Friends and neighbors,
This last year has been a tough one for all of us. The pandemic, the social unrest and the disastrous fires in our area. One of these alone would have been difficult, but the combined effects have been devastating. Some of us lost friends and loved ones. Some of us lost our jobs or homes. All of us lost a year and then some. I want to do my part to lift our community up and build it back better than ever. That’s why I’m running for Springfield School Board.
I am a journeyman carpenter by trade and I work in commercial construction. My experience in the industry has given me a lot of opportunities to work on diverse teams with different views, all working toward a collective goal. I will bring that same collaborative attitude to the Springfield School Board. When I’m not building our community, I work as a personal service worker for adults with developmental disabilities with Allies LLC. This work has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people and unique insight into what it takes to provide support for our community members with different abilities. I have two sons in the Springfield school system, my partner is a teacher and my step daughter is a graduate of the life skills program at THS. For these reasons and many more I am directly invested in the success of our schools.
As schools have focused more and more on college prep there has been a large portion of our students that have been left behind. I see a major need for expanding and improving our career and technical training programs. I advocate for creating multiple pathways in order to meet the needs of all of our students. This would include expanding AP classes and availability to better prepare our students on the college prep path. It would also include programs that teach our students how to master basic skills and industry standards that would prepare them for direct entry into the work force. Programs like carpentry, electrical, plumbing and more. These programs could even be pre-apprenticeships that can be bridged directly into an apprenticeship. I recently read that BOLI is looking to expand apprenticeships beyond the building trades to include the medical, technology fields and more. That could provide a wide range of opportunities for students to develop hard skills needed in those fields while still in high school. Supporting our students transition into these careers would mean that they could get good paying jobs, with good benefits, but without the debt that often comes with a college education.
I see these kinds of programs as being an extremely powerful way to improve graduation rates and attendance as well. For those students not on a path to college, high school can sometimes feel overwhelming and even like a waste of their time. Providing engaging learning opportunities that develop high demand workforce skills is a great way to motivate those students. I have talked to several people from my generation that say woodshop or shop class was the only reason they came to school. Learning a valuable trade that can lead to a great paying job is an incentive to stay in school and complete the program. It not only helps the student, but it also provides qualified candidates for our local business owners and helps boost our economy. I believe that bringing trades education to our high schools is a win for all stakeholders involved.
I am a blue collar professional and I am proud of that. I want to bring that same opportunity to the young people in our community and help all of our students find success after high school. That starts with early childhood education, where we must provide the support needed for students of all abilities. I believe that a successful school district is one where every student feels safe and supported every day. That has to be a continuous effort from pre-K through graduation and beyond. I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve as a volunteer on the Springfield School Board and help provide that sustained support for our students and their success.
Anthony Reed is running for Springfield School Board Position 3.