Berryessa Union School District Governing Board
Thelma B. Boac
As a former longtime educator, I am committed to providing the best education possible for all children so they can become lifelong learners, reach their highest potential, and become successful 21st century global citizens, while at the same time, advocating for all families to have affordable housing, access to health care and childcare.
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 affecting children and families are affordable housing, access to health care, childcare and safety. We all need to advocate for affordable housing. Many families cannot afford housing and rent is sky high. We need to advocate to control rent especially here in Silicon Valley. We need to have policies that will help economically challenged families with access to health care and mental wellness. These critical resources will help our communities to thrive. A caring community is a successful community.
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?
I would advocate strongly for community schools where school districts can partner with the community agency and companies in Silicon Valley. These community schools would become tutorial centers, healthcare centers, counseling centers, recreation centers where students can learn, thrive, and play. We need to think outside of the box because what we have now at present is not working for all families of color.
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?
It is true that the achievement gap is really an opportunity gap. What we need to understand is that in reality, resources are not getting to those who are really in need. The pandemic revealed to all of us that not everyone had access to the internet. There is a great deal of disparity between those who have and those that have not. These contributed greatly to learning loss. As a member of humanity, we all have a moral obligation that all students have access to resources, access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities.
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?
What we need as a community or a school district is to create an environment where all students and families are welcome, giving them all a sense of belonging, involving them in all school and community activities. We need to empower students of disabilities and their families and provide resources that will give assurance of hope.
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 member of the school board, we need to continue the resources that are being provided to staff, students, and their families in terms of social emotional learning, mental health, wellness sessions on a weekly basis that are free for everyone. I would advocate that these services continue and think of ways to expand the services to the community.