Frequently Asked Questions

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Chauna gets asked many of the same questions through email, social media, and other venues. This page is a collection of many of those questions and in the interest of transparency, a place for everyone to see the answers she is providing.

If you would like to listen to Chauna’s interview for the larryinfishers.com podcast, or if you would like to read our transcript, please visit www.holder4hse.com/podcast.

Who is Chauna Holder?

Chauna recently answered this question in a video (below). The transcript was provided on her Facebook page.

What do you mean by “All Kids”?

This question was also answered in a recent video, with the transcript provided on the Facebook page.

In addition, I believe that all adults should be able to access information about school board candidates, which is why my site is embedded with Google Translate, alt text is added to all photos, as well as closed captions and transcripts provided for all videos. Everyone should be able to access the information they need to be included in the school board decision-making process!

Do you believe students should be addressed by their pronouns?

Of course. Please note, I have had my pronouns (she/her/hers) listed on my Facebook, Twitter, and website since the beginning of my campaign. I believe it’s important that everyone gets to be addressed in a way that makes them feel validated and comfortable and respects their gender identity.

What is your position relative to teaching creationism as an alternative, or in addition, to the theory of evolution to students in science classrooms?

My position on teaching creationism or evolution really has no bearing on the educational standards to which teachers are expected to adhere.  As a former educator, it was my responsibility to teach to the standards and not to inject my personal philosophical or religious beliefs, and I expect the same from all educators.

Why is representation so important to you?

Children respond to seeing people like them in the classroom. Diversity in ethnicity and gender, especially at the elementary level, encourages professional diversity and does not relegate the teaching profession to primarily women.  To attract, retain, and promote teachers and administrators of color (TAOC), there must be spaces created and maintained to support the existing TAOC with targeted recruiting efforts.  Employee turnover is costly for any industry and even more so when trying to build community and stability (homeowners, raising families, etc.).

Related Question: What is your commitment and platform to address and improve racial disparities in HSE schools for students and staff?

The short answer to your question is the one that we all so eloquently have avoided, so here it goes. Invite, involve, employ, promote, retain, respect, and value People of Color. Honestly, to continue to attempt to address issues concerning People of Color (POC) without any actual POC in the room where decisions are made is in itself the definition of idiocy. The most recent affront to making meaningful strides in any area of inequity as has been noted above was the resignation of the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer. One person cannot be held responsible for what amounts to a complete cultural shift in an organization, and this situation is no different. Are you more open to following your doctor’s advice when you are TOLD to change behavior, or when your input is requested and considered? Please understand that I am in no way implying that POC are responsible for the existing inequities – I am not victim blaming. What I am saying is that we are beyond, as a society, acting in the best interest of any group without including said group in the process. New answers do not come from old methods.

Why did you decide to run for school board this year?

I am passionate about quality public education for ALL students and believe that my knowledge and experiences as an educator and professional nurse would be beneficial to the HSE School Board. As a native Hoosier that moved to Fishers specifically for the educational opportunities afforded by the district, I am invested in the continued success of the district for ALL students. As a person of color, I am uniquely positioned to
champion equitable, diverse, and inclusive policies for ALL children in the district to effect optimal educational outcomes.

How does your experience as a Nurse influence your style of communication?

What is your educational background and relevant experience?

I possess several degrees and am currently pursuing a terminal degree and nurse practitioner credentials from Marian University (anticipated December 2021). I earned my Bachelor of Liberal Arts from DePauw University (1996), Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (2000), Master of Science in Nursing (2008) and graduate certificate in Public Health (2010) from Indiana University. I have been a professional nurse for over twenty years, serving in a variety of settings including school administration, program creation and development, secondary and adult education, and a variety of leadership roles. I have served on the board of trustees for the Emerging Pearls Foundation, Center of Wellness for Urban Women, and the Warren Adult Education Advisory Board. I am actively engaged in community service through my international sorority where I serve as an officer and
voting delegate.

Other than pandemic issues, what do you perceive to be the biggest challenges facing our school system?

Although we have yet to realize the true impact of COVID-19, the challenges presented in its management and mitigation are showcasing our strengths as a society and highlighting important challenges to be reconciled. I entered nursing trained and prepared to meet the needs of people, no matter what those needs are. Especially during this season, I expect to leverage my training and experiences, so that healthy classrooms meet the needs of all students while protecting the health and wellness of our staff and educators.
In addition to COVID-19, I believe there are opportunities for HSE to improve in several areas including:
i. Increasing the diversity of teachers and administrators to better reflect the populations served by the District
ii. Planning for coordinated school and community growth, remodeling, and reinvestment in physical structures, redistricting to anticipate District needs
iii. Communication and Transparency in Leadership
iv. Security of both physical and virtual environments and the need for contingency planning to mitigate emergency responses v. Fiscal Equity & Responsibility to eliminate differences in amenities and
opportunities between schools in the same district based on the student
population (i.e. free/reduced lunch population, exceptional learners, etc.)

What do you know about current plans to provide an equitable and safe education experience for students in our district?

I am encouraged by the opportunities afforded by some leaders as evidenced by the climate and culture of particular buildings. A challenge for the HSE Board is to replicate and disseminate those ideas that build community while also eliminating systems and structures that impede the pursuit of safe, inclusive learning environments that welcome and support ALL students.

I have heard some rumblings that non-white students are dealing with racist issues in HSE schools/ What do you know about this? What are your feelings about this issue, if true? How can it be corrected?

It’s more than rumblings unfortunately. The students have a social media forum on Instagram called “Black at HSE” where they share how race incidents have occurred and affected them. Anti-racist education and training is an essential first step, but these efforts must become ingrained in our district culture to be effective at combating racism head on. People have to become so intolerant of racism that we no longer stand by when incidents occur or work only to protect those we know personally. We have a lot of work to do.

Do you support the existing non-discrimination board policy?

Absolutely. The school board is tasked with developing policies to impact the quality education provided to ALL students. Our children deserve safe spaces to explore with support while learning about themselves and their peers in preparation for becoming leaders in a diverse, global economy.

Is ANY of your motivation to run for school board based in a “concern” that kids in the school system are being “indoctrinated” and are you interested in pursuing policies to prevent such “indoctrination”?

No. No indoctrination agenda.

How many times have you been in an HSE school as a volunteer? How many times have you volunteered at an event where your child was not participating?

When the kids/teachers need, I’m there. I was HPE PTO VP for 2 years which is basically non-stop planning, and filling in for those that can’t at the last minute, or didn’t make the fundraising goal, or need to share room supplies – whatever it takes so the kids aren’t short changed! We were a YMCA childcare family, so my efforts extended there also. Movie nights, game nights, mystery reader, classroom volunteer, field trip chaperone, school service project – all of the above.

If virtual learning is allowed to continue in 2021, what changes (if any) would you like to see made to the current plan?

We are a virtual family and will likely continue to be virtual in 2021. My issue with the virtual option is planning, or the lack thereof. With each revision of the Operations Plan, the virtual option has become less and less equitable with in-person instruction. Originally, the plan to keep assigned teachers with their entire class, whether virtual or in-person was for continuity. Now, as we approach 50/50 for grades 5-12, it has become more evident that we are asking far too much of teachers to instruct both virtual and in-person students. As we continue, I would like to see dedicated instructors for virtual students. We are short on subs, short on contracted teachers – spread thin all over. Evidence-based limits to the minutes of virtual instruction tailored to the grade level – even high school students cannot benefit from 6-7 hours of zoom per day. Thoughtful coordination of class sizes (not based on arbitrary alphabetic breakdowns) and emphasis on concrete skills that are amenable to virtual instruction by grade level. As a parent and educator, I have relaxed my expectations for this time during COVID-19; triaged my expectations, if you will. First, we must stay well and survive the pandemic. Secondly, we will continue with as much academic rigor as possible – which means I’ve got as much work to do as my child in order to stay afloat. Everyone doesn’t have that ability. Finally, recognize that we will feel the effects of this pandemic for some time after we return to “normal” and our students will all need support – some emotional, some physical, some academic. Most importantly, we will all be in the same boat together because we endured and survived. Academics will recover. Until then, let’s remember to help each other.

Outside of COVID related topics, what in your opinion is the most important issue facing HSE Schools in the next four year term (beginning Jan 2021).

Although we have yet to realize the true impact of COVID-19, the challenges presented in its management and mitigation are showcasing our strengths as a society and highlighting important challenges to be reconciled. I entered nursing trained and prepared to meet the needs of people, no matter what those needs are and how they are presented. Especially during this season, I expect to leverage my training and experiences, so that healthy classrooms and learning environments meet the needs of ALL students while protecting the health and wellness of our staff and educators.
In addition to COVID-19, I believe there are opportunities for HSE to improve in several areas including:
i. Increasing the diversity of teachers and administrators to better reflect the populations served by the District, including recruitment, retention and promotion.
ii. Planning for coordinated school and community growth, remodeling, and reinvestment in physical structures, redistricting to anticipate District needs
iii. Communication and Transparency in Leadership
iv. Security of both physical and virtual environments and the need for contingency planning to mitigate emergency responses
v. Fiscal Equity & Responsibility to eliminate differences in amenities and opportunities between schools in the same district based on the student population (i.e. free/reduced lunch population, exceptional learners, etc.). Referenda must reflect appropriate planning to produce adequate returns on investment. vi. Preparing ALL students to excel in the global society. Preparing students to serve and excel in a global economy requires social and emotional growth and awareness, including understanding privilege, distribution of wealth, and access to resources between and among diverse populations. An “equity perspective” suggests that there is an option to consider equity when it is beneficial to discussion rather than as a standard on which to build relationships. To educate ALL students in this age absent of equity is to do them a great disservice.

If you were personally targeted for your role as a school board member via social media, news outlets, community pages, etc., how would you respond?

You have to pick your battles, online and in person. Not every fight deserves attention, and certainly not online where comments and screenshots live forever and can be manipulated to fit whatever agenda is being pushed. Set the example. “When they go low, we go high.” – Former First Lady Michelle Obama

How do we attract and retain staff talent at HSE?