I have had the privilege to serve on the Kalispell Public Schools’ Board of Trustees for the past six years and to be board chair for the past four. There is an ongoing variety of challenges the board deals with every year, including policy changes, facility upgrades due to aging buildings, system wide student population growth, priority-based budgets, personnel issues, and staff changes.
Nothing could have prepared KPS for the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on everyone at KPS. However, a groundwork of trust was fostered by the board and KPS staff to make the best decisions possible with the changing information we had available. A decision was made months prior to the 2020 school year that KPS needed to prioritize offering in-person classes as well as a remote education option. It was an underlying consensus students learn best when they are physically with their teachers and in their schools. Many at-risk youth receive mental health treatment, meals and support, which are much more limited virtually. Many families depend on KPS to be in session so guardians can go to their work. The decision to prioritize on-site instruction was the easiest part, but how to carry it out was the biggest challenge. Through this year, a high level of trust has been generated throughout KPS that allows students to learn, teachers to teach, and the Board to Trustees to support what is best for children based on sound professional advice.
I urge our community to stay the current course and support incumbents in the Kalispell Public School’s trustee races. Lance Isaak, Sue Corrigan, Rebecca Linden, Amy Waller and Kim Wilson have demonstrated the leadership required to steer KPS through a huge variety of ongoing charges and challenges and prepare our school district for continuing success in the future.
Lance C. Isaak
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