We are heading towards a time where conventional things will be done by unconventional means. Some of the things that technological advances will bring in a not so distant future – instead of doctors themselves, guided robots will be able to perform surgeries, while drones delivering packages is already a reality in a limited extent, that will be even more prevalent, and the cars will be truly self-driven. The future holds the promise of disruptive innovation. On one hand, it is heartwarming to see how far we have come, but on the other hand, it gives us chills in comprehending the breathtaking suspense of future adventures. In an effort to harness the future, we need to make sure that our children are prepared for the ever-changing landscape of the 21st century. For this, our schools need to stress on 6C’s:
Of course, the right time to introduce these 6 C’s is NOT when our next generation is already in high school. Instead, we need to inculcate these values at an earlier stage in their K-12 education ensuring that they are ready for these concepts but still have enough time to hone in on them.
I will be a voice to promote stronger industry collaboration and partnership for our students who are in their Junior and Senior years of High School. If they are given an opportunity to do internships during their time in high school, they will have hands-on industry experience. This will be helpful in many ways including building the necessary soft skills to set them up for success in the future.
The students will be in a good position to figure out if they would like to attend a 2 yr or 4 yrs college or trade/vocational school.
If they would like to attend a 2 yr school, early industry exposure will help them to figure out their areas of interest and what they would like to do. Instead, if they choose to go for a 4-year college, the experience will be helpful for them to decide what they would like to major in. For some students, their parents are able to pay for college. For many, however, they will need to own the debt and repay themselves. Having early exposure will, therefore, help them to make smart choices and channel resources properly.
Moreover, having an internship experience will go a long way when students will write their essays for college admissions. It will also help them in obtaining letters of recommendation from industry mentors as a part of the application process. Currently, only a few school districts have this program, and bring it to the EP school district will help our students be ahead of the curve.
Eden Prairie's school district is in a good financial position. While the state mandates for an 8% reserve, we are nearly double that at 15+%. Homeowners and Residents like you and I pay fewer taxes compared to the cities of our size. This clearly reflects that our finances are managed prudently and we need to keep on doing that. We need to jot down our priorities and spend accordingly. While making those spending, we should clearly define the minimum acceptance criteria, what it means by success, and how we are measuring it. If it is not measurable, it does not exist. When young couples and families shop for houses, they shop for the school district first. Suppose we can make our school district, the district of choice by providing great education to the kids and also by keeping taxes low. In that case, Eden Prairie will be attracting even more families to our vibrant community. As more families choose to call Eden Prairie home, our home values will be stable or on an upward tick and it will be a great return on our investment. A strong school district not only provides good education and a solid foundation for our children's future but it also provides a good return on investment for the property owners. This usually also attracts more retail businesses as well as employers to the area, improving the overall economy of the community.
No parents should be worried about the safety of their kids while they are at school. No children should be worried about their safety while they are at school. It’s their time to learn, engage, explore and develop lifelong friendships. Safety should be the least of their concerns.
During my recent visit to the schools, I was pleased with how we have managed the physical safety of our schools so far. However, with the ever-changing nature of the threat, we can’t be sitting idle thinking all is good. My experience with Armed Forces tells me that the security is only solid, when we evaluate it periodically, make the necessary changes be proactive and ready to execute as and when required. I will make sure that I hold the administration accountable for this if elected.
A second and important point, when we talk about safety, we only speak about physical safety. In today’s high-tech world, the puzzle is not complete unless we address the mental safety in schools and the biggest threat to modern-day, data safety.
where they can feel free to bring their authentic selves and express themselves freely without the fear of any retaliation. Any sort of bullying behavior can have a long-lasting impact on children and should be dealt with severely without any tolerance. Moreover, if anyone has to go through any unfortunate traumatic experience, we must make sure they have the support they need to be able to readjust to normal student life.
Every student from 5-18 yrs has a handheld device. It opens a completely new world to them. Those devices have limited financial data, personal data, grades, and other sensitive information. Moreover, the school system has a wide variety of sensitive data, which includes parents’ and educators’ PII (Personally Identifiable Information), financial data, and much more. Those data need to be safeguarded. The board should conduct surveys about the existing cybersecurity infrastructure and an external audit should be conducted to understand the underlying threats. The recommendations should be taken seriously and an implementation plan must be made to protect the data integrity.
I will be a resource on the board to have those conversations and steer us in a direction where we are taking the cyber threat seriously, being proactive, and working towards a safer environment.