116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Bridgette Williams Robinson, Kerri Davenport, Carrie Davies and Marcy Roundtree are running for an at-large director seat on the Cedar Rapids Community School Board. ► Get to know the other candidates
Name: Bridgette Williams Robinson
Office sought: Cedar Rapids Community School Board director at-large
Age: 34 (born Sept. 28, 1987)
Occupation: Bridge Under the Bridge
Campaign website: facebook.com/Bridgette-for-School-Board-108883891487019
Have you held office before? No, first run for any official seat
Personal bio: My name is Bridget Williams Robinson I am a wife and the mother of seven awesome kids, six boys and one girl. Our family moved to Cedar Rapids in the winter of 2012 so we have been here nearly nine years. We left the Chicagoland area in search of a warm, welcoming community to raise our children in, and we definitely have found that in Cedar Rapids. Like anything in life nothing is perfect but for every system there's ways to make things better. We have had amazing experiences we have had many great people that we have met. We also have had our fair share of bad experiences where staff and students from schools here in our community have used racial slurs toward myself and my children and these issues are not always addressed and there are a lot of members of our community who are offended and don't know who to turn to and if it even matters to turn to someone. Because they feel that nothing will be done about the situation.
Why are you seeking a seat on the school board?
My reason to run for school board is to try to help find solutions that gives our families a voice and kids support to be successful. There are many families within our community who feel like they are not heard and their voices don't matter. We have a responsibility to our kids to make sure the education of these young people is geared toward each ones different skill sets and learning experience. Our motto is “Every student future ready” — let’s make sure we are allowing our kids the opportunity to be just that. Ready for the future. Many times people don’t realize how hard it maybe for members of our community to have basic needs available to them. Something as simple as food or transportation or communication barriers. There are a lot of types of Equitable and Inclusion benefits that we can provide that goes well beyond race.
How do you rate the district’s current performance? What areas are going well, and what could be improved?
I feel like as a district we need to baseline a standard for our children when it comes to learning and when it comes to the expectations that we set for them. Some schools teach so much different from others and when kids move around from place to place and they go to different schools they are put in classrooms of teachers that they have not learned certain information. We still have children that are being passed along that cannot read and write properly that are in high school today. As a district we need to slow down and give our kids the opportunities and amount of support that they need to be just as successful as their counterparts. We have transitioned and grown to be more accommodating, to be more understanding and I feel like as long as we are continuing to move forward and grow as a district and as a community that there's no reason that we are not going make sure that all of our students are future ready.
I believe with the new implementations that are being formed and the new conversations that are being had, we are off to a great start and I want to be able to be a part of the amazing things that Cedar Rapids school district has to offer.
What are the three largest issues facing the school district and what will you do to address them?
The three main issues we are facing and our district: SROs in our schools, mask mandates, teacher shortage and para wages. We can't solve these issues to please everyone and the concerns of all of the members in our community. So the best way to address these issues is to have a collective conversation, and listen to what our citizens want and make an important decision based on what is best for the kids. There will always be a divided conversation between us as a people but the board members only answer is the well-being and best educational practices for our kids.
What level of local control do you think school boards should have?
I believe that just like any elected official the board members that help make decisions for the school district should have the ability to make informed decisions and work alongside of the deputy superintendent and superintendent. Of course since the decisions may affect the children and families of our community parents and members of our community should be able to speak their suggestions and concerns. And it will be the duty of the elected officials and the superintendents to decide what the best action plan would be for the agenda or the issue that is up for discussion at that time.
What will you do to be responsive to concerns by parents, students and staff? What type of communications should they expect from you?
As a board member I will do my best to communicate with anyone that has any issues or concerns and address them with respect within the guidelines allowed for communication with the members of our community and the parents of our children. There is always a paper trail to make sure that issues are addressed correctly and make sure that they are put in front of the right people that can handle them. So I will work closely with schools and staff and other board members to make sure that issues are being addressed properly and we have taken the steps to properly make these parents feel like they are being heard as well as the CRCSD staff that may have topics which are important.
Should school districts be allowed to enact a mask requirement for students during the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, what type of masking requirement would you want to see in place?
Absolutely. I 100% support the mask mandates for schools. I appreciate that our school board decided to require masks for our children who do not have the opportunity to be vaccinated or had the ability to wear a mask on their own because kids do not always understand. I do of course believe that there are members of the community — kids and adults — who are not able to able to wear masks all day long at school and I do understand that it can become a problem for breathing or medical reasons or the children that are special needs that they are restricting. We should try to put in place a different option for these children and staff. Instead of forcing them out of the schools or making them uncomfortable, we need to give them options. I know things are tough right now and everyone is just trying to do what best for everyone, we need to make sure that they are included in these decisions so they can continue to be successful as well.
If you were required to cut the district's budget, what areas would you look to for savings and why?
Due to the schools running as they are already, I don't know where any budget cuts should be made without speaking directly with the staffs and the principals of different schools to see where they could or would like to see changes made for things that they could use instead of other things. I wouldn’t necessarily change anything if it's not broken. We as a board could speak on different areas that may be able to shift funding from one place to another, but just to jump into things and want to make a bunch of budget cuts without completely understanding how the different schools run and what they need and what they may not need going forward for the next school year would be ill-considered. Taking a look at the budget as a whole would be a fantastic start to decide if maybe things could be altered or shifted to help other facilities or other programs run more efficiently.
Are there curriculum concerns that you have with the district? What are they? What process should the district use to address the concern?
Since there are so many schools within this district, every teacher has the right to teach what they believe their students need to know. That being said, I also do believe that every student should be taught very similar information so that way when they go from building to building — because children do move within the school year or they move and go to different schools throughout the course of their education — that they are not lost. Because they were not taught certain things that other children were taught, because usually within a building all of the teachers have an idea of what the previous teacher has taught the students so they can continue to go from what the previous class has been taught to the students and continue with the learning material and content. In order to make sure that each child is on the same track as the children in different buildings to have curriculum put in place that gives topics and ideas that allow the teachers to teach these things and be able to give the kids instruction in their own ways but all of the children are learning the same information.