Learn more about Tracy Miller here.
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 Tracy Miller’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?
Following a suicide cluster in Jordan District a few years ago, we have prioritized social and emotional wellness. The term “social and emotional learning” has been adapted by various groups to mean different things. I believe the concept is to help students develop skills such as problem-solving, goal setting, collaboration, leadership, empathy, and resilience. Strategies range from a teacher greeting students at the door to wellness rooms to curriculum programs. Social emotional learning should take place in the home and be supported and reinforced at school. Specific SEL curriculums taught in school should be available to parents. Research has shown strong academic gains for students when schools educate the whole child. A focus on wellness has also shown to have multiple benefits such as preventing bullying, substance abuse and suicide. Wellness rooms in our schools have led to a dramatic decrease in behavior problems.
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 fully support PE and health programs in our schools. Physical activity is vital for our children. It helps kids stay on task in the classroom and improves grades. It also reduces anxiety and depression. Health is an important component of a well rounded education.
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?
Prior to my service on the school board I was the Trust Lands Specialist for Utah PTA. In that role I was instrumental in getting Constitutional Amendment B passed in 2018 which changed the way school trust funds are invested and distributed and has led to a dramatic increase in funding to our schools. I have also advocated for TSSA funds that are distributed to each school. I have spent the past decade lobbying the legislature for increased funding for our schools. I believe there needs to be an inflationary factor built into local property taxes. The state should also consider allowing school districts to levy impact fees, or at the very least not have to pay impact fees. Teachers are professionals and should be given the resources, compensation and respect they deserve.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
CRT is an academic concept developed in the 1980s as a framework for legal analysis. It is not appropriate in K-12 schools and is not being taught in Utah public schools. Additionally, the Utah State Board of Education Rule R277-328 prohibits instruction and training on CRT in Utah’s public schools.
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?
Reading is such an important part of a good education and kids need to have access to a wide variety of books. If a parent has a concern about a library book, they should be able to submit a challenge and have the book reviewed. The review process should be clearly outlined in district policy and the review committee should include parents and teachers. Parents are welcome to place restrictions on what their own children check out at any time through the school library. If a book is assigned by a teacher, parents should be made aware and given the opportunity to request an alternate book if they desire.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
I do not support voucher programs. Taxpayer dollars should not go to private schools where there is no transparency and accountability. There is a plethora of school choice already within the public school system including charter schools, online schools, blended learning programs, gifted and talented programs, various special education options, stem schools, arts schools, etc.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
I am not familiar with the Summit program as it is not used in Jordan School District. It looks similar to Canvas although Summit seems to have more capabilities. Canvas is a great tool in JSD for students to access class learning materials and for parents to have easy access to materials presented in the class. If we were ever to consider using Summit or another program like it in JSD, I would work extensively with teachers and get feedback from parents and students to understand what advantages it would have for our district over our current practices.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
Our population is changing and schools need to be a place where ALL students feel welcome and safe. One high school in our district has gone from 5% minority population to 28% in the past couple of years. It is important for kids to be able to see themselves reflected in books and other curriculum. It is also important for kids to learn about other cultures and experiences outside their own. Curriculum should be selected to represent people and experiences from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I have voted for significant pay increases for our teachers every year I have been on the Jordan School board. I have been successful in advocating for and increasing prep time for our teachers. I voted to change sick pay to personal leave allowing teachers more flexibility. I voted for improved maternity leave benefits and paternity leave. I’m proud to have been part of a board that led out in the state on increasing salaries and improving benefits for our teachers. Prior to serving on the school board, I spent many years at the legislature advocating for our public schools. I have continued my lobbying efforts while on the board as a member of the Jordan School Board’s Government Relations Committee and a member of the Joint Legislative Committee for USBA. My three children all attend or have graduated from Jordan School District schools. I spent many hours volunteering in their classes and serving on PTAs and School Community Councils.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
I have shown my commitment through years of volunteering in the classroom, with the PTA and on School Community Councils. I have also volunteered on several state-wide education committees and for the Jordan Education Foundation. I will continue to support public schools, and do whatever I can to support our teachers and provide the best education possible for our children.