Plan for the Future
I believe an effective School Board Member is forward-thinking and must support and set the direction to plan for the future. These are the initiatives I feel need to be addressed.
Succession Planning and Mentoring
Because of my advocacy, the superintendent has started to embark on a succession and development plan to ensure that key roles will be filled with the most qualified staff. The planning will help to save time and money in the recruitment process, training and provides continuity within the school district. “Growing our own” gives staff a path and opportunity for advancement. If there is a sudden departure, PUSD will have the ability to fill key positions quickly and efficiently.
PUSD has a long list of capital projects that were identified for Measure M. The Measure did not receive enough votes, but the list of projects still exists unfunded. We need to work together to figure out how to fund stadium bleachers, update the sports fields, weight rooms, and build a new Amador gym, a performing arts theater at Foothill, just to name a few.
Student Board Members
I suggested PUSD include students on the board and have an official student board member many years ago. At the time, it was turned down by the other board members and superintendent. After a couple of years and raising the issue again, we appointed student board members that the staff selected. PUSD needs to move to a system where the students choose or elect their own student board member to represent them.
I would like to see a program where our junior student school board members learn about governance and the role. PUSD needs to give our junior board members the support and training to be eligible and considered for an appointment to the California State Board of Education their senior year, appointed by the California State Governor.
Pleasanton Police Department
PUSD has had a long-time partnership with the City and The Police Department. It is time to re-imagine the DARE program and the role of the school resource officers and explore models that may or may not include law enforcement.
Leverage the Current Remote Learning Situation
We have a unique opportunity to learn from the remote learning happening during the pandemic. What works? What doesn’t? What is needed to improve, and move forward, what do our teachers need to be supported so they can thrive, to ensure PUSD has an on-going top-notch virtual academy post-pandemic?
PUSD has many effective programs that need to scale up – more resources and staffing are necessary.
School districts receive limited funds, which in-turn makes starting or expanding programs and services very challenging. PUSD needs to continue to build effective and collaborative community partnerships that can support the initiatives of PUSD.
PUSD teachers and staff need the most up to date tools to support their professional role. PUSD needs to plan to keep our technology plan updated, relevant, and secure, which is not just equipment but sufficient staffing to support the design, maintenance, training, help-desk support, and business continuity. During my tenure, we appointed an excellent technology director that will lead the PUSD well.
Dual Immersion Mandarin School
We know that learning a foreign language can boost academic achievement, enrich a person’s life, provides professional and career advantages, encourages empathy, and makes life more interesting. PUSD needs to provide this opportunity for the PUSD students to become fluent and proficient in Mandarin, and to do this, we need a dual immersion school that starts with kindergarteners. Prior to the pandemic, I had been advocating for a school and had started serious discussions to make this a reality. Currently, I do not believe there is an advocate on the board for this addition.
English is the largest language in the world, but Mandarin is the language with the most native speakers, which surpasses English language speakers. A dual immersion Mandarin school will be a complement to our Spanish dual immersion school and will offer another option for our students.