I support Drost for school board

I am writing to you with hopes to encourage our community members to get out and vote for Carl Drost during the school board election coming up on Sept. 12. I know fall is a busy time especially for those with kids in school, yet these elections are so vital to securing a bright future for all students in the Oskaloosa school system both in the near future, and beyond.

For any community members who are unfamiliar with Mr. Drost, he has been a business owner, community member, and supporter of our community schools for many years. Drost has served various roles on the school board over the years, and continues to remain committed to serving all future students through his participation with the school board.

As a mother of school-aged children here in the district, I have recently been very concerned with the escalation of both behavior issues and dropping test scores at the elementary level. That concern prompted me to attend a few school board meetings in an effort to have my concerns heard and better understand the board’s perception of these issues.

Right away, I noticed that Drost was very engaged and determined with his participation during these meetings. He does his research, he makes the phone calls, he documents his findings — all in an effort to spur progress for our students and district. His years of service both to the school board and as a businessman in the community allows him a unique and far-reaching perspective not offered by many of the other board members. I value his experience and tenacity.

I have most respected his determination to share his point of view regardless of the uncomfortable criticism it may bring from his peers. Honestly, most of us would fold under pressure when others don’t agree with our argument, but Drost is relentless in his pursuit of progress. Clearly, his conviction is that our district is in need of some serious change to allow for future success, and he aims to bring about that change even if it is an uphill battle. Drost believes in fighting for the good of all students in the district and leaving a legacy by raising our standards. I, too, believe that by raising the standards, we will raise the achievements.

I am not currently satisfied with the standards in our district, and I have shared my concerns publicly before. I understand that times have changed and the issues facing our schools are very different than they were when I attended school 20 years ago. I also know firsthand that we have many talented and devoted teachers in our district who are dealing with behavior, safety, and issues related to lack of student motivation every day which drain them of their passionate energy and abilities to teach effectively. Open enrollment shows that we are losing students — it would be a shame to begin losing our best teachers too. My fear is that if we continue to allow our board to disregard these issues because they are afraid to confront them we will all lose. I further implore you to do some research, check the school rankings in our region; greatschools.org is one option that compares schools nationally. While some of the criteria they use on sites like this can vary, it still provides a measurable gauge to compare our schools with those locally like Knoxville or Pella in addition to others nation-wide. Take a look. I urge you to vote for those who will lead our community to make the needed changes.

Drost demonstrates the will and courage to make difficult decisions even if they aren’t popular; to do the research and be fully educated about the problem as well as the consequences; and offers the experience to know not only where we have come from — but where we need to be headed for success.

Please make time to vote for the future of Oskaloosa’s schools and children by voting for Drost on Tuesday Sept. 12.

Magan Jansen

Oskaloosa

Encourage voters to choose Stream

With the upcoming Oskaloosa School Board election fast approaching, I wish to publicly show my support for Lynette Stream.

Lynette is a wife and mother who has been awakened to use her efforts to best support our schools. She is passionate and devoted to helping insure positive changes within our district that will allow better success for all students. She values our many talented teachers and understands that their ability to teach has been hampered by many of the issues that have remained unresolved in our district.

Lynette does not shy away from a problem just because she is unfamiliar with it — instead she spends the time to educate herself as much as she can to assist her understanding. Sometimes, it is easier to simply avoid a problem, or deny that it exists when we don’t know what the solution may be; but Lynette is committed to confronting even the most sensitive and difficult issues that plague our schools. She wants to insure that we are planning for a successful future for students, parents, teachers, and the administration as a whole.

Many families with children in Oskaloosa schools may be realizing, as I have, that the issues facing our schools in 2017 appear very different than they were 20 years ago. Our district is finding that some of these issues are now catching up in the form of behavior incidents within our classrooms and are negatively reflected in our test scores as well. Enrollments are moving to other districts, which is a loss of economic support for our schools. This community needs to support making some changes and trying some new approaches to allow our schools to prosper so that our kids to feel safe and encouraged to learn. I personally am hoping to see even more transformation, and definitely not more of the same from our public school board — which is why I support Stream.

Lynette doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but she is prepared to do the work. I know that she will engage herself first in understanding the problem — and she won’t shy away from seeing things for herself if need be. She will form her own opinions, and support what she feels is best for all students without being swayed by what is popular or easiest to go along with. Her resolve to be a part of the solution and devote her time and efforts to assisting our public schools is something I greatly respect. She is open to listening to ideas and suggesting changes while understanding that sometimes we try and try again until we find the best solution. She believes in working together and keeping parents, teachers, and the administration motivated to communicate openly and honestly about needs within the district.

Parents, grandparents, neighbors...if you are wanting to find out more about the current situation for schools in our community I would ask you to jump on your computer and do some research. I have been comparing schools recently using websites that offer information, and one example is greatschools.org. Type in Oskaloosa Middle School and search, it will give you a rating — mind you these ratings rely on criteria form test scores to economic status...but nevertheless it’s a rating that you can compare to other similar districts like Knoxville, or even Pella.

Oskaloosa CAN improve, and to begin those improvements we all CAN vote for the candidates standing for change, like Lynette Stream, who are willing to face the issues.

Magan Jansen

Oskaloosa

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