Laguna Beach Unified School District board candidates put their stances on the table at Thursday's forum at Top of the World Elementary. Incumbents pushed consistency and practicality, while newcomers argued they would bring a fresh perspective to the board.
The forum was hosted by the League of Women's Voters and Laguna Beach PTA.
Jan Vickers and William Landsiedel are the incumbents. Vickers, a former educator and artist, has served a combined 22 years on the board, starting in 1981. This would be her fourth term if reelected. Landsiedel, an attorney and college lecturer, has been on the board for four years and served a six-month term in 2006.
Tammy Keces most recently taught first grade at New Horizon Elementary School, a private Islamic school in Irvine. She was a volunteer Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) teacher at Top of the World in 2009, she said.
Dee Namba Perry is a retired teacher who taught at El Morro Elementary and Top of the World. She was also a speech pathologist at Thurston Middle School.
All of the candidates either had children or currently have children in the district.
For more information on the candidates, click here.
Should kindergarten be a full day?
The question was posed whether the candidates supported a half-day kindergarten or if they wanted a transition to a full day.
Both Keces and Perry were in agreement that a full day would allow more instructional time and argued that although the children get tired, they'd get used to it over time.
Perry argued that as a teacher she barely had 45 minutes of instructional time in a half-day schedule after calculating time spent in the library, recess, snack and using computers.
Vickers said that although it seems that instructional time is shortened, other activities kindergartners participate in — such as using computers — is learning and shouldn't be counted as time outside the classroom. Like many student issues there is a "real mix of parent feelings" when it comes to lengthening the day, she said.
Some children are older in kindergarten and some kids are younger and not developmentally ready for that much instructional time, she said. If a change were to happen, it would require collaboration of the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, teachers and the new common core standards.
Landsiedel said he was torn on the issue and thought that children today already have enough pressure academically.
He said that the half day is strenuous on teachers and that it seemed to be enough for the children.
"Right now, I don't see a compelling reason to change," he said.
Incumbents Landsiedel and Vickers touted the success of PLC, or professional learning communities, where teachers gather together and discuss best first instruction — sharing what works best for their students and what to do when a student requires an intervention.