Seattle School Board Special Meeting District VII Candidate Forum PART 1

Seattle School Board Special Meeting   District VII Candidate Forum PART 1

First please let’s recognize
that we are on Coast Salish land. Also if we could have
a moment of silence for the victims of the recent
domestic terrorist violence. Thank you. This is a board
special meeting. It is a public meeting. It is
being face streamed live. And it’s also being
videoed for Channel 26. We will hear from nine
candidates who’ve applied to serve on the school
board in the seat formerly held by Director Betty Patu. One other candidate Patricia
Cheadle was not able to attend tonight. Additionally two candidates
have asked to withdraw their names
from consideration for the appointment. Thank you very much to the
candidates for putting yourself forward and for
spending the time and to open yourself up to
this extraordinary opportunity. We really appreciate it. The information already
submitted by the candidates is posted on the Seattle Public
Schools Web site on the opening screen
and there are links there to the candidates Web pages. We are trying our
darndest to make this as transparent and open
a process as possibly can be done. Our apologies that we did
not have child care. We’re doing the best
that we can during summer breaks during vacations
and trying to make sure that we have your remaining
six directors onboard to hear from everyone at the same time. Former Director Patu served 10
years as the District 7 school board director until stepping
down from the Board effective July 1. Her long service
to students and families of this district
and particularly in the southeast portion of our
fair city has certainly inspired many and we are excited
to see so many applicants express
interest in serving on this board. We want to thank Rainier Beach
High School for hosting us. We appreciate all
that principal Smith and the school staff
have done in preparation for this event tonight. And thank you to the district
seven students and families. We appreciate the help we’ve
received and the input from community and a special
shout out to SESEC Erin Okuno
the Seattle Council of PTSA who held a forum
last week which was beyond. It was absolutely terrific.
And it helps us make decisions. Thank you as well to our staff
who have been doing well above and beyond duty in particular.
Ellie Wilson Jones. She is amazing. I feel like I need a red
phone with her. “Leslie — we didn’t think of this; Leslie unintended
consequences..” She she holds us up and that’s
in addition to all the other work she does
and with a vacancy in the board office and we
cannot thank her enough. Additionally Superintendent
Juneau is here tonight. Would you wave
please madam? Sherri Kokx Special Advisor
to the superintendent just waived, Kiesha Scarlett,
Chief. And I want other folks. Oh Mia Williams the brand
new awesome chief of African-American
male advancement as. Formerly of Aki Kurose
Middle School fame who has lifted up
so very very many folks. It can be done. It has been done
and it will be done. Thank you could folks
from the staff of Seattle Public Schools
please raise their hands? Okay guys above and beyond. And please know that these
folks have been working in the senior leadership
institute SLI all week with our principals our senior
staff and our assistant principals and I can tell
you from my heart I’ve been lucky enough to attend
some of this. What we saw today and what
we saw earlier this week is far different
than what we saw four years ago. This is hands on. This is not
snoozer material. This is not sit and get. This is inspirational
to lift up folks. And I am proud and I am
very thankful. So before we begin I want
to highlight the next steps. On August 12th we’ll have
a work session from four thirty to five thirty for the directors
to discuss the logistics of the
appointment process and it’s a little messy
quite frankly but it’s very very collaborative
and we as a board like each other. And it’s a good thing
because we spend a great deal of time together and we all
have a collective sense of humor and we need it. This is a public meeting
and we’ll be at the Board conference room at the
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence
on August 21st. We’ll hold another board
special meeting to select the three finalists candidates
from this extraordinary panel. And that’s going to be
extraordinarily difficult. On September 11 we’ll hold
the 2nd District 7 candidate forum right here Rainier Beach
High School in the performing arts center
from 6 to 9. During this forum the three finalists will be
invited to answer questions from the community
we’ll line folks up, and it’s fair game. And it will
be fascinating. And it’ll be tough
on the candidates. Finally on September 18
the board will vote on the appointment for the
District 7 seat during the regular school
board meeting which begins at 415 at the John Stanford Center
for Educational Excellence. Francis Penrose auditorium
where we hold our regular legislative meetings and that
will be on channel 26 live streaming. After that vote the applicant
will be immediately sworn in. So the three finalists
in order to prepare themselves for that
legislative meeting and to represent District 7
and in fact the entirety of the Seattle Public School
system will need to be prepared and ready to roll and make
fiduciary choices that come with this sometimes
overwhelming job. Last, it is my distinct pleasure
to introduce to you Ron Sims our moderator tonight. Ron is a former deputy secretary
of the United States Department
of Housing and Urban Development and prior
to his appointment to HUD. He served for 12 years as the
elected county executive. He is an active civic
volunteer and we thank him for joining us tonight
to moderate. We needed to bring in the big
guns to do this right. And Ron is from
this neighborhood. He has watched
the Seattle schools. He has watched us inside out
upside down advocated for us been to Olympia
with us in the past. And you’re coming back
with us come January right? Sims: Yes indeed. Harris: You are. OK. Input to the directors you can
provide us with input. By filling out a comment
card that’ll be on the stage and by the doors and those
comment cards should be dropped in the box
on your way out. And also we have a link
to the Web site. Front facing page to write us. It’s included
in tonight’s agenda and online feedback
can be provided until August 13th at 5:00 p.m.. It is my pleasure to turn
this over to you kind sir. Thank you. Sims: I want to thank
President Harris one of the joys of being back
in Seattle is that you get to see people
who are exceptional and superb public servants
and President Harris is a exceptional and superb
public servant. And earlier this evening
we were celebrating school board member who was former
school board member Betty Patu who also is a superb
and exceptional public servant as. Tonight’s forum will begin
with each candidate being given an opportunity to provide
a two minute opening statement. We will then move into questions
with each candidate receiving a turn
to respond to the questions. These questions were developed
by the board during an open public meeting held Monday up
to nine questions will be asked as the time
as time allows. We will not be taking
additional questions from the audience tonight
given the time constraints and the number of candidates
because the questions were pre identified during
a public meeting and to ensure the questions
being asked are clear to all candidates. Copies of the questions
have been provided tonight to each candidate. Candidates have been seated
based upon a random drawing held during Monday’s public
meeting and the order in which the candidates
speak will rotate each time a question is asked. Responses are limited to one
minute to each question. Responses are limited to one
minute for each question. I say that with emphasis
being out of an environment
where we like to ask questions and give speeches. The time will be signaled
tonight with red yellow and green excuse me — Once we conclude
with questions each candidate will be given a 1
minute to provide a closing statement. Time will be signaled tonight
with red yellow and green lights. The lights will begin green once
the light turns yellow you have 30 seconds remaining
when the latest red you have no more time. Staff seated in the audience
will also be indicating time
with coordinating cards since the light is small. Please conclude your response
promptly when your time is exhausted for fairness. As we have a very tight
program this evening you do not need to use
all of your time. If you prefer to answer
more briefly. Beginning now with opening
statements you have two minutes. Candidate Voz. Voz: First want to thank you all
for being here tonight. My name is Sophie Voz
and I am a proud candidate for District 7 school
board seat. I have worked in Southeast
Seattle Seattle Public Schools for the past 10 years
as well as schools across the district alongside
superintendents teachers principals families
and students. I know firsthand from my own
educational experience and my family’s that schools can
either be a place of community and belonging
or they can be a place that perpetuate structural
racism and inequity and too often we know that the color
of your skin dictates which experience
you might have. while I have experience
in schools and in organizational
leadership, I am rooted in equity
as recently as this past week we have heard stories
out of our own district of ways in which inequity
has been perpetuated in our schools and the
experiences that black students face in our district. I am the mother of a black
child who will be entering Seattle Preschool Program
at Van Asselt elementary, our neighborhood
school next year. I know there are amazing
educators there including my child’s dad who’s a fourth
grade teacher and I know that policy is imperative
and is long lasting and we need to focus on that. And I also know from the past
10 years of working in schools
that adults are and always will be an X Factor and The X
Factor when it comes to a student’s experience. In a state where 89 percent
of our educators are white. We must all be rooted in equity. I hold a belief that is
universal that our families and our students
are powerful and that we must include
them at the table when we are making decisions. We must include them
in raising up to issues that are important to them
and also include them when we think about solutions
to those issues that cannot happen in a closed
door with a small group of people. It has to happen
with our communities. Each and every single day. If I were the director
of District 7 I promise to be a leader that honors
and engages our families and not only raising issues
but creating solutions together. Thank you. Hersey: Good evening. I’m going to try my best
not to blow your ears out. My name is Brandon Hersey
like the candy bar without the second H. Just
in case you were wondering how to spell that and I have
the proud honor of leading a 2nd grade classroom in the
Federal Way Public School District. I am a proud union member
and a proud District 7 resident and I work on the front lines
of the opportunity gap trying to narrow it in the interest
of not only the students furthest away
from educational justice but all students who have been
marginalized in our society especially in Seattle
Public Schools. I work directly with troop 0
0 8 Washington State’s only African-American Scout
troop and almost all of my scouts attend District
7 schools. And I work closely with them not
only on their schoolwork but also out on the
trail and you know I’ve learned some things from them.
Our students are yearning. They are yearning for educators
that look like them. They are yearning for a
curriculum that reflects their lived experiences
and most importantly they are yearning
for opportunity so that they can make
the choice to live work and thrive in the
community where they grew up and not be
pushed out by our city’s crippling economic inequities
and housing crisis. Yes. Thank you. And we are here tonight
to discuss not only how we can make Seattle Public Schools
a better place for kids but specifically how we can make
Seattle Public Schools a better place for those furthest away
from educational justice. And I am looking forward
and I take it as an honor to work with every single one
of you in this audience tonight because together we will
accomplish this goal and we will make sure
that we have an advocate and a board director that will
stand up on behalf of our district’s most
marginalized students. Thank you for being
here tonight. And thank you for your time. Sims: Candidate Hahn. Hahn: Thank you Mr. Sims and thank you all
for being here tonight. It’s incredible to be around
so many people who are passionate about
our District 7 schools. My name is Jason Hahn. I’ve lived here in the Rainier
Valley with my family for more than a decade. I have a rising kindergartener
it’s very exciting and a third grader
at John Muir elementary school. I’m active in our PTA
and I served on the building leadership team
at John Muir for the past two years. I’m seeking to be your
representative on the school board because I think we can do
better and I think that the time for incremental change is over. We need to do more to build
a school system rather than a system of schools
a school system that values each and every one of our
children our schools can close the opportunity gap we can
prepare each of our graduating seniors for the world beyond
our doors and we can ensure that all of our teachers
and staff have the tools and the resources they need
to do their jobs well and educate our young
scholars while we’re doing this. We must directly confront
the racism that’s present in our educational system
and its effects on our schools. I am a white man and I know
I have benefited from the privilege
that accrues to me because of that I’m also
a person who believes deeply deeply that we need to dismantle
white supremacy so that all of our children
can reach their potential and that is why we need
to implement ethnic studies now and hire teachers who look
like our amazing students. That’s why we need
to strengthen our strategic plan so it fully
embraces those who are furthest from educational justice. Here in District 7,
we are blessed with the diversity
of communities from many backgrounds
and speaking many languages. I pledge to you that I will
fight for each of your children just as hard
as I fight for my own. And I will be open to you
whenever you need help from your school system
and in whatever language you may speak. Working together we can
build a school system that reflects our values here
in District 7 our values of racial justice of acceptance
and of educational excellence. I commit to doing that in
community with each and every one of you. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Rockey. Rockey: Yes good evening. I am Barbara Rockey and I too
just as so many other of my candidates sitting next to me,
fellow candidates. am here in honor of being
able to represent District 7 and also the community and most
importantly our students. I come to you today
as a community member. Not only do I live in District 7
I also work in District 7. I’ve
had the privilege of being in Rainier Beach
High School as well as other schools
throughout this area. And one of the biggest
and most challenging aspect of my day to day as a parent
but also as a PTSA president but also as someone who works
in the community day in and day out I interface with students. And to me this is
what this evening is about. I come here not for anything
else or anything less. Knowing that we have an equity
issue we have an access issue. We have an engagement
issue in our community. We have an issue where
our parents and families don’t feel connected.
And you know what. That is our biggest challenge. And within those challenges
we know that our children cannot succeed. And our children
haven’t succeeded. And so I come to you
this evening with everything on the table
to figure out how we can work together but also
listen to our students and empower them in this work
because all of us can sit at the table and be there
and make quote unquote decisions on behalf. But there is no greater
power than having our students and our families be
at the forefront of this work. We know the inequities. We know the fact that the
outcomes we know poverty we know homelessness. We know the fact the matter
is that our young men of color are not making it. And when we look at our papers
and our local news and we see that our children black
and brown young men are struggling. And I ask you tonight to lean
in lean in to me lean in to listen to figure out how
you can support me as well as I’m supporting
you in this work. This doesn’t end tonight for me.
It doesn’t. I didn’t start this journey last
in terms of this last few months. I started this journey when I
was a young lady a young girl in public schools. I’m a product and I’m proud
product of Seattle pub — not Seattle public schools
but public schools in general. And I ask you tonight to join
me as we fight for our students. We fight for them like we’ve
never fought before because the world is big
and they have to go beyond Seattle. They have to go
beyond here. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Smith. Smith: Thank you. Welcome everybody
who’s here tonight. I just want to let you know
first and foremost that you’re feeding me
and I appreciate being here with the community many
people who I’ve worked to get worked with in community
to make sure that Seattle Public Schools
is held accountable for all of our students. I am here today as a product
of Seattle Public Schools my children attend Seattle Public
Schools Dearborn Park Elementary
International School Mercer Middle School
and I have a daughter who graduated from Garfield
High School. So it is my pleasure to be here.
I’m looking for your support. First and foremost because we’ve
done the work together already. There’s a person in the audience
I want to shout out. Flora who was when I started
kindergarten at Dearborn Park said to me there’s this Peer
Leader program in Seattle Public Schools
you need to get involved. So because of her I’m a result
of being up here today. Thank you Flora. I also — I also want to share that as
well as being a product of a Seattle public schools
and having children and seeing particularly black boys
you enter into kindergarten or the K through 12 system
really understanding how that plays out really
understanding that energized children who love to learn come
into a system that is historically
institutionally racist and how that plays out on our children. So as a parent I’ve experienced
it but instead of running away from that
I decided to get involved and say how do
we partner to improve this system. How do we dismantle
this system. So that’s why I’m here and so
in getting involved I’d not only participate and be
involved in my school to help improve the positive climate
in the school create welcoming environments for the school
but also convene community events I’d bring district level
policy to the community so that all families can
understand what do we need to do and how do we work
in partnership to improve the outcomes for our students. In addition to that I’ve
participated on Family Partnership advisory
to the superintendent over the years. I participate as a member
of the African-American male scholars advisory. I participated on the strategic
plan steering committee. So I’ve done the work for at
least six years plus of and know what it means
to be in the district understand the policies
understand the culture in there and understand
the dynamics of what it takes. So I’m here to say I had
the lived experience I believe in accountability
to community but I also have prepared myself educationally
and my lived experience to say
that I’m the best candidate for this opportunity
and I appreciate your support. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Salisbury. Salisbury: All right. Give it up for my
fellow Bulldog. Right to right over here. My name is Chukundi Salisbury
that is. Chukundi Salisbury and I am
looking forward to being the District 7
representative here on the school board. I am a product of Seattle
public schools I went to Garfield High School I went
to Summit K12, I went to Leschi, so I am a product of the schools
my kids go to school my daughter went
to Garfield High School and my son goes to school
across the street at South Shore Elementary
where he is maintaining a three point ninety four
GPA and I’m very proud of him. I attended our Elizabeth City
State University where I have a degree
in computer science so I know about STEM and I lead
a STEM lifestyle. I have 22 years
in this district. I live on the corner of 42nd
and Warsaw and I also have 22 years of service
to this district. I was the former board — president of the board at
SE Youth and Family Services. I am a current PCO in my
neighborhood where I doorbell and make sure that my
community gets out to vote. I served as ‘our’
this district’s representative the 37th District
to the Washington State
Democratic Convention in Wenatchee. So I’m engaged but on a school
level I’m a founder of a organization
called 100 black parents where I create, while I didn’t create
but I maintain the 9th grade report card conference
at Garfield High School and that is something where
I go above and beyond and engage students
who are not my own not even close to my own son. Okay. And that’s what I feel
like I bring to the table as I have a history of serving
other people’s children and maintaining a a
a massive commitment to this community through my
service and service as a lifestyle. OK so Chukundi Salisbury
and we’re gonna get into it tonight. Sims: Candidate Foster. Foster: Hi my name’s
Dionne Foster and I’m a candidate for District 7.
First thank you all so much for being here it’s such
an honor to be here on this stage with so many
folks from the community who I respect and adore
and I think are just strong leaders each in our
own individual right. I want to talk a little bit
about why I am the candidate to represent our district
and our community and it comes down to me to both
family and community. I am doing this for people
like my mom who was an educator and a para
educator for 14 years and struggled to pay
the bills and keep the lights on. I got my first job when I was 16
to be able to support our household. Teachers deserve
better than that. They deserve fair pay
especially in this city with the rising cost of living. I’m doing this for people
like my older brother who was physically disabled
and in a wheelchair and I watched the struggle
that he had in school with inclusion both getting
transportation services adequate education in the classroom
tracking of IEP’s and that struggle. I’m doing it for the families
in this district that share those experiences
and those struggles. I’m doing it for people
like myself who got into a lot of trouble in school growing up
and I was in school suspension out of school suspension a lot
of disciplinary actions absences. I remember getting that letter
when I almost didn’t graduate because I wasn’t going to school
enough and now I’m here with a master’s degree in front
of you all as a candidate for the school board. And I know that’s possible
for our students right. And I’m here for kids
like my son. I’m a parent. My son is Kimball
Elementary School and he is this amazing bright
biracial black boy who is identified as having
the potential to. He’s reading above his level
at a number of other things but we don’t actually have
services where he can both be taught at his level and also
be in a community of people that look like him right now. And I think that’s a challenge
that we need to face together as a district. And so I see all of these
things happening both in my family and our community. And I’m seeking this position
because I want to address that collectively with you.
Thank you. Sims: Candidate van Arcken. van Arcken: Hi my name is Julie
van Arcken. I just came from the
retirement party for director Bettie Patu
and I was just thinking about the first
time I met her back in 2013. My neighbors had just
learned that the district planned to disproportionately
displace children of color from our neighborhood school. We were really concerned
about that. We went door to door. We talked to other neighbors
about it and a group of us agreed to go to Betty’s
community meeting to talk to her about it and I’ll
never forget she said this is wrong and I’m not going
to let them do this to our kids. I’ll never forget that sense
of conviction. It’s the same conviction
I’ve brought to my six years of district work
including serving as SE director for the Seattle
Council PTSA. I’m a multiracial mom a
neighborhood and district advocate, the daughter of immigrants
and a committed special education advocate and that
identity informs all of the work that I do
because of who I am and because of the work I’ve
done for Southeast kids. Director Patu has both
endorsed me and offered to mentor me in this role. Though I could never fill
her shoes I promise to make her proud. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Hairston. Hairston: Good evening. My name is Romanita Hairston
and I’m a candidate for the District Seven board
position and I just want to say how thankful I am for all
of you who are participating
in the room who are either watching now or will watch
later and to all of those who are sitting here as esteemed
candidates along with me. I’m grateful for the opportunity
to be a part of the process and look forward
to the next steps. I want to say a few things one
I think we’re at a critical moment when we think about
education as we think about things like closing
the achievement gap aligning our funding to the priorities
that we want to achieve in the strategic plan
to thinking about how we actually graduate students
who are ready to compete not just in our local market
but in global markets. We have a number of things
in front of us that we need to achieve in order to achieve
them it’s going to take the combined efforts of all
of those who are currently working in the District all
of us who are currently on the stage those who we have
not activated yet as a part of the process
to really achieve the kinds of outcomes
that we’d like to see as I think about that critical moment. For me this is
a personal moment. It’s a moment that I’ve
thought about for a long time to ask how can I take
the experience that I’ve got and contribute that to the kinds
of outcomes we want to see. I’m a 30 year resident of the
community my family’s business was a major part
of the revitalization of Columbia City. I’ve graduated two students
from Franklin High School one four years ago who was
the student president and then another just last
year and I have a daughter who’s currently at
Mercer Middle School but I couldn’t enumerate.
I see you over there. I couldn’t enumerate in the time
that we’ve got the skills that I believe I can bring. But what I want to encourage
you all to do before I make more comments is you can find
out a lot about me at Romanita Hairston dot com at
the bottom of my page you’ll see not only my answers
to the questionnaire but you’ll see the full bio
that is offered there on me you’ll see links to my other
experience that I think are relevant that help you to
get a sense of me even more so what you’ll see
is a place where you can contact me what I offer
to every member of the community is if you’re
interested in talking to me about education and your
viewpoint this is an opportunity for you
to learn more about me and what I want to do is learn
more about you and what matters. Board members come to represent
the community to bring vision
and to share about the opportunity
for what we can do in the future and what I want
to do is represent the community well. I’m motivated to serve I’ve
served for over 30 years 25 of them working on education
you can see my results you can see the things I’ve talked
about as an operational leader as a thought leader as a policy
leader in these areas by just researching who I am
but if you want to ask me personal questions send
that email or call that personal number
that’s on my site and I’m happy to be responsive.
Thank you. Sims: Moving on to the question. Remember you will have
one minute one minute to answer each question. So, I’ve had the opportunities
to brief two different presidents. I had opportunity to have
briefings with President Clinton and President Obama. People said What did you do
in those briefings? One, you were concise, two,
you were thorough. And three you were brief. Now the first question
is given the strategic plan’s focus on predictable
and consistent operational systems. Which of the district’s
operational systems do you think we should focus on and why? For example transportation
nutritional service and buildings. Order for this question
I’ll call on each of each of the candidates
our call on candidate Hersey. First. Hersey: Thank you. I believe that we should be
focusing on nutritional services.
As a teacher. I eat lunch with my students
in my classroom at least twice a week
during the year. And I’ve got to tell
you sometimes it’s tough. If you haven’t seen school
lunch in recent years you really should enter
a cafeteria sit down with the student and have
a meal because what I need you to know is that
nutritional justice is the same thing as educational
and racial justice for so many
of our students, especially in District 7
who depend on schools as their main source of nutrition. We have to get this right
and I believe that we can do this by implementing a lot
of the same from scratch Farm to School and edible
education programs as we’ve seen in partner communities
such as Skagit and the San Juans. Research shows during
the Obama era done by the Brookings Institute
that schools that participate in such programs see
an increase in almost 4 percentile points
on standardized testing. When kids have access
to healthy nutritious food that also tastes good. And for students who are on free
and reduced lunch those advantages are even greater. Raising almost six to seven
percentile points. Sims: Please conclude. Hersey: Excuse me. Sims: Please conclude. Hersey: Thank you. Sims: No you can conclude
but it’s — we’re good? OK Candidate Hahn Hahn: Thank you Mr. Sims. I would choose to focus
on our buildings and that choice is fairly
personal for me at John Muir elementary school. We’ve had a feeling HVAC system
for a while and we were bringing
this up with district staff and we were told that you know
we looked at our computers and everything
is fine there. And it finally culminated
and you may have seen this in the paper in a flood
of pink liquid through our cafeteria where
we had kindergartners walking out basically evacuated
through HVAC fluid. And this was the fault of a
failure in preventative maintenance. It was a fault of not listening
to parents and staff. And then when this did happen
we organized we started inundating the school
board with — thank you — with a lot of e-mails. And we did get
that fixed overnight. And then we were told well
you know this is great we’re gonna turn off the system
so that you’re young scholars in summer school will
not have air conditioning during the summer. And so we launched another
wave of advocacy and we got air conditioners for our scholars. We need to concentrate
on ensuring that our buildings are safe and that
they are appropriate for our young scholars.
Thank you. Sims: Candidate Rockey. Rockey: Yes. I too
chose to focus on our operational systems
of our buildings. And I think as our students
prepare to go back to school this is a place where
we really really need to figure out to make sure
that our students are welcome into their school
that their teachers are ready and our buildings
are fully staffed. Every class no matter
if it’s language arts if it’s mathematics if it’s
anything from P.E. or even Spanish that there
are teachers who are ready and willing to teach
our students. Secondly also the cleanliness
of our buildings are important. Students learn best when they
take pride in where they go to school. If you have a student who walks
in and there is no representation of feeling
excited about learning that is a problem. The other thing is our
security that students need to feel safe that they know
that they spend so much time in school. There should be no question no
doubt that there is school safety always. And the other aspect
that we need to focus on is our customer service
within our buildings our front office staff is always key
and engaging with our families and our students
and helping them navigate the school and answer any
questions that they may have. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Smith. Smith: Thank you. You know just about every
challenge or issue that’s happening in Seattle
Public Schools is felt and concentrated
down here in District 7 in our South Seattle schools. We have the most free
reduced lunch schools. We have the most students
of color so every aspect from our buildings to nutrition
to all those issues. But what I will want to focus
on is in the building and school leadership
with regard to our CSIP plans that continuous
student improvement plans. I would want to see that the
principles align their goals at the school and their
practices and their resources with the strategic plan. Because our budget
is so limited. We need alignment. We need our alignments to be
focused on the target of the goals the teaching
of the strategic plan because as a board member
that is one of my top priorities I have to make sure
that the strategic plan is successful and because
I was on the steering committee and agree with this
the strategic plan. That is my number one focus. Oftentimes we see
these CSIP plans. They don’t call in to the goals
in terms of family engagement. They don’t call in to the goals
of the buildings. But I would like to see those
CSIP plans instituted and that can happen from the
school leadership and from the board level to be
a directive around that work. So if that is aligned and then
we can give family engagement and family voice
at the table to say how do we want to do this how do
we want to focus on nutrition. Sims: Please summarize. Smith: Thank you. Sims: Candidate Salisbury. Salisbury: Yeah I concur
with a major all of the worries and the tragedies
that are on that are aligned
with our district district 7 they all come down on us
because of our opportunity gap and the number of people
of color in our district. So but if I had to focus on one
which I’ve been asked I’d like to talk about
nutrition is ah — I do agree with the other
candidate the fact that malnourished
and undernourished and underfed students
really can’t concentrate. And if you volunteered if you’ve
been in the classroom if you’ve actually been to lunch
and sat down it’s a real issue. And what we need to do is like
I said I would focus on that is making sure that we
have nutritional meals that serve the students
who need them most everyone is not able to bring
a lunch to school. And it is very important
that our students are able to be well-fed
and be able to concentrate. Thank you. Sims: Thank you.
Candidate Foster. Foster: Thank you. I’d also like to focus
on nutritional services. I really appreciate
this question as somebody who’s been on EBT and food
stamps and used fresh bucks. I think that the issue
of food access is really close to home for me. Earlier this year I had
the opportunity to sit down with some students
from a youth led organization that focuses
on healthy food and cook a meal together and listen
to them talk about their experiences. They I have a chapter right here
in Rainier Beach High School and what I heard those
students talk about was access to free free lunch
talking about the barriers that when
you actually have to submit your free
and reduced lunch form that that creates for students. We know that most
of the students that read that eat lunch at
school are students who are on free
and reduced lunch. And I think we need to look
at options to expand those services including the Community
Eligibility Provision that makes it easier
for students to access those services. I also think that it’s important
to look at scratch cooking options
that’s inextricably tied to our buildings because we
actually need to make sure that we have
adequate spaces to do that preparation in order
to deliver those that program. Thank you. Sims: Candidate van Arcken. van Arcken: I would focus
on the student assignment plan because it affects
everything else that happens school. School staff are funded
through something called a weighted staffing standard
which means that funding is dependent on the number
of students are expected to attend
that school. And in my experience
the loss of that funding is one of the most chaotic
things that can happen at a school. For schools like Dearborn Park
which offers dual language immersion they need
a certain number of staff to even just run the program. So if they lose staff
it doesn’t just mean more crowded classrooms. It jeopardizes the entire
curriculum at the school. So that’s why I would focus
on making sure that the right number
of students are assigned to each school. Sims: Candidate Hairston. Hairston: Thank you. I’m going to maybe be
the outlier and not pick one. I think the challenge
of governing is actually figuring out how to balance
these priorities and make progress across multiple areas. I agree with my esteemed
colleagues here that nutrition has an impact on education
but being in a building that is dilapidated also
creates for an environment that’s not conducive
to learning not just for students but also for the
educators that have to deliver that education
every day it communicates a value that we have to care
about and certainly student assignment is important
to the notion of how we think about funding. I think the challenge
of governing though at the school board level
is around how do we make decisions that help to trickle
down and empower the buildings where a number
of these decisions are decided. We need great policy that helps
to ensure that student assignment is fair and leads
to appropriate funding but we also need to equip all
of those individuals inside of buildings who lead
the facilities committees which I’ve actually met
with some of those internal building groups to ensure
they’ve got the resources they need to make the right
kinds of financial decisions as they govern the dollars
that have been put into their hands. And as I think about
the challenge when we talk about what needs to happen
with nutritional services we’ve got to partner with the
community and how do we help empower schools
to work more effectively with community groups parents
and others to provide greater nutritional options to students
not just for in the class — Sims: Please summarize. Hairston: Thank you. Sims: Candidate Voz. Voz: The issue that I
would choose to focus on is transportation. What sounds like a single
issue has a trickle down effect on a lot of our students. One of the things I do in my
organization is we greet students at the door
when they come in and when students are tardy
we help send them to class. And when we think about
transportation in Seattle public schools we have to think broadly
about it because we have one company which is First Student
that takes the cheapest bid that Seattle Public
Schools offers. And because of the cost
of real estate in Seattle the bus bins where literally
the buses park during the day are not actually
in within city limits. And what that means
is that our buses are driving from outside
of city limits into Seattle. They get caught in traffic. They’re late to pick
up students. Students are late
to school and every minute of in-seat time matters. We know that attendance is an
indicator that if students are falling behind with tardies
with absences that that has a detrimental
effect on their ability to finish graduation on time. And so for me we think about
transportation it would be pushing the superintendent
and our operations folks to think about what is the plan
for making sure that we have
a transportation system that works for all
of our students to get them to school on time. Sims: What are your comments
and concerns about special education delivery in the
Seattle Public Schools Candidate Hahn. Hahn: Thank you Mr. Sims This is an incredibly
personal question for me. I’m the father of a second
grader who is in special education who is reputedly
restrained and isolated and suspended because the
school just simply can’t deal effectively
with his disability. And that’s just not my story
it’s a story of children across our district because we
know that most of the children who are isolated
and restrained I say isolated I mean put in an isolation
room our children in special education. And that’s unfair
and that’s unjust. And no child should be
treated like that. In addition to that my
other concern is with the adversarial nature
of the special education process. You know what we’ve encountered
and which is also true in general in Seattle
in Washington State is a push to move children into the most
restrictive setting possible. It was only when we you know
resorted to lawyers and that’s so I mean
to fight for our child that we were able to stop
that and push back on that. So we need to make this process
much less adversarial. We need to allow our
parents to record the IEP meetings and we need to make
sure that they have family advocates in those meetings.
Thank you. Sims: Thank you. Harris: Yes. And for me
this question is both personal as well
as professional. I will say my engagement
with special education departments in the
Southeast Community of Schools has been inspiring
and challenging at the same time seeing case managers work
tirelessly with students across teams to make sure that IEP
needs are met specific learning goals are met
in yet their accommodations are also
built into that. The other difficulty that I see
in terms of goal alignment and parents being
able to work with teachers and understanding what an IEP
is and understanding that the barriers and the
challenges in that no two students are the same
and having parents being able to advocate for their
children and having a running knowledge of what an IEP
is and I think at times sometimes the support
in one school may look very different to what it is
for another school school. So if we’re looking at our
special education departments we really need to look
for alignment across our district because I’m telling
you in the southeast southeast part of our district it really
is a challenge that you should not have
to go into one school and feel that one
specific special ed program is operating better. And services are being
administered than another school. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Smith. Smith: Thank you. I too have a personal story
with the special education department I do have a child
with an IEP similar to what you’ve read in Seattle
Times with regard to dyslexia in Seattle
Public Schools having a delayed response
and with regard to evaluation of dyslexia
and also having limited services around addressing
that issue. It really sets children up
for failure and having a black son in particular it is
imperative that he is at standard in grade level
when we think about the determinant of reading at
grade level being determined and if you make it to the School
to Prison Pipeline if you’re funneled in that direction. So this is extremely
personal for me. I want to just say that I that’s
a challenge and a concern I as a person
who’s had meetings and they just give you this
thick book of your rights but don’t even explain
the rights to you don’t even explain to you or what
the process is around special education. I have to actually go outside
of Seattle Public Schools to get resources and support. I’ve seen and met families
who’ve had great services and feel like they’re getting
great support from the school whereas there’s
others who do not. And this is across the district. So what I would want to see
as a board member at with my colleagues and team what’s
in first and foremost update the website to share
where the resources are to add resources
on the website of where you can go inside. Sims: Please summarize. Smith: Outside of the district
to get some support. Thank you. Sims: Thank you. If any of you want to know
why I’m pushing so hard. There are nine questions
and nine speakers that’s eighty one questions
or responses so I’m just kind of pushing a little harder. Candidate Salisbury they’re all
fine candidates. I’m not. Picking on anybody I’m
just letting you know why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Candidate Salisbury please. Salisbury: Thank you. I too am concerned about
making sure that there is the correct education
around IEP plans for parents. One of the things I’d
like to see is more parents support and engagement. And I’d like to see a parent
Academy if you will support Academy where we can really
do more education immersive education for parents who have
children with special needs. The other thing is I’d
like to really see special education for those
that truly need special education and many buildings
educate special education is become a dumping ground
for folks that might have behavioral issues that truly do
not need special education but really
need other resources in their life. And so I’d like to see
the resources in the building for those young people so what
they do are not pushed into that track
and that the folks that really need special
education can can get those services I delivered
special education camps at camp long during the summer
where I was the director. And so I’ve worked
extensively with those families out of school time.
Thank you. Sims: Thank you.
Candidate Foster. Foster: First I think
it’s important to acknowledge the diversity
within special education whether that are students
that have ambulatory disabilities whether that’s
a neuro diverse students. And to say that the solutions
look different depending on who the student is. I think it’s also important
to acknowledge there are special education students who are
twice exceptional and in special education
also deserve and should be an advanced learning programs. Having said that one thing
I want to raise up is actually a story from a family
from District 7 that happened earlier
this year where because as Sophia’s touched
on earlier the district has a contract
with one provider. This provider wasn’t available
for a field trip and this family whose student
was in a wheelchair was left behind. The student woke up
in the morning thought they were gonna go out
and have a great day with their with their friends
and they couldn’t because our transportation services
contract did not allow the flexibility to make
sure that that students needs were met for that day. This is something that I believe
we need to work on as a district. In our contracts I also
think that the state level cap that we have on special
education funding is arbitrary and harmful and that’s
something as a school board member that I would also
work to adjust. Sims: Candidate van Arcken. van Arcken: Well like I said
before I’m a committed special education advocate. I’ve been endorsed
by multiple presidents of the special education PTSA. Last week I served on the
hiring committee for a special education
staff member. And last time I testified
in front of the board it was on behalf of our
autistic kids. My driving principle
is I think about special education is inclusion
to the greatest extent possible from preschool to high
school in the classroom and on field trips. Inclusion will benefit not
just the children receiving services but the children
who get to interact with them as well. Neurodiversity is a huge
benefit to our society and our students need to learn
how to collaborate with people who learn and think
differently than they do. Sims: Candidate Hairston. Hairston: I want to first just
state my commitment to students after having walked
with multiple families through processes of trying to develop
plans to work through the system. I really do agree with all
of the candidates who suggested that we
need better resources to help parents
understand how to navigate the system. And I believe some of those
resources are in the community. I don’t believe those resources
are only managed at the level that they are governed
but they are about the ways that we create policies
that extend the impact of the building beyond
the building. I’ve been an advocate an ally
and a partner to parents who otherwise might not have
had it and while I would love to believe that in extending
funding — which we need to do, in having
values for inclusion — which we need to do, that we
could get it all done. I think the reality
is that we can’t because of the diversity
that we see in the kinds of students that we need
to deal with in the kinds of issues we need to address. I believe a great gap
is having great trauma informed services I think one
of the reasons we see so many students who are challenge
with discipline problems is because we don’t have
enough trauma informed services in the district. And I think if we work
to bring all of those things together we can see
greater outcomes. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Voz. Harris: Yeah. This issue
has affected me personally I’m I’ve a nephew who because
of a medical condition is in a wheelchair
and I had to watch my brother and his family grapple
with moving from Ranier Beach to Issaquah because get
Seattle public school systems couldn’t meet
the need of their child. So there are three things that I
really think when I think about the special education one
if you look at vacancies in Seattle public schools many
of them are in special education. So we need educators who are
certified and trained to work with our special
education students or students in special education. The second is that
as mentioned before black and brown students
and ELL students are overrepresented in our
special education system and often it’s because
of behavior issues or showing up to school
in a way that goes against dominant culture that
they are then labeled as needing to be in special education. So we need to rethink
that system. The third thing and this
is something that was brought to me
by a student I had the pleasure of working on
the Superintendent Juneau’s advisory
board and actually one of our students is here tonight
Angelina who goes to Rainier Beach-Hey — one of the things
that they worked on as a student advisory board
is the stigma that can come with being in special
education for students and thinking about not
wanting to identify themselves as in special
education and not having the language to talk
about what that means. So we also need to be
asking our students who are involved in special
education what does that mean for them and then
acting accordingly. Sims: Thank
you Candidate Hersey. Hersey: Thank you. And I totally agree with all
of the policy proposals that were suggested
and as a teacher I can confirm that all of those
things are happening because I see it play out in my
classroom every single day. But one thing that we haven’t
mentioned is funding. Special education is grossly
underfunded and not only in Seattle but in our region. And in order to fix that we
as board directors don’t have a magic
wand that we can wave and create more funding. We have to go to Olympia
and fight for it and I’ve got experience doing just that. I’ve been endorsed by Senator
Bob Hasegawa and Senator Joe Wynn
who were excited to work with me and my future
colleagues potentially in securing the funding we need. But as mentioned on this stage
earlier we also have to make better use of the resources
that we do have by stopping the tracking of black
and brown boys especially into special education programs
and that has to end. Now we can get this done
if we work together and we need your voice
as community members to make sure that when we secure
that funding that we get this right
because you are the experts on our kids. Sims: The third question is tell
us about the impact of curriculum and instructional
materials on student success. You each have one
minute to respond. Candidate Rockey. Rockey: Yes. You know this is my
work day to day. I work for a nonprofit
in Seattle and a lot of our students who we work
with are students who are in foster care
who have been in care. And I think first and foremost
when if we’re believing and we want to ensure highest
high student achievement for students of color
and black males in my organization definitely works
with students of color and specifically making
black males a priority in those who are furthest
from educational justice we must invest in a curriculum
where students can identify and culture in cultural
ways in which they learn history language mathematically
arts and community. And the fact that that content
is rich and it’s also comprehensive and we need
to allow students to have a voice in that part
of the curriculum and not a curriculum that doesn’t meet
the specific needs of our students and also puts our
teachers at a disadvantage in which they have to go finding
supplemental materials in order to make accommodations
for the way to make sure that all of our students are
learning in an equitable way. And I just think that if
we don’t do something in terms of sticking
with the curricula or curriculum over time
for consistency every single time starting over does not
give our students what they need because in order
to see if something’s working we have to spend time with them.
Thank you. Sims: Thank you.
Candidate Smith. Smith: Thank you. I want to finger snaps and hand
claps to our current board for instituting
a supporting the time immemorial curriculum that’s
come into the district as well as supporting ethnic
studies s come into the district. This type of curriculum
and materials are so vital. Our students need
to see themselves as contributors to our world. And there is so much history
and information out there that we have to usually find
out in the community to supplement our child
self concept our students self concept to find themselves
that oftentimes does not in Seattle Public Schools. The history so often our
students get turned off from the curriculum get
turned off from learning because they do not see their
selves they only see one prototype of who are leaders
who are the inventors who are the creators.
And that is just false. So when we have some curriculum
and instruction materials that are sharing
that we all have contributed some of us have lived have
led and developed that curriculum is gonna make
a big change in terms of their self concept
and wanting to learn. But I also want to say
it doesn’t have to just be ethnic studies it can be
part of the math curriculum. It can be part of the literacy
and it can be part of the arts because we
are cultivators of all of that. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Salisbury. Salisbury: Yeah I’d like to echo
what Emijah just said about culturally relevant materials
ethnic studies is very important. And I’d like to see
that extended crossed across all of the bodies of study. One of the things that’s very
important to me is making sure that my son and people
that look like me are represented in the materials
in the curriculum. I’m also it’s very important
in this day and age to have up to date
and relevant material that speaks to the totality
of those involved. You know my son loves to use
his phone to google things. And so in this day and age
it’s not OK to leave things out. Right. It’s very important. And so I think again
it’s important for our students to see themselves
represented and not just in a in an ethnic studies type
of way about those types of issues are like
like for example you know race relations things
that are related to race relations. I’m talking about
across the spectrum. And that’s what I’d like to see.
Excuse me. Thank you. Sims: Thank you.
Candidate Foster. Foster: Thank you. I agree with much
of what I said. I’m really excited about
supporting ethnic studies. We know that when students
see themselves in material they’re more likely to engage
and be able to be present. We know how important that is. It’s been shown to have
impacts on truancy it’s been shown to have impacts
on student performance. I’m really excited about that. I’m excited about
since time immemorial. Another thing that has been
talked about yet that I want to speak
to as a queer person is the K 5 gender book
kit that the district did. Right. Thank you. It’s important for all
of our students to see themselves in curriculum to see
themselves at an early age. It’s also important
for people to learn to appreciate gender
diversity and sexual diversity from an early age. And it’s critical for that to be
happening in our schools and in our communities. And the last thing I want to say
is that I also want to talk a little bit
about instructional time. There’s also research
that talks about the. First generation college
students and that first generation I was talking
to somebody in the audience about this right
before we started. First generation college
students are often relying on their schools and educators
in order to get guidance and services on FAFSA
and forms that that help you be college ready. I also want to look at
the use of advisory time for high school students
so that we can actually standardize some of those
practices that are happening on the side right now and make
them part of that path not something you have to go
off the beaten path to find out. Thank you. Sims: Candidate van Arcken. van Arcken: The
International Baccalaureate program here at Rainer Beach
is an example of how curriculum can affect
student success. The program is internationally
known for its challenge and its rigor. And it’s been part of this
school’s success story with its rising attendance
and graduation rates. What I really like about
the program which was created by the community
for the community is that all students
are encouraged to take at least one IB class because when
we set high expectations for our students
our students meet them. I’ve already had about a million
conversations with former IB coordinator Collin Pierce
about this program and I want to work to stabilize the funding
of the IB program here at Rainier Beach so our
teachers don’t have to spend so much time on grant seeking
and compliance and instead they can focus on teaching
our kids. Sims: Candidate Hairston. Hairston: I think one of the
things to think about around curriculum
and instruction materials I think it’s important
for them to be culturally competent to be
culturally responsive. I think we stopped short though
if the testing that’s aligned to them doesn’t change to be
as culturally responsive and so yes. So I want to take a perspective
on this question to maybe offer from my experience not just
locally and regionally but nationally and globally
with education. About 10 years of research
which would suggest that a focus on curriculum and instruction
is extremely important but there is a reality that qualified
teachers actually make the biggest difference. And one of the challenges
that we’ve got within almost every level of education yes
we can snap again in almost every level of education not
just here but around the country is making sure
that kids in the district and particularly in ours have
the level of instruction that helps to ensure
that the materials when culturally responsive
when supportive to students who are highly advanced
or students who are really struggling that you combine
that trifecta of things to create a holistic view
access to resources qualified instruction and testing
that is culturally responsive when you can bring
those three things together you can really then focus
on the future of learning and what we want to do
for students. Thank you. Sims: Thank you. Candidate Vos. Voz: You have rigorous research
curriculum should be a baseline that teachers can work from. So teachers need the resources
available to them to take that curriculum and make
it what students need dependent on their classroom
context ethnic studies is a great example of one
area where students need to be able to see themselves
in the curriculum on our student advisory board
students named ethnic studies as an issue area
for them precisely because they do not see
themselves in their current curriculum. Today when we got to present
to our district leaders the proposals our students
had I heard from a native student and a black student
speak about the only ways they hear about their
history is in the context of genocide and slavery. And it ignores hundreds
of years of rich history that these folks have
contributed over the years and so when we think about
the ways that inclusion shows up in our curriculum we have
to think about language and we have to think about
who is centered in those curriculums like Dionne
mentioned another area that our students have risen
up and said this matters in our sexual health curriculum. And is there inclusive language
in there where students can see themselves
that it is not binary that is not limited
to the gender beliefs that dominant culture holds
but really represents our students in true ways. So we have to focus
on whether students are seeing themselves in our
curriculums across all the curriculums we use
in our schools. Sims: Thank you.
Candidate Hersey. Hersey: As a teacher I speak
many of my summers is not only writing but rewriting
and rewriting and rewriting curriculum to be
more culturally responsive. It’s no secret as you’ve
heard from all of the other candidates that we need
an ethnic studies curriculum but also we need curriculum
that reflects the true lived experiences of all
of our students at every level of instruction. But it cannot stop
at curriculum alone. We also need more
educators of color to deliver that curriculum
in a meaningful way for our students. That is a paramount goal
that I will work with our fellow board directors
to address. But it doesn’t stop there. We have to make sure that not
only our curriculum not only educators of color but also our
instructional materials in the classroom in the library
and in every phase reflect our students. And I have to admit again
resources are scarce but there are ways that we can work not
only with community partners nonprofits companies and other
stakeholders in order to get this done because we can
not only focus on curriculum we have to take
it a step further and implement racial
and equitable justice at every phase of instruction. Sims: Candidate. Hahn. Hahn: Thank you. Our curriculum
is incredibly important. At John Muir where my
kids go we are one of the pilot sites for ethnic
studies in an elementary school. And I know that as a parent
and for my children for my my son it’s been incredible
as we’ve learned the real history of people’s
stories and the history of their heroism and their
contributions to our country. I think another place I’d
like to go with ethnic studies as a part of our curriculum
is I had an interesting conversation with Tracey
Castro-Gill who’s the head of ethnic
studies at SPS and she was talking about how
at the high school level they’ll start and maybe even
before they’ll start talking about whiteness and what
that means especially with white students. I think as a white man
who’s you know only unfortunately recently come
to terms with the history of our country I can’t think
of anything more important especially in this day
and age when we are dealing with domestic white terrorism
that we counter program this especially with our
young men to ensure that there understand
the true history of our country and that they’re
not radicalized. Thank you. Sims: Thank you. Given the aspirational language
of the strategic plan and budget limits how will
you manage stakeholder priorities and requests
again given the aspirational language
of the strategic plan and budget limits. How will you manage stakeholder
priorities and requests you’ll each have one minute to respond.
Candidate Smith. Smith: Thank you. I just want to highlight
that the strategic plan focuses on our students furthest
from educational justice with starting with our
African-American males. So when I think about our
stakeholder priorities I want to underscore more ensure
that our stakeholders understand the target
that we’re working at the targeted universalism
that means that we have to. Who are we seeking first.
How are we. How are we working faster
and how do we go deeper into the resources
or on to whatever problematic pragmatic
elements that we need to make sure that this strategic
planning successful. I also want to say that of all
the richness here at this table and for all
the candidates who said that they’re going to do
this work regardless. I’m looking for them to be
an advisory be an advisor to me. There are many stakeholders
in the community right now doing the work at
the school on the ground level. I’m looking to them to work
alongside me to do this work. This is not me by myself going
out and say How are you doing. I’ve already been out there
figuring out and learning how are you doing East African
communities LatinX community to Asian-American communities. And I need your leadership
I need your support to make sure that the stakeholders
and our issues are at the table and we have
to work in solidarity. It’s not about one person or the
other person but at the end of the day. How are we going to work
to fix this problem of who is furthest
from educational justice. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Salisbury. Salisbury: When I’m talking
to stakeholders and managing the priorities and requests. I think they will look at each
and every decision through the lens of funding and the lens
of the strategic plan right and where we need
to do is when we when we talk
to stakeholders and I’m sure that I will get many calls. I would be looking at
each decision and how does that reflect the plan. We need to look and make
sure that it’s the things in the plan or not just you know
just not just not talk. We need to hold each other
accountable and so in places where
we are doing what we said we’re going to do. Then we’ll look to others
outside of the community nonprofits community partners
even individuals in the community who can
bring other items to the table to fill that gap. They — we’ll never have the budget
that we need to do what we need to do. So it’s important for us
to be able to embrace community partners people
that are doing the work and that are currently not
funded or funded but holding them accountable
and that’s where I’ll be when it comes to managing
stakeholder priorities and requests. Sims: Thank
you candidate Foster. Foster: First let me say
that the goals and the strategic plan can’t be aspirational. We have to meet those goals
or we are failing our children. So as a board member first
and foremost my focus is going to be in reaching those goals. I don’t believe that we can say
that all students can succeed if our
black students can’t succeed. What I promise to you
is the first question I will ask myself
when we make policy decisions when we make budget decisions. Budgets are moral documents
and I will ask myself always How is this decision
going to impact black students. How is this decision going
to impact Native students. How is this decision going
to impact students with disabilities. These are the questions
that I will ask for every decision I make
as a board member. And it’s only when we do
that every single time that we can get to the goals
and the strategic plan. That means looking at our
budget that means looking at our operational priorities. That means looking at
the weighted student standard. That means looking at
the rollout of our technology plan. That means looking at
who gets to make up our outreach boards
and our committees. And I will ask myself
this question every time. Thank you. Sims: Thank you. Candidate
van Arcken. van Arcken: So full disclosure
I myself have been a very demanding citizen stakeholder
and what’s always helped me is transparency transparency
and fairness in decision making. For instance our school lost
a staff member at the start of last year and my daughter’s
class went from 22 students to 29
students overnight. And even though I was really
disappointed I was okay with it because I knew
how staff funding worked and it seemed fair. What I think parents
are less okay with is when decisions
don’t seem fair. Like when we disproportionately
displace children of color from their neighborhood schools. And it’s those unfair decisions
that I would prioritize fixing with parents. Thank you. Sims: Candidate Hairston. Hairston: Thank you. I want to speak to a couple
of things about the question because I think it speaks
to the strategic plan and I believe the strategic plan
guides the way we think about fiscal planning. But it also speaks
to the ability to have appropriate fiscal
control and planning. And so I just want to speak
to bringing 30 years of experience working
in multi-million dollar and billion dollar organizations
to the place of saying I think I bring
the kind of experience working at this level of budget
and fiscal operations to do the kinds of work under
the hood that have to do with not just understanding
the priorities but actually thinking about how do
we manage our fiscal responsibilities in such
a way that we deliver on outcomes from building
efficiencies in the process to being good at fiscal
reporting to understanding how to ultimately dig
into the documents and be data driven and then thinking
about this question of thank you. How do we look at that and how
do we prioritize and there’s a few things for me one
is having a listening post I think the community
meetings that Dr. Patu has done are great
and need to be continued. I also think we need to create
new listening posts in New ways from marginalized
groups to get involved and finally I think we need
to report out and communicate back
on the decisions that are made
in transparent ways that show the priorities
that we’re aligning to. Sims: Thank you Candidate Vos. Voz: Yeah. So the first thing
I remember as a candidate is that it’s not about me
it’s about the community I’m representing and because
of that it’s about creating space for those
communities to give us feedback on what’s
working and what isn’t. SESEC has done surveys
with families around the ways in which they like to be
engaged and families have told us the way that they
like to do that. It’s not through emails
and it’s not through asking them to come down to the
district office it’s through home visits
it’s through flyers it’s through calls and it’s
through meeting people in their communities
and allowing them access to the processes
and where decisions are being made. Secondly when we talk about
targeted universalism we have to talk about it and back
it up with funding and that has to be the lens
through which we make all of our decisions. Because of that I’ll always
be asking a question of who does this policy resource
or priority impact does it serve those that are
for this from educational justice who is involved
in naming this as a priority. Is it those from dominant
culture or is it those that are actually being
impacted by the policy that they’re naming who matters
in this situation and it’s constantly asking
those questions with any issue that is brought to me
as a school board director. Sims: Thank
you Candidate Hersey. Hersey: Thank you as a former
policy fellow in the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services under the Obama administration I’ve
had years of experience not only developing social safety
net policy for our country’s most marginalized families
but also managing incredibly complex budgets and especially
as you can imagine working with people across the political
aisle is incredibly difficult. So what we have to do
is or what I plan to do is to take that experience
and bring it to the school board as well. What we have to remember
is not only do we need to ask ourselves the questions
How does this affect our most
marginalized students. How does this affect
black and brown students. How does this affect
LGBTQ students. How does this affect
bi lingual students. How does this affect
the most underserved students in our community. But how does this also play
into our greater system of trying to develop a complete
system of educational equity and justice. Right. We have to make sure that when
ever we are taking a look at a policy we have
to ask ourselves not only how this affects our students
who are furthest away from educational justice
but how does this fit into our greater system as a
whole as well. Sims: Thank you. Candidate Hahn. Hahn: Thank you. I think one of my chief concerns
with the question is the word aspirational as was said
earlier this can’t be aspirational. This has to be
what we do do. And I think we can strengthen
our strategic plan to very very clearly state what we
are going to do and when we’re going to do
it by as we assign resources against the strategic
plan I’ll always be asking will this advance
the needs of our students who are furthest
from educational justice. And do they and their
parents agree? And how have you checked
with them to ensure that that’s the case we need to have more
parent involvement in our schools. I want to ensure that our
parents of students who are furthest
from educational justice are the ones who are
driving this change. Thank you. Sims: Thank you.
Candidate Rockey. Rockey: Yes I concur
with everything that my fellow candidates have shared. I think the other thing is the
tough part of this work. We know that there
is a budget deficit. We know the the things
that are not great. We know that and when it comes
to coming back to the table into the community when you
gather something in the community has high
expectations as you should ask
Should students and you want what you want. And we all want you to have
what you want. But I think it’s our most
incredible and daunting task in this is knowing
that we are trying we are trying to work
collaboratively across district to meet the needs
of all of our students. And so I think we have
to recognize the vulnerability of this work because it’s huge. And to come to you and be
honest and transparent as a candidate to say I’m
sorry this isn’t working out we need to create
other objectives. What do you have. How can
you work with me. Although we know this thing
that we shared or ideas that we had initially aren’t
working now we have to work as a team to figure out how
to do this work and to meet the goals of the strategic plan
and certainly our students who are further
from educational justice. We can’t just look at
it that this is a cakewalk it’s not. It really isn’t and
so it’s tough work ahead. Thank you. Sims: Thank you. We’re not going to pause
briefly for a 10 minute break to the candidates
and audience members. We will resume the fifth
question properly after the break. So please be seated back here at
seven thirty.

Danny Hutson

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