2021 Richardson ISD Place 7 Runoff-Candidate Response to GEAR Questions - Chris Poteet
Like many gifted advocacy groups, GEAR has a tradition of offering an opportunity for local school board candidates to communicate his or her positions and views on topics important to our members. GEAR is pleased to share the questionnaire responses received from candidates for the June 5 runoff election for Place 7 on the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees.
GEAR thanks candidates for taking the time to respond, and we wish to express our gratitude to every candidate for their willingness to serve our district, their dedication to public education, and their desire to work on behalf of all students in Richardson ISD. GEAR encourages community members to participate in this election. Early voting begins May 24 and ends June 1. Election Day is June 5.
CANDIDATE CHRIS POTEET:
QUESTION 1: Texas law requires districts to identify and serve Gifted and Talented (GT) students K-12 and to comply with the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students (updated 2019). The State Plan includes requirements and an "exemplary" column of best practices. How important do you believe it is for RISD to fully comply with state requirements and to achieve “exemplary” status under the State Plan? I am a firm supporter of the district exceeding the minimum requirements in as many areas as possible in regard to the state plan. The requirements for “exemplary”, within the plan, take the general requirements and tie them down to an even more fine-tuned level. As with several programs within RISD, I feel that the district needs to strive to not only meet the requirements but exceed them. That needs to be the goal. That needs to feed into the vision. This needs to be the culture within RISD. I believe it currently is, but more opportunities exist to meet it. As a trustee, my goal is to actively engage with groups like yours to carry your needs to the district and learn from those with first-hand experience. Continuous improvement is something I am very familiar with through business, and this is a great example of a program that we can apply that effort.
QUESTION 2: In your opinion, what priority should RISD place on following best practices in educating students with special needs and learning differences, including students receiving GT services, students in poverty with the potential for GT identification, GT students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, highly gifted students, and GT students with disabilities? Special needs, learning differences, gifted and talented and similar traits have no direct ties to language, race, cultural or socio-economical level. I know that there is a real or perceived gap in how RISD identifies those in special populations. I also know that RISD is actively working on ways to close that gap. They have had success, some of which has received media coverage. I plan on continuing these efforts once elected. The district is responsible for educating ALL students. In order to realize the most from each student, we need to ensure that we have the resources and processes to identify and foster those special needs within each student. Without that granular identification, we will not meet the charge of educating ALL students.
QUESTION 3: How important do you feel it is for RISD curricula, instruction, professional development, programs, and services to enable RISD students from all populations and income levels to reach the highest levels of achievement they can reach, including achievement levels above their age-grade? Very important. I believe that RISD should strive to maximize the potential of ALL students. This includes opportunities for work above their age-grade, as is the goal for our GT students. I am impressed with the innovative methods that RISD utilizes to meet its students in their educational journeys. I know the district has worked with your group and recently implemented new GT programming as a result. I look forward to following the results of this work and continuing to build on these positive strides.
QUESTION 4: In 2019, House Bill 3 moved the previous G/T Allotment into general funding while further increasing general funding. One argument for changing GT funding was to encourage districts to spend more funds on G/T services. What is your commitment to maintaining or increasing the current level of funding for GT services in RISD? My commitment is to maintain the level of support to students within the GT programs and continue to grow this support where needed as the budget allows. Whether those resources are marked for them directly or they are lumped into the general student allotment, RISD needs to support our GT students and families. I know that your organization was probably disappointed with the removal of the allotment through the legislative process, but my understanding is that the district not only maintained funding but continues to make advances in programming as mentioned above. As a valued partner to the district, I look forward to continuing these efforts and increased successes.
QUESTION 5: As a Trustee, how open would you be to input from experts in learning diagnoses, including experts on gifted needs, and how do you feel about receiving input and support from groups of RISD parents dedicated to special needs and learning differences, including gifted needs? RISD is charged with owning and executing the process of educating ALL students. As a trustee, I am always open to discussing improvements in the current processes within RISD, especially with groups like yours. If there are gaps or opportunities to improve in both identification of GT and special needs students, I would challenge the district administration and staff to close those gaps. I bring skills to the board that can affect these changes but am also more than willing to learn where I can improve my knowledge and effectiveness by partnering with you.
QUESTION 6: Please share any additional comments to clarify your positions on issues impacting RISD’s GT population. The GT population of students is a critical piece of the district family. My vision is to work with the district administration in maximizing our efforts to realize the full potential of ALL students with RISD. As a trustee, part of my charge is to be that link between constituents and the administration. Again, my understanding is that the district has made significant progress relative to GT programming and they have been recognized publicly for that (even with the shifting of the GT allotment). I look forward to being an advocate for ALL students (GT included), and working with your group through that process.