Tina Stoll-North Penn Neighbors for Progress
If re-elected, what are your biggest priorities post-pandemic?
My biggest priority post-pandemic would be to assure that we provide the supports necessary for our students that need it after this past year – whether it be additional academic support or mental health supports. I would also like to get back to addressing our infrastructure needs – in particular the 9th grade center at the NPHS – while continuing our important work in equity.
What are the biggest things you’ve learned, personally and/or professionally, from your
experience as a Board member since the start of the pandemic?
What I learned was that it really is impossible to please everyone, so you just have to make the best decisions you can with the information that you have and do what you think is right. Another thing I learned was the importance of being transparent and communicating with as many stakeholders as possible in the decision making process. Admittedly that is sometimes easier said then done when conditions are changing quickly so there will always be ways to
Is there anything you wish you had done differently over the past year?
I have thought about this question a lot over the past year, but I don’t think there is very much that I would have done differently. It was truly an unprecedented time. We were forced to make many decisions that we never thought we’d ever have to make and we often had to do so with insufficient guidance from the federal and state government. We depended heavily on our local county commissioner, our Montgomery County Board of Health and CHOP officials to help guide us through the consistently changing information and I am grateful that we had these resources available to us. I can say that while we were often faced with only bad or worse options and every decision we made led to ten more decisions needing to be made – we always based our decisions with the health and safety of our students and staff as the utmost priority.
What is your proudest accomplishment from your time on the Board thus far?
I think we are probably unanimous in saying that our proudest accomplishment on the board so far has been establishing Full Day Kindergarten. It was something we campaigned hard on and it was really gratifying to be able to keep our promise and bring FDK to NPSD. We were all able to go out and greet the 2019 FDK class as they started their academic careers in NPSD and to see how excited and happy the students were on their first day, truly made it all worthwhile.
In other years, SB elections may not have had a direct impact on the day to day lives of
all students and families. Now, with the ongoing re-opening process, that is not the case.
In those terms, does this election feel especially important?
Actually local elections, especially school board elections, have a more direct impact on people’s day to day lives than state or federal elections, but yes, this election feels especially important. I believe there is quite a bit of misinformation being spread regarding the reopening process – for example, our opponents say “they want in-person education for those that choose.” The fact is that school is (and has been) open for full in-person education for anyone chooses to be, but there is still a large percentage (27%) who are choosing to remain virtual. The overwhelming message we heard during this Covid crisis was that people wanted schools to be safe for students and staff. It is why we were adamant about the 6 ft distancing rule and having to wear a mask. It is why we supported assurance testing for our staff as soon as it was available this past January. It is why we were so pleased to have NPHS and Pennbrook be used as mass vaccination sites for our community. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is how important it is for a community to come together during a time of crisis and how central NPSD is to our community.