Pro: "I understand the frustration that Malibu has about being tied to a larger district. Most meetings are in Santa Monica, and few teachers, administrators or Boardmembers live in Malibu.
The goal is to ensure that each district will have the capacity to be able to provide the same breadth and depth of programs for its students as provided now and to have the ability to operate and maintain the school facilities.
We need to have an in-depth discussion prior to moving this forward to the County and State Boards of Education.
Key issues to resolve are continuation of payments of outstanding capital improvement bonds, the continuation of the existing parcel tax, the distribution of SMMUSD assets between the new districts, employee issues, future bonding capacity and above all, the impact on student achievement."
Pro: "My goal is to develop a plan to remove all building materials containing PCBs throughout the district, regardless of the level of PCBs in them.
Per the recommendations of the EPA, the district has inspected and performed best management cleaning practices at Malibu High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary to clean and take wipe and air test samples in classrooms to ascertain their acceptability to house students and teachers. The EPA has preliminarily approved the District’s work to have classrooms that are considered safe for occupancy. Caulking in areas that have tested over the TSCA threshold will be removed before the end of the current school year.
With approval of the Best Management Practices program work performed this summer, the District will monitor the classrooms to ensure continued safety and will develop a similar plan to inspect, clean and test in other buildings in the district built in the period when PCB's were used in building materials."
Con: "The student/teacher ratio impacts the time a teacher has to interact directly with individual students, the structure of the work product the teacher requires of the student and the general classroom working environment.
Unfortunately, in California, which funds education per student 47th in the US, larger class sizes are the norm in order to maintain a broad spectrum of academic opportunities for our students.
Through the Vision for Student Success program, the district is providing trained Instructional Assistants in all elementary classrooms for a few hours per day and Literacy Coaches in all schools providing support for our teachers. Additionally, through Linked Learning our teachers are collaborating to provide more student-focused lessons. The solution to providing smaller class sizes is to increase funding for our schools so that we can maintain our wide spectrum of academic and arts classes while reducing the teacher/student ratio."
Con: "The Board of Education has four key roles: creating a vision that is reflective of the community; hiring, supporting and evaluating a Superintendent who is charged with implementing the vision; creating policy around personnel and curriculum that optimizes student achievement; and passing a fiscally responsible budget that supports excellence in program and attracts and retains high quality personnel.
The Superintendent is responsible for the work of all staff. He/she works with the senior cabinet comprised of the Assistant Superintendents and Executive Directors, and the Principals, to further establish programs and timelines that reflect the Board's direction and the required State and Federal directives.
District personnel need to perform within the policies of the district and any contracts they may be party to. There are protocols to review the work of personnel. The work of the Superintendent is reviewed by the Board."
Con: "The district is developing discipline programs that are more responsive to addressing non-conforming behavior of students. Previously, students were quickly suspended for certain infractions regardless of circumstances. It was hoped that being off campus would provide for reflection and a return to school with a renewed willingness to focus on classwork. However, being away from school is often more harmful than practices that focus on the individual and their ability to accept their behavior and work to modify it. Without proper guidance away from school students, often fall further behind.
Progressive discipline and restorative justice programs allow for the student to remain on campus and work with teachers and counselors to address issues that led to non-conforming behavior.
Certain actions still automatically require suspension and expulsion hearings per the State Ed Code, such as selling drugs on campus and brandishing a weapon."
Pro: "Our district has a centralized fundraising program, in which school sites can raise funds for 'stuff' at any level, but funds for 'staff' and professional development can only be raised by the Education Foundation for use in district-wide programs. This will ensure that all students will receive the same instructional programs at all our schools.
Last year the Education Foundation raised $3.2 million, which was supplemented by $800,000 by the Board of Education, to fund the Vision for Student Success. VSS provides 30 hours per week of arts classes TK through 5th grade, trained Instructional Assistants in all elementary classrooms, Literacy coaches at all schools, increased staff support in our secondary schools for at-risk students, Professional Development for all teachers and funding for site generated Enrichment Programs at every site.
Centralized fundraising has brought our education community closer together through conversations with the Superintendent about what our educational template for all students should include and a commitment to provide parity of program and opportunity for every student."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Our educational program focuses on the whole child, emphasizing physical and social-emotional health. Students learn what constitutes a healthy person and how both good diet and exercise are necessary.
The district provides opportunities at all levels for students to be physically active through structured activities and during recess and after lunch.
Elementary children are taught how to exercise and play games, learning to have fun and to work cooperatively on teams. At the secondary level students need to meet certain goals such as completing a mile walk/run in certain time frames.
After school programs run by the district and the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu provide additional opportunity for physical activities. Both Santa Monica High School and Malibu High School have extensive CIF athletic programs fully supported by the district and parent groups.
The district's Food & Nutrition Services provides balanced and nutritious meals as part of the National Schools Breakfast and Lunch program and the award winning Farmers’ Market Salad Bar Program.
We need to continue to focus on the components of a healthy individual so that students learn to make good choices in their diet and activity selections both in school and at home."
Pro: "Our students need to acquire the skills necessary to be successful and contributing adults in their futures. Being technologically adept will be important to their being able to obtain successful and long-term employment.
The district is finalizing its district-wide technology plan. Funding is available from the ES Bond program to make this a reality over the next few years.
Implementation of the Technology Plan will complete the infrastructure necessary to allow all students to work on hand-held devices simultaneously.
School libraries will be upgraded initially, providing up-to-date technology at all sites. Classroom infrastructure will follow. The plan includes the purchase of devices as appropriate for different age groups and significant training for teachers.
A renewed focus on the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and math and Common Core standards in math and language arts will guide our use of technology."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The district provides basic funds for coaches, equipment and transportation to regularly scheduled events. Significant additional support comes from parent groups and student efforts to purchase uniforms, additional equipment, and for costs to attend additional competitions. This is true for our arts programs as well, where extensive fundraising supplements our classroom programs. It is important to note the collaborative efforts of our community to ensure that all students who are eligible to participate can, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Because of the change in education funding in California after the passage of Proposition 13, California funds education per student 47th in the US. This limits the ability of the district to fully fund activities outside the classroom. Until such time as additional funds are available we will have to rely on our communities to provide significant support for our extracurricular programs."
Pro: "Our schools provide a superior education to their students. All schools have API scores over 800 and several are over 900. We provide arts instruction beginning in T-K with over 40% of students continuing in high school. We have competitive athletic programs at our high schools. More than 400 Advanced Placement students are receiving AP Scholar awards. Our graduation rate is over 90% and our students are sought after by the finest colleges and universities.
The district's teachers and administrators are increasingly committed to working collaboratively to ensure all students’ educational needs are met. They are inspirational leaders for our students.
Under the Superintendent's leadership we are becoming a singular Professional Learning Community whose goal is to focus on providing access and equity for all students and to be responsive to each student so that each student becomes a successful learner with the skills necessary to achieve their own goals."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Although the district provides a broad spectrum of academic opportunity with substantial support resources for students and their families the cohorts of lower socio-economic students and males of color consistently have low academic achievement levels.
The district needs to continue to grow its efforts to provide equitable access and opportunity to all students and to provide the necessary resources each student needs. To that end the Gift Policy encourages the community to work together to raise the financial resources to provide the same programs in all of our schools. This past year $4 million was raised and committed to the Vision for Student Success.
The Vision for Student Success is in its first year of implementation. It funds Trained Instructional Assistants in all elementary classrooms for a few hours per day, Literacy Coaches in all schools to support our teachers, arts instruction in all TK -5 classrooms and professional development programs for all staff. Its success should lead to higher achievement for all students and increased belief in the ability of all students.
Concurrently, the district needs to build on the success of the first ethnic studies course at Samohi, as part of the multi-year Equity and Access plan, providing more opportunities for all students to understand different cultures and to promote diversity and social justice."
As a School Board member since 2007, I have worked diligently to make sure our Santa Monica and Malibu students have continued to achieve at high levels through challenging economic times. Sound financial planning has preserved strong academic and arts programs. My focus will be to ensure that providing equity and access for all of our students remains a key District priority.
I am a locally based Architect specializing in affordable housing and social service agency projects. I have raised three children, all of whom attended Santa Monica public schools.
If re-elected, I will:
Ensure that all students have access to the same programs
Maintain budget stability through the use of prudent financial planning
Finalize and implement a plan for the integration of technology in our classrooms
Engage in research and dialogue regarding forming a separate Malibu school district
Create a secure pathway to 4 year colleges for economically-disadvantaged students
Expand a STEM focus to all our schools
Make the SMMUSD a leader in sustainability and environmental literacy
We are on a path to truly supporting every student every day.