My focus is on issues which most directly impact learning. What is needed to create/sustain an environment where students are inspired to learn?
1. High quality teachers
Teachers are the critical engine for student outcomes. While academic instruction is their primary focus, their daily activities support students in so many other ways. No other measured aspect of schools is nearly as important in determining student achievement. A study, by economists at Harvard and Columbia universities, suggests that having a very poor teacher has the same effect as a pupil missing 40 percent of the school year. As such, my focus is on:
Recruiting and retaining teachers of color - A recent study — part of a series of working papers published by the National Bureau of Economic Research — shows black students who have just one black teacher in elementary school are 13 percent more likely to enroll in college than their peers who didn't have any black teachers. Students who have two black teachers are 32 percent more likely to go to college. Another study by researchers at American University and UC Davis, shows that having just one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade reduced low-income black boys' probability of dropping out of high school by 39 percent. Increasing our numbers of TOC is critical toward closing gaps for CHCCS students.
Strong teacher support– via policies and practices - communication with teachers and staff to align on what non-instructional work can be minimized to allow teachers to focus on consistent, inclusive rigorous instruction. Strengthen supports in managing discipline and providing emotional and mental health resources. How do we support high quality building leaders who have the vision to support teachers?
2. Focus resources to needs
Strengthening Community Partnerships
In addition to the quality of schools, educational outcomes are affected by family health and community support. Schools have limited resources so strengthening partnerships with community organizations supports family structures and early childhood education.
Accountability – creating tools (such as surveys and scorecard with key progress metrics) to enable community understanding of progress and allow interventions as necessary, how do we know how effective we are?
Early childhood focus - investing in early childhood education makes sense for social and economic reasons alike
3. School facility improvements
The physical and emotional health of students and teachers depend on the quality of the physical location, which makes establishing safe, healthy buildings essential. A growing body of research has found that school facilities can affect teacher recruitment, retention, commitment, and effort. With respect to students, school facilities affect health, behavior, engagement, learning, and growth in achievement. My priorities will be:
Responsible local spending – balance maintenance of “newer” facilities with renovation of older facilities
Partnership with BOCC for next local bond
Advocacy to support statewide bond for schools