The need to provide all our youth and families with a quality education emboldens my conviction that students should have access to an education that humanizes them, prepares them for our rapidly evolving world by fostering the tools to innovate in our society and be college and career ready.
Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
I remain committed to the belief that public education is a vehicle to facilitate learning experiences that lead to the disruption of the status quo and our ways of knowing, increased social awareness, and collective social action. Within our reality of financial and social stress, I believe that now more than ever we need to deepen our commitment to advance mental health services, socio-emotional programming and access to school-link wraparound services.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
We need to do a better job of ensuring we are allocating money in accordance to our vision, mission and values and evaluating our spending expenditures to ensure a return on investment. As a school principal, I am dealing first-hand with budget cuts and prioritization in my current school. I have the experience necessary to serve our students and families.
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 public school principal, I see the reality of education impacting our community. I believe in the need to deepen early childhood education and ensure a robust universal pre-kindergarten program for all students. We know that having a strong early childhood education matters and makes all the difference. Research shows that students who have a robust early childhood education and enter kindergarten ready are more likely to meet grade standards by third grade.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
We need to focus on understanding the needs of those we serve to improve inclusion and outcomes for our students with special needs. Part of this work starts with our own self reflection on how we understand notions of normal and disability. We need to do a better job of engaging students and families in conversation to learn from them to design spaces and opportunities for improvement.
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?
As a public school educator, former teacher and current public school principal I work daily to enhance the educational program for our most vulnerable populations. As trustee, I will work to meet the socio-emotional needs of our students. Research shows that our students need social emotional learning in addition to academic skills and knowledge to succeed in their personal life, career and beyond. I will prioritize innovative STEAM programming. Building our students content knowledge, skills and fluency in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math is essential for them to meet the evolving and dynamic demands of our workforce, while engaging students in relevant hands-on-learning to increase overall graduation rates and career readiness.