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

Palo Alto Unified School District

Stacey Ashlund

I will be a champion for high expectations and student success, teacher flexibility, and district accountability, to empower all children to reach their fullest potential through education.

  1. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    1. Stress and access to mental health treatment: I support establishing social-emotional learning as a true priority for the district, and extending it to every aspect of education.
    2. Equity in education: I support a broader definition of student success and pledge to support opportunities for success which will foster a lifelong love of learning in every child.
    3. Teacher and school administrator staffing: Our children are best served when we support teachers and administrators to do their best work. We must provide training, professional development, mentorship, and coverage for training, and work with the city and county to find affordable housing options.

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

    The board must be held accountable to the community and all board members must understand PAUSD's mission: to inspire all students and provide them with the means to achieve their personal best.

    When planning the budget, I will look at each expense to make sure it is critical to our mission.

  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?

    For years PAUSD has offered Young Fives and Preschool Family programs, we also have a 2-year transitional kindergarten program. Ideally we can expand these programs but I will look at creative ways to offer further opportunities for more children, such as summer programs.

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

    I will continue to champion high expectations for all children regardless of ability, and support full inclusion based on individual needs. I have served on the Executive Board of Palo Alto CAC and SELPA1-CAC, which includes Mountain View, Los Altos, and Palo Alto. I will continue to advocate at the state level for hiring and training in support of staff and teachers, within special education and also general education, to provide full inclusion as an option for all 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?

    PAUSD could provide a simple, nutritious breakfast for all children, in addition to the lunch program currently in place. At the preschool and K-3 grades, we must identify ways to bring all children to grade-level mastery, possibly through afterschool programs, summer programs, and noon-time programs. We can increase project-based programs at all ages to appeal to a wider [base].