Doordan wants to improve community involvement
— Since filing as a candidate for the Cecil County Board of Education, Erin Doordan has learned a lot about how the county school system works.
If elected, she hopes to help other county parents come to that same understanding and learn new ways to be involved in their kids’ education.
“I think that parents and the average citizen in this county doesn’t understand the Common Core, doesn’t understand the curriculum,” Doordan said. “I think that keeping our kids active, involved and wanting to succeed can be a challenge.”
Doordan, a ServiceSource employee consultant, is running against Jim Fazzino and Ron Lobos in the primary for the District 2 seat, which largely covers the northern Elkton area. The top two candidates in the non-partisan April 26 primary will move on to the general election in November.
As a school board member, another one of Doordan’s top priorities would be attracting and retaining quality teachers, both from in and out of the county.
Additionally, Doordan would like CCPS to change its philosophy toward longterm substitutes. As a parent, Doordan said she’s been frustrated when a teacher takes a leave of ab- sence and her son ends up having a different substitute every day. These substitutes often don’t know the students or the curriculum, which sets the whole class back, she said.
To rectify this, Doordan would like to see the system bring in more student teachers from local colleges who could provide some continuity in classrooms when the head teacher can’t be there.
But even when the teacher is there, understanding the Common Core curriculum can be a frustrating experience for parents, said Doordan, who supports Common Core. If elected, Doordan said she’d like to see CCPS hold monthly information sessions to help parents understand what they’re kids are learning.
T h e school experience goes beyond the classroom curriculum though, and Doordan said she would like to see more mentorship programs, extra-curricular activities and community involvement in the schools, especially in ways that help address the county’s drug problem.
“I think we need to find more ways to make that volunteering more easily accessible,” she said, not- ing she’d like to get local businesses involved.
But these types of programs can only do so much when it comes to addressing the complex needs of the county’s students. That’s why the schools need adequate funding to help students get ahead and why Doordan said she was disappointed that County Executive Tari Moore only gave CCPS maintenance of effort funding in her proposed budget.
While maintenance of effort does assure schools a minimum level of funding, Doordan noted that it rarely covers all the system’s needs or helps it get ahead in terms of technology and curriculum changes.
Doordan takes a similar view when it comes to the system’s $ 44 million in deferred maintenance and said the system needs to collaborate with the county on how to address it.
“There’s going to come a point where we’re going to have to address all the maintenance that’s been deferred, probably a lot sooner than we think,” she said.
Doordan is an employee consultant with ServiceSource, a Delaware company that helps individuals with disabilities find jobs. A single mother, she has two sons who attend county schools and has lived in Cecil County off- and- on her whole life.