Taking anti-racist resolution and policies from words to actions
Clearly supporting, as a district, LGBTQIA2s+ rights and supports for trans students
Legislating for increased school funding
Llevar la resolución y las políticas antirracistas de las palabras a los hechos
Apoyar claramente, como distrito, los derechos LGBTQIA2s+ y el apoyo a los estudiantes trans
Legislar para aumentar la financiación escolar
I have had the privilege of working with a diverse array of budgets with my experience as a member of several boards. Oftentimes like this, there are short and long term priorities. 1st thing,we don’t know what our budget really looks like, but in preparing for next year, there are a couple of things that are important to outlook at - we don’t know the full impact of the budget the students that did not attend in district this year will be, and we will need to be thoughtful about what our campuses will need in the fall.
I would also look at what makes the largest impact for the largest number of students. Supports for students and teachers when we return to full in-person learning - make SEL a priority
TAG, requires identification and service, but receives no state or federal funding. Differentiation on all levels should be happening all of the time
In regards to our SSA funds, we should continue to prioritize culturally responsive partners, social emotional learning supports, and mental health supports (including counselors, psychologists, and medical social workers)
Strategic Planning Priorities
In 2017, the board and the district created a strategic plan to lay our goals and actions as a school district. We are coming to the end of a 5-year plan and looking to the next 5 years, with keeping their framework the same, as consistency and continuity is important, what does this framework look like moving forward? :
Student achievement: we need to focus on academic excellence and closing the achievement gap. But what does that mean? It means we all want all of our students to succeed - and that looks different to my kiddo and your kiddo and every other kiddo. To do that, we need to look at enrichment and differentiation opportunities in order to meet those needs and ensure that our students have access to a curriculum that represents multiple perspectives.
Talent: keep and increase the compensation for our staff, need to actively pursue staff that represents our students. We know how valuable it is for students to see themselves positively reflected in positions of leadership. Continue meaningful training on issues such as effective classroom differentiation strategies, bias recognition, and restorative justice
Equity: Moving towards increased action, transparency, and input from our students and families, specifically those that are historically marginalized. Focus on the equity pillars;
Culture/Climate: DO all students feel safe, welcome, and valued? And we know that they don’t and there are a variety of reasons for that - which is why the aforementioned action, transparency, and input from our students and families is so important.
Q: The passage of the Student Success Act displayed the strength of community and political outreach, youth engagement, and listening to constituents as effective tactics for improving our public education system. Following the Student Success Act, please provide one example of what you think could be a next step in continuing to support students. Further, please describe how your specific role would fit into accomplishing this goal.
As with the Student Success Act, we have seen that community and student engagement is critical. We are fortunate to have some very engaged student leaders in our district. As a school board member, I would work to ensure that these voices continue to be amplified. Beyond just engaging them around board meetings, I would love to see the Tigard Tualatin Student Union and affinity groups from all of the schools come together regularly with a “State of the Schools” report from their perspective. No amount of policies and resolutions matter if our students are not feeling, hearing, and seeing those words in action every day. We know that racism exists in ALL schools, we know, especially after last spring, that many female students express the clear existence of rape-culture at the high school level, and sexual assault reporting is at-best a horrifically flawed process.
I would love to have bi-weekly updates from student leaders or liaisons in order to better understand what day-to-day school culture is like - and in addition to the social justice and anti-racist work, I would also like to be sure we have a clear idea of ongoing issues that students that identify as female are facing as well as our LGBTQIA2s+ students.
Q: Our education systems continue to be one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, exacerbating the already existing disparities in education,certain to have long lasting implications. As the pandemic develops with the rollout of vaccines, government assistance, and discussion of reopening schools to be in-person, decision-makers are faced with balancing the interests of stakeholders with varying opinions about how to move forward. Please share how you would approach making difficult decisions while ensuring the best interests of students are prioritized.
As a teacher and parent, I know what a nuanced, personal, and complicated topic this is. The pandemic has underscored just how many services outside of education rest on the shoulders of schools - which many of us have known for a very long time. Ultimately we all want the same thing - kids safely back in school. But I am not a public health professional, nor do I have a crystal ball to see what numbers will be as we approach next fall. As a board, we need to focus on science, and guidelines given by the CDC and ODE. We must also take into serious consideration the concerns from the TTEA, parents, and community partners - this may mean trying something new in order to best meet the needs of our families and most impacted students. It may mean expanding current district online offerings, it may mean a lot of things. At the same time, as schools continue to get back to in-person learning, the board must see to it that schools are provided ample support which includes increased access to mental health professionals, counselors, special education resources, social workers, and culturally-responsive partners. This year has been traumatic for many of our students, families, and teachers. If we want everyone safely back in schools, we need to prioritize mental health and social skills in tandem with academic learning.
Q: TTSD has invested strategically in Early Learning over the several years. Do you believe this is a sound investment and why?
Yes, research continues to show the positive and holistic impacts that early education has on our children. Everything from games that include crawling to help with literacy (the same part of our brain that helps us crawl also helps us learn to read), the introduction of STEAM concepts, building family-school relationships, and beginning to learn, and use, social and emotional skills all work to help children be more confident and successful learners throughout their schooling.
Q: How should the school board go about activating its policies on equity and inclusion?
I appreciate the equity work that has already been done. But in my experience, even the best-intended policies can struggle to get off the page and into people’s lives. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the objectives. The Student Success Act offers us services and support for our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. We have to do all we can to ensure that these policies are reflected in day-to-day interactions, curriculum, textbooks, every part of the student experience. I want to bring communication and transparency to this process so the board and the district don’t get lulled into believing this problem has been solved. We have a long way to go before we achieve the cultural shift that’s needed.
We are fortunate to have some very engaged student leaders in our district. As a school board member, I would work to ensure that their voices continue to be amplified. Beyond just engaging them around board meetings, I would love to see the Tigard Tualatin Student Union and affinity groups from all of the schools come together regularly with a “State of the Schools” report from their perspective. No amount of policies and resolutions matter if our students are not feeling, hearing, and seeing those words in action every day. We know that racism exists in ALL schools, we know, especially after last spring, that many female students express the clear existence of rape-culture at the high school level, and sexual assault reporting is at-best a horrifically flawed process. I am grateful to see that the district has very recently taken action in regards to the latter concern, and am hopeful that it will have a real impact for our students.
Q: Like many school districts everywhere, Tigard Tualatin would benefit from additional state funding. How would you go about persuading lawmakers to give the district the financial resources it needs?
We need to impress on the state government the importance and breadth of the holistic community benefits our schools provide. COVID-19 has revealed a number of vulnerabilities that extend far beyond the classroom. Food and housing insecurity are two of the most obvious areas where schools have demonstrated their importance to the community and its economy.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the money saved by under-funding education will cost us down the road. We need to secure the resources to provide expanded pre-K, and post high school education, by investing in early learning and strengthening our partnerships with Portland Community College or trade schools. The personal and social benefits of early and post-high school education are well documented as effective tools for improving the school-to-prison pipeline.