Question 1). What educational or other education-specific based community work or experience do you have to bring to your role on the school board?
Whitney Smith-McIntosh: I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate for the Polk county judicial court. So not only did that include extensive children and family related training. It also gave me insight into the challenges facing many struggling families.
I have had several different experiences with both the Bondurant and Southeast Polk School districts due to my three children being educated through in graduating from these districts. I have worked with my son and his IEP team from first grade through senior year and beyond now in college.
I have taught for 3 years at Des Moines Area community college in the workforce readiness program.
I am a member of the Southeast Polk Kiwanis group which has the mission of being volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time our Southeast Polk organization performs this by having fundraisers and doing any of the money to various schools within the Southeast Polk School district and working with the Key Club students at the Southeast Polk High School to promote volunteering and service.
As a youth group adult leader, I have gone through protecting the children abuse training every year. I have also been trained in mental health first aid through the Southeast Polk School district. In addition, I have a BA and MS in psychology.
Question #2: In your opinion, what are some of the district’s strengths and weaknesses? How do you feel you could support the strengths and turn around the weaknesses?
Whitney Smith McIntosh: The main strength of our district is our families and our students. The district has many strengths, they have caring and involved teachers, a varied curriculum that can help students who are in need of assistance all the way up to students who are taking college classes in their high school years, and their fine arts department is amazing. The main weakness that the district has is in communication the district needs to communicate faster and more accurately to family and community. The district also needs to have two-way communication and agreement with the community and families.
Question 3). Are you willing to listen to various viewpoints with an open mind and weigh all sides prior to making a decision? Are you willing to work with others to reach a common goal?
Whitney Smith-McIntosh: I am absolutely willing and excited to listen to various viewpoints and to listen to all sides prior to making a decision.
Are you willing to work with others to reach a common goal?
I am absolutely willing to work with others to reach an understanding. I have shown this in my candidacy already by meeting with many people who have differing viewpoints but in the end, I earned their support.
Question 4: What do you feel is the bigger obstacle facing school districts today; proper funding or proper spending?
Whitney Smith-McIntosh: The bigger obstacle facing school districts today is the transparency of the funding and spending.
Question 5: What are your feelings regarding equality and inclusivity?
Whitney Smith-McIntosh: I believe equality is a standard right of all people and all people must be treated with respect and honor. Inclusivity requires an understanding of everybody's walk in life and an openness to share and that person's life and I believe that needs to happen not only in Southeast Polk School districts but in all of our communities.
What are your strategies to make sure all students and families are treated with dignity and respect regardless of sexual orientation, ability, race, religion, and socio-economic status?
To make sure that all families and students have the opportunity to engage in the Southeast Polk School district and everything that we have to offer we need to be more flexible with our meetings/classes/activities/communication including times, locations, and abilities to interact whether in person, online, etc. We need to recognize that no one group should have more “privilege” than another.