Kevin Walsh

Kevin Walsh

The ultimate goal of Kyrene must be to educate our children and position them for success as adults. I am a Kyrene dad with two children in our Kyrene schools. All students should be prepared academically, socially and emotionally when they promote from Kyrene to high school.

Recent changes implemented by Kyrene demonstrate that the district is on the right track. More work remains to be done, and as a candidate for Kyrene School Board, I am uniquely qualified to help Kyrene do even better.

Kyrene rightfully prides itself on educating the whole child, and there are opportunities for the district to build on this. In all of our Kyrene schools, we must provide students with an array of skills development, counseling, experiential learning experiences and career exploration that will support and develop their academic performance, behavior, attendance, confidence and participation.

Curriculum. Curriculum offerings in Kyrene should be designed to challenge all students. There must be options that are appropriate for diverse learners. By providing comprehensive curriculum offerings, as well as earlier and sustained support for struggling students, we can prevent students from falling through the cracks.

Changes to middle school curriculum under Superintendent Vesley’s leadership are welcome improvements. We should also focus on innovations that allow for smaller class sizes.

Career exploration.  As a community, we should strive to provide the next generation with the skill set they need for the jobs of tomorrow. Exploratory opportunities and skills developed in middle school are crucial for adolescents to make better decisions during high school, which lead to stronger academic performance and post-secondary achievements.

Athletics, music and arts. Education and development of our children cannot be limited to preparing for standardized tests. Providing students with athletics, music and arts programs is key. These activities build confidence and foster creativity, skills that will empower our students throughout their life.

By offering students an additional elective in the last year, Kyrene demonstrates its commitment to these values. It’s important that these opportunities are equal across Kyrene. A child’s access to athletics, music and arts in Kyrene should not correlate with zip code.

Social and emotional wellness. Protecting the total well-being of our children is paramount. It has to be a community undertaking, and our schools play an important role.  Ensuring that our students have access to trained counselors, psychologists and social workers is key.

High school transition. Transitioning from middle school to high school can be a very vulnerable time for students. A new campus, increased independence and additional responsibilities leave many adolescents feeling stressed and isolated.

Kyrene can ameliorate these pressures by working closely with Tempe Union to support students and their families during this transition. The high school showcase events that Kyrene middle schools host for eighth-graders are helpful. Additional opportunities to enhance the transition, such as inviting guest speakers from high schools, should be explored.

Ultimately, the best thing Kyrene can do to help our students after they leave middle school is to facilitate their learning and development, safeguard their social and emotional wellness and foster their confidence. If elected to the Kyrene School Board, I promise to work for exactly that.

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