Deliver our students and families the assurance of a budget they can count on.
- Aggressively advocating for sustainable, equitable education funding at the state and local levels. ►
- Using that funding to hire, retain, and evaluate teachers based on their merits and efficacy, not based on budgetary crises. ►
- Keeping cuts away from the classroom, monetizing our evergreen assets to offset deficient state funding. ►
Keep students on-track for academic success and fully prepared for their next steps post-pandemic. Ensure the safety and mental health of our entire learning community as the virus continues to affect California.
-Acting with urgency and transparency to prepare our schools for a safe reopening. ►
- Students first: specializing our approach for different grade levels, different learning styles, and different instructional environments. ►
- Equipping and supporting teachers for a new paradigm. ►
It is vital that we train our teachers to be fluent, efficient, and creative users of technology in this unprecedented moment. Our outgoing School Board has purchased a subscription to a dynamic, flexible, and engaging online learning platform called SchoolsPLP - it is now incumbent upon our incoming Board Members to ensure that school faculty feel supported as they learn to use it. Teachers accustomed to pulling from decades of experience running a classroom are being asked to leap into an entirely new teaching environment this school year, and it will be our job to help them stick the landing. This means allowing them to dictate the direction and nature of professional development sessions. It means offering everything but the kitchen sink in terms of teachable content, from quick one-off activities to detailed, lesson-by-lesson suggestions for full units of instruction. This is a task that SchoolsPLP achieves neatly, but it will be up to us to see that our teachers can access this content in a hassle-free way. More so than ever, we must view ourselves as a support system for our faculty, because our students are depending on us to do it.
- Balancing an expectation for excellence with an understanding of our limitations. ►
As we make decisions to protect the health of our students, parents, and teachers, we know that we will have to make some difficult trade-offs. We want to encourage our students to take laptop learning seriously, making it clear that we expect their engagement and attendance. But we can’t ask them to sit through 7 hours a day of back-to-back Zoom sessions. We need to ask our parents to keep their children at home, making it clear that we’re depending on them to protect the health and safety of our community. But we can’t expect them to have an easy time balancing childcare and a full-time job. We need to help our students find physically-distant ways to connect, socialize, and build community. But we can’t expect them to shoulder the social-emotional burden of this task alone. While we cannot control exactly when the virus will be contained; there are things that we can do to help our community get through this. Our success in this unprecedented time depends on our willingness and ability to adapt. To get through this, it’s going to take constant communication, decision-making that is informed by science and public health, and collaboration between families and faculty - and all of this must be facilitated by the newly elected school board. We must evaluate and reevaluate the learning systems we set up, so we can stay nimble as we encounter challenges that will be as inevitable as they are unforeseeable.
Make the school board accessible to the entire learning community and leave out the old, unproductive politics of MBUSD
- More avenues of communication. ►
It’s hard to tune in to School Board meetings. Board Members use the bureaucratic language of governance because it helps them get things done, but this causes each meeting to stretch for several hours. I don’t think we can expect working families with little time on their hands to parse through this jargon or watch live for hours at a time. If we want to include them in our district’s decision-making processes, we need to make it easy to participate. Parents should be able to access succinct information about our schools, in plain language, at their leisure. We need to go beyond Board Meetings and build out more palatable avenues of communication. I won’t shy away from using social media as a legitimate means of sharing information. I will offer more board workshops and open discussions outside of board meetings, and I’ll establish office hours so people can share their ideas/concerns with me directly. I will continue to produce our campaign’s podcast through my time in office, as it is already bringing community members together to discuss education in an open, public way.
- Using my unique position as an MBUSD alum to mend the relationship between teachers, administration and parents. ►
Let us be blunt. The relationship between teachers and school administration in Manhattan Beach is a broken one. District leadership and many recent School Board members - all of whom work tirelessly for very little money on behalf of our children - are mistrustful of our teachers, viewing union organizing efforts as overreaching and militant. In return, educators at our schools - many of whom are role models to our students - don't trust an administration and School Board that they see as acting without proper separation of powers. This tension, which flares up frequently and sometimes dangerously, is in service of absolutely no one- least of all the students of MBUSD. I believe I am uniquely situated to broker agreements and foster understanding in this conflict because of the simple fact that I haven’t picked a side.
In giving into conflict and bad-faith attacks, we get further from the district that we want to build. One where teachers are given the resources to teach well and build goodwill with parents and administration. One where our children thrive and make memories that will not only shape them into smart and capable students, but well-rounded, happy human beings.
I have worked hard during my campaign to earn the trust of these competing factions in our district; both teachers and board members past and present have endorsed my approach. They know I am the only candidate in this race whose perspective comes from inside the Manhattan Beach classroom, and outside the bubble of Manhattan Beach politics: I do not bring pre-existing judgements or long-held grudges into the equation. Instead, I bring knowledge of what it’s like when your third grade teacher gets up in front of your class, teary-eyed, to explain what a pink slip is. I bring the experience of getting up at 6am every day to teach in New York City classrooms. I bring the understanding of what education in Manhattan Beach is - warts, volleyballs, Kinderthons, and all. Our district desperately needs an objective, good-faith participant in this conflict, and I humbly believe I can fill that role.
- Building out robust, (small-d) democratic, and practical ways for students to participate in our district’s decision-making. ►
The students in our district have really good ideas. They are quicker to respond to urgent issues than we have ever been. They have a mastery of the communications systems, social etiquette, and rapidly changing norms that define today’s world. I think they deserve a seat at the table. Our campaign is working with high school students to build out a proposal for the “Clubs-to-Classroom Pipeline,” providing young people the chance to design their own curricula, implement and improve it in an extra-curricular setting, and - once they’ve gathered a critical mass of community and faculty support - petition the School Board for a new class. This is the direction that education is heading all over the country and we can be a great example of how empowering students actually improves a campus. We’re not giving the kids the keys to the car, just a seat at the table.
- Cultivating a permanent, healthy volunteer infrastructure within our district. ►
The City of Manhattan Beach deems volunteerism “a vital resource” for the functioning of municipal programming. By giving our residents an easy way to give back to their community, our City Council has demonstrably improved the quality of life in our city - not just in the products of the service done by volunteers, but in the fraternity nurtured by working in collaboration with one’s neighbors. I want to work with parents, teachers, students, and the City of Manhattan Beach to cultivate a volunteer infrastructure specifically for our schools that is as sound as the city’s.