The Western Dubuque School Board approved four legislative priorities at its July 12 school board meeting.

The board selected mental health, standards and accountability, school funding policy and teacher leadership and development. Board President Jessica Pape said all four are important.

“We are seeing a larger need for mental health support worldwide, really,” she said. “This is looking at more access for our in-school telehealth services and being able to get the students the services they need.”

Pape said the district hired an additional guidance counselor for the high school to help with mental health.

Pape said standards and accountability focus on the district’s core content and benchmarks. “We want to make sure the standards are rigorous and really align with our 21st century as well.”

Pape said she believes school funding is important every year. “It’s an issue for every school. Even though Western Dubuque is a growing district, this is making sure the reimbursements for special education services are there as well. Those are things we really can’t plan for. It’s based on individual students.”

She said the policy also focuses on the timeliness of funds. “We want legislators to know that the earlier they can lock in whatever funding it is, that helps us when it comes to hiring and planning and everything else that hinges on that.”

Pape said the teacher leadership and development priority stems from the district’s success with teacher leadership. “We have seen it being successful and want to see it continue. Anytime there are mentoring programs, I think that’s a huge way to see success happen. I also think with our changing world it’s important. Last year, our teachers had to learn to teach online very quickly. So the more opportunities we have to really think forward in advance for anything that may come up falls under that too.”

Pape said the four priorities cover multiple areas. “All the priorities we had to select from were important, but we feel these have a trickle-down effect on other areas, so we see a greater impact from these.”