(Editor’s Note: Each of the six candidates in the race for two seats on the Ohio County Board of Education was asked to reply to five questions concerning the future of Ohio County Schools so that their answers could be published free of charge. The stories will be published based on the order the replies were received from a total of 16 candidates running for Assessor, the Board of Education, County Clerk, and County Sheriff.)
Marlene Midget, Candidate, Ohio County Board of Education
She was raised in East Wheeling, attended Clay School, and graduated from Wheeling High and West Liberty University, and then she began a career with Northern Panhandle Head Start that extended a little more than 30 years.
Marlene Midget retired in July 2015 after serving her final 11 years as the organization’s executive director, and now she believes she can enhance parental engagement in Ohio County Schools because of her experiences in working with parents, staff, and early-child advocates through the five-county area serviced by Northern Panhandle Head Start. Midget believes all children possess the ability to learn, but variables like a caring and quality staff, an engaged community, and involved parents need to be included in the process.
Midget has been married for 42 year to husband, Tim, an artist in the Wheeling area. A resident of the Woodsdale section of Wheeling, she is a mother of two grown children and a grandmother to three. Following her retirement, Midget was honored in 2015 with the YWCA “Tribute to Women” Achievement Award, the “Rosa Parks Award” Freedom Fighter for Justice Award, and the Deborah Doleski Allen “Champion of Children Award.”
She is a current board member for the Ohio County Family Resource Network and is a volunteer at the Laughlin Memorial Chapel.
What are your primary reasons for filing to run for a seat on the Ohio County Board of Education?
To increase parent engagement in OCS. A school system that embraces parent involvement in a systemic and integrated way contributes to the child’s academic success and healthy development.
To increase the mental health services for all children in OCS. The social and emotional development is critical in fostering the well-being of a child. Teachers who understand the meaning of children’s behaviors are able to create a safe, stable, secure environment for all children, especially those who have experienced trauma or toxic stress.
To give back to the community through my life/professional experiences in the Early Childhood field.
What is your opinion of the most recent test scores received by Ohio County’s public school students; how do you believe improved scores can be achieved in the future; and do you feel those scores represent an adequate way to judge a school district’s employees?
Test scores are used to evaluate how well the student has absorbed information about a certain subject, but they don’t necessarily give you a whole picture of a child’s academic success. The test scores are one component of the puzzle in identifying a child’s or curriculum strengths or areas of improvement. Test scores can be improved through preparation by administrators, teachers, children, and parents. I don’t believe test scores are a good measuring stick for identifying competent teachers. Test scores are a necessary “evil” our culture uses as a benchmark for learning and to obtain funding.
How important do you believe the current arts programs are to a child’s education?
Research has shown that when children are given a well-rounded education that includes the arts, they are more successful in life. The arts, as well as athletics, provide children with growth in their social-emotional, cognitive, physical, and self-help skills.
What ideas do you have at this time to increase the amount of parental involvement with the Ohio County public school system?
First, I would review what opportunities there are already in place at OCS for parents and look at reports documenting parent involvement to help decide the next steps. Based on my past experience in this area with some success, I would recommend extensive parent engagement, relationship, and customer service training for all district employees. These trainings will be designed to increase positive relationships between employees and parents, therefore building a support for children’s success.
What should be the top priorities be for the members of the new school board and the new superintendent heading into the 2016-2017 academic year?
Ask the superintendent to assess her strengthens and identify areas of training she would need to be successful in her position.
The new board members would need to re-establish trust with district employees, community, and students.
A priority for the OSC board will be to build trust and respect among the members as well the superintendent.
(Photos provided by the candidate)