Thank you for visiting my website. I have the right combination of professional and personal experience to be a member of Charlottesville’s School Board. I ask to be one of your four choices on Tuesday, November 8th.
The School Board must be in the community listening to parents, students, non-profits, businesses, and other stakeholders, especially teachers, to ensure we make decisions on the best possible information available. I am an attorney and mother, I do not believe something merely because someone tells me something, I investigate to uncover the layers, ask questions and critically analyze all of the information. I will have high expectations for the policies we implement; the policies must have measurable objectives related to the strategic plan and be cost effective.
Please email me if you have any questions or concerns or suggestions email@example.com
Thank you for your support.
Supporting teachers has been a focus of mine since I started my campaign.
I have heard the issues:
1. fair and comprehensive evaluations and
2. listen to teachers when considering new ideas
3. support African American teachers
4. provide a culture of support in each building, not just from the administration office.
I am proud of CPACE’s endorsement of me. CPACE is the Political Action Committee of the Charlottesville Education Association.
Thank you for your support. I look forward to being an advocate for the students and their teachers as a school board member.
The LWV asked us to provide responses to the following questions.
BIOGRAPHY: (Occupation, education, experience – 50 words maximum)
Mother of 3, wife of an engineer by day and volunteer firefighter by night, attorney, and graduate of UVA, PVCC, and WAHS, Jennifer McKeever has been a leader in Charlottesville since she returned in 2005. She chaired the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, CDBG Task Force and local Democratic Committee.
How will you address the two issues you think are most critical for the Charlottesville City Schools over the next four years? (100 words maximum)
Two issues: providing excellent instruction in a tightening budget climate and recruiting and retaining excellent teachers. Budgeting requires a determination of priorities. I will ensure the dialogue on priorities will include many voices, including those not routinely involved.
Teachers tell me they want to be accountable. I want a comprehensive evaluation system that respects teachers for the variables they face in the classroom. I will ensure continuity since the current school board is getting results. Results include narrowing the gap between the economically advantaged and disadvantaged and preparing high school graduates for their future.
The Hook asked candidates some questions, we had to answer very briefly, see my responses below:
Name: Jennifer L. McKeever
Pet peeve in education: The test driven environment that rewards success on a flawed test rather than educating and engaging children.
Skills that make you suited to be on the School Board:
I am tenacious for an effective process that includes people who are not routinely involved in the decision making. I am also an effective negotiator among competing interest groups.
What do you do better than your opponents? I reach out to various constituencies to identify a range of solutions and collaborate on seemingly intractable problems to find common ground.
Best decision the School Board has made the past year:
Implement the most recent strategic plan with clear objectives and metrics to determine whether the objectives are being met.
Worst? I think the School Board should continue to meet twice a month.
Book every child should read by age 12:
Any book that gets a child to read the next book!
What are you reading now?
Multiple books, among them: “Mis-education of the Negro” and “Elegance of the Hedgehog”
Educational hero: My mom, Judy McKeever. While working multiple jobs and caring for two children, she went to school and obtained her nursing degree, ultimately lifting the family out of poverty with her degree.
Two school board candidates forums are scheduled.
One is this Thursday (10/20) from 6:30-8:30 at City Council Chambers and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Dialogue on Race. The forum will be televised on Channel 10 and live-streamed over the web.
The next forum is scheduled for Wednesday October 26 at 7PM at Bavaro Hall (the Curry education building at UVA). Bo Sykes from the Newsplex is moderating.
Please join us!
As a member of the School Board, my goal is to plan for the future with innovation, accountability and results as the primary drivers.
The obvious thing that springs to mind when invoking the term innovation is technology, but in my mind I see it as a way of looking at programs and policies that takes into account the expert teachers, expert administration, expert parents and expert community. Parents are a child’s first teacher and should be part of the dialogue; for example the school system has taken some good first steps into seeking that input like parent university and the town hall phone calls, but I want to take it further and reach out to parents who are not routinely involved.
Every teacher I talk to says, “I want to be held accountable”
I have a great respect for the profession of teaching. I ask teachers to teach my children and their peers everyday. I want their teachers to feel supported and respected so that they can do their jobs effectively.
The government has an idea of what it means to be a good teacher- it is a testing based analysis. While testing has a role in evaluating a teacher, fundamentally testing compares apples and oranges. I don’t think our community wants test results to be the #1 reason teachers are fired and hired. The community wants a comprehensive evaluation of whether children are engaged and learning. Tests are not complete indicator of learning on a comprehensive level.
Having accountability is a two way street. To demand excellence from teachers, as we do, we must also demand excellence in the support we give them.
The current school board has been getting results, I want to keep us on that path. Success is narrowing the gap between the economically advantaged and disadvantaged; ensuring that people who have choices want to be and stay in our school system; and high school graduates are prepared to achieve their goals.
Difficult decisions are part of the process, reconfiguration has been a difficult decision and will continue to be an important commitment made by this school board. I will continue to advocate for an open and transparent process that brings in as many voices as possible during this process.
Please email me any questions you may have. Thank you for reading.
Being a candidate is a great excuse to get out and see what is happening in our community. Last night I went to the Clark Elementary School PTO meeting. The PTO is strong, it was great to meet the parents and hear what is happening at their school.
Clark has a community building event every year with their 5K run. I encourage everyone to either run/walk the race or volunteer at the race. The event is a fundraiser for Clark’s Educational Opportunity Fund, however the organizers are passionate about community building around the run. Please check out http://www.clark5k.org/ to volunteer or sign up to participate in the run. This is a family friendly event, strollers and children are encouraged and welcomed. There will be lots of prizes and giveaways- so be there! It is Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 8:00AM.
The current School Board is a highly functioning board that has much to be proud of over the past two years. I want to continue the level of professionalism, hard work and results of that Board.
Here are my thoughts on some key issues:
A. Consolidation- We have to ensure the investment by City taxpayers is relevant to the learning of our students. It has been a long time since we have asked for investment in the physical space. The design of Buford and Walker, combined with the strategic plan vision, will help our schools function more effectively for our students, teacher and administrators, as well as enhance economic development within our City, if done in a thoughtful manner.
B. Budget- The state has decreased its funding to our school system over the past three years. The City taxpayers have generously provided gap funding. As a member of the School Board, I will do my best to ensure that Charlottesville’s student voices are heard in Richmond. Further, I have a long history of making hard decisions related to priorities. I look forward to closely examining the budget and priorities of the Administration to make sure every dollar is being spent to educate our students according to the Strategic Plan objectives.
C. Attracting and retaining excellent teachers. The professional development and mentoring of our teachers is quite good overall, although collaboration and support vary among the individual schools. A culture of support goes a long way to developing and retaining excellent teachers, it is key to encourage such a culture within every school.
Fundamentally, the school system is on the right track, however hard work continues to be necessary to ensure ALL of Charlottesville’s schools provide a high quality education for ALL its students.
I hope many of you have been able to enjoy a long three day weekend. I know my children have enjoyed an extra day off.
My friend, Vivian Paige, reminds me that Labor Day is not merely another day off.
From the USDOL:
“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
Thank you to the City staff and teachers who support the education of our children, a vital component to America’s future economic prosperity.
Jennifer McKeever, mother of three and local attorney, announces her decision to seek election to the Charlottesville City School Board. Jennifer enters this race mindful of the hard decisions recently made by the School Board with a commitment to seeing those decisions come to fruition. Jennifer has been involved with the local Community Development Block Grant Task Force and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board advocating for children and education during her five year tenure on the boards.
Jennifer’s goal is to continue the current Board’s legacy of success. Stephanie Bolton, a City parent, says “Jennifer has an analytical mind, she will ask questions and seek input from all parties to make good decisions for students.”
Jennifer believes that great teachers are the key to creating a community ripe for student learning and achievement. The number of teachers graduating from education schools continues to decline, Jennifer believes the focus should be ensuring the most talented teachers come to Charlottesville. To do so, Jennifer states she “will champion initiatives that provide mentoring to new teachers and ongoing peer support for all teachers, in addition to professional development opportunities that inspire creativity and innovation.”
Jennifer will advocate to ensure equal access to technology and an environment suitable for learning in the 21st Century. Specifically, Jennifer will ask City Council to expand wireless internet access to areas of the city currently underserved by internet access so that all students will be able to take advantage of the School’s technology initiatives at home and at school. Also, she will support school reconfiguration that brings a modern learning environment to Buford Middle School.
The state’s contribution to the City’s school system shrinks every year. The BLAST Initiative is an excellent example of reducing textbook costs with technology — additional cost savings should be explored every year.
Jennifer and her husband, Chris, have three boys. Two of her children, David and Andrew, are currently at Burnley Moran Elementary School entering second and third grade and the youngest is ten months old. The election is November 8, 2011.