I believe that every child deserves access to a world-class education, and I am fighting to strengthen our public schools and our community. We must ensure that all children and families have the resources they need to thrive so that students can be successful in the classroom and beyond.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
Children and families need housing and food stability; they need access to medical care and mental health services; and, children need a high-quality education system that serves them from the earliest years of preschool through high school. As a school board member, I will work to expand our early childhood education program, grow our summer food service for students receiving free and reduced lunch, and strengthen our mental health programming in schools. I will fight to ensure each child in our district has excellent instruction in the classroom so that they can reach their potential.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
I believe our school district budget needs to take into account the whole child. I will fight for funding to meet the needs of our students, especially our most vulnerable students. We should make sure our teachers and schools have the resources they need to provide excellent classroom instruction. We should look for revenues to expand our award winning preschool program and our summer food services. We can creatively partner with outside agencies and organizations to give children and families the support they need and make every dollar count.
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?
As a kindergarten teacher, I saw first hand the impact of early childhood education on students’ readiness for school, their social-emotional development, and their long-term academic success. Every child deserves access to a high-quality preschool experience. I will work to expand our existing preschool program and make sure it is affordable for all families. I will make sure we do outreach to families about preschool availability and benefits, and that we strategically locate preschool classrooms in underserved neighborhoods. Investing in early childhood education is fundamental to ensuring all of our students thrive.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
All children in our district deserve a world-class education that prepares them for the future. Students with different abilities should get the support and accommodations they need while also having the opportunity to participate in the classroom and school community. Medically fragile students should have dedicated classroom space rather than being shuffled year-to-year across different school sites. Schools should foster inclusion not only in the services they provide for students with different abilities, but also through ability awareness training and education for teachers, parents, and all students.
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?
Demographics are not destiny. I hold high expectations for all of our students, and I believe schools can serve as institutional resource brokers that connect children and families to the resources they need beyond the classroom walls. We should provide early childhood education, food aid, and health screenings at to meet the needs of students living in underserved neighborhoods. I also support funding school staff dedicated to building relationships with families to better understand their needs and refer them to outside resources. Every family wants the best for their children – we need to make sure all students have the opportunity to thrive.