Career Technical Education & Vocational Training
We need to embrace the unique skills and talents of every young person and help them down a path that makes more sense for them as individuals. We want our young people to be prepared for happy and successful lives when they graduate, whether their future is an apprenticeship program, a community college or four-year university. We’re often so focused on college prep that we lose sight of career prep. Let’s give our young people a well-rounded education, opportunities to discover the career that’s right for them and then let’s give them the education that will support their chosen career path immediately following their graduation.
SUCCESS STORY: Work Ready Certification is a collaboration between the Office of Education, districts, the Chambers of Commerce and local business leaders that helps students with interview skills and the tools to be prepared for the workforce. Plus, CTE and Work Ready are now in the Juvenile Detention Facility – giving those students a better start to succeed.
Juvenile Justice Education
A mistake made in youth shouldn’t become a life sentence. We need to help kids in the system get off the wrong path and onto the right one. It makes the most sense financially in the short- and long-term as a community – and as human beings. Stories from parole officers abound about lack of follow through on IEPs (Individual Education Plans), allowing these kids to slip through the cracks and into a vicious cycle of lifetime incarceration.
It’s heartbreaking and wrong – we can and must do better. Serving our students well will require coordination and cooperation between all local government agencies – I’ve proven I can work with them over the years, and I’m honored to have bi-partisan support from almost every elected official in this district as well as the support of dozens of those in public safety and classroom teachers, too.
SUCCESS STORY: The innovative program led by the County Office of Education – Evergreen Academy – means those students get a real High School Diploma without the stigma that too often keeps youthful offenders from escaping the cycle.
Fiscal Responsibility & Government Transparency
Special education is close to my heart, and it’s a large part of the reason I ran for this position. My two nieces were in the county special education program until they passed away seven years ago. During that time, I witnessed a lot of good from a great many committed people; but I also saw a one-size-fits-all system that ties the hands of teachers and wastes tremendous amounts of money doing it.
Special education serves a wide spectrum of children with learning and physical disabilities – we need to recognize the challenges and gifts of these exceptional children and their families. Too often, I’ve seen struggling students placed in situations that end in tears and frustration, and the talent and dedication of Special Education teachers wasted. Getting the help a student and family need shouldn’t require extraordinary navigation skills. We need to partner with these families, recognize each child’s unique abilities and provide the special education needed.
SUCCESS STORY: When special education parents reported an ongoing disconnect during student transfers, I fought for and delivered a designated coordinator to ensure schools are prepared to receive students from their first day in the classroom.
Valuing Classroom Teachers
A child is best served when a parent and teacher are able to work together toward the common goal of educating our kids – and we need to allow that to happen. We need to stop tying the hands of teachers in the classroom and allow them to teach to the individual child. We need to give them the ongoing tools and training to teach our students, and we need to recognize that our kids aren’t one-size-fits-all and the education they receive shouldn’t be, either.
SUCCESS STORY: I’m proud of my successful push for direct-to-teacher grants to purchase classroom technology, supplies and experiences for their students. That keeps teachers' from paying out-of-pocket while still getting much needed resources to classrooms.
Oversight is the Public's Business
We have an obligation to the taxpayers to use the money entrusted to schools responsibly. The Board of Education needs to take that charge seriously, and require that every penny spent is well spent. Too often, there’s been an attitude that if we throw money at the problem, we’ll find a solution. I don’t think that’s the answer – we need to take the time to assess the viability of every existing and new program, and weigh whether we’re spending precious tax dollars the right way.
SUCCESS STORY: As a Board Member, I’ve caught budget transfers that didn’t meet Education Code and were done without public review. I’ve called them out and it’s now being done correctly. I’ve called for early review of proposed budgets, so we have time to fully analyze them – and we’re now doing just that.
Boards of Education need a wide slice of the community serving on them to bring diversity of thought and experience to perform the critical oversight role with which they are tasked. I’ve been a small businesswoman, worked with non-profits and local governments, and I’ve spent time in the classroom teaching art appreciation to elementary students. What I’ve brought to the table as a member of the Board of Education is a well-rounded background, new ideas, creativity and a bottom line that says we need to do what’s best for kids – not special interests.
SUCCESS STORY: As a Board Member, I’ve helped change processes to make sure meeting records are correct and accessible, and that business is done in a public way with public access. I called out the failure to account for obsolete technology and equipment, and have led the charge for a partnership with Solano County to recycle or auction it, rather than send it to the landfill.
Restoring the Arts in Schools
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We must bring back art and music programs to our schools – not at the expense of sports or other classroom subjects – but in addition to them. Art and Music have been proven to help kids excel in other subjects and produce more well-rounded students. We need to be introducing students to art and music in school when they are young, and we need to continue to support the skills and gifts of those students who show emerging talent in music and the arts as they get older.
SUCCESS STORY: The Special Education Talent Show serves as a powerful outlet for our exceptional students. From bagpipes and skits to soloists and musical groups, the event builds a unique camaraderie between students, teachers, staff and the community.