*Questionnaires are completed by the candidates and unedited by KPAE.
Please tell us about yourself. (ie. work experience, life experience, residency, hobbies, associations, etc.)
My name is Francis Braun, I am a retired NY City Police Officer. I have three children ages 16,13,11, who all attend the Kings Park Schoo District. I have a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education and an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. My wife, brother, sister-in-law, and numerous aunts and uncles are all teachers. My aunt Marylou retired from the Kings Park School District after over 30 years. My wife and I have lived in Kings Park for 16 years. I have coached various sports for KPY, Kings Park Soccer, and CYO. My parents also both attended the Kings Park School District. My hobbies at this time are more focused on my kids, golfing, fishing, traveling for tournaments and camping with family and friends. The association that I spend my time supporting is the XXYY Project. My youngest son was diagnosed with XXYY syndrome at 8 months of age. It is a rare genetic disorder where he has both 2 x’s and 2 y’s. He is on the autism spectrum and has other, physical, mental, and social impairments. The doctor who does all the research on this is based in Aurora, Colorado, so we visit her once every 3 years. I became the chairman of the xxyy board with other parents to help other boys and their families. Recently, the organization merged with the AXYS and we are still in the process of finding our place.
Briefly state any experience you bring to your School District Board of Education.
I have not had a lot of experience on an educational board, but I have had years of experience with negotiation, investigation, and listening to people’s complaints. I have a desire to help others and come to a solution that benefits everyone. I am a good communicator and am willing to listen to other’s opinions. I have had to work with both large and small groups of people who do not always see “eye to eye” and feel this will help me as a member of the board of education. I am also willing to learn how to become an effective member of the board and am open to suggestions from others.
As a board of education member, how will you engage the community to make certain that its needs are heard and acted upon?
Since I know that all the community members need to be taken in consideration when decisions are made, I would like to create a website with an email that would keep the community up to date and allow them to respond with their opinions. For the other community members, I would like to establish a phone line that they would use to contact me.
For current BOE members, please provide examples of how you have engaged the community.
Commitment to the promise of public education for all children requires Board of Education members to work outside of and across community boundaries. How will you advocate for our school and students outside of our school district (ie: regional, state and federal government) so that all students’ needs are met?
Since I am retired and have a flexible schedule, I would be willing to travel to conferences, meeting, ect with other NY State members of the education system to keep our district up to date.
For current BOE members, please provide some examples of how you advocated during your term for our schools.
Currently, New York State has issued a 4 year moratorium on using NYS assessments for teacher evaluations, how would you like to see teachers evaluated in our district?
I do not believe that educators should be evaluated on the test taken by students. I feel that the districts themselves should be responsible for coming up with a way of measuring a teacher’s ability. I feel the teachers should have some imput into how they are evaluated. Teachers do a lot more to help students then simply teach them classroom knowledge. I’ve seen my son grow in confidence, self-esteem, socialization skills and have seen his fellow students give him that in return. These traits are not taught in a classroom but in an environment that is safe and nurturing.
How do you define the success of a school district?
Success of a school district is based on how well prepared the students are for life; how to handle chaallenges, how to set goals, how to achieve, how to accept defeat, how to pick themselves up during difficult times, how to approach adversity, and overall, how to become a productive member of society. It takes a community to build a student who is compassionate, accountable, and successful and I feel that the district, with the help of the community has this responsibility.
What educational value does our school district receive from NYS field tests? If none, would you support KPCSD not administering these tests.
I do not know what our district gets out of NYS field tests, but i do know that each student, community, county in New York has different needs and I would not be opposed to our district not administering these tests.
What is your position on the 2% tax cap?
I understand why a 2% cap was created because there are members of the community who are on fixed incomes and cannot afford the increase. however, I feel that there should be a way to exceed the cap if it was absolutely neccessary to ensure the safety and education needs of our students. This excess would have to be explained in detail and then proven once the funds had been spent; complete transparency of the spending that is over 2%.
What is the best way to evaluate teachers and principals?
I don’t know if there is a perfect way to evaluate teachers and pricipals but I think there needs to be a way to look at their past expereince in the district and elsewhere. There should be consideration of the things these teachers do outside the classroom, volunteering their time to work with the students, starting new programs, creating and teaching new classes. All the things that great teachers do that they are never given credit for should be included
Describe your view on the Common Core Learning Standards.
I am not in favor of the common core learning standards. I do understand what was trying to be accomplished but I think the delivery was very poor. If it is to continue, there needs to be significant changes.
Describe your view on the amount of testing in our schools and how those test results are used.
I feel that testing should vary from subject to subject and class to class. I also thing the level of learning and the students ablility to perforn should also be taken into consideration. Some students are brilliant and never get to show their abilities if the evaluation is only on a test. Just like there is differenciation in learning, there should be a differenciation in testing.
Define the role of a parent in a child’s education.
The parent plays a vital role in a child’s education. Parents need to be in communication with their children’s teachers and be willing to reach out to them if their child is struggling. In return, teachers need to be willing to look at the individual child’s needs and be willing to alter their assignments to meet that child’s needs. not every child comes from a supportive home where they can have the help they need to succeed.
Have you ever been a parent/guardian of a child enrolled in the KPCSD? If so, what was your experience?
My experiences have been both good and bad. My youngest child, with special needs was abused physically and mentally by his kindergarten teacher. Due to his lack of verbal skills we did not find out about this for months, when a teacher aide said she had enough and reported it. There have been a couple other incidences that could have been very minor if all involved had simply taken accountablility for their actions. Admitting a mistake by a student, teacher, or administrator is an indication of being human and taking responsibility for ones actions. That is what I hope I can help restore to this district, the knowledge that all individuals within this district display have good intentions and that they will be accountable for their own actions.
How can our school district improve?
As stated above, community members, parents, and staff need to know that their best interests are the utmost priority. Parents need to know that their children are safe and receiving the best education possible. Teachers need to know that they are valued and be given a salary that is significant enought to make them want to invest in the future of our district. If you treat them with respect, give them a decent income, and look out for their best interest, they will want to make a life long career in our district, and make it one that we can all be proud of
Approximately 60% of parents of students in grades 3-8 have refused state testing. What will you do to restore their trust in the system?
I think the only way to restore their trust is to make change and explain that change. Only when parents feel that their child’s education is improving with these implementations will parent agree to it.
Is there additional information you want the voters in your community to know?
I would like to be the board member that you feel comfortable approaching if you have a concern. I want to make the Kings Park School District better for everyone