I recently attended a Norfolk School Board candidate forum and my teacher’s heart resonated with Carter Smith’s insistence that school climate across NPS must be addressed.
Improving school safety and minimizing classroom disruptions are imperative if students are to learn. Teachers today have an ever-increasing workload with the paperwork, lesson-planning and over-testing that is required of them. Couple that with just one disruptive student and the teacher is often unable to do his/her job well. Lack of administrative support with classroom management issues is unfair to the students and teachers, and it’s a big reason why so many good teachers end up leaving NPS each summer. Smith’s problem-solving approach and effective leadership skills will help put policies in place to ease this burden on our teachers and improve morale.
Smith stresses greater accountability and transparency within Norfolk’s schools and among its administrators as another of his top priorities. My best years teaching public school were when I had a strong principal. She made sure I had the support I needed and she addressed classroom management issues in a consistent and honest manner. Smith understands the need for a more supportive administration and is the candidate best able to make those changes within our schools.
For the past 8 years I have served alongside Smith at a summer sports and arts enrichment camp for students of PB Young Elementary. Last year I watched amazed as campers transitioned with ease from activity to activity. I inquired into what had changed, and learned that Smith had taken our schedule and 300+ campers and organized it in such a way that eased the stress of the counselors and students. It was the smoothest running camp we’ve had, largely because of his determination and vision. More importantly, he really loves the students he has the opportunity to serve.
As a mother of two Norfolk public school students, I see firsthand the need we have in Norfolk for new leaders to help turn around our struggling school district. Smith is the breath of fresh air Norfolk needs this spring!