FOR BONITA USD SCHOOL BOARD
"I have a long history of advocacy & leadership in education. I want to continue my efforts where it means the most, in my community and in the schools where my own children are learning their values. I believe it is our shared aspiration that our children enjoy & get the most out of their childhood years at school, and are prepared enough to become happy & successful adult members of the community. I have been on the front lines of education for the last 20+ years and hope to add my knowledge and leadership to our school district for the continued success of our children."
Student Mental Wellness
One of my primary areas of passion is our student mental wellness. This initially is what got me passionate to serve on the board. My own daughter suffered from extreme anxiety when entering Kindergarten. It was to the point where she was scared and cried often. After an hour she was sent to the office and continued to cry. Thereafter, she would fall asleep crying and I was called to pick her up. Trying to work through it, we continued, but this became a daily concern, of which the school response was to leave her in the office until she cried herself to sleep. After 2 weeks, I had no choice to pull her out, as no additional help was afforded her. We were able to successfully work with her and she was able to handle her emotions for the 1st grade. I felt that our schools did very well with our typical students, but more extensive work was needed to overcome her social-emotional needs.
Many kids have concerns that are not easily seen and it is my priority to have our students strong academically, physically, and social emotionally. It is my strong belief that a student will learn best when they feel safe and secure.
I am happy to see that during the last school year, Bonita invested in mental health and wellness. The hiring of more counselors, psychologists, and mental health specialists have shown the dedication by the district that I advocate for so strongly. I will continue these efforts so that the health and success of the whole child within our students will enable them to be prepared for life after graduation.
Transparency matters in our public schools. Since our district is funded by us, we should understand and have a say in what happens and what goes on inside the walls of our classes. On the district level, this means the community letting our voices be heard and become a priority in the LCAP to work into the district budget. We should be shared the information of where money is being spent and that it is used where it is needed. California schools in general are underfunded and seem to be one of the first areas cut or on the chopping block. So with the funding we do have, it is important to ensure it goes to the right places.
Students need to feel safe at school. When students feel safe and happy, they are at their best to be successful learners. This was an area previously that showed some concern per data obtained from the district and is an area of focus to improve by the district that I support and promote. Safe schools mean students feeling safe from violence, bullying, harassment, amongst other concerns. School safety is linked to improved student and school outcomes. Both emotional and physical safety in school are related to academic performance. On the same token, students who are victims of physical or emotional harassment or who are involved in the sale or use of illegal substances on school grounds are at risk for poor attendance, course failure and dropout. I support the use of closed campuses, mental health support, anti-bullying programs, kindness incentives, SRO's, and background checks for volunteers. Our student's safety will always be my priority.
Trades & Career Pathways
Not every student chooses or needs to be pushed to always be on a college prep track. A one size fits all education does not serve all of our students the best. One reason why a student's connectedness toward school may be lacking is that they feel that it is not for them. A student who is not either passionate for continuing on to a college or university will likely care less about doing well in school and not be as connected. Most of our graduates start college, but less than 40% earn any type of degree within 6 years. It look snice that our graduates go to college, but if they don't finish, is that true success? If there are other options for their future introduced to them, they may find their niche and passion, get connected to their program and school, start showing more success and excel. I believe a lot of our students can benefit from a variety of trades and career pathways. While we have a couple, we can expand this to fit more students. I have worked in partnerships with trade associations that will provide high school students and recent grads an opportunity for different levels of certification, which can lead to an apprenticeship and a very well paying job/career. I would also love to see partnerships with our community colleges where high school students can takes beginning classes and earn preferential status to apply for those programs as well after graduation, such as nursing or the fire program at Mt. SAC. We can do more for all of our students that don't fit the academic mold to find something they are passionate about and be successful in the long term.
Beyond the Books
Our academic education in Bonita is outstanding. The data from our learning results are significantly above our neighbors and most of California. Our children have a thirst for experience often beyond the books. I believe our children can thrive when these curiosities and interests are met. I fully support having programs available in the music, drama, arts, and sports. Some of our best memories as children have come through these opportunities and our children can find a talent or interest that may develop to be lifelong. While many secondary students work hard and choose college and university, we all know that many students have other interests. Programs and pathways for these interests are great to have in the secondary level to help focus and prepare our children to explore and get ahead in areas of significant interest. Our kids should be enjoying their whole school experience and have some fun.