I am running for Bellingham School Board because I believe that public education is the gateway to a more just society. It is our duty as adults to provide ALL children the opportunity to pursue a vibrant, productive life and fulfill their aspirations. The way to do that is through publicly-funded, equitable, excellent public schools.
Children should be considered as whole people, and schools should recognize and nurture their individual capabilities and challenges, considering their barriers to learning inside and outside the classroom. All students, including kids with disabilities, children in the foster care system, English Language-Learners, and students whose families have low income should receive tailored instruction and wraparound support services that recognize and nurture their assets and needs. Bellingham School District can leverage resources and achieve long-term results by strategic partnerships with community programs and investing in early childhood education.
Access and Equity: The poverty gap is the gap that exists between students whose families have low income compared to their peers; the gap impacts many things, including graduation rates, college enrollment, student achievement, and participation in arts and athletics. Closing the opportunity gap means ensuring all kids have access to a quality education and a chance to thrive. All students should have a fair chance at success. Our district should continue working to narrow this gap through programs like Project Free Education and universal preschool.
Inclusion and Integration: All students should feel welcomed, celebrated, and supported at school. This means recognizing the diverse backgrounds of our students and best practices for promoting inclusion and integration. We must work on reviewing curricula to enhance its cultural relevancy, correcting the underrepresentation of Latino teachers (Latino students comprise 22% of the student population but only 4% of teachers), and ensuring all students–including those with disabilities–have access to both academic and extracurricular activities.
Supporting Classroom Success: Teachers and staff are the experts on how to serve our students and should be supported in doing the best job they can. We need to work to attract and retain high-quality teachers, address teacher burnout, and provide the funding and flexibility for teachers to implement strategies that respond to their classroom’s unique needs. I support policies that give teachers all they need to be successful, including reduced class sizes and ensuring we are not overly relying on standardized testing.