2019 Elections: School Board Seat A Darlene Trigg
Nome Nugget: What are your qualifications and why do you want to run for School Board again?
Darlene Trigg: My name is Darlene Trigg. I was born and raised here in Nome. I am a product of the Nome Public Schools. Two of my children are graduates from NPS and I have one child still enrolled in Nome Beltz. I want to continue to serve on the board to bring a community based voice to the decision making table. While serving on the board in the last year, I have been able to share a community perspective that is inclusive of many different community value systems. I am able to serve with the intention of building bridges for our students and families and our schools to improve outcomes for our students. I want to support our teachers as they impart knowledge on our students. When we have teachers that feel cared for and supported, they will stay, and in rural Alaska continuity is important as it allows long-term relationships to form. I want to support our administrative team as they manage our school system and offer insight to how they can better serve our community. A large population of our students is Alaska Native and I want to support our students, teachers and administrators in understanding our culture and using our culture and its values to create strong community members who feel valued for who they are.
Nome Nugget: What are the school district’s greatest challenges and how to you propose to address them?
Darlene Trigg: I see three challenges that impact our schools. The first is to ensure we have the resources for our students to have quality education in their classrooms. As a school board, we set the priority for funding and also work to ensure we have adequate funding to provide high quality education to our students. Last year’s State fiscal situation put our school in a precarious situation. We need to have strong leadership who can articulate the need to continue to fund public schools adequately. If we’re put in the situation where we have to make hard budget decisions, I want to ensure we are funding classrooms so our students are still getting the class time needed to be successful.
Second, I would like to continue the school board’s good work of embedding their equity framework into the school. In health care, you often see people are prescribed with medications to address health issues. It can be very challenging for people to make lifestyle changes that can impact their health in the long run. I see this equity framework as the system changing their diet and adding exercise. The framework is very robust and will take time to see the impacts fully for our students. Currently the document is rich and has a lot of information. There is a lot of energy being put into this work and I would like to continue to support the work by assisting in prioritizing activities.
Finally, I think we need to support our schools in such a way that our students have the skills needed to be successful in their education. Making sure that our students are proficient in reading at a young age will help them to be successful in any educational endeavor they choose to pursue. I would like our elementary school admin and teachers have the resources needed to be successful.
Nome Nugget: What are your budget priorities?
Darlene Trigg: First and foremost, I want to make sure resources are put into our classrooms. Classroom instruction is the top priority. In order for us to have quality classroom instruction, our pay structure and benefits need to encourage good teachers to come work for us. I would also put enrichment programs as a top priority as well. I think we need to have programs that help children feel like who they are is well represented in our schools. Making sure we have cultural studies and other programs that bring local culture bearers into our school is important.
Nome Nugget: The state budget continues to provide unstable ground for the state’s public schools. How do you propose the school district prepares for decreasing budget realities as costs rise?
Darlene Trigg: We need to continue to work with the legislature to ensure adequate funding of public education. Our superintendent has been a great collaborator with the City government in helping to build understanding around the school districts obligations under state law. The school board needs to be thinking about both best case scenarios, but also have a solid plan for worst case scenarios. Regardless of best case, or worst case scenarios, I think we need to find ways to be creative in educating our students. There are a lot of amazing people who live and work in our community who can help us to find ways to keep the education we provide relevant to our students, provide diverse perspectives, and allows for students to be prepared to be successful in our community once they leave public school.
Nome Nugget: What policies would you support to attract and retain the best teachers possible for NPS?
Darlene Trigg: Beyond supporting a good wage and benefits package, which is a priority, I think we need to build a community of support for our teachers. I believe we don’t need to just pay them well, I think we also need to have a solid plan to help new teachers build lasting relationships in our community. I believe that when people have a sense of community, they are more likely to put down solid roots. Once the roots take hold, people are more invested in the long term outcomes of our community.