Job descriptionSchool boards are the governing bodies of their school districts. Term is three years.
DutiesSets district goals and priorities
Adopts and reviews district policies
Publish annual educational performance report
Hires and evaluates district superintendent
Adopts district budget and monitors district finances
Approves tax rate
Annual salaryUnpaid; reimbursed for official expenses.
MeetingsMonthly board meetings; special meetings called as needed.
ISD contact informationContact Election Administrator
Lisa Benjamin
lbenjami@aisd.net
Polly Walton (incumbent)Website: http://www.pollywalton.com/
Facebook: pollywaltonforaisd
Twitter: pollywaltonfor1
Email: pollywalton.aisd@gmail.com
Phone: 817 261-1729
Sarah McMurroughEmail: sarahforaisd@gmail.com
Watson Robinson, Jr.Email: nordberg90@gmail.com

Recent News Articles

Candidate Q&A

1. WHY ARE YOU THE BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE?
Polly Walton
I have over 40 years of experience with the AISD as a teacher, parent, grandparent, and for the past six years as an AISD Board Trustee. I have acquired detailed knowledge of the issues and challenges facing our district. I work well with my fellow board members and with Supertendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos.
I am running for re-election because we are in a crisis. Our team of seven trustees and superintendent are moving quickly to continually address ever-changing challenges. If COVID continues to decline, we can begin helping students recover from over a year of trauma and disruptions. This will require just as much, if not more, focus, team work, and good decision-making.
My experiences as a teacher and trustee will continue to prove advantageous to future deliberations and decisions.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
2. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT NEEDS OF YOUR DISTRICT AND WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR ADDRESSING THEM?
Polly Walton
The most important issues being worked on by trustees and administration include:
>Securing appropriate funding for our public schools from the Texas Legislature through lobbying efforts.
>Recruiting and retaining the best and brightest teachers for our students by providing competitive salaries.
>Helping students and staff recover from trauma experienced from the COVID Pandemic with help from counseling staff.
>Designing successful programs to help students recover academically from COVID Slide with teacher input.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
3. WHAT POLICIES SHOULD YOUR DISTRICT PURSUE WITH REGARD TO SCHOOL SAFETY?
Polly Walton
Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and community. During the COVID Pandemic we adopted new measures to address this priority, installing enhanced cleaning processes and high-quality air filtration systems in our buildings. Following recommendations of public health professionals, we require social distancing, masks, and handwashing. These measures will be continued.
Our district is fortunate to work together with the Arlington Police Department (APD) to have in place a comprehensive, district-wide security plan. The district and the APD collaborate regularly to assess and update measures to keep our schools safe and secure from many different threats, not just one. Some of these security measures are obvious in our buildings such as armed APD Security Resource Officers (SROs), AISD security guards, security vestibules, and drills. For security reasons, other measures are not advertised. I support all recommendations from this collaboration with the APD.
In the latest security report to the school board, APD stressed one thing that stood out to me. This was the importance of students having a positive relationship with APD, SROs, and district security personnel, as well as others in authority at our campuses. This positive rapport makes it more likely students will report a potential threat in a timely manner. Thus, a dangerous event can be prevented, hopefully before it arrives at school. When students see or hear something that seems like a possible threat, they tell one of the members of the security team or a school employee. This is a much more proactive measure, than reactive. I support further promotion of this proactive measure called “See Something, Say Something”.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
4. HOW SHOULD TECHNOLOGY AND VIRTUAL LEARNING BE UTILIZED POST-PANDEMIC? WHAT LESSONS DID WE LEARN FROM THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO IMPROVE THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM?
Polly Walton
Arlington ISD is exploring using limited virtual instruction in the future with strict guidelines and requirements for students. This limited virtual instruction would be very different from the concurrent instructional model being used now, which blends in person and virtual learning.
However, the district's plans are on hold until decisions are made at the state level. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is waiting on the Texas Legislature to act on this matter. The big question still to be answered is will the state provide funding to school districts for students using limited virtual instruction, or will the district be required to independently fund students using virtual learning. The state's decision and its financial impact on our district will influence how we are able to move forward.
The hypothesis that students learning independently on computers with virtual classes was the future for education, has been proven false during the pandemic. Educators now believe, most students learn better in a classroom with a teacher and classmates. Some students did do very well using virtual learning during the pandemic, and exploring virtual learning in the future for them is worthwhile. Conversely, for most students, being engaged in person with a highly qualified teacher is the better method. During the pandemic, teachers have discerned which technology techniques are the most effective and will continue to use these in classrooms.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
5. WHAT IMPACTS HAS THE PANDEMIC HAD ON STUDENTS, AND WHAT MEASURES SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED TO OFFSET THOSE IMPACTS?
Polly Walton
Helping students with social and emotional trauma experienced during the pandemic is most important. We must first address our students’ primary needs, including helping them work through personal trauma caused by the COVID Pandemic with counselors to help them. This will take time and the assistance of caring adults to accomplish.
When their primary needs are met, then schools can begin helping students close academic gaps. Arlington ISD will begin this recovery for elementary students by offering them counseling and a robust summer school program that will include arts and physical activities as well as classes for reading and math. Summer school classes in math and language arts will also be available for older students. Grade recovery programs to recover credits needed to graduate will also be offered. This is important to getting students who are behind, back on track to graduate with their class.
Hopefully this fall we can safely open our classrooms once again to all students, if COVID is at bay. Most likely, we will still be using some safety protocols to keep our students safe until a vaccine for young children is approved and distributed. Next fall, teachers will assess students’ academic levels. Then strategies will be developed to help students reach their proper achievement levels. It will take time and creative strategies on the part of teachers and students, with support for administrators and parents, to overcome losses from COVID Slide.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
6. THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR HAS BEEN UNIQUE FOR TEACHERS AS WELL AS STUDENTS. WHAT IMPACTS HAS THIS HAD ON TEACHERS AND WHAT MEASURES SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED TO ADDRESS THEM?
Polly Walton
We must address the needs of our teachers and staff. This includes helping them work through personal trauma caused by the COVID Pandemic with counselors. This is important.
I am concerned about teacher burnout. Our Arlington teachers have worked so hard to keep in contact with their students and help them with more than just lessons during the pandemic. I know our teachers have experienced a great deal of job-related stress and are tired. With an expanded summer school program, we will need many of these same teachers to teach summer school.
The Arlington School Board has already implemented several measures to take a bit of stress off teachers. We sought waivers from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) which were granted. One waiver which was granted postponed teacher evaluations for this school year. Another allowed the district to designate one day a month this spring as an asynchronous day. Teachers are using these four days to plan further lessons, catch up on grading papers, etc. On these days, students work on assignments online, but do not have live instruction. Teachers with whom I have spoken, indicate this time is very beneficial, especially to their mental health.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
7. WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIFIC BUDGET PRIORITIES AND HOW WILL YOU BALANCE COMPETING BUDGETARY INTERESTS?
Polly Walton
My experiences, as a teacher for 30 years and as a trustee for the past 6 years, will continue to prove advantageous to deliberations and decisions when working with my fellow board members to balance competing budgetary interests. I understand this process and know how to work to get this done. The Arlington ISD continues to make the right decision financially. Extended hours of careful and thorough deliberations by board and administrative staff have produced continued success.
My specific budget priorities are school safety, employee compensation (which is 88% of our budget), student achievement (including closing students’ gaps caused by the pandemic), continuing to developing quality leaders in administration and on our campuses, parent involvement, and implementing recommendations from our ongoing equity study.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
8. HOW SHOULD THE BOARD ADDRESS DISPARITIES IN ACCESS TO EDUCATION, TECHNOLOGY, AND RESOURCES FOR DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AND PARTICULARLY STUDENTS OF COLOR?
Polly Walton
The Arlington ISD is committed to seeing that all our students have opportunities and access to programs. To extend opportunities to all students, especially low-income students and students of color, the Arlington district has done a number of things. Fees for uniforms and rental fees for musical instruments have been eliminated. This immediately increased the number of students, particularly low-income students, participating in band and orchestra programs. Studies tell us extracurricular programs keep students coming to school and working to keep their grades up so they can participate in these activities.
School buses transport students going for classes at the new Arlington ISD Career Tech Center (CTC). Buses run every 90 minutes between the CTC and all six high schools. Students need not have their own transportation to access dozens of different opportunities at the CTC. AISD school buses get these students back to their home high school campuses to benefit from the teaching of their core subjects like English or algebra in regular academic classes taught by highly effective teachers.
In 2019, Arlington voters approved bonds to fund replacing three elementary schools and a junior high, which were more than 60 years old. These new buildings will soon give all students the same modern educational resources, technologies, and learning facilities.
Our district has taken the next step in addressing disparities. A thorough equity study of all departments and district procedures is currently underway. The results of this study may bring to light needed changes and new ideas. The Arlington ISD Board and administration are dedicated to continuing to address issues of equity.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.
9. ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
Polly Walton
I am running for re-election to the Arlington ISD Board of Trustees, Place 1, because we are in a crisis. Our team of seven trustees and superintendent are working quickly to continually address ever-changing challenges. If COVID continues to decline, we can begin helping students recover from over a year of trauma and disruptions. This will require just as much, if not more, focus, team work, and good decision-making.
There is much to be done, and this is not the time to change leadership.
Sarah McMurrough
Watson Robinson, Jr.