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Votes

Questionnaire: Kathy Lague, School Board, Potomac District

Office sought: School Board, Potomac District

Party Affiliation: Republican, running as Independent

Previous offices held; please include dates: none

Occupation: Full-time Community Volunteer, Registered Nurse

Current employment (include name and address of employers): none

Previous employment:  Alexandria Hospital, Safety Nurse/Operating Room

Education: ASN, Catherine Laboure School of Nursing, Completed coursework in

Nursing, George Mason University; Completed coursework in Nursing, University

of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Community ties:

2003 Serves on Loudoun County Emergency Preparedness Taskforce

1993-2003  10 years of school commitment as a Volunteer for

Sugarland, Horizon, and Potowmack Elementary Schools; Seneca Ridge and River Bend Middle Schools.

1995-2003  8 years of Leadership in Potomac District Girl Scouting

2002-03   Vice President of PFHS Parent Association

2001   Volunteer of the Year Cascades Homeowners Assoc.

2000-02  Vice President SRMS PTO

2001-02  Serves as a Member LCPS Grade Scale Committee & Textbook

Adoption Committees

1.    What is your top public-service accomplishment?

I am proud to have worked for five years on safety issues in this county. I was instrumental in having the walkway between the two buildings at Seneca Ridge Middle School enclosed and obtaining keypads on all outside doors, which was then implemented in all the older middle schools in the county.   I played an instrumental role in getting the county to install a sidewalk on Middlefield Drive for the students to walk safely to Potomac Falls High School.

2.    Incumbents: Describe the top accomplishment of your last term.

3.    What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them? Describe one challenge (or more) in your district that is different than other parts of the county.

All of our high school seniors must pass the SOL requirements so that they can receive a standard diploma.  Funding for remedial programs must be a top priority.

Maintaining small class sizes and ensuring that teacher compensation remains competitive.

Establish a boundary process that does not fracture communities.  It should be based on proximity to the facility and keeping established neighborhoods together.

Improvement in the communication between secondary schools and parents.

Establish Parent Safety Groups within each high school.

As the Potomac District grows more diverse, we need to ensure that all of our students are achieving in the classroom. The No Child Left Behind law forces us to examine our educational programs and how we can better serve underachieving populations.

4.    What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?

I bring the knowledge of knowing my constituents and my schools.  I have volunteered for thousands of hours in these schools and know many of the parents that have students that attend these schools.  I bring the quality of persistence and perseverance in getting a job done.  My commitment is to the children of this district, for the children of this

district.

5.    How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?

I have always been connected to my community, because I am in my community, active in the schools, communicating with many people on a daily basis.  I pledge to maintain this connection, because it is who I am. I am the person in this race running solely to be our children's advocate on the School Board.  It is all about the children.

6.    Is there "waste" in the school budget? If so, where and how much? If you

can't pinpoint precisely, in what specific area would you be looking?

My budget priorities will be keeping class sizes down and keeping Loudoun's teacher salary scale competitive with our neighboring jurisdictions.   Money must be kept in the classroom, not spent on administration.  We are building an administration building for future needs when we are having trouble financing the present.  We also need to examine how we are opening new schools, as several new schools that have been recently opened are opening far below capacity.

7.    What have been the advantages and disadvantages of SOLs?

All of the recent state and federal mandates are not being given financial support that is needed to accomplish the goals that the mandates intended. Teachers are spending wasted energy teaching to the tests and our children are losing out.  Individuality and creativity are being lost with this generation of multiple choice test takers.

Test scores are only one measure of school performance.  The only advantage to SOLs is that it forces accountability in low performing school districts and demands improvement in these schools.  In the schools that already are achieving, I see SOL mandates as a time consuming task.

8.    If you had an extra $1 million to spend on the school system any way you would like, how would you spend it?

I would decrease classroom sizes at all levels.

9.    What are the hallmarks of a well-run school? Include measurable characteristics.

The hallmarks of a well-run school are: students that are happy and safe; teachers that make a career in one school; students that maintain successful test scores; and parents that feel welcome and appreciated.  A well-run school is a place where diversity is appreciated and respected, and where all students achieve to the highest level of their potential.

10.    What are the hallmarks of an excellent teacher? Include measurable characteristics.

An excellent teacher makes learning come alive and encourages the students to succeed.  An excellent teacher is one that the students and parents will miss at the end of the school year and keep coming back to visit because they truly care about the teacher.

An excellent teacher is always striving to improve his/her teaching and trying new ideas.  Excellence can be measured by examining standardized test scores to see if a majority of that teacher's students show improvement each year.

11.    If you were to create your own core curriculum, what subjects would you include? Place in priority order.

Writing, writing, and writing - our students do not do nearly enough writing.

This would be followed by reading, phonics based spelling and basic math,

history and science.

12.    How would you increase involvement of the general public in the public schools?

Schools must communicate that the general public is welcome in the schools. We need to make sure that school events are well publicized.  Let's make our facilities even more user friendly by opening up our libraries and our high school tracks for public use.  The public needs to be given the feeling that this is their building and they are welcome to come and use it, volunteer in it and make a difference to the students by coming.

13.    How would you increase parental involvement in the public schools?

Once again, parents must be welcomed into the building.  The front office staff must be friendly and accommodating.  Communication between the schools and the parents is critical. The schools need to let the parents know specifically what their volunteer needs are.  Parents in today's world are very limited with their time and would like a specific agenda before they commit to a project.  Some schools are very successful in getting parents involved - let's look at what those schools are doing and see if we can repeat those practices in others.

14.    What additional public safety steps would you recommend in addressing gangs and violent activities on or near school property? Has the rate of violent acts increased, decreased or stayed the same in the last four years?

In my district the rate has stayed the same. Gang violence and bullying are issues that need to be addressed, and programs implemented to teach our children survival skills in today's world.  Parent Safety Groups need to be formed at local schools and reporting protocols need to be established.  Inappropriate student behavior must immediately be dealt with and reported to authorities. Parents must be kept aware of any unsafe conditions in the school.  We need to open the lines of communication between secondary schools and parents.  Issues of drug and alcohol use at the school can no longer be buried.