Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

Mount Pleasant School District

Melissa Got-Lopez

I am an advocate for students and families. I want to give each of our students an engaging, dynamic and quality education where they can thrive. A quality education is the foundation to future success for our students and I want to ensure this is a priority in our community.

  1. 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?

    In order to provide a quality and safe learning environment for our community during these challenging times, I believe the following are a priority. 1) Access to technology and support - We need to provide dynamic, engaging lessons and ensure that all students have access to the appropriate equipment and support to participate. This requires consistent and frequent monitoring, and intervention must occur early and be addressed in a timely manner. Collaboration between teachers, staff, students, and parents is integral and is required to identify students that are struggling. Staff must also be trained and supported so they are prepared and ready to perform. 2) Equity in the district - Resources and support should be distributed equitably and administrators should include stakeholders from each school to understand their needs. 3) Inclusion - All students and staff should feel safe and welcome in our schools. We need to provide an environment that accepts people as they are. This requires teaching tolerance, training for preconceived bias, and celebrating diversity. We need to approach our emotional, social and educational support of our students based on these inclusion practices and policies.

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    I understand the importance of transparency and oversight regarding budgetary matters and it must include all stakeholders and community voices. Decisions must be made based on current information and must represent our most vulnerable and underserved communities. As Vice Chair of the East Side Union High School District’s Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, I know the questions to ask, and know how to make fiscally responsible decisions while still ensuring equity for all our schools, students and families.

  3. 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?

    Our schools have a responsibility to our families and that includes providing preschool programs and childcare. Communities are stronger when we engage our children in education at an early age and I will partner with the county, city and private organizations to ensure our district can provide affordable quality programs before and after school to serve our working families.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    Our students with special needs and disabilities deserve our support. This entails measuring progress and outcomes to ensure students are learning and developing as needed and ensuring they have the resources and staff they need to succeed. I will look to and collaborate with our educational professionals on how best to serve these students and will prioritize staffing for these students.

  5. 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?

    Our community is racial and economically diverse and our schools have a responsibility to ensure those who are most vulnerable or need help the most are supported. Communication and an invitation to be a part of the solutions is key. We need to actively reach out to and inform our community on available resources. We need to provide resources based on feedback. We need to partner with families on the importance of education, engagement, and participation. If elected I will be an advocate for all of our students and families and I will foster relationships that ensure that each students is given the support they need to be successful.