Letter to the Editor: I’ll Bring a Missing and Needed Voice to the Chehalis School Board

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I’m Kelsi Hamilton. After volunteering several years as an advocate for children in schools, I’m asking for your vote for a fresh perspective and new energy to the Chehalis School Board.

I care deeply about our community, schools and families. Our board should consist of members with various experiences and perspectives. Being a mother of three children who attend three different schools in our district, I’ll bring a missing and needed voice to our board. I experience many of the same issues other families are dealing with along with insight as to where improvements are possible. I frequently interact with fellow parents who share feedback and concerns with me knowing that I’m a solution finder.

I understand that this role includes serving all students and families, regardless of personal opinions. I know how to work with a variety of stakeholders and perspectives thanks to my private sector job working with the Legislature. Part of the role of director is to be the community voice on the board and within the Washington State School Directors Association, the school directors’ policy and lobbying group. This association develops model policies and procedures that school districts adopt and implement. The great work of Chehalis schools and our community concerns should be shared with the association.

I want to help assure more transparency and robust communication. I know many parents in the last several months have felt they’re not heard. Our school board read prepared statements at meetings and passed resolutions without much board discussion in public. Many have reported concerns about employees weighing in on policy and discussions that took place without the community’s involvement.

The community’s representative on the board should ask questions during meetings. For example, meetings mentioning a vaccine clinic at school and another changing the bell schedule should have awakened the board to seek a full airing of issues impacting families. As a voice for the community served by the district, I would have sought more timely support for families of students facing such a drastic change. Likewise, it was important to know details behind a vaccine clinic. I also support transparency for parents in what their children are learning in classrooms. Thanks to technology, this should be possible.

I feel school board meetings should be more publicized and recorded allowing members of the public easier access and the ability to engage. I support having director reports being part of each board meeting so that each director can share with the public about the work they’ve engaged in over the previous month. These are just a few goals I would work on to increase community pride and confidence in our local schools.

We’re facing challenging times. With an unprecedented youth mental health crisis, staffing challenges, state mandates and local control being eroded, it’s time for an energetic and engaged parent to join the board. I’d be honored to earn your vote to help continue the legacy of amazing schools while maintaining community and parent trust.

Learn more about me at hamiltonforschoolboard.com.

 

Kelsi Hamilton

Chehalis

 

Editor’s note: Political candidates are allowed to publish one letter to the editor per election cycle.

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