I am proud of our work serving our diverse school populations. We have seen many successes: we’ve increased the third grade reading level across all demographics, with the highest gains by our African American and Latino students; we’ve reduced suspensions by more than half; we’ve developed a Local Control Accountability Plan that is a recognized statewide model, and we’ve refocused efforts to engage and challenge students at every academic level. With high expectations and accountability, we can achieve even more.
These are my priorities for the next four years...
ACHIEVE EQUITY IN EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS
Berkeley Unified School District has been making real strides in closing the opportunity gap through a combination of academic interventions, coordination of services, intentional staff training, and implementation of research-validated equity strategies for the classroom.
We need to continue to deepen these efforts so that we can close the racial predictability of academic achievement while creating learning environments that challenge all of our students.
ALIGN SPENDING WITH DISTRICT GOALS
We owe it to our children and our community to make sure that we are spending district resources to attain the best outcomes for our students. We have done an excellent job of this, with our credit ratings reaching a new high this year.
I will continue to be a vigilant steward of our resources, making sure to allocate them to those programs and systems that best support our students. We must continue to align our spending strategically with our district goals.
FOSTER POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATES THAT SUPPORT STUDENT SUCCESS
Our students need to feel connected to the adults in their school, and safe expressing themselves for who they are in order to succeed not just in school, but in the life that follows. This is an area where I have taken a lead over the past four years. Positive school climates allow children to learn and give teachers the opportunity to teach.
We will achieve this through the implementation of our new Restorative Practices plan, the expansion of our social emotional learning program, Toolbox, and increased intervention counseling and mental health supports.
STRENGTHEN TIES BETWEEN SCHOOL, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY
Our schools must create opportunities for all parents and caregivers to engage in their children's education. The involvement of parents and caregivers in their children's learning is an essential ingredient to students' success.
Our world-class community resources – higher education, service agencies and business – must be leveraged to enrich our students’ learning.
I am proud of all that we have achieved since I joined the Berkeley School Board four years ago. We have made substantial progress toward our goals, but there is much more we must achieve.