Candidate Questionnaire: Jane Barber


RISE Colorado did not edit or alter candidate’s responses in any way.


1. Aurora is a unique and ever-changing community. Based on your research and understanding of key issues in Aurora Public Schools, what are the top priorities or concerns you have that you’d want to address and what do you see as the strongest assets of this school community?

The reasons I am running for APS school Board are as follows:

  1. More transparency among the BOE,superintendent and the Community

2.The trend toward privatization of Public Education–More and more Charters are being run by for profit companies.

3.Teachers need to be respected and honored. We need to let them teach and not just prepare the students to take a test.Nothing is gained for the students and the teachers are being evaluated on the test scores.

These are my top three reasons.

The top three assets of the community:

1.We serve healthy and tasty breakfasts and lunches every day. Fresh friuts and vegetables are always available. If a child is unable to pay they are not turned away.

  1. Our schools are clean and safe.

3.Diversity is our greatest asset and ,also, a challenge.

2. As you know, in the 2016-2017 school year there were 19 schools on the accountability clock. What will you do to improve the lowest performing schools and keep them from closing? What strategies do you have to increase academic achievement in Aurora?

Low preforming schools could be helped by more mentoring from highly successful teachers and retired teachers. Principals need to have time to evaluate and help their teachers. If a teacher is in danger of being non-renewed they need to know early on and then have assistance for fixing the problem. The children need to have time to play-Recess in the morning and in the afternoon. Physical education everyday.

This is a start. No excuses ,Just wins.

3. A strong connection between high-level decisions made on the school board and the day to day realities of teachers, students, and families is essential. How are you connecting to teachers, students, and families at the school level? How will you remain connected while on the board?

Four years ago I was term limited,  during that time I volunteered in several schools,I am on the Long-Term Planning Committee,

I worked with National History Day,I am on the governing Board for Lyn Knoll,and for the last two and a half years i have worked in Nutrition. So I have had direct contact with students, teachers, parents and administrators.

I shall continue to volunteer in schools and listen to APS parents and employees.

4. In recent years, we have seen improvements to academic achievement in Aurora Public Schools. However, transformative change and widespread improvements remain to be seen. Why are so many Aurora Public Schools in the situation we currently see with low performance? What is the Board of Education’s role in serving those students of those schools and what were the root causes that brought us to this point?

Trans formative change cannot take place overnight,it takes time.I agree that our kids don’t have time to waste. The Board needs to support the schools which are doing well and replicate their successes.The BOE needs to work with the administrators,teachers to find something that will work.

Core curriculum introduced in 2009 did not consider that kids learn differently, we cannot expect all kids to do well at the same pace. As i have before we need to allow our teachers to teach not just get children ready for a test.

SB16-191 destroyed the Morale of the teachers. Too many issues were not considered by the general assembly before this bill was passed. ALEC had a great influence on this bill.

5. Considering the diversity in Aurora and the fact that new students and families arrive to the public education system daily from other countries, how do you intend to support new students and families with integrating into Aurora Public Schools successfully?

New students need to be supported by families of the same nationalities who have lived here awhile as the students. That being said the school system needs to learn from these families as well, not only the language, but the culture. APS has reached out with open forums to learn from the different nationalities. Our biggest asset is our diversity,but is also a challenge.

At Fulton, we have a 9X12 poster that has the word welcome in many  languages. While one of our educators was acclimating two little boys to the cafeteria, one of the boys looked up and saw Welcome in his native language. He was overjoyed and so happy.

It is a start,but we do have 133 different languages spoken at APS.

We need to take full advantage of the Welcome center so the families do not feel so alone.

6. Many families express the desire for additional extracurricular activities for their children. Tutoring, clubs, enrichments activities, and sports all contribute to a holistic education experience for students. How would you support additional extracurricular activities for students from Preschool-12th grade?

Extracurricular activities do contribute to a well-rounded education. We need to find volunteers to help provide time and enrgy for our kids. So often , clubs such as chess, music, cooking are started and apathy rears it’s ugly head and they are disbanded.  I know that tutoring programs are offered, but we need help from the community with language barriers and transportation needs. Grants can be applied for. The grants department could help with the application process. We  need to know what the interest is and how we can start the process. APS can help with that if we work together.

7. Students continually express concerns around bullying and racism in Aurora Public Schools. If you become an APS School Board Member, how will you ensure the safety of all students in APS and help to build an anti-racist and anti-bullying community among students, families, and teachers from different cultures?

Bullying has always been a problem. We need to acquire the trust of the students so they are not afraid to approach any employee of a school for help. If we don’t know there is a problem, we can’t fix it.The schools have tried to involve the students, but there is a fear of retaliation. Racism is learned. Fear of the unknown is intrinsic in the United States and that is filtered down to APS. we need to educate our parents, teachers, and staff that when you let go of the fear,what and who we are afraid of is without merit. The city and the school system must work together with our many nationalities to make that happen.

8. Based on the diversity in Aurora, how would you leverage the assets of the community to provide support to schools such as interpretation, jobs as Paraprofessionals, and mentoring opportunities for students from community members who speak their same language and reflect the student population?

The school system can work with the city and places of worship and community centers to locate people from other nationalities who have been here awhile and work with their newly arrived countrymen.

By the same token APS needs to reach out and attend activities that faith groups, community centers and the city have planned so APS can learn not only the language,but also the culture. We need to listen and understand each other.,

The APS BOE can certainly help with this understanding.

Please respond Yes or No to the following questions and provide an explanation.
9. Families and students often struggle to receive the interpretation and translation services they need to interact with teachers and engage about academic achievement. Would you support an increased budget for interpretation and translation services to support ELL students and families across the district? Yes or No? Please explain your answer.

Yes, I would support and increased budget for interpretation and translation purposes. However, with the decrease in budget last year, I don’t realistically know where the extra money will come from. I feel that communication or lack of communication hurts everyone. Especially our children,because parents and APS need to be their voice.

10. The community-led resolution to support students regardless of immigration status passed on May 16, 2017. Here is a link to the resolution: APS Resolution. Would you have voted in support of this resolution? Yes or No? Please explain your answer and provide your thoughts about the resolution.

I certainly would have voted to approve the resolution and I applaud RISE for taking it to the BOE for Adoption.

Have the requested demands been complied to your specifications by the district?.

I read that it was expected by the beginning of the school year.

11. Do you plan to engage the community’s voice, ideas, and opinions in decisions made by the Board of Education? Yes or No? Please explain why and how.

Community members are always welcome to Board meetings to listen and to address issues of concern. The only meetings that are closed are those which concern Human Resources or employee/ district grievances.

APS has had budget meetings in every corner of the district every year.  The public is welcome to attend District Accountability meetings where budget, charter school applications ,and many other issues are discussed. They meet once a month. If a person needs an interpreter, let them know and it will be arranged.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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