach judgments.


September 8, 2007

I have received three formal sets of questions sent to all school board candidates.  I will publish my answers to these questions on the blog after the due dates for the questions.

From the Longmont Chamber of Commerce (due Wednesday, September 12 all answers must be 50 words or less; answers will be published in the Business Advocate).

1. Do you feel that business should play a role in public education?  If no, why not? If yes, how?

2. Do you feel that the business community’s interests impact public education? If no, why not? If yes, why?

3. Do you feel that the educational community’s interests impact the business community? If no, why not? If yes, why?

4. Are you satisfied with the pay scale for the first year teachers?  If you are, why? If you are not, what are your suggestions to increase the pay?

From the Daily Times-Call (due Friday, September 14 all answers must be 100 words or less; answers will be published in the Times-Call).

1. Why are you running for school board?

2. What is your vision of the American educational system in 10 years?

3. How can the SVVSD improve its graduation rate and better prepare students for life after high school?

4. How should the SVVSD accomodate current and future growth in the district?

From Brad Jolly (due date Monday, September 17 no word limit; no specific publication)

  1. As a school board member, what specific, measurable goals would you make high priorities for the district achieve by June 30, 2008?
  2. Same question, but by June 30, 2009.
  3. What are the 3-5 important things that the SVVSD routinely does best?
  4. What are the 3-5 important things that the SVVSD routinely does worst?  Please list the same number of items in this response that you did for the question above.
  5. Would you support a mill levy override in 2008?
  6. Can the SVVSD improve student performance without spending more money than the increases already guaranteed by Amendment 23?  Name as many specific ideas as possible.
  7. Do you believe the district is standards-based in terms of student achievement?  Explain.
  8. Outside of charter schools, what percentage of SVVSD teachers would you put in each of the following categories relative to their public school peers along the Front Range (answers should add up to 100%)?

                Much Better than Average
                Better than Average
                Worse than Average
                Much Worse than Average

  9. Describe your position on the district’s current "Health Education Proposal."  Are there any areas that you would work to repeal?
  10. What is your position on the way the district has dealt with Imagine?
  11. What is your position on the way math is taught in the SVVSD?
  12. Would you support a voucher system for students that would enable students to leave schools where more than 80% of the students flunk the CSAP?  By "voucher system," I mean a system wherein parents would be able to take their students’ per-pupil funding to a public, parochial or private school of the parents’ choosing. 
  13. Would you support a similar voucher system for all students?
  14. In a public editorial published in the Times-Call and on the district’s Web site, Dr. Zila wrote, "On standardized testing St. Vrain students outscore most of their peers around the state, including Cherry Creek and Boulder Valley."  Is this statement true?  What evidence is there for or against this?
  15. More than a decade ago, Dr. Zila’s predecessor talked about making the SVVSD a "world-class" district.  Are we there yet?  Are we close?
  16. What else would you like to say to help me make up my mind as to whom I wish to support in the upcoming election?

From various emails sent to me (no particular due dates):

– How can Individual Education Plans (IEPs) be done better?

– How can schools make better use of technology in schools?

– What are your ideas to get more parents involved with schools?

– What place should charter schools have in the education system?
– What is your take on bilingual education?
– What is your position on racial integration in schools?
– How should school accountability work?

How Should Business Best Invest?

August 22, 2007

I was asked a question today I could not answer off the top of my head. I was asked, what are the best ways for businesses to invest in public education and schools? Most of us could create a laundry list of possibilities. There already are a number of businesses that do invest in our schools – with time, resources and dollars. That’s fantastic and we should celebrate those efforts. But, as the St. Vrain School District strives to work in partnership with the business community, what is most strategic? How do we achieve the best return on investment? I’m sure there are more than one or even two good strategies. But, without focus – and just a desire for partnerships – we run the risk of doing things of marginal benefit in dribs and drabs.

I must confess that this is an area in which I need to do more homework and talk to people with more experience than mine. It’s on my agenda.