The Journal Gazette
Thursday, October 15, 2020 1:00 am

Community involvement

FWCS candidate looks to lead from experience

Jennifer Matthias

It's election time, and your informed vote is important in our local school board races.

Education is the backbone of a thriving community, and electing strong community members to the Board of Trustees is key to the continued strength of our schools.

I am a Fort Wayne Community Schools parent who is seeking your vote for the FWCS District 2 Board of Trustees seat. I am the proud FWCS parent of seventh grade and sophomore students, and two FWCS graduates. For 17 consecutive years, I have had a child attend FWCS.

A few years ago, the FWCS administration proposed a curriculum decision which would have eliminated separate honors classes. When the students heard about this change, the information quickly funneled to their parents. Concerned parents immediately formed a task force. These parents researched, met with school board members and ultimately assembled one of the largest crowds ever to fill the FWCS boardroom.

I am one of these engaged parents who led the task force. In the end, the school board overturned the administration's proposal, and honors classes remain. This decision was important to hundreds of other FWCS parents and me because our children attend FWCS, and we believe honors classes are a huge asset to our school district.

I believe parental engagement is necessary not only for our students' success but also the success of our district. Parents' voices are needed and can make change.

Since the honors decision, I continue to speak up and speak out.

Last November, I assembled parent rallies around Fort Wayne to support our teachers and encourage attendance at the Red for Ed Action Day. On Nov. 12, 2019, I was fortunate to ride in a bus filled with passionate teachers to the Statehouse in Indianapolis. I stood proudly alongside our teachers and thousands of public education supporters. I spent the day speaking to legislators about issues to improve our schools.

Since then, I have continued to attend school board meetings and education forums. I actively volunteer for our schools. I listen, learn and advocate. As a proud FWCS graduate myself, I am running for a seat on the FWCS school board because I want our current and future FWCS students to hold in their hearts the same pride in their elementary and secondary education as I do in mine.

Fort Wayne Community Schools is a community of wonderful families who are your neighbors. FWCS is a community of outstanding teachers, administrators and support staff who are your friends. FWCS is a community of children who deserve a quality, equitable education. Strong schools equal strong communities for all of its members.

FWCS families, like my family and me, experience daily the decisions, policies and vision of our district. It is important for our area school boards to be represented by members of the community who best understand the strengths and weaknesses of our schools. This can be done by electing a current parent voice to the school board.

I am that FWCS parent, and I am confident I am the right choice to fill the Fort Wayne Community Schools District 2 school board seat.

Jennifer Matthias is a District 2 candidate for the Fort Wayne Community Schools board.

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