iReporter
 
BubbleLife Staff – BubbleLife Staff
Apr 19 2011
3

The Dallas Morning News has a voter guide that compares candidates.   Because of the complexity of their software (it defines your personal ballet - very cool) we had to do the old cut & paste to show the area comparing Sam Dalton & Amy Titus, Candidates for HPISD Board of Trustees, Place 7source: http://www.votersguide.org

Length of residency within the district

Sam Dalton: 20 years.

Amy S. Titus: I am a lifelong Park Cities resident. My parents moved to Highland Park in 1963. I graduated from HPHS in 1978 and moved back to the Park Cities when I finished graduate school in 1988.

Where did (or do) your children attend school?

Sam Dalton: I have two children at Highland Park High School, one child at Highland Park Middle School, and one child at Armstrong Elementary School.

Amy S. Titus: I have a 7th grade daughter who attends HPMS and a 12th grade son who attends Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, PA.

Occupation/main source of income

Sam Dalton: Investment Manager.

Amy S. Titus: Wright Titus Agency

Current civic involvement/highlights

Sam Dalton: Member of HPISD Finance Committee, Board Member – Highland Park Presbyterian Day School, Member of Salesmanship Club of Dallas (Reading Buddy at J.E. Jonsson School), Executive Committee Member – Highland Park Community League, Chairman of 2011 Park Cities Dads Club Teachers Cup Golf Tournament (5 years on tournament committee).

Amy S. Titus: HPMS Volunteer, member University Park United Methodist Church, Member of the Dallas Woman's Club, La Fiesta.

Previous civic involvement/accomplishments

Sam Dalton: Served on 2010 HPISD Demographic Study Committee, Served on 2008 HPISD Strategic Planning Team – Resources, Co-Moderator of 5th-6th Grade and later 7th-8th Grade Youth Programs at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Served on Youth Committee and Officer Nominating Committee at HPPC, Activities Committee Chairman and Merit Badge Counselor for Boy Scout Troop 82, President of Dallas Alumni Chapter – Washington and Lee University.

Amy S. Titus: President of UPUMC Weekday School Board, President Junior Group of the Marianne Scruggs Garden Club, Director Tennis Competitors of Dallas

Education

Sam Dalton: Washington and Lee University – B.A. in Public Policy - 1985 (Phi Beta Kappa), University of Texas School of Law – J.D. – 1988.

Amy S. Titus: B.A. Baylor University, M.A. Middlebury College

Previous public offices sought/held:

Sam Dalton: None.

Amy S. Titus: none

How much funding have you raised for your campaign?

Sam Dalton: Campaign Finance Report will be filed on April 14, 2011.

Amy S. Titus: $199

Who are your top three contributors?

Sam Dalton: Campaign Finance Report will be filed on April 14, 2011.

Amy S. Titus: Camille Potts, Sunmi Goodwin

Have you ever been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings or civil suits? Please explain:

Sam Dalton: No.

Amy S. Titus: divorce

Why are you running for this office, and why should voters consider you the most qualified candidate? What in your personal or professional background most prepares you to serve in this office?

Sam Dalton: With four kids attending schools in the district, I have a vested interest in the school district. I have a proven record of service to the HPISD, to my community and to its children. I practiced commercial litigation in two major Texas law firms for nearly 15 years, 6 as a partner. As part of my law practice, I dealt with complex issues and made difficult decisions on a regular basis. I continue to do this as part of my current job.

Amy S. Titus: I am the mother of two very different children. One who thrives in a public school setting and one who did not. I feel that this perspective is important as the board represents both the parents of children who attend school in the district as well as those who send their children to private schools. I have also worked as a substitute teacher in HPISD and as a parent volunteer for the past 12 years. I feel that the variety of these experiences would be a valuable asset for a school board member.

What are the key differences between you and your opponent(s) that make you the best choice?

Sam Dalton: I believe my record of service and professional background make me the best choice for the HPISD.

Amy S. Titus: I have a lot of respect for my opponent, Sam Dalton, and have no reservations regarding his qualifications. Education is a cause that is very dear to me and I have both the time and willingness to give this position the time that it will take to be effective.

Have you attended any school board meetings? If so, what have you learned from them about how a board member can be effective?

Sam Dalton: Yes. Effective board members have the ability to deal with complex issues, make tough decisions and take action. They are open-minded and good listeners.

Amy S. Titus: Yes, I have attended school board meetings. The board sets policy and I believe that board members can be most effective by listening. We need to listen to teachers, parents and students and really hear their concerns before making decisions.

What schools in your community have done the best in getting every child up to grade level in reading and math? What can the district learn from them?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: All of our schools are doing an equally good job in getting every child up to or beyond grade level in reading and math.

Many Texas districts are confronted with the challenge of closing an achievement gap between Latino students and Anglo students. What ideas do you have for closing this gap?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: Any child who speaks another language at home will possibly need extra instruction in English. I believe that intensive and early language instruction is the best way to prevent the gap from developing in the first place.

If you had to cut three parts of the school district's spending, where would you cut?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: I believe that in lean times, we have to focus on the basics of education which are the core areas of language arts, math, science and social studies and cuts cannot come from these areas. I also believe that we need to look for ways to cut costs across the board to prevent having to cut programs. For me, the bottom line is the goal of raising children who will become happy, healthy, well adjusted contributing members of society. I would look at every program and ask myself how it contributes to this goal. This will mean preparing them for higher education both educationally and through practical skills. I would also like to see the state provide some relief in the relentless standardized testing of our students because these tests do not teach.

If the school district had the money, in what three areas would you like to see it spend more?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: Teachers, teachers and teachers! The finest facilities in the world are useless without quality engaging teachers. We need to do everything that we can to attract the finest teachers available.

What educational programs would you would like to see added to the district to decrease the dropout rate and increase the number of students prepared for college?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: I believe that our students are well prepared for college.

What would you do to improve the district’s communication with parents, including those who don’t speak English? Would you advocate for trained community liaisons, for example?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: I believe that our district does an excellent job of communicating with parents.

What are the ingredients that make for a successful high school and middle school? What resources are lacking in the schools in your part of the district?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: A successful school is one where the students feel connected. Typically, it is in the extra curricular activities where they develop this connection. While there is always room for improvement, the schools in our district are doing a good job. I would like to see an expansion of the number of students who can be accommodated in the various activities offered.

How should the district improve middle school education? Many experts think that students fall so far behind then that they are ready to dropout by high school.

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: Our middle school is doing a good job. The electives give the students a sense of belonging to a group and help make a large school feel manageable. The team organization also helps to keep kids from feeling lost and overwhelmed by the size of the school.

Is technology being used effectively in classrooms? Give us examples. Also, should the future emphasis be on laptops or textbooks?

Sam Dalton: Yes.

Amy S. Titus: It is just a matter of time before textbooks are replaced with laptops or other forms of electronic books. This generation of students are technology natives and seem to learn well when technology is integrated into teaching. Technology is being used effectively in the classroom, but we need to be careful that distractions to not creep in.

How would you get more parents involved in schools?

Sam Dalton: The HPISD is fortunate to have a tremendous level of parental involvement in its schools. It would be difficult to get parents involved more.

Amy S. Titus: The parents in HPISD are very involved. I would try to find a way to expand the use of volunteers to allow for parents who work full time to be better able to volunteer within the constraints of their schedules.

What should the district do to recruit, retain and develop effective teachers and principals?

Sam Dalton: Continue to do what it is doing.

Amy S. Titus: We need to do everything that we can to increase respect for the teaching profession. We also need to increase the autonomy of the teacher in the classroom.

Should teacher pay and student performance be linked? If so, how? And should there be consequences for a school if it is succeeding or failing? If so, what should those consequences be?

Sam Dalton: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.

Amy S. Titus: No, the best should be expected of all teachers. There is no excuse for schools to fail and it should not be tolerated by parents or taxpayers. We need to set the bar high and do all that we can to assist the teachers and the schools in meeting those expectations.

What is an uncomfortable truth about your public schools that voters and taxpayers must confront?

Sam Dalton: The HPISD School Board is going to have to make some difficult decisions in the very near future, which may not be popular with all of its constituents.

Amy S. Titus: In HPISD, we are accustomed to excellent schools but funding issues (Robin Hood) have been quite a challenge for our district. As other districts catch up, we have to keep looking ahead to the future and continue to provide the best education possible for all of our children.