Thumbnail Profile: Graduate of ETHS; studied music and business at Columbia College in Chicago. In describing his occupation, Mr. Dortch says he is a “motivational speaker, health and wellness professional, music producer, and philanthropist.”
Civic Activities: Mr. Dortch says he is the founder of Entrepreneur Endeavors and Evanston Health & Wellness Foundation, that he is on the Board of ECTV and that he has engaged in “collaborative works” with Family Focus, Fleetwood-Jourdain, Y.O.U., YMCA and other organizations.
Mr. Dortch told the RoundTable that Entrepreneur Endeavors runs after-school programs to teach kids the skills they need in everything from business to music. According to the Secretary of State’s records, Entrepreneur Endeavors, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, is not in good standing; and Evanston Health & Wellness is listed as an assumed name for Entrepreneur Endeavors, Inc. Mr. Dortch told the RoundTable he is in the process of clearing that up.
Top Three Priorities: “If elected, one of my top priorities as a School Board member will be to close the achievement gap by creating and implementing strategies to provide a seamless education for all,” says Mr. Dortch. “Secondly, over 68% of our tax revenue goes to education, and I would like to make sure that we are spending those dollars wisely, while being more frugal and creative with our budget. Third, I firmly believe that education starts at home and I would like to develop IFEPs (Individualized Family Education Programs) to assist the families and our students and establish a stronger community outreach from our schools.”
Two Major Decisions Made By The School Board You Agree or Disagree With and Why. Mr. Dortch says, “I feel that our School Boards have always made the best decisions possible. It becomes challenging when you don’t have complete community and family involvement.”
How Will You Influence Student Achievement: ”If elected, my contribution toward enhancing student achievement would be through the implementation of IFEPs, with an emphasis on entrepreneurial and vocational training,” says Mr. Dortch. “ In this plan, we establish a holistic approach to education – emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social. By adopting IFEPs, this would address the needs of students in the top and bottom quartiles of the achievement spectrum.”
Mr. Dortch adds, “I feel that new areas need to exist, where our schools and community organizations would come together to tutor and educate parents on how to help their youth with homework, as well as offering continuing adult education emphasizing entrepreneurial and vocational training. We need to take the time to see what makes each parent and child come alive and give them the tools to turn it into a business. But first, there needs to be a strong foundation of the basics – reading and comprehension, writing, spelling, science, the arts, and math – and with today’s technology, how to do research.”
Mr. Dortch said he would fund the IFEP program with TIF funds, but did not explain how TIF funds would become available for that use or be adequate to provide that programming.
When asked about how to improve differentiated instruction at the March 5 candidate forum, Mr. Dortch said, “I’m really not familiar with the topic.” When asked about the PARCC assessment, he said, “I don’t know much about the PARCC exam.”
How Will You Influence Fiscal Efficiencies: “I know consolidation is a very unpopular term when referencing Districts 65 and 202; however, it has been proven to be very beneficial to students, families, and constituents within a small community and could rectify any fiscal inefficiencies,” said Mr. Dortch.
An analysis made several years ago indicates that if District 65 teachers were brought up to the same pay scale as District 202 teachers as part of a consolidation, it would increase costs by about $17 million per year.
“A more popular decision,” Mr. Dortch said, “would be to be more creative with a smaller budget and closely go over every line item being as frugal as possible, making sure we are getting the best deal without compromising services.”
“If budget cuts are necessary,” he says, “our priorities should always be the basics – arts, reading and comprehension, writing, spelling, science, and math – and the programs that support these fundamentals also deserve priority. Due to our achievement gap and the state of our foundation, we need to be focused on closing the gap without jeopardizing anyone’s education.”
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.