As part of my campaign, I am connecting with people who live and work across the District to learn more about issues that matter to you.
It is clear the School Board is grappling with a number of pressing issues. Here are some of my top priorities:
Shield students from budget cuts.
Based on new funding guidelines created by the state legislature, the District is facing new limits on how different sources of funding can be spent and how much can be collected from the community. The District is now considering budget cuts to address the shortfalls caused by these changes. It will be important for the School Board to ensure that any cuts are weighed carefully to minimize negative impacts to student success.
Address inequities in how students are treated.
All students should be treated equally and have equitable access to District services and opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s clear that students of color in some schools are not receiving the same advice and support as their peers on important topics that enable post-secondary success — such as course taking, how to apply to colleges, and options after graduation. Policies and practices must be put in place to ensure these inequities are addressed, including support and professional development in culturally responsive teaching to all relevant school-based staff and the expectation that all students be given the support they need to succeed.
Protect the instructional process from disruptions in the classroom.
It is important for district-wide processes to be put in place that support teachers in dealing with disruptions in the classroom without taking away from their instructional process, while supporting any students who are in need of attention.
Improve professional development for teachers.
Teachers need focused, consistent, and job-embedded professional development on a regular basis. Not only is this essential when new curriculum materials are introduced and when new technologies are made available to teachers and students, but also to ensure classroom practices are based on the most up-to-date research on effective teaching and learning.
Ensure the district’s shared decision-making process is used consistently.
One hallmark of the Edmonds School District is its “shared decision-making process,” which has been in place for nearly three decades. It sets the expectation that all stakeholders who may be impacted by a decision be included in discussions about that decision. Unfortunately, the process is not being applied consistently today. For example, recent changes were made to before- and after-school child care programs without the input of families currently participating in the programs. As a parent who relied on similar programs when my kids were young, I completely understand the frustrations of families whose options were changed without their input. The District must do better.
My highest priority is and will always be student success.
All school districts face issues that present challenges and opportunities — at different times, under different circumstances, from both internal and external sources. Some issues need district-wide solutions while others will be best addressed in individual schools. It is the role of School Board Directors to ask good questions when issues arise, do their homework, and hold the District accountable for solving each issue in the best way possible for students, families and teachers.