2019 Candidate Statement
My name is Minna Allison and I am seeking a second term as a School Director for the Peters Township School District. I am a licensed attorney, a Peters Township resident since 1999 and have three children with my husband, Andy. Our youngest son, Teddy, is a student at the middle school.
I am proud of the things we have accomplished in my first term on the school board. When I decided to run in 2015, I was prepared with substantive knowledge of school board processes, district issues and a strong desire to positively affect student growth and learning. There has been a collaborative effort amongst the board and administration during my term, and we have achieved positive district wide results. I have diligently served Peters Township as your School Director and am seeking another term to further maintain our low tax rate while sustaining our high academic standards.
As the Education Committee Chairperson of our school board, I have worked with fellow board members, our administration, and faculty in improving and refining our K-12 curriculum. It has been a joy to brain storm ways to increase achievement, to bolster learning strategies and to strengthen our course offerings. During this last term, the Education Committee has : made recommendations to change the calendar so that Prom and Homecoming are not scheduled the same weekend as SATs; increased the number of honors courses approved for entering 9th graders; improved the interventions for our elementary students; altered our special education students' high school transcripts to reflect more details; and, reviewed new courses; curriculum changes and supported character education at all levels. During the last term, we have also seen an improvement in our standardized test scores. (See, our #1 state ranking in PSSA scores and Keystone scores and AP data, http://www.ptsd.k12.pa.us/SchoolPerformance.aspx. and http://www.ptsd.k12.pa.us/Downloads/PTSD Special Attachment - Ed Committee-Data Presentation 2018.pdf). I will continue to ensure that our curriculum is rigorous and meets the needs of all our students.
The high school building project has been a team effort and countless hours have been spent by this board to oversee the design and construction of the facility. We are fortunate to have a strong Finance committee which is led by Tom McMurray and Dr. Hardy. Ron Dunleavy’s expertise as Buildings and Grounds chairperson has been invaluable in all aspects of design and construction. I feel I have given valuable input in this process. As Education Committee Chair, I attended every planning meeting with our teachers. Our board has been thoughtful, detailed, competent, dedicated, and financially prudent. There is much more work to be done, and I would like to continue being part of the process until its completion.
In 2018, I formed the Academic Integrity Committee consisting of high school administrators, faculty, parents, and students to study strategies to decrease cheating and maintain academic honesty. It was a fantastic, eye opening experience as this committee worked together. The year long committee work resulted in an honor code and new written policy. The Academic Integrity Policy was adopted on May 21, 2018. (See, School Board Policy 145) and was implemented in this 2018-2019 school year.
I am not afraid to vote on what I believe to be in the best interests of our students. Months after being sworn in, I was the sole “no” vote on the new teacher contract because I believed we needed the agreed upon 15 extra minutes of instructional time to begin in the next school year instead of year 5 of the contract. I felt that after a lengthy strike, our students deserved that extra time sooner rather than later. I know what our teachers can accomplish with just 15 minutes of instructional time, as evidenced by the decrease in interventions in our elementary schools. Therefore, I believed it was important to promptly implement the additional instructional time that next school year, so I had to vote against it. I will continue to vote my conscience.
I am also Co-Chair of our Naming Rights Committee and have worked closely with our Athletic Director, the Boys Golf Coach, the district Business Manager, and the Township Manager, to create a golf practice area using Hole No. 7 and tee box 8 of the former Rolling Hills Country Club Course. This will benefit our student athletes and the community while preserving the history of the property.
While I remain proud of my accomplishments this far, I have goals yet to attain. I feel our SAT scores are below our students capabilities, and I also believe that, with the completion of the new high school facility we can maintain our low tax rate and still offer increased academic opportunities for our special education and traditional students. I ask for your vote at the Primary Election on May 21st. I promise to continue to serve our students and community with diligence, integrity, and honor.