Racine Unified Board of Education incumbents Julie McKenna and Kim Plache are vying for the new 4th district created when the state legislature split the school district into nine new representative areas.

Both candidates believe district faculty and staff are working hard to help students succeed, and they point to the increased number of freshmen who are on the right track to completing six credits by the end of the year because that means they have an increased chance of graduating.

To look at the map of districts, click here. The boundaries for the 4th district can be found here.

The general election is April 5, and there are two Racine Unified candidate forums scheduled for March 22 and March 29.

Julie McKenna, 53
724 Crab Tree Lane, Racine
BA Music Education Augustana University 1984; AS Respiratory Dakota State University 1989

Why do you want to serve as a member of the Racine Unified Board of Education? 

I believe students in the Racine Unified Community deserve a quality education. Education is key to success!

What do you think Racine Unified is doing right that you want to build on? 

The achievement scores are slowly going up as evidenced by recent MAP scores. Number of Students graduating is increasing. The number at grade level in early grades are increased. Need to continue to build on those to achieve Mission Educate Every Student to Succeed!

What do you think Racine Unified can do better and how would you tackle this challenge?

Relationships are key with students,parents, staff , administration , board of education and community. I have started this as the Chair of Legislative Committee on meetings with Caledonia and Mt Pleasant and state legislature and want to do more outreach. I will be accessible to hear what is working well and what is not provide more opportunities for communication.

How can we encourage our community to better support our students?

The best way is to get to know the students in your community say hi to them encourage let them know you care, be involved in any way you can.

Do you support block scheduling? Why or why not?

I support it as an option but not the only option. Block scheduling opens up more opportunities to provide time for career opportunities, block scheduling will provide more minutes to fit in electives. Some students will do well with this other students will not . There needs to be options for those students that block scheduling does not work for them.

Do you support the Academies of Racine concept? Why or why not?

Yes, I believe it will open up more opportunities for students to apply the education they will receive to a career or vocation of their choice.

What idea would you like to see come to life – no matter how impossible it might seem?

Nothing is impossible! That each individual students education needs are met!

Kim Plache, 55
110 Emerald Dr., Mt. Pleasant
WHEDA Business Development Officer

Why do you want to serve as a member of the Racine Unified Board of Education? 

I am running for RUSD District 4 to ensure the district continues to make progress towards closing achievement gaps, while improving academic achievement for all, increasing graduation rates, improving safety, and ensuring wise use of fiscal resources. I believe RUSD needs to continue on a path of improvement for our kids, our community and for our future.

What do you think Racine Unified is doing right that you want to build on? 

This is a very exciting time for Racine schools, and positive momentum is building. Reading and math scores have shown significant growth, especially in the early grades. In 2016, graduation rates increased by nearly 6%, the highest percentage increase in the State of Wisconsin. With hundreds of additional high school freshmen having completed key early courses towards graduation; these numbers are set to increase significantly. While these positive trends show RUSD heading in the right direction, we have a long way to go to attain our goal of graduating every student career or college ready. We have the most talented staff working diligently with every student, so each student has the opportunity to excel. It is not easy, but our dedicated staff do an amazing job. We have the leadership in place to continue this progress.

What do you think Racine Unified can do better and how would you tackle this challenge?

If elected, I will continue to push for an administration and board-aligned 3, 5 and 10 year district plan, encompassing all district operations. This plan would not be stagnant, but would be adjusted as needed. Currently the administration has created a 3 year plan, but to me it is crucial that the board, representing all district constituencies, quickly address creation of a long-range plan in an open and transparent manner.

How can we encourage our community to better support our students?

There currently is a great deal of community support through the United Way and Schools of Hope, Striving Together, career academies, and Wings mentoring program, and the passage of the recent referendum. We can encourage the community to further support our students by demonstrating that we are serious about, and and making progress towards, improving our educational outcomes.

Do you support block scheduling? Why or why not?

Block scheduling should move forward as planned. It is a key component to the career academy model. This is a significant shift in the way the teacher presents the material and does require professional development and on-going professional support to successfully make this change. The planning has been going on for more than a year, with input received from numerous teachers and professional staff. Paid professional development opportunities are being offered. I find it very concerning that the union leadership chose not to accept repeated offers to become much more engaged in the early planning process, but we cannot allow the union leadership’s unwillingness to participate in the planning undermine our efforts on behalf of the students. We cannot delay the education of our kids for the career opportunities of today and tomorrow. This change is critical for the future of our kids and our community.

Do you support the Academies of Racine concept? Why or why not?

I do support the Career academies as an important component of transforming our high schools.

What idea would you like to see come to life – no matter how impossible it might seem?
See “What issue would you tackle” above.

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