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NAME: Dr. Dolores M. Johnson
CANDIDATE FOR: Cabell County Board of Education
PARTY: Nonpartisan race
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook: Dolores Johnson for Cabell County Board of Education
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Rhetoric and Linguistics, PH.D
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Retired Marshall University Professor of English
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Social Worker, WV Department of Employment, Job Corps, Huntington High School Teacher of Spanish and English, Marshall University Director of Writing; Director of National Writing Project sites at Marshall and Logan.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Volunteer Docent at the Huntington Museum of Arts and member of Board; President of the Douglass Foundation; Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples; Member of St. Peter Claver Church; Member of the WV State Quilters' Guild (and three local guilds).
FAMILY : I am widowed, with three adult children (Byron, Adrianne, and Chris) and eight grandchildren.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I applied to become a candidate for the Board of Education because of my commitment to and belief in public education for Cabell County students. My experiences in education have continued post retirement through online and classroom teaching, volunteer work, and consulting. As the MU Director of the English Writing Program and my work with the National Writing Project sites, I gained experience in educational administrative concerns. For the past two summers, I've worked with K-12 teachers across the curriculum in the Carter G. Woodson Lyceum Teachers Institute. I am applying to share my experiences, while learning anew.
1. What should your role be as a member of the Board of Education?
My role should be to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a board member in supporting the overall aim of its mission statement, i.e. “Making Cabell County schools a 21st century learning community* dedicated to the success of every student. Achieving that mission requires developing good practices that address old and new challenges faced today by the “learning community.”
2. How would you address the dropout issue?
Absenteeism, considered one of the ten most challenging issues facing public education, leads to students dropping out. Some ways to address these issues are Research causes, Locate successful examples of lowering drop-out, Open doors for family/school interventions, Institute alternative educational environments (evening classes, online, Expand programs such as Time4K for middle and high school students.
3. How would you encourage more parental involvement?
Increase ways for students to shine publicly in every subject field: art exhibits- theatrical performances, academic jeopardy, competitions of all kinds etc. Create assignments for interactive parental participation with students using popular culture---movies, music, art, dance, photography... Provide ways for parents to have a say in the “learning community”–forums, seminars, discussion groups , social gatherings.
4. How would you increase the rigor of the curriculum to benefit students?
Lessen the focus on passing national tests. Focus more on critical/creative thinking skills. Direct and guide students in independent (but relevant) subject matter of their choosing. Technology allows students to gain mastery of interested subjects. Year round school. Have students create team contest, or competitions based on game shows for review or mastery or performance.
5. What would you do to improve student achievement?
Recognize formally student efforts, creativity and abilities, in areas of achievement--other than athletic arenas. Provide opportunities for students to build confidence through making choices, solving problems, and learning on their own. Offer collaborative learning opportunities with peers. Less focus on testing, more emphasis on real world assessments.
6. What do you think schools should be doing about drug prevention?
Having spoken with several teachers about this issue , I think the schools are working effectively with this problem in many ways. In addition I would add: Creating a peer counseling program, Providing alternative learning environments ( see dropouts), Collaborating with existing treatment centers or programs (as places for internships, or volunteering by students).
7. Do you think schools should do more to prepare students to succeed in community college and apprenticeships, etc.?
All students need life skills preparation for post high school life, through coursework, paid or volunteer work experience, or simulations. Just as academic coursework prepares college bound students for higher education, students entering community college, apprenticeships or entry level certification programs need strong basic skills in reading, writing and math.
8. How would you access the condition of Cabell County’s school facilities? What improvements, if any, do you think should be the focus in the next 10 years?
The Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan is a bold and future oriented plan for Cabell County's school buildings. Does it take into consideration the changing workforce and trends of working from home. How will school buildings be used if not mainly for housing classrooms? How are forward thinking companies even today using facilities differently? What does this bode for school facilities?