We asked all candidates to fill out a survey and our group has chosen to endorse, recommend or not recommend based on their answers. Here are Lisa Boyce’s responses that shows that she is a great representative for our teachers, students and parents!
How do you define SEL strategies and what do you believe it does in the classroom?
In my mind, SEL takes a wholistic view of our students. It recognizes the need to support our kids’ emotional and relational skills’ growth alongside their academic and physical growth. Teaching and modeling self awareness, self-regulation, empathy, kindness, respect, communication/problem solving, and decision making skills empowers our students to get the most out of ALL other learning/educational opportunities they will encounter. I believe a good SEL curriculum can help students, parents, and teachers come together with a shared language around how to navigate and develop these essential skills to support everyone’s ability to learn within our classrooms.
What importance do you attribute to PE and health and how do feel about the cuts made to these subject areas in the past?
I think that PE and Health are core subjects within our educational programs. I do not support cuts to these subject areas. Again, we educate and support the whole child and physical health and wellness is essential as a base from which our students can learn and develop. Evidence is overwhelming that our students need to be physically active, and they need to learn about how their physical well-being integrates with their mental, social and emotional growth. These things will support their academic development and allow them to really thrive.
What ideas have you formulated that will increase public school funding to keep up with growth, fully compensate teachers for their expertise and commitment to teaching, ensure they have the classroom resources they need to be effective educators, and making teacher retention a priority?
I think the highest priority for our state legislature should be to find ways to increase funding for our public schools. Even with some of the increases we have seen this past year, Utah is still at or near the bottom for its per pupil spending. We have to be vigilant in defeating bills which allow funds to be diverted away from our schools, and advocate for greater financial support. On a local level, we need to get creative. In terms of classroom resources, I believe there are a lot of businesses and families in Provo who can connect with the needs of our teachers to help provide supplies and resources. District and school PTAs and PTOs can work to help make these connections and gather these resources. And our Provo Foundation can continue to fundraise and assist with some of our schools’ most acute needs. Provo just completed the Truth in Taxation process and this will give a boost for our teachers/schools, but it is not enough. I believe our district administration will need to find other ways to cut some expenses in order to keep teacher salaries and teacher retention our top priority. We need to also look to be sure our Title 1 schools are actually receiving the funds they need. There is some interesting data on this on Utah’s Project Kids website that I hope our district will examine carefully.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
My understanding is that CRT is a legal theory that examines how issues of race and racism are built into and influence laws and legal, social and economic institutions. I have not heard of this type of legal theory being taught in our Provo K-12 schools. The Utah Board of Education’s rules are clear on what can or cannot be taught with regards to CRT, and I would encourage a parent who has a specific concern to speak with their school administrator on this topic. That said, I personally don’t think banning the teaching of CRT should mean we cannot discuss the existence and effects of racism as these things are encountered, whether in the present or the past. We should all be striving to learn about and identify changes we can make in the way we see, speak and act to build inclusive, respectful and safe communities.
What vetting process do you support when a parent objects to a book in their child’s school? What actions do you believe school districts should take or not take?
Provo School Board is currently finalizing a draft for their policy on Sensitive Materials. Their policy will then formalize the procedure that a student, parent, or faculty member must use to challenge a book or other materials as well as the precise conditions under which a book will or will not be removed. As I think is typical under these new requirements, the process will then include a review committee who will need to read or view the work in its entirety and comply with the state law in determining whether the work can remain or will be removed. I will support the policy that our current school board votes into place as long as it sticks closely to the law. I am concerned about the additional, potentially unpaid, work this process will layer onto our teachers and administrators and I am concerned that this practice could become a tool of discrimination. Personally, I think it is a parent’s responsibility to help teach their kids how to vet their own media for consumption and make choices accordingly. Obviously students can share this responsibility in different ways as they grow and develop. But eventually, students will need to be able to think critically and consume media wisely on their own.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
I am not a fan of voucher bills that I have seen to date. Public school funding needs to be protected.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about this program other than the news sound bites I have seen and the Summit website. I would love to hear from teachers how they feel about using it. Does it allow them greater flexibility and does it support learning for their students in measurable ways? I guess I would hope that if a district invests in this program or one like it, they will be clear about how they will know if it is worth the investment (what evidence will be used to measure “success”) and what they will do if it is not. I think technology can be powerful in supporting learning. But we have to also invest in supporting, training, listening to and empowering our teachers, students and families in how that technology gets used. And in the end, nothing replaces the connection and value of an excellent teacher.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
As a start, Provo School District has the following parent advisory committees: Title 6 Native American, Latino, Pacific Islander, African American, Asian American, LGBTQ+, and Parents of Students with Special Needs. These committees are just one resource that our educators (and community members) can use to learn about, understand and respect the diversity within our communities. I believe it is essential that our curriculum and school climates enable all students to feel safe and included as they learn.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I have loved volunteering and working in the public schools over the past 20 years. My experience has included assisting during science, math and reading times in classrooms, fundraising for supplies for teachers, working as a school based SLP, serving on community council for elementary and middle schools, serving in various PTA capacities including two years as PTA co-president at Centennial Middle School and then serving two different terms as PTA co-president at Timpview High School. I also spent one year serving on the Utah State PTA Education Committee under LeAnn Wood (who is amazing) which really helped me further understand the importance of advocacy work with our state legislature.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
First, I will continue to volunteer locally with my schools as a member of PTA and as a parent in our community. I love being in the schools whether it is assisting in the library, handing out prizes for bike to school week, helping students apply to college, or connecting students and teachers to the many resources we have here in our Provo community. I will also follow educational bills and advocate on behalf of our teachers and students throughout the 2022-2023 legislative period.