Morgan Hill Unified School District Governing Board, Trustee Area #3
Terri L. Eves Knudsen
I’m passionate about helping ALL students succeed. As a teacher-librarian for 25 years, I know students come to us with a wide range of educational achievement and also differing needs. We need to identify and provide academic and social-emotional supports for all students, especially LGTBQ, students of color, with disabilities, and low income.
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?
Families are affected by the high cost of living in the bay area. The cost of buying or renting a home, childcare, and transportation have skyrocketed. Families are moving out of our area when given the chance to work remotely. As a school board trustee, I will advocate for exceptional schools with excellent teachers and high quality before and after school programs. We will work with the city of Morgan Hill to ensure affordable housing is available for our teachers and families.
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?
Our district has affordable before and after school care for our students in TK - 8th grade. We are also working on partnerships with local community groups to provide academic and social emotional support programs for students before and after school at additional sites throughout Morgan Hill. I would also work to expand our Transitional Kinder program to all elementary sites.
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?
Our district is actively working on these issues, and I will expand their efforts to invite additional community support programs to our school sites and increase our community engagement. We have a CARE support team to assist with housing, food, and clothing where needed. I will work to identify and provide necessary supports at all of our sites and expand academic before and after school programs to help close the achievement gap. I will advocate for smaller class sizes and supplemental reading intervention programs.
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?
It has been proven that inclusion supports higher expectations and achievement, increased social and behavioral skills and greater access to on-level curriculum. I would start at the board level for a report from our Director of Special Education. I would follow up to determine the status of our teaching staff and their professional development as well as how this department is communicating with our families and providing transparency and support.
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?
Our schools have established wellness centers at each of our sites that are very busy every day supporting our students. I want to advocate for continued funding for additional counselors and support staff where needed, and ensure that funding of the wellness program is sustained. Our teachers are also under a great deal of stress and burnout, and I would like to provide them with mental and health services, administrative support, and professional development to help them provide more social emotional supports in the classroom for our students.