SOMA Justice and PARES

 

1. Do you believe the BOE and school district need to improve their communication and community engagement practices?  Do you believe that it is important for the BOE to be responsive in creating policy that addresses community feedback on urgent issues while also accomplishing long-term district goals?  Yes or No.  Please explain your answer.

Yes, it is crucial that the District improve both its communication and community engagement practices.  The district must also be responsive in creating policy to address community concerns.

This District lacks transparency and effective communication.  The District needs to fill the full time position of Director of Communications.  This should be a priority.  The Director of Communication’s responsibility is to disseminate information to the community in an effective, timely manner.

Public Speaks is an effective platform, however, it may also discourage members of the community from providing feedback, especially if the feedback is not on the agenda and they have to wait until the end of the meeting to speak.  Most importantly, Public Speaks excludes members of the community who are unable to attend meetings.
The District should investigate establishing another platform similar to Let’s Talk that will enable the community to provide feedback and for that feedback to be read and responded to in a timely manner, without responses being “canned” responses.

 

 

2.Do you support the SOMSD 2021 Intentional Integration Plan? (Integration Plan).  Yes or No. Please explain your answer.
 

Yes.  If the Plan were to go forward as presented to the public, it will create an excellent culture and environment in all the schools throughout the District.  This will benefit all children and their families.  The administration must insure that the Board and the community has provided them with the appropriate tools and support to insure that the Plan can be rolled out successfully.

 

 

3. Do you support the Long-Range Facilities Plan?  Yes or No.  Please explain your answer.
 

Yes.  Our facilities over the years have been neglected, not intentionally, but they have been neglected.  We should also bring the maintenance of the District’s facilities in-house rather than out-source this responsibility. 

 

4. Do you believe the District’s access and equity policy introduced in 2016 goes far enough in addressing the issues of inequity in out district (particularly in regards to vulnerable populations, i.e. POC, queer, special needs, immigrant, second-language learners, etc.,)  What are the benefits of the plan?  What are the highest priority areas still needing improvement?  Yes or No.  Please explain your answer.
 

It is my understanding that the Plan was created to address an achievement gap between People of Color in our high school and middle schools, not all the vulnerable populations.  The District has failed to provide up to date information to enable the public to determine if the Plan has met its goals.  Once updated data is disseminated, it can be reviewed and analyzed to determine if the Plan met its original goals.  The Plan might require revision to provide more resources at levels (administration, teachers, students and families) to ensure that the Plan meets its goals.

The original goal of the Plan was to address one particular group – POC.  It does not go far enough to capture the other groups mentioned to insure that they have access to the higher level courses and resources that the district should be providing to these students and their families.

 

5. Do you support a vision for a new approach to professional development including a holistic, culturally-informed, comprehensive, systematic and sustained equitable practices.  Yes or No?  Please clarify your answer.
 

Yes.  The District does not go far enough with regards to professional development in these areas.  Professional development in these areas should not be a one-time proposition.  Rather, it should be incorporated into yearly training.  Once trained, the administration and staff must be held accountable for implementing their training and incorporating this training in lesson planning and in dealing with sensitive issues that arise.  The training should be done for all staff members, not just administrators and teachers.   Until the paraprofessionals and custodial staff are brought back in house, this training should be mandated as part of the contract with the companies the District hires to perform those services. 

 

6.Have you had any training or professional development on addressing racism and inequality in education?  Yes or No.  Please clarify your answer.
 

I have not had any anti-basis training or professional development related to a school setting.  I have had training and attended courses, as well as taught courses regarding these topics in a corporate setting.

 

7.Do you support the placement of any of the following in SOMSD schools:  School Resource Officers, Armed Police Officers or Armed Correctional Officers?  Yes or no.  Please clarify your answer.
 

As a first responder, I feel that in today’s environment placement of appropriate personnel (not necessarily an officer), possibly additional social workers, guidance counselors, is needed in the schools, as well as additional training for our current staff.   The appropriate personnel, however, should blend into the community and not wear uniforms.  None of these individuals should be armed.   We should start with additional and appropriate training for all staff members within the District.

8. Will you commit to creating policy that makes lockdown and red code drills safer and less traumatizing for children in our district, such as the recommendations community members have made to policy 8420?
 

Yes.  I will commit to creating this sort of policy.  We need, however, to review best practices from other school districts` and establish our own policy which meets any unique and special needs that our District may have.

 

9. Are you open to the creation of a small, special/private fund that will ensure that all students get access to the same lunch and forgiveness for small fees that hamper the receipt of a high school diploma?  Yes or no.  Please clarify your answer.

Yes.  All students and families should be able to receive the same services, whether they can afford to pay  or not pay.   No student should be attending school hungry.  Hunger hampers an effective learning environment.

 

10. What are your two top priorities, if elected?
 

One priority would be to increase communication and transparency throughout the entire District.  The second priority would be to ensure that the administration and staff have the appropriate support at the board level as we embark on completing the facilities and integration plan.