With our district facing unprecedented changes the next four years - new funding formulas, new curriculum and new technology - we need a leader on the board who can take us into the future, rather than continuing to live in the past.
Listed below are The News Enterprise questions and my answers.
How would you describe an effective school board member?
An effective school board member must act responsibly within the law and in the best interest of all stake holders to ensure fiscal stability, academic fidelity, effective policy, and community involvement. Trustees must be available to all members of the community – those with and without children – to build a school that graduates responsible young adults who have learned to teach, give back, and contribute. Our board needs to reflect the needs of the community, while maintaining a balance between those needs and those of the student. School board members are called "Trustees" for a reason: they are being "trusted" with the future of the community – our most precious commodity – the children.
What are you top priorities for the next four years?
The academic growth of the district has been stagnant for the past five years, Common Core is not commonplace in all classrooms across all grade levels, writing has been forgotten, and almost 50% of our children are not participating in AP courses, because the achievement gap is insurmountable. Curriculum needs to be a top priority – and a teacher needs to lead the charge.
Alleviating traffic congestion in our neighborhoods needs to be a top priority of the next school board. Alongside easing the traffic woes, the next safety steps need to include training students in Bully Prevention and online e-reputation responsibility, reducing drug and alcohol abuse, and ensuring all students are safe in all dark corners of every campus. Additionally, research shows uniforms to be a great safety measure; therefore, an initiative in dress code reform K-12 needs to be discussed.
I want to see inter-district transfer students, 35% of our district's current enrollment, dramatically decreased immediately, so our own in-district kids are given first, top priority for academics, arts, athletics and activities. I also want reform and transparency in all fundraising. I will also argue it's time all students – disenfranchised, EL, GATE – in LAUSD receive the same opportunities, regardless the school, leadership or classroom teacher.
Do you have any specific changes you¹d like to make in the District?
I am a teacher, so my specialty is culture and curriculum. I will focus on what matters most for our kids: academics. Our district likes to celebrate the successes, but neglects to publicize its failures. My first academic change will be to increase the writing, depth and complexity in all courses, because there is no excuse for having only increased ELA proficiency 5% in the last six years. Additionally, our district needs to train all teachers and departments in the power of vertical alignment to ensure access to and success in AP courses, rather than accepting the fact that we are still graduating 44% of our students without an AP experience – one of the most significant measures of college success. Finally, we need to update our signature practices to embrace Common Core and 21st century education, especially since 28% of our students have not completed A-G college entrance requirements upon graduation, leaving them under-prepared for college and career opportunities.
I have many more ideas for supporting kids, teachers and administrators, all while embracing what makes Los Al great. It's time to shake things up.
In the words of Mark Twain, "Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason."