Quinn Adamowski and Lorraine Guerrero, both of Joliet, are vying for the West Side seat on the Joliet Grade School Board during the April 5th election.
Guerrero, 30, is education and social services director for Spanish Community Center and advocate for the Guardian Angel Community Services. Guerrero, a 1998 graduate from Joliet Central High School, has a master's degree in social work from Aurora University and a bachelor's degree in social work and human services from Lewis University.
Quinn Adamowski, 31, is assistant principal of Lincoln School, an alternative school for at-risk students. He has a bachelor's degree from Knox College and a master's degrees from University of St. Francis and Olivet Nazarene University.
Here's some extra insight about these candidates.
Q: Many Hispanic parents do not want their students in English Language Learners classrooms so then those students attend school in the regular education classrooms which can affect learning in the classroom. Do you have any suggestions for taking care of this issue?
Guerrero: It is my understanding after reaching out and communicating with English Language Learner experts that ELL classrooms support mastery of language acquisition, content mastery and biliteracy which must be met to ensure the success of students when mainstreamed. Students are tested and once a student is English proficient they are mainstreamed and are often found to be as successful as their peers in other special populations. Like I have found in my experience as a social worker and an advocate, the best way to help parents of any linguistic background would be to INFORM them of the facts.
Adamowski: Students who demonstrate English language proficiency through the ACCESS test should have the opportunity to attend regular education classes. Students who do not demonstrate English language proficiency are demonstrating a need for ELL services, which ELL classrooms provide these students should remain in classrooms where their educational needs can be met. The question that needs to be asked to parents in this situation is this: what services do students receive in the
regular education classes that your child cannot receive in the ELL classes? If there is a gap in services, as far as parents are concerned, then those issues need to be addressed.
Q: Do or did you have children who attend/ed schools in the district and what insight did that give you?
Guerrero: I have many younger siblings who have attended District 86 and I have been attending board meetings since I became the legal guardian of my niece because she will be attending the district in just over a year. I also have experience working with the district as an advocate for children and while employed or interning at area school districts which gave me the insight that District 86 policy is not necessarily strong enough in some areas and that teachers and support staff in District 86 do the best they can with the tools and support they are given but we need to improve their support by changing policy and prioritizing our finances.
Adamowski: No, but I have friends who do. Parents I have spoken with are generally pleased with the educational services that their students receive, but they have expressed concerns about the educational environment. Specifically, bullying is an issue for parents with whom I have spoken.
Q: Eisenhower Academy is considered the gem of Joliet Grade School District because of students' high test scores. Do you have any suggestions to get that same success at other schools?
Guerrero: Students must have high test scores to gain entry into Eisenhower Academy. Meanwhile every other teacher in District 86 has a mix of children with different talents and abilities and are expected to have positive test scores. With this said District 86 should continue to offer excellent training and development for staff and give them more support in the classroom.
Adamowski: High stakes state test scores, such as ISAT, should not be the only measure of success for schools, especially because students do not always try their hardest on these tests: there is no accountability for students who do poorly because students do not earn grades for their performance. Rather than rely on statewide tests, students who do not show grade level proficiency in subjects on District standardized tests should not move on to the next grade level in that subject area. District tests have meaning to
students because their grades can be affected by them. It does not make sense to put a student in Grade 7 math if he/she does not show proficiency in Grade 6 math. Passing must be defined as showing proficiency in a specific area. There must be shared accountability and responsibility between all the stakeholders.