Adam Cooper

1. What is the role of the BOE and how important is a partnership with the superintendent?
The basic role of the Board of Education is to:
a. Select and hire a Superintendent
b. Proposing an annual budget to the community
c. Policy and strategic planning
A collaborative partnership with the Superintendent is key to achieving both the budget and
effective policy and strategic planning. The board must work with the Superintendent and
staff to effectively evaluate District programs and services and identify areas that need
additional attention or consideration. Once the Board has that information, or as it receives
it on an on-going bases, the Board can then set policy and effectively plan strategy and
direction.
2. Do you have any innovative ideas about how to increase the engagement of parents?
First, the District should solicit feedback from parents. A District-wide, confidential survey
should be done each year in November and then again in April. The survey should
examine parents’ assessment of how the District is doing on academics, environment and
leadership. By undertaking the survey consistently each year, year-over-year comparisons
and trends can be looked at.
Next, we need to examine how the District engages parents and especially what
technology is employed. Communication needs to be clear, concise and in multiple
languages. It also needs to be accessible to all – not just those with computers and
Internet access.
Lastly, we need to look at how best to have staff engage with parents. When an in-person
meeting may not be possible, hopefully technology that has been put in place for Covid
such as Zoom or Google Meet can help facilitate this.
3. If you could ask one question to a returning student in the fall, what would the question
be and why?
If I could ask a returning student a single question, it would simply be, “What can we do
better?” By asking an open-ended question, it allows that student the freedom to bring up
any and all issues or concerns, whether they be academic, social emotional, technology,
access and opportunity, security, physical plant, sports facilities, school or District
operations, Covid concerns, etc. Only then can we even begin to understand how we are
doing with our need to support ALL students.
Adam Cooper’s Responses to the
NAACP’s Forum Additional Questions Cont’d
4. For the past few months, CSDNR employees have called in to BOE meetings
expressing their frustration at the lack of a settled contract and feeling
underappreciated. How would you go about repairing the fractured trust between the BOE
and the staff who works for the school district?
Trust is gained through actions and respect. There is no single way to repair a fractured
trust, but through clear communication and consistent engagement with teachers, that trust
can begin to be re-established. My thoughts would be around establishing a Teachers
Council, similar to the PTA Council, that would be comprised of two representatives from
each grade level, chairs of the core subject curriculum, and two representatives each from
SEL, special needs and enhanced curriculum programs.
The Council’s role would be an advisory one, and would, along with the Asst.
Superintendent of Curriculum, present on how the District is performing across each grade
level in metrics determined by the Teachers and the Administration and agreed to by the
Board. In addition, the Council would be involved in other areas that directly impact
teachers, such as professional development, pedagogy, technology selection and
evaluation, to name a few.
In addition, I believe that the Board should engage with teachers to come up with
something like a hooded sweatshirt that would be given to all teachers to reflect cohesion
and singular direction, along the lines of a ‘New Ro Strong’ campaign. The logo would be
designed by a teacher, and the cost would be shared between the District and FUSE to
show support for ALL teachers.
Question 5 – See next page
Adam Cooper’s Responses to the
NAACP’s Forum Additional Questions Cont’d
5. Recently there has been more discussion nationally, concerning historical omissions,
distortions, and outright lies that are taught in curriculums - particularly when it comes to
slavery, Native Americans, and the contributions of people of color. What suggestions
would you make to address these concerns?
There is an ongoing conversation concerning historical omissions and distortions across
many racial, ethnic and religions groups. The best suggestion that I have seen comes from
an article entitled Black History is About More than Oppression by LaGarrett King, who
makes a case to teach not about history and how events were perceived from a certain
perspective, but rather, ‘through it’. Teaching history ‘through it’ includes listening, writing
and learning from narratives of the people of those groups in the actual historical event.
This technique was used on me personally back in 9th grade social studies. We were
required to interview a person who lived through a historical event, and I interviewed a
holocaust survivor. To this day, I still tell their story when the holocaust comes up and
being able to understand that historical event through them truly bettered me as a person
and brought to light perspectives and observations that no history book would ever have
captured.
In fact, learning through a historical event recognizes the humanity of those that went
through it and emphasizes within the curriculum the evaluation of the legitimacy, selections
and interpretation of historical sources, giving students an even stronger base from which
to learn and gain insight from multiple perspectives