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Hamilton, Turcotte File As Write-In Candidates For School Board Spot

Lawrence Hamilton Jr. and Michael Turcotte are each write-in candidates for the Wolf Point School Board position in District 3. The election is for the final year of the term that Hamilton was elected to in 2021. Hamilton, the chairman of the board, announced his resignation from the position, but he has now declared himself as a write-in candidate. Why did you decide to run for a trustee position? Hamilton: I decided to run for school board to ensure the students have the opportunity to have a quality education. The first two years I been on the board, I believe we are moving in that direction. To move forward we need to make sure our staff are at competitive wages, which has been a issue for a long time.

Turcotte: Community is the primary component of the district’s mission statement. Having grown up in Wolf Point and graduating from Wolf Point High School, I believe it is important to be involved in the community.

Why do you feel you are qualified to serve on the school board?

Hamilton: I believe I am a qualified candidate to serve on the school board because I been serving for two years. Being on the school board you need to make tough decisions regarding the students and what is best for the school.

Turcotte: The experience from working in education for more than 18 years provides education and administrative awareness. I had a former supervisor who stressed not to ask others to do something you haven’t done. Trustees should be required to have minimal educational or administrative experience. Trustees are making decisions on behalf of students, teachers, administrators, and the community. All have long-term influences on our community. Employment experience combined with higher education from the University of Montana and MSU-Northern has provided an adequate understanding of instruction and assessment.

Why do you feel you are a good candidate to serve on Wolf Point’s school board?

Hamilton: I’ve lived in the community all my life and volunteered many hours to the youth. I have a good relationship with the students and the staff of the school district. I ask questions to both staff and students how we can improve the education standards and keep moving forward in a positive direction.

Turcotte: My experience, education and community commitment make me a good candidate for the board.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the Wolf Point School District?

Hamilton: The biggest challenges I believe facing the Wolf Point School District is keeping teachers and staff. We need to keep the wages competitive and the lack of housing.

Turcotte: The biggest challenge is being divided on issues and allowing those divisions impact the overall health of our community.

In which areas do you feel the school district could improve?

Hamilton; The district can improve by getting the curriculum up to standards and more culture for the students. The district can improve when everyone works together and come to an understanding we are here for the students.

Turcotte: The MAP assessments for Southside School indicate that 50% of the third-grade students are not reading proficient and 63% are not math proficient. This is about a 25% change compared to first and second graders. What is happening after second grade for scores to decrease by 25%? The district website does not provide scores for Northside so it is difficult to determine if scores decrease, improve or remain stagnant. Junior high reports indicate a gradual increase for seventh and eighth-grade students which is impressive. We know that middle school and junior high is a critical time for students and indicates their long-term success. At the high school level, attendance rates have a high of about 87% and a low of 74% in the 2016-2019 range. The district needs to improve on providing current statistics. Scores on the website are from 2016-2019 and not all statistics are provided. Community members, teachers, administrators and trustees can collectively make the improvements. I just returned from an education summit in Billings. A superintendent shared the successes of their district and like our district, they are a small rural school. Improvement is possible. What are you the most impressed with regarding the Wolf Point School District?

Hamilton: What I am impressed with regarding the school district is we have come along way within the last year regarding attendance and enrollment. All three schools are doing an impressive job with the current curriculum. I am impressed with our student athletes and coaches. I am impressed with all the academic achievers we have in the school. I am impressed with all the students doing there best to keeping there grades up no matter how hard or easy it is. A big thank you to the staff that been here for the kids. Go Wolves!

Turcotte: We are aware of our community challenges and our local schools continue to provide a healthy atmosphere for our youth. I am impressed with the exhaustive work of teachers. The teacher pay scale is a continuous, nationwide topic in education. They are not compensated enough for the influence they have on students yet they continue in their field. Their dedication is impressive, we don’t acknowledge them enough.

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