Candidate Name: Allison Fosdick
Office Seeking: School District 204 School Board
Campaign Website: www.allisonfosdick.com
Subdivision/Neighborhood: Silver Springs Estates/Breckenridge
Closest School: Spring Brook Elementary
Occupation and/or Professional Training: English professor, Aurora University. MA English, Northern Illinois University, BA in International Studies, Miami University
How long in years have you been a Naperville resident? Over 25 years
Service on Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, etc. with dates served (nonprofit too):
- 2020-present Vice-president – Orchestra Parents Association, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, IL
- 2013-present Vice-president/Director – Silver Springs Estates Homeowners Association, Naperville, IL
- 2013-present Active member – Magical Starlight Theatre, Naperville Park District, Naperville, IL
- 2016-2018 PTA president – Spring Brook Elementary School, Naperville, IL
- 2016, 2018 Board member – Breckenridge Breakers Swim Team, Naperville, IL
- 2012-2020 Art Awareness volunteer – Spring Brook Elementary School, Naperville, IL
- 2006-2007 Board member – Centennial Beach Mudrats Swim Team, Naperville, IL
The following answers have only been edited for formatting purposes.
1. Why are you running to serve the board of education?
I’m running because my children have benefitted enormously from the high quality education and experience they’ve received in 204. I want to contribute to ensuring all district students receive the resources and tools they need to achieve the academic and personal excellence our district is known for.
2. What is the school district’s most pressing need?
Our district’s most pressing need at this time is three-fold and directly related to the pandemic’s effect on students. First, we need to find innovative ways to ensure that ALL students are able to receive an equitable, quality education —those who are best served in-person and those who are best served remotely at this time. Second, we need to double down on social emotional programs and resources to support our students’ mental health. Finally, we must focus on working together rather than against one another. We all have what we believe are the best interests of our students at heart.
3. What are your thoughts on the school district’s programs dedicated toward special education students, English Language Learners (ELL), students in the middle and gifted students?
I think our district has excellent programs that support student learning for all of the groups listed. We can strengthen these programs by continuing to focus on hiring highly-qualified, specialized teachers and staff and by being sure to make decisions about resource allocation through an equity lens.
4. Name three District 204 policies that need review or immediate attention.
First, I’d advocate for the district to immediately review our Suicide Prevention Policy to be sure we are doing all we can to help and protect our students in this time of extraordinary stress. Second, I believe we need to create an equity policy, to solidify our commitment to equity in all areas. Finally, I think reviewing the Disciplinary Practices Policy to include positive psychology-based measures is valuable for our students.
5. How often are you in touch with members of the current School Board? And do you attend/watch school board meetings live or after they’re saved in the archive?
I’m in touch with current members of the school board on a regular basis, as I reach out with questions about their experience and navigating a campaign. Most often, I watch board meetings live.
6. What up-and-coming City of Naperville/City of Aurora development will impact School District 204 funding the most? As a board member, where would you look to make budget adjustments?
Given that the Citygate West project has been tabled by City Council at the time I write this, I’ll name the Fox Valley apartment project as the development with the greatest potential impact on D204 funding. On one hand, additional students resulting from the multi-unit housing being built will add to the overcrowding of northern side schools. One the other hand, a rejuvenated Rt. 59 corridor has potential to help grow the local economy and therefore add to the local taxes that help fund our schools. I would look to make budget adjustments that don’t directly affect student resources.
7. In a public relations role, how would you orientate a new family to the school district?
I’d love to create a volunteer mentorship program where we could pair new district families with established ones so that they immediately have a personal point of connection. Having that one-on-one resource can make all the difference for a new family and students, and I think our active and engaged parents would appreciate being able to help in this way.
8. Consider K-12 core curriculum to include English (reading, language arts writing), science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts (STEAM), foreign languages, computer science, civics/government/current events, economics, history, geography, physical education/health and social-emotional learning standards. If the school district were forced to eliminate a subject in order to add a new one, what would you eliminate? Any thought of what you would add at what grade level? What’s the parents’ role in monitoring curriculum changes and choices?
Community input on curriculum is important as it informs us about what families value right now. If the district were forced to eliminate a subject area, I’d choose computer science. Our students receive thorough functional training in their middle school technology classes, and computer science could be seen as redundant. I’d love to add a class for late middle school/early high school similar to Yale’s most popular class—“The Science of Well-Being.” It’s a positive psychology class that teaches students practical habits that contribute to daily gratitude and mental health. Our students would greatly benefit from that instruction.
9. Research reveals that high self-esteem and student achievement are closely related to positive parental involvement in school. Considering growing interest in school choice, home-schooling and private schools, what are your thoughts on school vouchers?
Other than some potential aspects of home-schooling, I don’t think that positive parental involvement in school is enhanced by school vouchers—in fact, I’d argue that it isn’t even directly related outside of perhaps parents “selecting” a school. The research is mixed on whether school vouchers result in improved student achievement. Given that IPSD is an already underfunded district, I think our students are best served by using those monies to better our public schools rather than for vouchers.
10. When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights?
I last read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights in Spring 2020 with my then-fifth grader who was studying it for Social Studies.
11. Have you received any donations or endorsements from any organized group(s)? If so, which groups?
I’ve not received any donations or endorsements at this time.
12. Name the school teacher who most influenced you. Please include grade, school, city and state. (Parents/family are not eligible.)
The teacher who most influenced me was my AP US History teacher my sophomore year at Naperville Central High School—Mrs. Linder.
Anything else you’d like to add?
In this time of unprecedented stress, I think collaborative, positive leadership is more critical than ever. We have a richly diverse, talented, and involved community, and I believe we’re stronger when we work together. If elected, I’ll advocate for equitable education, open communication, and responsible stewardship, and I’ll do so with commitment and integrity.