7th District Candidate Questionnaire: Cheryl Burke

7th District Candidate Questionnaire

Editor’s Note: This candidate questionnaire is for the Richmond City 7th District School Board Race to be held November 6, 2018. Cheryl Burke is one of three candidates running in this election. Below, Burke answers 10 questions presented to her via email. The other candidates, Gary Broderick and Bryce Robertson, answered the same questions. No edits (not even for spelling) have been done to the candidate’s responses.

Cheryl Burke

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Question 1: Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less. 

As a fourth generation educator,  it was inevitable that I too would become a teacher.  Early in my childhood while playing with dolls and friends, we had to play school  Often, I was imitating my parents.  The joy and satisfaction of learning, experimenting, teaching, nurturing and facilitating in numerous settings afforded me opportunities molding and supporting children and fellow educators.  I have dedicated my career of 38 years in Richmond Public Schools as a teacher, specialist and principal of Chimborazo Elementary School.  Following retirement in 2014, I continued to volunteer weekly in RPS and the 7th district.


Question 2: Tell us why you are running for school board in 100 words or less. 

As a fourth generation educator,  it was inevitable that I too would become a teacher.  Early in my childhood while playing with dolls and friends, we had to play school  Often, I was imitating my parents.  The joy and satisfaction of learning, experimenting, teaching, nurturing and facilitating in numerous settings afforded me opportunities molding and supporting children and fellow educators.  I have dedicated my career of 38 years in Richmond Public Schools as a teacher, specialist and principal of Chimborazo Elementary School.  Following retirement in 2014, I continued to volunteer weekly in RPS and the 7th district.


Question 3: Why are you more qualified than the other candidates? 

I am excited about the possibility of having the opportunity to continue to serve the children of the 7th district and the entire RPS community.

 

I am more qualified because I have served RPS for 38 years as a Teacher, Specialist and Principal.  In addition, I have lived in the 7th district for 26 years and following my retirement in 2014, I continue working with students weekly as a volunteer. 

 

Having served on the school board since October 2017, I understand the roles and duties of a school board member.  In the state of Virginia, the school board Governs and is responsible for policy making and oversight of the school system.


Question 4: What do you think ‘government transparency’ looks like in practice? 

Transparency offers the opportunity for awareness and enables trust between governing bodies and the community.  This strengthens our Board and promotes efficiency in our ability to govern.  Protections such as the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, which allows for the request of public records, ensures the government is responsible to engage its citizens with integrity and accuracy.  In addition, Check & Balances, at every level, reinforces accessibility and accountability. 


Question 5: What do you see as the #1 problem facing RPS as a whole? What is the solution? 

Richmond is the gateway of the Commonwealth.  The Capital City should lead the State in economic growth through attracting new businesses, stimulating tourism and lowering recidivism.  Academic excellence is directly correlated to the overall City’s growth.  The threat to our excellence is the gating opportunities in improvement of our educational system.  Richmond Public Schools and the City of Richmond needs a competitive school system achieved through substantial funding to support the City’s growth. 

Achieving and maintaining a fully accredited school system, at every level.  Assess the salary and incentives for educator in order to recruit and retain quality teachers and administrators.  Rigorous and robust curriculum that supports industry trends.  Every child must have digital platforms for learning.  Evaluation of class sizes and teacher to pupil ration.  Healthy and modern facilities that are equipped with infrastructure to support high speed internet. Addressing the holistic needs of the child through health and wellness, safety, exploratory learning tools and techniques for collegiate and career readiness. 


Question 6: What is the #1 problem in the 7th District? What is the solution?

The #1 problem for the 7th district is the large concentration of generational poverty.

We must all understand the hidden rules of generational poverty.  Schools operate from the standpoint of middle class expectations.  Dr. Ruby Payne, Founder and President of  “aha!” is a well known educator and researcher of which Professional Development opportunities were provided during my tenure as an administrator.

Dr. Payne states “ Students from generational poverty need direct teaching to build cognitive structures necessary for learning.  Students from poverty are no less capable or intelligent.  They simply have not been mediated in the strategies or hidden rules that contribute to success in school and work. “


Question 7:  What is your opinion on the recently adopted RPS Strategic Plan?

The RPS Strategic Plan is a living document to guide the district in meeting the needs of our students and the community.  Input from over 3000 people ; including, students, parents, teachers, administrators and the community had a voice which was inclusive and holds us all accountable.


Question 8: What is your opinion on how teachers should be evaluated and performance-based pay?

Referring “Education Week”  Teacher evaluation refers to the formal process a school uses to review and rate teachers’ performance and effectiveness in the classroom.  Teachers’ evaluations should not be used as a

“Gotcha Moment” but as a tool to  provide feedback, guide their professional development and to support teachers who are essential to the success of our schools.

No.  I do not believe in performance-based pay.


Question 9: Do you believe RPS needs to consolidate schools? Why or why not?

No. In the 7th district smaller schools will allow students to have more support holistically.


Question 10: Concerns regarding the local school board retaining it’s power have been raised in discussions including the Mayor’s Education Compact, VDOE’s MOU, and RPS’s newly passed strategic plan. How do you believe the school board can protect it’s autonomy

As a School Board Member, I welcome the opportunity to work with the Mayor’s Education Compact, VDOE’s MOU and  RPS’s newly passed strategic plan to improve students’ achievement.