Recent events in the school district put a spotlight on Title IX – it’s complexities and ramifications for schools and their students. Our schools have a duty to uphold this important federal civil rights law. Parents and students deserve to know how they are protected and how to seek help if they feel their rights have been violated.
Approximately 40% of the Petaluma School District students are non-white. However, this demographic reality is not reflected in the School Board, district, school administrators and staff. Students need to have tangible examples of men and women of color in positions of leadership. #representationmatters
Teacher pay – The ability to attract and retain quality teachers is tied to teacher pay and benefits. Compensation concerns warrant thoughtful consideration. We do not want our district to experience another teacher strike, nor do we want to lose quality teaching staff to other districts. As a school board member, I will be committed to the recruitment and retention of top-notch employees who have the determination and drive to create a positive and effective 21st century learning environment for all of our students.
Professional development – Teachers, counselors and support staff spend their days nurturing our children. Professional development enables them to stay up-to-date in their profession and provides stimulation that bolsters enthusiasm for the work. Their time is valuable and professional development comes out of the district’s budget. Therefore, in order to ensure the expenditure of resources is worthwhile, teachers deserve to give input on what types of professional development they would find beneficial.
Safety – The safety of our children and school staff is of utmost importance. We need to make certain that our facilities are safe for all members of the school community. Safety includes emotional safety, because learning cannot take place when students and staff feel anxious or at-risk. Physical safety remains a concern, and debate rages as to how best secure our campuses. There is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution for these concerns. We need to work as a community to find safety solutions that work for the unique needs of our individual schools and their constituents. This means avoiding fads and unproven methods and instead informing ourselves with careful needs assessment and with the knowledge of evidence-based best practices.
Mental health care and Counseling in schools
As a School Counselor, I’ve seen firsthand the number of children who come to school every day carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Young people are still developing their skills at regulating and managing emotions, and they need adult support to grow in this domain. Research clearly demonstrates that skills of social-emotional competence are central to academic success. Furthermore, even for children with strong social-emotional competence, events such as the recent wildfires may provide setbacks that require support. As a school counselor, I have witnessed the ways the wildfires and their aftermath stressed members of our school community. Students need to know that there are caring adults to support them through life’s challenges and to keep them on track with their academic goals. As a school board member, I would be one of those caring adults.