MOnique Parsons

Thumbnail Profile: B.S. Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance, University of Minnesota; Chief Operating Officer, McGaw YMCA. Evanston resident for nine years. One child, attended Walker/Chute, currently at ETHS.

Civic Activities: Walker School PTA; FAAM Executive Board member; Leadership Evanston graduate; Youth Job Center mentor, Steering Committee; ETHS Booster Club; E-Ban parent ambassador; Dajae Coleman Foundation volunteer; Connections for the Homeless board member; External Advisory Committee for the District 65 strategic planning process.

Top Three Priorities: Ms. Parsons says her three top priorities are 1) sustaining strong fiscal management and accountability and ensuring resources are responsibly allocated to support the advancement of every student; 2) maintaining high expectations for every student; and 3) deepening the partnership with District to broaden the commitment that every student is ready for high school and every parent has the  knowledge necessary to navigate between districts.”

Two Major Decisions of the Board You Agree/Disagree With: Ms. Parsons says the two major decisions she has the strongest opinions about are “1) the School Board’s decision to support the Earned Honors program. The Earned Honors model addresses the equity in achievement challenges facing some students in our community by removing the barriers hindering students’ opportunities to realize their full potential; and  2) the decision to mandate an evaluation and assessment program to monitor the progress of the Earned Honors Program. The ongoing evaluation is needed to effectively and objectively make changes, and monitor success.”

How You Will Enhance Student Achievement: “Overall student achievement is a major strength of the School District,” says Ms. Parsons. “The percentage (65%) of juniors and seniors taking at least one Advance Placement exam is at an all-time high, and the scores are the highest in ETHS’s history.  We can build upon this success by the continual evaluation and expansion of the Earned Honors Program and by maintaining a culture of high expectations for all students.”

She says, “There are challenges facing student achievement at ETHS as well: the achievement gap that still remains evident between ethnicity and income levels, and the percent of students meeting or exceeding ACT college readiness benchmarks, particularly in English and math. With all of our challenges, we should continually reassess our resources to make sure they are appropriately utilized for the achievement of all students and where they are most needed. To address the achievement gap challenge, we as a community must continue to work together.  We need to corral the passion, energy and focus regarding this community priority and work across Districts and with other community organizations and partners that also have this as a main priority.

“If elected, I will contribute toward enhancing student achievement by ensuring resources are effectively and fairly allocated, and that there are proper assessment tools in place to make data-driven decisions. It is the role of the Board to support the administration and staff in their efforts to address the achievement of all students.

“Currently, standardized testing is the instrument used in providing quantified information to students, parents, teachers, and school administrators regarding performance and effectiveness across peer  groups, school districts and nationwide,” says Ms. Parsons. “Likewise, it is the measure used in determining the allocation of State and federal funding. While I understand the importance and value of standardized testing, I believe there should be a balance to ensure that it does not take away valuable instruction time and become a distraction for the student.

“We should rely upon the many experts and resources we have in our District and community to make an informed decision of how and when standardized tests are administered, and how the data should be evaluated and used to drive decisions as it relates to  instruction and performance measurement.”

How You Will Influence Fiscal Efficiencies: The District’s “prudent fiscal management and positive financial standing and credit rating, is a major strength,” says Ms. Parsons. “To influence fiscal efficiencies, I first need to make sure I have the knowledge and understanding necessary to make informed, data-driven decisions. I will provide my input when necessary to ensure  our focus remains aligned to our commitment to equity and excellence. Whenever budget cuts are necessary,  priority should always be given to anything that directly impacts students’ achievement and well-being. This should always be our primary focus.”

Preparation of Candidate Information

In the April 7 election, three seats will be filled on the District 65 School Board and on the District 202 School Board.

Omar Brown, Jennifer Phillips and Richard Rykhus are seeking a seat on the District 65 Board. Adrian Dortch is seeking a seat on both the District 65 and 202 Boards. Larry Gavin prepared the profiles of these candidates.

In addition to Mr. Dortch, Jonathan Baum, Mark Metz, Monique Parsons and Anne Sills are seeking a position on the District 202 Board. Kelley Elwood prepared the profiles of these four candidates.

The profiles were compiled based primarily on each candidate’s answers to five of 13 questions contained in a PTA Council Questionnaire.

Each candidate’s complete answers to the questionnaire are available in the “Election” section of the RoundTable’s online site at www.evanstonroundtable.com, and also at the PTA Council’s website, http://ptacouncil.weebly.com/. Videos of candidate forums sponsored by the PTA Council, the Evanston League of Women Voters and ETHS Parents Engaged are also available on these sites.