Children are our future, and they deserve the best from us. In education, parents are critical partners in the work that we do. Together, we are working every day to serve our community, and to allow our students to construct any future they can dream.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
1.) Education- We have one of the highest disparities in achievement between our high- and low-income students. I will continue advocating for high expectations for all students, and providing teachers the support they need to get our students there. 2.) Affordability- The cost of living in our community is high. I am supportive of our district's efforts to find innovative ways to increase revenue to provide more to our schools. 3.) Safety- Students are reporting feeling less safe at school and increases in depression, anxiety, and contemplating suicide. I will continue to advocate for mental health resources for our students.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
I am, and always will remain students-first. I will prioritize the wellbeing of our students before anything else, and closely after that ensuring that we have rigorous instruction that is happening. In order to stay fiscally responsible, I will be looking at the long-term impacts of any decision in order to ensure that we are providing the very best possible education that affirms all of our students.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
Since our district is a high school district, this issue is not directly under our control; however I am a big proponent of quality child-care and early education as an elementary school teacher myself. I will work collaboratively with our feeder districts to be pushing towards providing these services for our students. Currently our district is looking for ways to increase revenue, and one of our priorities is to use the opportunity to provide for what the community needs, including using some of our land to develop a high-quality daycare.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I am supporting our district in creating a new strategic plan that will outline the vision and expectations of what special education looks like in our district. As a teacher with students with IEP's in my classroom, I know how important it is to advocate for our children to receive the services they deserve, and to simultaneously hold them to high expectations just like we do for all of our students. I am an advocate for push-in rather than pull-out whenever possible, and am glad to see our district moving in that direction.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
All of my experience as a teacher and as a mentor for new teachers has been at schools in low-income neighborhoods, so I know this struggle first-hand. I am proud to say that our district has greatly increased not only the quality of our food, but participation in the free/reduced lunch program, and that we have cut down costs for many of the after-school activities so that more of our students can join. I will be taking steps to address this issue in all of the decisions that I make.