Alum Rock Union School District Governing Board
My political philosophy regarding children and families is that they are the foundations of our society. Children are our future and strong, well-supported families, are crucial to a child’s education. Community-based public schools should do what is within their abilities to provide the best education possible for children and families.
In a recent poll by Choose Children 2022 of likely general election voters, more than half of parents with children under age 18 say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how will you make our region a place where all families can thrive?
The top three issues facing our children and families are the high cost of living in Silicon Valley, the issue of learning loss from the Covid pandemic, and providing child care options for working families. Though public schools do not have control over the economy, there are steps I know we can take to address the cost of living such workforce housing and wrap-around social services targeting affordability issues. For learning loss, I have worked to implement a robust summer school program to help children catch up. As for helping with child care options, I’ve worked to open an Early Learning Center to give families quality options for childcare during the workday.
As we have learned over the past three years, without quality, affordable, childcare, parents can’t go to work. What will you do to address challenges accessing childcare and preschool programs in our diverse communities?
As I mentioned above, childcare is a concern for all families in Silicon Valley, especially in Alum Rock. To combat declining enrollment and address the challenge of childcare access in our diverse communities, I have worked with my colleagues to find new opportunities for our district schools through working to provide childcare. I’ve already mentioned that we have opened an Early Learning Center at Cesar Chavez School which would provide such services through a partnership with Kidango. I have also worked to ad that capacity at Cassell School by partnering with San Juan Bautista to offer early child care at that school. I’m proud to say that I am ahead of the curve on this issue.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the opportunity gap that children in low-income families and children of color confront (e.g., lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities). If elected, what will you do to increase equity of opportunity?
To address the issue of the student achievement gap, it is important to understand that is an equity gap. It is necessary to get students ready for the classroom to improve academic performance, and that means working to mitigate the effects of income inequality on disadvantaged students. I have worked to implement free school meals, early childhood care increased after school tutoring programs, increased summer school programs, and pursued grants to provide funds for field trips, all of which serve to ensure access to healthy food, preschool opportunities, tutors, and enrichment activities that under-served families would not be able to afford and thus address the achievement gap.
What steps will you take to support inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities and their families to be fully included in our community?
I am committed to inclusion and ensuring food outcomes for our kids with special needs. I have already committed to supporting push-in mainstreaming of special education services where possible, pull-out supplemental instructional services when needed and special placement should that be the case. It is important to ensure that every one of our kids in our school receive the same opportunities to reach their potential, while making sure that our special education students have the support they need.
There is a mental health crisis among children, youth, and those who care for and educate them. If elected, how will you use the resources of your new role to improve access to mental and behavioral health services?
As a current school board member, I know that there is a mental health crisis among our youth and caregivers, which the pandemic has only made worse. If elected, I would continue to advocate for more resources at the local, state, and federal levels to secure more funding and resources to address mental health. At the school level, I will continue to support initiatives such as social-emotional learning and school-linked services, and the availability of mental health services for school and district staff.