Name: Karen Jenkins
Biography: Karen Jenkins has worked as a marriage and family counselor, as well as a children’s behavioral therapist.
1. Why should residents elect you to the School Board?
The residence in the Cypress Borough can be confident that my education, training and experience in Marriage & Family Counselor has equipped me to identify, manage, problem solve and provide support to the public school system. My work experience as a children’s Behavioral Therapist and a Mental health Skill builder enables me to relate to all people with or without disabilities and my years of training and experience as CEO and manager of financial institutions where I was responsible for millions of dollars, budgeting, creating partnerships on the Local, State, and Federal level adds to the value I bring to the school board. I am dependable, available and ready and willing to keep Suffolk Public School moving forward and is determine to eliminate anything found that hinders the continued progress.
2. What would you do to improve school security?
Start with review, analyze, and test the current security provisions already in place. Research, and network with other school systems, police, fire, and emergency responders that specialize in safety and security, for workable solutions to the school systems problems to assure safety controls are in place to protect everyone while on school property, including school playgrounds and school buses from those who have a desire to do us harm. Whatever the research and results reveal that’s realistic and within the law, that’s the direction I will push for. If it takes security cameras with monitors overseeing cameras or additional trained law enforcement assistance, we are responsible for the student’s safety.
If necessary 911 emergency buttons installed that immediately goes to the police station. Unfortunately we live in a society where life is not valued and we must take steps for those situations.
3. How would you invest in technology and improve its applications in your schools?
This is the age of technology. Technology is constantly changing. If our students are to be successful, the school system must keep up with technological changes and upgrades. Continuing to build on partnerships with businesses and corporations is a step in the right direction, funding through grants and foundations are also helpful. To attract business to our city and provide the workforce necessary to sustain businesses our students must be technological savvy. And our school budget must reflect that.
4. What are the most challenging aspects of being a teacher in your community? How would you support your teachers through these challenges?
While working in the classroom setting, my observation was that classroom sizes are getting larger and not having a second person in the classrooms to help control unwanted behaviors, verbal and physical altercations in the classrooms, to allow students and teachers can have an enjoyable learning and teaching experience is challenge.
I have observed teachers feeling disrespected, unable to teach in the classroom, not being heard, lack of competitive compensation and being viewed as providing daycare for students instead of educating students.
I would work to implement or improve policies and procedures in place that assist teachers in classrooms where students with behavior issues are and implement policies to hold parents accountable by requiring them to come and attend school with their child, if behaviors don’t change. I am a true advocate for creating an atmosphere of feeling appreciated and boosting morale among school staff and employees. I will work hard to implement incentives and programs for school employees and assure our teachers and support staff is offered opportunities to gain further education and training by making sure those opportunities are offered to them by way of approved conferences, trainings and continue learning. I am committed to reviewing the budget to find ways to create competitive salaries and wages for our current deserving staff as well as attract new faculty and staff.
5. What would you do to better support your vulnerable students? For example, those who live in poverty.
The school system already has the support systems and tools in place for our students. Some areas of support may need a tweak or boost. Regardless of economic status or student’s address, I will ensure each child an equal opportunity at education and students will be treated with dignity and respect and school equity is offered to everyone. To assure this is carried out we must assure schools educators and staff are diversified, well trained, have awareness of their students, and alert to various situations, cultures, and daily challenges students face in order to properly meet the needs of all students regardless of race, gender or any disabilities. This is a different generation of students and the needs are diverse.