Pinellas school board candidate: Ramp up career and technical programs
“I feel like the school board is a place where they could use some help promoting what’s right about Pinellas and open up more doors for vocation and technical programs that are so motivational for high school students,” Krassner told The Gradebook. That would provide “balance for all the AP classes and everything else that’s out there.”
Krassner, 58, was the principal at Westgate Elementary for 16 years before retiring last year. She is the daughter of former school board member Lee Benjamin. She has three stepchildren, all in Pinellas County schools, and an adult son who graduated from the IB program at St. Petersburg High. She’s running for the at large, District 2 seat being vacated by Nina Hayden.
“It’s a big district. And I know going from school to school board is a big leap,” she said. “My mother would say I’m living in a Shirley Temple world but I think things can get fixed.”
Among the things she says need fixing: The district’s graduation rate (which has climbed impressively over the past two years, but still stands at 77.2 percent).
Krassner said boosting career and technical programs – and creating more Centers of Excellence – will keep students better engaged. “I would love to see where they are doing some kinds of needs assessments with their families, or surveys to see what the students are really interested in,” she said.
School safety needs fixing too, she said. Along those lines, her campaign Web site says student assignment plans, busing plans and school start times all need to be looked at. She mentioned the recent incident where a St. Pete High student was arrested after bringing a gun to campus. “The last thing you want to know is that your child is in a school with a lockdown,” she said. “I know we do so much to secure our schools, but there’s always more and you have to keep looking for better ways.”
Krassner said she is a big fan of decentralized decision-making, and wants to continue the push to give more control to teachers, parents and administrators. At Westgate, she said, the teachers began using the Destination math program before the district embraced it because their research led them to believe it was the best fit for their students. “It goes back to that one size fits all,” she said. “It doesn’t work.”