Michael Kennedy-North Penn Stronger Together
What inspired you to run for North Penn School Board? Anything specifically related to the current Board’s decisions over the last year?
We have stood together through these trying times, but there are still great hurdles to overcome. The decisions ahead of us should not be driven and divided by political ideology, but collaborated by the people of our community. I firmly believe that the foundation of our communities influences the next generation. I have taught my own children and students to be generous, to serve, and to actively participate in life rather than be a spectator. I’ve been a proud member of the North Penn community for over 25 years and I believe that my life experiences, both in and out of the classroom, will help me unite our community. I look forward to supporting the parents of North Penn in preparing our students to go after their dreams, desires, and careers. The strength of North Penn School District has always been its diversity and access to opportunities for all. Its rich tradition of guiding and opening of doors for everyone has shaped our community into a model that others strive to replicate. I would continue this tradition by fighting vigorously with every intention to do what is best suited for our students and schools. In today’s politically heated climate, our schools must be institutions for learning the various skills to be successful in today’s world. I am a firm believer that political driven ideology has no place in our classrooms and only creates division in area where unity should be the priority. As a united group, each school board should work towards putting forth policies that are effective in creating successful students and schools. Equally these boards should look to evaluate polices that are ineffective and remove them to prevent policy clutter. We are one community and should have a strong, united voice.
What, if anything, would you have done differently in regards to the re-opening process throughout this school year?
I would have worked harder towards creating a multi phased approach to in school learning. I would have taken a closer look at the potential of dividing the school into two groups having each group attend in person every other day. An A/B day schedule, while Blue group attended the other Navy group would participate on-line, rotating every other day. This would allow students to get into a more regimented pattern of learning for the year. Of course there would be an option for students and parents to go completely online if so desired. The A/B model has been adopted in other schools in the area and they have had great success in creating more productive learning environments for the students. As the school year went on, I would have taken a closer look at reopening in a safe manner. If in person learning needed to be halted both students and teachers would be acclimated in virtual learning and lost academic time would be at a minimum. I would have proposed setting goals that would have been measurable and could have been monitored by the community. Once these benchmarks were achieved it would have enable the district to move into the next phase of opening. The board should have been able to communicate the reasoning for their decisions.
If elected, what will be your top priorities post-pandemic?
If elected I would make it a priority to ensure that policies have defined goals that can measure the success of our students and schools. I would also work vigorously to take a closer look at removing policies that are ineffective and weight down the creative spirit of the students and teachers. Classrooms should be sanctuaries of learning where students that represent our communities can come together as one to develop and walk together towards their goals.
How would your unique skill set and background be an asset to the Board?
As a dedicated father of six, educator, and coach of various sports here in the North Penn area, I have always strived to create a community for which we can all be proud. For the past fifteen years, I have been a dedicated teacher in the Philadelphia School District at the high school and middle school levels. While teaching history and serving as a dean of students, I have become very versed in various strategies that are essential for success in and out of the classroom. In the past I sat as a chair of our ninth grade academy, helping to establish curriculum that aided our school in reaching our goals of increasing our overall graduation rate at the same time as increasing our college/trade placement and career readiness. As a leader of our ninth grade academy, I saw firsthand the success of bridging the gap from middle schools to high school. I understand the significance of ninth grade and its impact on creating a successful lifetime learner. As a father, my children have flourished here in North Penn. My wife and I are proud to raise our family here and I look forward to being a voice for all.