I am running for the Atlanta School Board (Seat 7 At-Large) because I believe that equal access to a high quality public education is a basic human right that all children in Atlanta deserve. I also believe that all children can learn when we have our best teachers and the best resources in the classroom.
As a member of the board, I will focus on what I call the 5 L’s:
LEADERSHIP: Recruit and retain effective, excellence-driven leaders.
As a member of the Board, I will serve as a strong and compassionate leader who controls and manages the Atlanta Public School System with care, thought, and respect. Additionally, I will be a good steward of the nearly $1 billion of resources that APS manages.
I will work with other members of the Board and the Superintendent to recruit, develop, and retain
From the principals, to the teachers, to the administrative professionals – we must ensure that we have the strongest leaders in place. In this regard, quality and effective leadership are key.
LITERACY: Implement strategies proven to increase reading and math literacy.
According to a recent study, only 40% of 3rd graders in metro Atlanta were proficient in reading in 2014-2015 school-year. Research shows that, if children are behind in reading in the third grade, they generally stay behind for the rest of their schooling.
Only 38% of eighth graders are meeting state math standards.
On the school board, I will work within our budget and with the Superintendent to implement strategies known to increase literacy rates, which includes reading and math literacy.
LEARNING: Minimize external barriers to a child’s ability to learn.
There are zip codes in the APS district with incredibly low “child scores,” according to recent data from the United Way of Greater Atlanta. The child score is a composite score of the key indicators that outline important aspects of a child’s ability to succeed.
On the board, I will focus on minimizing external impediments to learning. I know that experiences occurring outside the classroom can have a big impact on a child’s ability to learn inside the classroom. I will work with other Board Members to build community partnerships and offer wraparound services to students and their parents. These will include nutritional, mental health, family support, and other key services.
We cannot consider education in a vacuum. It is much harder for students to learn when they’re hungry, neglected, or hurting. These educational hurdles are a reality and on the board, I will fight to address and find solutions to these problems.
LIFE: Prepare students from cradle to college and career.
All Georgia Public school students participate in the CCRPI: the College and Career Ready Performance Index.
CCRPI is a platform that aims to promote college and career readiness for all GA Public school students, but data shows a large percentage of our students are not “college and career ready,” they are not ready for the demands of modern life.
For every 100 students who enter ninth grade, only 37 enroll in a second year of college or other post-secondary institution (63% do not!). There are so many ways to measure whether students are on track to being “college and career ready.”
On the board, I will rely on proven data-driven strategies, perhaps like Ga State’s Student Success initiative, to address impediments to student learning in real-time.
We want all our kids to have a fair shot at success not only in APS, but in life.
LOVE: Approach students, parents, teachers and schools with love.
It’s clear that we need to rethink how we approach discipline in our schools by adopting new rules and regulations for the governance of students, including suspension, or expulsion of students, in accordance with due process.
In 2016, the US Dept of Ed released statistics about the nation's public schools (2013-2014 school year). One troubling statistic: black students were nearly 4 times more likely to be suspended than white students.
We need to consider how immigration enforcement, the political and cultural climate, criminal injustices, human rights violations, racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, trauma, mental health issues, school-to-prison pipeline, and other issues affect our students’ learning process.
We need to continue putting resources into programs like social and emotional learning, restorative justice, mental health and trauma in schools. It’s important that our teaching leads with a better understanding of our students and compassion for any hurdles that come between them and success.