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Q&A with Campbell Union School District Board of Trustees Candidate Michael Snyder

The school district candidate answers a few questions about his campaign.

Campbell Patch: What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Michael Snyder: I have fifteen years of experience in the educational school system and that sets me apart from the other candidates in the Campbell Union School District (CUSD).

I am a teacher in the Sunnyvale School District and have a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in administration. I am always working at supporting, enriching, and growing students in all areas of academics. I have experience with programs, curriculum, budgets, and the myriad of elements that contribute to a high achieving learning community. I have worked at the school level, district level and county levels in education. I push for academic excellence and my passion is making sure all students are achieving at high levels of growth.

I will strive to ensure that there are support systems for students at all academic levels and push for effective learning environments in all schools. Education is what I do every day. I see what is working and not working in the classroom. I am in the trenches so to speak and I am passionate about making a difference. Not only as a teacher but as a board member if elected, who helps set the policies, evaluate programs, approve the district strategic plan, and oversee the selection of curriculum for our schools.

Patch: What are your top three priorities you will address if elected?

Snyder: The three top priorities I will address if elected are being visible in the community, spending our money wisely, and help to support the transition of common core standards.

  1. I plan to be a visible person in the community. I will attend board meetings, school events, and community events. I want to be accessible to all parents and have a connection to the schools in the district. When people hear my name, they will think of me as a person who is actively engaged in the school district rather than simply a picture on the wall in the district office or a name on a piece paper of district literature. I hope to be recognized by the parents and want the community to fill free to share their concerns with me. As a board member, I plan to attend PTO/ PTA meetings throughout the district. I want to be a liaison between the parents and the board. I will make sure to communicate with the neighborhood associations at their monthly meetings. An effective board knows and respects its community.
  2. Spending our money wisely for educating all children effectively is important. The CUSD has many programs that make it a wonderful district to be in. I will continue these programs and look for new ones that close the achievement gap. I will call upon our administrators, and teachers to help choose the best programs that push students to a higher level of learning. I will look for ways to stretch our money with the limited resources available without compromising the effectiveness of the programs.
  3. Helping to communicate and support children with the adoption of the common core standards. Education will shift in the way it teaches reading and math. Reading emphasis will be on building knowledge through content rich nonfiction. Reading, writing, and speaking will focus on evidence in the text with regular practice of complex text and academic language. In Math there will be a narrowing of the topics being taught while increasing the depth of learning. I will make sure that the board helps the teachers and parents in transitioning to the common core standards.

Patch: How will you help close the achievement gap in your district's schools?

Snyder: I will help to close the achievement gap by making sure CUSD hires the best teachers, has the best intervention programs and pursues enrichment programs in mathematics and the arts.

Students need a support system, challenging curriculum, higher level order questioning and an opportunity to learn. There has to be frequent monitoring of students and school programs. I will continue to help provide teachers with the best possible programs.  

I will advocate for programs that help all students to fill safe at their schools. There should be programs that promote health and wellness. The schools need to have a climate of high expectations, a vision for the future and use technology effectively.

Patch: How can you provide fiscal responsibility as well as transparency to the board's actions?

Snyder: As a board member, I will make sure that the schools are using funds wisely and fairly. I shall prudently manage and administer our tax dollars. I will make sure that all decisions are weighed carefully and that the ultimate goal is the success of our children's education.

I will continue to seek out advice regarding the laws and regulations that govern our spending. All money spent should align with the District's Strategic Plan. I will approach each decision with an open mind and listen to all arguments before making a decision.

I hope to not be a single issue advocate but make strong decisions about the budget by having the ability to see the long term implications of my decisions.

Patch: How will you better involve the parent community?

Snyder: As a board member, I would encourage parents and community members to attend board and state of the district meetings, which are open to the public. There needs to be various methods of communication (fliers, school website, phone calls, announcements at school) between the parents and the board.

Patch: What do you think is your district's biggest challenge?

Snyder: The biggest challenge is to continue the great programs that CUSD offers and to improve on those programs. The board has to balance the budget and pursue new and innovated ways of teaching to the children of the 21st century.

Technology will play a major role in the way we teach our children.  As a board member, I will help to ensure all students have access to technology and continued support to make Campbell Union School District the best place to be. Ultimately the biggest challenge of all schools in the state of California is the lack of funding for our schools.

California currently ranks 46th in the country for K-12 spending per student. Legislation needs to be written that allocates funds solely to the schools and has no loops holes to help pay off state debts.

Please visit my website at www.electmichaelsnyder.com

For more of Patch's November 2012 Election Coverage, click here.

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