Invest in Students
Student needs will be my top priority as a board member. My goal is to do everything possible to provide every student with a world-class education. No child should be allowed to slip through the cracks.
A strong educational system focuses on developing the entire child, not just academics. Equipping our next generation of leaders with both academic and social skills is vital for their success.
This can be achieved by increasing parental involvement in the classroom and making efficient use of instructional time. It’s imperative that we create an environment in which teachers, administrators, staff and parents can work together to ensure the healthy development of our students.
It’s equally important that we ensure the most effective teachers are in the classroom because the relationship between teacher and student is significant and lasting. Choosing to invest in our students sometimes means having tough conversations. Tough or not, we must invest our resources in ways that improve educational outcomes for our children.
Parental Rights and Choice
Parents should be aware of their rights and how to exercise them.
When parents have concerns, they should have confidence that board members are not only listening but are actively working to solve their problems. As your board member, I will encourage the district to do more to inform parents about options available to them.
This includes informing parents of available charter schools. Charter schools are public schools too and they make up a significant portion of our district. The district should also respect the rights of parents who choose to home school or enroll in independent learning programs.
Support our Teachers
We can’t expect to attract quality teachers to our district if we aren’t willing to acknowledge the work teachers do in and out of the classroom.
As your elected board member, it will be my priority to call for an audit of district finances and find ways to cut wasteful spending. The district can do a much better job of identifying waste. The money saved can be invested in the classroom and go towards reducing class size and providing more transportation options for working parents.
Let’s inspire a culture of professionalism around our teaching force that allows us to compete with other school districts. I support policies that will allow teachers enough release time to collaborate with other educators so that they can model high-quality teaching.
Low-performing teachers can be counseled out of the profession with the support of the board and educational leaders. It’s time to get rid of the “management vs. labor” culture.
Board Access and Transparency
Board meetings should take place in the community. I’ll introduce a resolution calling on the board to hold more board meetings in our neighborhoods. There’s no reason a board meeting can’t be held at one of our schools or at a location such as the South Natomas Community Center. This will make it easier for parents to access board members and increase involvement in our schools.
Board meetings should also be livestreamed. Today’s technology can be used effectively to help busy parents keep up with decisions that impact their children. Openness and transparency are the stepping stones to good government.
Students with Disabilities
I’ve heard from parents that Natomas Unified has failed to honor individualized education programs (IEPs) when providing special education to students. As your elected board member, I will support every effort to uphold the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and ensure special education services occur in the least restrictive environment.
The board needs to support all students, including those who have difficulties learning.
As a board member, I’ll actively work with our congressional representatives to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Act. This would go a long way toward improving the programs we have in place to assist our students.
Natomas Unified needs to work on early detection and prevention of social, emotional and behavioral problems. I’ll emphasize the need for specialized programs for at-risk students and programs that teach soft skills such as grit, self-confidence and the ability to deal with stress and failure.
We also need to increase awareness about cyber bullying and how it impacts children. I’ll also stress the need for counselors who can provide students with social and emotional support. I’ll promote and support programs that teach students to support one another; effective peer counseling can be powerful and empowering.
As the district expands and builds new facilities, we need to prioritize safe routes to and from school including walking and biking.
I’m a supporter of community policing practices and will work with local law enforcement to secure our campuses. I’ll work with law enforcement to build positive and non-oppressive relationships with students so they are protected in the case of a major problem.
I do not support arming teachers. Public safety should be left to the professionals.
A school board seat isn’t the place for people to make their political careers. In order to promote diversity of opinion and representation, Natomas Unified School Board needs to adopt term limits.
A board member should not be able to serve more than two 4-year terms. I will call on the board to adopt term limits.