By Andrew Pillow
Deitric Hall is a candidate running for MSD Washington Township School Board. He was kind enough to grant an interview to Indy/Ed.
Pillow: Thanks for talking to Indy/Ed.
Hall: Thank you I appreciate your time.
Pillow: So why are you running for School Board in one sentence?
Hall: I am running to give back to the community and bring a teacher perspective to the board.
Pillow: What do you think Washington Township schools are already doing well? What is something that you think they can improve on?
Hall: I think Washington Township schools have done well with the implementation of the IB program in all schools. I think it has been a great initiative to ensure our students are ready to interact on a global scale.
The number of suspensions and expulsions has been on the rise at several schools. I believe we can do more. One family I talked to said her daughter was suspended her first day of kindergarten, and I don't think this is fair for her or others in her class to miss out on learning due to behavior problems.
Pillow: How would you help them improve in that area?
Hall: Working in a classroom on a daily basis as a teacher, I think I can help bring practical solutions to into the classroom.
Pillow: You have mentioned “rethinking school discipline” on your website. Rethink school discipline how?
Hall: It's easier to think about through a student's story. I had a student that when he first joined us had extreme anger outbursts. He thought the world was out to get him and any accidental contact or looks would send him over the edge. Over the course of a week, I worked with him on expressing his frustrations and handling them in an appropriate way. He went from being a student that could easily be pushed out of school with suspensions to a student that was able to internalize coping strategies and become successful in the classroom. I think I can help classrooms with practical solutions to ensure behavior problems are not stopping learning.
Pillow: One of your platforms is expanding “early childhood education”. Why do you think expanding Pre-K is important?
Hall: I think early childhood education is important because it sets our students up for future success. There is so much that children learn that will be applicable for the rest of their lives. It sets them up with social skills needed to deal with situations. It sets them up with the foundation of language skills that they will continue to grow in later years. It sets students up for success in later life.
Pillow: Do you think early childhood education expansion is really possible while still being “fiscally responsible”?
Hall: Yes. It's a strategy to spend money in the short term to benefit in the long run. It will lead to less need for retention. It will lead to higher graduation rates. It will lead to students being able to find high earning careers.
Pillow: You said you were a classroom teacher and a special educator? How does that affect the way you would serve on the board?
Hall: It allows me to take that perspective into meetings. I can be the voice that is thinking about the direct impact policy will have on teachers and students. It allows me to bring that experience and perspective to the forefront of conversations about decisions.
Read more about Hall's candidacy on his website here.