As a parent and involved community member, I have studied the issues, participated on school and district committees and talked to hundreds of community members to prepare to serve on the Rocklin School Board. Here are my priorities:
Healing a Relationship
The relationship between our teachers and administration is at a low point in Rocklin right now. After the contract dispute is over, there will be some relationships that require healing – and it will take time. Many Rocklin teachers do not feel valued and respected and I will make it a priority to address this. For the last ten years, my career has focused on developing collaboration between entities that often disagree and ultimately come together to ensure students succeed. I will bring my experience with best practices implemented throughout the state to build a high-level culture of respect and trust.
Providing a safe environment for our children to learn and grow is a top priority. RUSD has taken steps to improve school safety but we need to do more. As a board member I will be vigilant about working with staff on ways to improve the infrastructure of our campuses to best protect everyone. We need to continue to grow our productive partnership with local law enforcement and invest in supports for students. This should include regular trainings for all staff as well as improvements like coordinated locking systems for all classroom doors.
Safety also means maintaining strong cultures on our campuses while increasing our focus on teaching to the whole child and making sure our schools are safe from bullying. It’s important in this context that we continue to ask our students about their environment, take their answer seriously and continue or introduce new curriculum and strategies to ensure every child feels safe, welcomed and challenged.
The best education plan in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the funding to make it work. As a board member I will prioritize budgeting based on policies that are proven to increase student achievement. I will work with board members and staff to maintain a balanced budget to meet the needs of students by providing a high-quality education while maintaining a prudent reserve.
It’s critical that we build trust and community between teachers and administration. Our teachers need to know that we support them in their work and that they have a trusted partner in administration. Building that trust and support will be a high priority of mine on the board.
Rocklin is a high-quality district, with great schools. But in such a district we run a risk of our average results being great, while not every student is thriving. We need to ensure that we are paying attention to each and every student. That means things like giving extra support to a student struggling academically, social/emotional support to students looking for community or creating additional pathways at the high school to ensure every student finds both rigor and relevance in their classrooms.
Professional Learning Communities
Teachers working together around individual student needs is proven to be one of the most important things we can do to improve instruction. By providing teachers with the time, space and information to meaningfully collaborate with each other, children’s learning improves. Highly qualified and well prepared teachers are core to student success. I would push for more emphasis on individually tailored opportunities for teachers and groups to ensure they have all the tools they need to be successful in the classroom.
In special education, I believe our biggest priority needs to be the recruitment and retention of high-quality special education teachers. Over the past few years, Rocklin Unified has made some reasonable strides forward but we definitely have a lot more work to do. I fully support the idea of providing the least restrictive environment and support doing so in coordination with general education teachers.
I believe our schools need to constantly be adapting and improving based on the needs of our students. In this context, data matters – teachers need information to design classes that meet individual student needs. This means regular feedback to allow constant evaluation, adaptation and improvement within the classroom. We need to work with our higher education and business partners to better understand and improve how we are preparing students to succeed in college and careers. Finally, to provide accountability to our community we need to provide better and clearer data so our families and community members can understand and track our improvements and progress.
High-Quality Early Education
Entering kindergarten ready to learn is critical for children to be successful throughout their K-12 years. I believe high-quality early education is essential to our ongoing success. Partnering with local early learning providers, I will work to provide opportunities for all children to enter school fully prepared.
Building a Bench
We have great administrators and principals in Rocklin, but ensuring this continues needs to be a priority. That means investing in our own and prioritizing transition planning. As one principal or central administrator leaves, we need internal candidates ready to step into the role. This way, we can best continue Rocklin’s culture of academic success.