by Holly Penta
I spoke to St. Tammany Parish School Board Representative Candidate Lisa Page on the phone to interview her. This is a summary of our conversation.
I asked what role she thinks art should play in students’ lives. She focused on early education, saying that art plays a critical role in kids’ education, that scientific research shows that early exposure to the arts stimulates the brain. She noted that even though the Singing Bees chorus starts in 2nd grade at Honey Island Elementary and violin lessons start in kindergarten, it’s not enough. She said that although “obviously there can’t be a full marching band in kindergarten” that she’d like to see more instruments offered as well as some plays put on by the little kids. She also stressed that later in life it’s important to make sure students know that there are scholarships for the arts, even if the amounts are lower than those for sports, anything will help.
Mrs. Page thinks that uniforms are good, that they even the playing field for students from different socioeconomic background. It helps to create routine for younger students, making it easier for the parents and the kids in the morning. She says that though there is no evidence that uniforms directly affect the safety of the students, but she does think it helps indirectly. It limits the amount of conflicts amongst the students themselves. For example, if a student wears an inappropriate shirt, it could cause behavioral issues that could have easily been avoided by enforcing a uniform policy.
As far as safety and security goes Mrs. Page says that conversation is key. She thinks that it all starts at home with parents monitoring their children’s social media and texting. As kids grow up everyone makes mistakes. The issues could be stopped there, with discipline from the parents, before schools and law enforcement have to get involved. She noted that all the recent security issues in St. Tammany Parish have been started on social media.
Mrs. Page attended a 4 year university, but also worked at a community college so she understands the benefits of both. She says that increasing students’ knowledge of trade school and apprenticeships in technical trade start with communication. Someone would need to reach out to community colleges and local carpenters and plumbers to see where they got their education. Reporting this information back to the high schools would allow students to see that this is a viable option too.
What excites her the most about the potential of getting elected to STPSB is getting to help and represent her constituents, to make sure they all have the same positive experience with St. Tammany Parish Schools that she had.