Alison Crumbley also wants more arts education, in general
As Alison Crumbley begins her third term on the Pasco County School Board, she has identified some key priorities that she wants the district to tackle.
“I would like to see for the entire school district — fine arts, performing arts … humanities, whatever you want to call it, enhanced.
“We had to cut out a lot of that my first year on the board because of that $55 million shortfall. I don’t feel we ever put them back to what they were, plus I don’t feel like they were strong enough in the first place, for me,” Crumbley said.
She’s also pushing for a magnet school for the arts, and she knows the ideal spot.
“We have a River Ridge facility already there. We don’t have to move a wall,” she said.
“It’s time. It’s just time,” Crumbley said.
“I know the parents want it. The kids want it,” she said.
Crumbley said she’s even been approached by potential partners from the community, that have resources, who want to be involved.
“I have that interest. I feel like Pasco County, in general, has lacked in the arts,” Crumbley said.
Students benefits from a strong arts curriculum, Crumbley added.
“It’s about tapping into kids’ creativity,” she said. “It helps them to calm down, think about things in a different way. Life should not just be about the test.”
“Everybody needs the arts,” Crumbley added.
“Whether it’s singing, dancing, performing on a stage in theater — any of it. You’re finding out more about yourself, and you’re finding out more about what you can do,” she said.
The arts can also help students build self-confidence, she said.
The school board member also wants to work on tapping into Pasco County’s wealth of “human capital.”
She wants the district to do a better job of matching up people who are willing to volunteer their expertise, with teachers and other staff members who can benefit.
“Ever since I’ve been on the board, I’ve had people say to me, ‘I want to help with this. I want to help with that.’” Crumbley said.
“Our teachers are overloaded,” the school board member said. “They’re getting more and more work dumped on them. They just do it. Most of them just do it.”
Helping to reduce the burden may be as simple as getting a volunteer to read to students, while a teacher grades papers or completes other work, the school board member said.
“You’ve got retirees from every walk of life that want to help. They know that there’s a lot of need,” Crumbley said.
It also helps children to see that grownups are willing to help, Crumbley added.
Crumbley said she’s been pleased to see the dedication and resourcefulness “of the vast majority of the district’s staff.”
On another front, Crumbley would like to see improvement in the way the district communicates with parents — both in the way it delivers information and also in the way it solicits feedback from parents, she said.
That’s true both at the district level and the school level, too, she said.
“We do have so many good programs in the district now. I just want to be sure that all of the kids and parents are knowledgeable,” she said.
“I just want to be sure that we’re reaching them with all that we have available,” she said.
Making that happen, Crumbley said, may require additional manpower.
Crumbley said she was drawn to serve on the school board because she’s always been interested in children’s issues.
Crumbley was initially elected in 2010, when Kathryn Starkey vacated her school board seat to run for the Florida Legislature.
Crumbley was unopposed when she ran in 2012, and was unopposed when she ran for another term.
“Having raised three kids that came through Pasco County Schools, I just felt like there was some work that could be done. Your community is only as good as your schools,” Crumbley said.
Published November 23, 2016