Hello readers, my name is Paige Turoski and I am running for the Great Falls School Board.
I first moved to Great Falls in 2013 to finish my undergraduate degree at the University of Great Falls where I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics.
I met my husband while in school, we married and now have two wonderful boys, Anthony (6) and Killian (3). I am currently a stay-at-home-mom, my hobbies include trips to the range to exercise my second amendment rights, as well as fixing up the old house we call home. As a family, we love heading out to the creek over the summer with our 5 year-old pitbull, Juliette. We also love our church, Saint Mark the Evangelist Orthodox Christian Mission.
I am running for the school board because there is a lack of sensible and responsible representation on the current board, something felt by parents all over the Great Falls area. I am prepared to put differences aside and work with parents, teachers, and administrators to focus on the education of our children.
One of the biggest challenges facing our district is the failing proficiency rates of our students. Our high schools boast 80% graduation rates, however they rank in the bottom 50% of all high schools in the state of Montana. This is, in part, due to the fact that less than half of the students are at the right grade level for reading, writing, and math. Basic education for our children must come first, and it will take a combined effort between the board, parents, teachers, and administrators to both address these problems as well as work towards a solution.
One of the best ways I can think to do this is to put political differences aside and keep the focus on what is best for the children’s education. Which brings me to the second issue I see facing the district, letting politics distract from the education of the students in the district.
A good example is the debate over the mask mandate. There is no denying that masking and mask mandates became a highly political topic, very quickly. Too much time was spent debating something that should have been a decision between students and their parents. Masking should have been optional from the start. Our students should never have been denied access to an education just because they did not want to wear a face covering. Nor should students have been treated as differently, or less than, for choosing to exercise their bodily autonomy.
With proficiency rates as low as ours, that time and effort would have been better spent discussing how to educate our children in the basics, reading, writing, and math instead of a useless political distraction. A strong school district is a valuable asset to any community. Not only will the students education be a representation of where they came from, but our schools are a representation of our values as a community.