(Fargo, ND) -- Fresh off her endorsement by the Fargo Education Association, former teacher and current state director for Planned Parenthood North Central States Katie Christensen says her focus continues to be on supporting educators and doing what's best for students in the district.
Christensen, who served as a middle school teacher prior to taking her position with Planned Parenthood, says board members need to pay attention to local educators, or there may be some serious consequences.
"ND United had a survey recently, they recently surveyed all the teachers in the state and we see that teachers are leaving the profession," said Chistensen on WDAY Midday. "We see that a lot of teachers stated that they don’t see themselves retiring from the profession, and that is terrifying." Christensen says an exodus of educators may be coming if change isn't made to show them support, both in and out of the classroom.
So, how can school board members and the community show even more support for teachers with hopes to keep them in the district? The answer revolves around one word, trust.
"At the end of the day, we really need to keep in mind that our teachers are those content area experts," said Christensen. "They have the degree in that content area, they have degrees in history they have degrees in literature they have degrees in math. We need to let them be those content area experts."
Along with continuing to target improvements in the education of students, Christensen is also focusing on their mental health, which she says is noticeably in need of dire attention. She cited results from the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that show that students are experiencing increased feelings of sadness and difficulty with concentration, likely stemming from after effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. If elected, Christensen says she would aim to increase student access to services that address these needs, including mental health counselors.
Christensen also added that when it comes to public schools, they are the backbone of communities, like Fargo.
"Our public schools are really this place that is essential for our communities," said Christensen. "It’s where are youth come to grow in and develop and become informed and engaged citizens, and so I think a really strong public school system is really crucial to the overall well-being of our of our communities."
You can find out more about Katie's campaign, as well as your full June 2022 election information by clicking here.