I grew up in Oakwood, attending Smith Elementary School and graduating from Oakwood High School. My husband (also an Oakwood graduate) and I chose to raise our three children here because we love the schools and community.
We are both actively engaged in our community. I have served on various committees within the MOMs of Oakwood, including the role of co-president. I have also served as a member of the Smith PTO, specifically as a member of the Teacher Appreciation Committee. I am currently a member of the Oakwood Farmers’ Market Board, Citizens for a Better Oakwood, and the Oakwood Inclusion Coalition.
My husband is currently the assistant varsity coach for the Oakwood High School Boys Soccer team and has enjoyed the chance to be a coach with the program for the last five seasons. He serves on the Oakwood Schools Foundation and the city’s Budget Review Committee as well. Our family greatly values our schools and community.
I have always enjoyed working with children, so becoming a teacher was something I always knew I wanted to do. I received a degree in Elementary Education from DePauw University and immediately upon graduation, took my first job teaching 2nd grade in North Carolina. I decided to return to Ohio to attend graduate school at the University of Dayton.
While there, I had the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant at DECA. Following my year at DECA, I taught 3rd grade at Mother Brunner in Trotwood. I also had the opportunity to spend a year teaching the Young 5s class at Top of the Hill Preschool prior to the birth of our third child.
These various teaching experiences have provided me with many valuable insights which I believe will serve me well as a member of the school board. Additionally, as the parent of two children currently in Oakwood schools and one more soon to be, I care very much about helping our schools be the best they can be. My passion for education and serving my community will make me a valuable addition to the Oakwood School Board.
Lauren Kawai’s Platform
One of the main reasons I chose to run for school board is because I want to support our students and teachers and help affect positive changes in our schools. Of particular importance to me are the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The schools have begun to do this work and I look forward to supporting them in this.
Oakwood has a tradition of excellence and I believe the best way to maintain that is to grow, change, and adapt when needed.
I want all students regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or ability to feel safe and welcome in our schools and community.
I believe our students’ success will only increase as a result of feeling a sense of belonging and knowing they can bring their whole selves to school. When they feel this support, they will flourish.
Transparency & Communication
Another thing that is important to me is improving communication and increasing transparency between the school board and parents.
This past year and half has presented many unexpected challenges and I feel that greater communication and transparency will help ease tension when challenges arise.
I have heard from many parents that they have had disappointing experiences with the special education services their children have received and this is something I will work to improve.
Every child should be able to have their needs met right here in our schools.
I will advocate for our students with special needs to receive the services and accommodations they need to be successful and reach their unique potential.
After School Care
As a board member, I look forward to hearing from parents about issues they are facing and helping them to find solutions. One such issue I’m aware of is childcare. South Connection, which many parents rely on, has limited capacity as well as transportation challenges. I will work to find solutions so that parents can have access to before and after care.
As it pertains to the challenges we’ve encountered due to COVID, I believe the school district should have an emergency plan in place for virtual learning if the need arises in the future so that students can transition to at-home learning as seamlessly as possible.
We need to anticipate and prepare for such an event, using the same kind of flexible, creative thinking that our teachers used when COVID began. In order to increase transparency, I believe emergency plans should be shared with the community.
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