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My Platform

I’m happy to elaborate on any of these issues. If you see something missing, please contact me.

My values/perspective:

  • Students are the first priority
  • Equity: we’re in this for all kids, especially kids who we haven’t served well historically and who too often have to battle the odds to succeed
    • Children of color
    • Children from low-income families
    • Recent immigrants and refugees
    • Children who qualify for special education services
  • Ownership: these are public schools, we are all co-owners, so we should act accordingly
  • Collaboration: involve people in solving problems and we get better solutions
  • Trust comes from acting in a trustworthy fashion and from communicating clearly

The work we need to do:

  1. We need a cohesive board that models the behaviors we expect from our students, including respectful discourse, and transparent and inclusive communication and decision-making.

  2. We need better management in the central office, especially on the education side. This recent Oregonian article highlights the problem: “[Interim Superintendent Bob] McKean said Vestal fell victim to the district's silo culture that's been laid bare by auditors for years but came into sharper focus because of the obvious role it played in last year's lead in drinking water crisis. Well-meaning departments in central office didn't realize how much they had collectively dumped on Vestal, and the senior director didn't have this full picture either, he said.”

  3. We need an educational vision. Without an educational vision, we devolve into a system that focuses only on test scores and teaching to the test. Let’s support teacher and student creativity. A well-done educational vision process can get the community excited again about our schools. It can be the vehicle for dragging us out of our 19th Century education model into the 21st Century. If Finland can do it, why can’t we?

  4. We need a strategic plan to implement the educational vision. There used to be a PPS webpage that said, “Coming soon in 2012! A Strategic Plan!” We haven’t really had one since the 2000 plan, which was killed a year into its implementation. A strategic plan will get everyone on the same page, with the same priorities, moving in the same direction.

  5. We need to continue to pass construction bonds, including the one on the May ballot. Our buildings are in terrible shape physically, have accessibility and safety issues, and are not designed to support innovative education. Let’s give kids and our community safe, accessible, modern learning environments.

  6. We need to update our plan for complying with the American Disability Act (ADA). Our current plan is sorely out of date. We should set a timeline for bringing all our buildings in compliance within a (roughly) 10-year period. Current estimates are that it would take $100 million dollars. All our buildings should be fully accessible.

  7. We should work with the City of Portland and Portland State to produce a facilities plan that anticipates where population growth will occur within the district in the coming decades and which schools will need added capacity as they are rebuilt.

  8. We should finish the work of the Districtwide Boundary Review Advisory Committee to redraw boundaries on the east side. Open Tubman and Roseway Heights as middle schools as scheduled in September 2018. Continue conversions of K-8s to K-5s/middle schools throughout the east side unless constrained by building size and surrounding schools.

  9. We should finish the work of the Superintendents’ Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer (SACET). There are more issues to be dealt with in our transfer policy.

  10. We should continue to expand career and technical education (CTE), including creating an overall district plan and expanding partnerships with businesses. That also means having enough central office CTE staff to ensure that curriculum and equipment is up to date, develop partnerships, and support a robust internship program. As many students as possible should have some kind of workplace connection through a job shadow, mock interviews, etc.

  11. We should push our equity work into the classroom. Currently there are six teachers on special assignment (TOSAs) working directly with schools on equity and positive school climate. The draft budget calls for cutting three of these positions. This should not happen.

  12. The budget also calls for firing all interpreters and contracting out for interpretation services. This should not happen. Contract interpreters will not have the expertise to deal with complex educational issues, like helping families deal with individual educational plans (IEPs) for students receiving special educational services. Contracting can also be extremely expensive.

  13. PPS is adopting the first phase of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in all schools this year. We should continue to implement that program, which is proven to build positive school climates and improve attendance and student outcomes.

  14. We should integrate instruction for English language learners into the general education classroom—“pushing in” ESL instruction instead of pulling students out of the classroom. Two thirds of ELL instruction in PPS is “pull-out”, so ELL students miss what is going on in the regular classroom and fall further behind. We have known for years that this is not a best practice. We should also expand PISA, the program serving teenagers who recently immigrated to the U.S.

  15. We should integrate special education services into the general education classroom to the optimal degree based on what is best for students receiving those services (a model known as inclusion). We know that special education teaching methods are often helpful for general education students as well. We know that other districts do this successfully. We know some schools and teachers in PPS do this successfully. This should be a district-wide practice.

  16. We should increasing support for talented and gifted students through differentiated instruction and through ability grouping of students in different grades in some subject areas.

  17. The ACCESS program, an alternative school that serves academically gifted students who are struggling in regular classrooms, should be doubled to serve about 600 students. This would likely require two campuses, given our facilities limitations.

  18. Having a high-performing principal in every school should be a priority. PPS needs to re-work how it develops, hires, supports and evaluates principals.

  19. We should develop ethnic studies courses at our high schools.

  20. We should continue to work to ensure all students feel welcome and supported in our schools, regardless of which if any gender(s) they identify with.

  21. We should continue to update emergency plans to ensure students have an alternative home to stay at in the event their parents are detained around immigration law issues.

  22. We should oppose and federal, state or local proposals for channeling public dollars into voucher programs. We should also oppose any weakening of the rights of students covered under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) from receiving appropriate education services.

  23. We should have a policy and practice of timely responding to all information requests from the public including the media. Stonewalling the release of information is morally wrong, politically counterproductive (creating even more distrust) and stupid because the district will have to release the information in the end anyway.

  24. PPS has recently analyzed problems with school buses transporting students to and from school. Too often there aren’t enough drivers, buses are off schedule, etc. The district is moving ahead with an audit that should result in a plan to address many of these issues. Some go well beyond PPS—other districts (including over in Vancouver) are also facing shortages of bus drivers because of low wages. Many of the best drivers are able to get much better paying jobs with Tri-Met (or C-Tran over in Vancouver).

  25. To close the achievement gap, we should (among other things):
    a. Have a great principal in every school.
    b. Thoughtfully implement an inclusive education model for our children receiving special education services.
    c. Expand dual-language immersion (DLI) for our major languages (Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Somali) and shift from pull-out to push-in teaching for our immigrant students who are learning English (ELL/EB).
    d. Ensure that all our curriculum is multicultural and reflects multiple perspectives.
    e. Continue to implement Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) in all of our schools, and to train teachers in trauma informed practices.
    f. Bring equity into the classroom. Don’t cut our equity/climate TOSAs. Work with all staff, parents and students to help all of us to understand and overcome unconscious biases.
    g. Continue the equity funding formula.
    h. Add ethnic studies to our high school curriculum.
    i. Continue to work on diversifying our teaching staff.
    j. Develop some innovative ways to extend the school year for students who need additional instruction. Individual schools have done this on occasion. We should look at shifting more schools to a balanced-calendar school year, which would mean, for example, a longer spring break. During those longer breaks, students who need to catch up could receive targeted tutoring.