Collaboration, innovation, and commitment are the components to effectively meeting the needs of our youth and families. As a long standing active community leader, it is my mission to galvanize local non-profits, groups and resources to utilize these keys in order to benefit the amazingly resilient families of our district.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
The toughest challenges are making ends meet financially and finding or maintaining housing. Two, low enrollments in public school systems. Lack of mainstream support for families and students in need. Solutions: 1. Develop/build more housing programs which include rental subsidies and case management 2. Invest in technology, music, arts, and other programs to ensure students receive a well-rounded education that inspires and challenges them to be their best in and out of the classroom. These programs will bring students and families back to the public school system. 3. We need more family based intervention/prevention type support programs in the schools.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
As we review the budget, we will be looking at the efficacy of the programs in place, utilizing data in this decision making process. This may include an audit for evaluating the budget and providing accountability for spending within the school district. In addition, we will be looking to other successful school district’s best practices in order to support creative approaches in the budget development process moving forward. I believe budget modifications should come from the district level down. Putting as much funding resources directly into the classrooms.
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?
We will look to already funded programs and funding sources outside of the school district (Head Start, First Five, 4Cs, Calworks, Santa Clara County Office of Education) or any new programs to collaborate with the school district. I would also considering writing grants for creating new district low cost or no cost in-house specialized programs. These will create jobs as well as programs.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I believe that children have the right to equal access within the classroom and across all learning environments. Reasonable accommodations should be made to ensure students are welcome and embraced despite their circumstances. A variety of environments should be offered to students with special needs or disabilities: including opportunities for main-streaming, or specialized learning environments that specifically support the students’ disposition. Addressing special needs and/or disabilities underlines the importance of taking an integrative, multi-disciplinary team approach. Taking this approach will ensure that students are placed in an environment that is conducive to and nurturing for their own learning pace.
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?
Home life is disconnected from school life. We must provide culturally welcoming campuses, where families and students feel safe and comfortable working with faculty to better their student’s education. Ensure students have access to high-quality early education, after-school enrichment programs and technology. Provide technology and life skill programs to the parents. Provide healthy breakfast, snack and lunch to all– at little to no cost. Listen to our faculty. These educators can give us the direct insight on how to address specific needs within the classroom and to help our students learn. We need mentors that the students can identify with.