Katie Voorhees for D65
Why Am I Running for
Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board?
I believe that the Board needs strong leadership to navigate the pandemic/post-pandemic academic world. As a mental health clinician, I have my ear to the medical community and utilize evidence-based facts in determining how to safely educate children in person. In-person education is the most equitable option for all students. As Evanston worked to reopen its schools, I was among a group of clinicians who pressed the current board to create a legitimate Medical Advisory Panel composed of local medical professionals who could advise the Board and Administration on evidenced-based protocol for safe opening. Any well-functioning board includes a diversity of voices representing the entire community.
My expertise in child development and my experience with LGBTQ and families of color among my clientele provides me with a unique perspective on the socio-emotional needs for a diverse community—from pandemic trauma to a return to normalcy. Equity for special education students is imperative. I have personally written IEPs and advocated for families in the approval process, so I bring to the table a depth of understanding in how to serve families with special education needs. As an expert in trauma-informed care, I want to create a trauma-informed environment of healing and support for our students . A less punitive approach to disruptions in the classroom is crucial, in addition to providing opportunities for restorative justice: challenging moments in the classroom are opportunities to repair, grow, and build insightful meaning for our children.
Academic excellence is imperative for every student in this district. Our students’ test scores have declined over the past 5 years in District 65. Some of our students are extremely below grade level expectations determined by the Illinois State Board of Education and are placed in remedial classes upon entering high school. We must invest in academic rigor so Evanston schools can maintain their strong reputation. Students below, at, and even above grade level all need support, and that is equity in action.
This is a time of divisive politics, and it is neither constructive nor helpful for our young people and their ability to learn. I do not condone shaming or vilifying an ethnic group, and I believe in promoting that all voices in a community be heard, especially those of our children. The time has come to work together and build bridges that will bring this community together for the future.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.