Kelly Latterman: ‘What is best for our students?’
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
My name is Kelly Latterman, and I am running for a seat on the Steamboat Springs School Board because of my professional and personal passion for education.
For years, I provided expertise to policymakers around the country, providing evidence-based research on school leadership, rural education and governance. My work as a senior policy specialist with all 50 state legislatures included testifying on best practice and programming in my issue areas, writing policy briefs, providing presentations to national education groups and delivering in-state technical assistance for legislative committees and state stakeholders. I want to bring that national experience and background in data-driven policy to our local board.
My career continues to be education focused. I am now working with local schools as the district manager of Junior Achievement for Routt County, a nonprofit that promotes financial literacy, entrepreneurship and college and career readiness for students.
I am uniquely qualified to serve on the school board with my professional and volunteer background, but when I really stop to consider why I want to devote my time to the school board, it brings me to my own experience with education.
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As a middle school student, I suffered a depressed skull fracture that left me unable to function as a typical student. I had to relearn basic math, how to read, follow directions and retrain my brain on how to memorize and store information. I was devastated but built back up by an understanding and supportive community.
When I came back to school, many of my teachers provided their home phone numbers, telling me to call anytime, would come in early or stay late and offer comfort and direction, all in order to give me the personalized attention I required. They led me down a successful path, when I easily could have fallen through the cracks. Our educators are that critical.
In the hours they spend daily with our students, the research shows they are the No. 1 school-related factor in student success. I know that is what the data tells us, and it is what I have experienced firsthand. Research further tells us what makes schools highly effective: high quality instruction and school leadership, high expectations for students, effective use of data, open dialogue and trust between parents and the schools, as well as a clear vision with buy in from the community.
I want to serve on a board that values data-driven decision making and considers the individual needs of all students — a board that builds off of the district’s current performance and sets a path towards sustained student achievement, growth and preparedness academically, socially and behaviorally. We have historically been ranked high in this state, but our students need to be prepared to compete in a global economy.
As a board of education member, I will specifically prioritize raising student achievement for the students who historically experience the achievement gap. Our district consistently has not met state standards for some of our students classified as English Language Learners, students with disabilities and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. We can do better.
I will also support expanding career and technical education, providing additional STEAM opportunities for students, encouraging project-based learning and recruiting and retaining high quality teachers.
My guiding question as a school board member will always be, what is best for our students?
Kelly Latterman is a candidate for the four-year term on the Steamboat Springs School Board.
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