Frequently asked questions
My thoughts on Charter Schools
I believe charter schools are complementary, not competition. They provide alternative approaches for students and families and I believe we can learn a lot from them.
What I think about SHEP (Sexual Health Education Program)
SDUSD is required to implement SHEP, because the state has mandated it. However, as far as I know, each district has a say as to how much of it will be implemented and to what extent. Also, from what I know, San Diego Unified begins SHEP at 6th grade.
Other districts have implemented SHEP at the elementary level which is concerning for parents because it exposes students to concepts and ideas before they are developmentally ready. In some cases, the curriculum introduces behaviors that younger children wouldn't have a context for, because they haven't learned about specific body functions.
As a trustee, I would advocate to focus only on the physiological aspects of sexual health and that it be included in the curriculum at middle or high school, not at the elementary school level.
Furthermore, I believe that more communication needs to be done to about the curriculum itself and to encourage families to opt out for personal, religious, or cultural reasons. Here is a link to SDUSD's site that offers more detailed information and the curriculum: https://www.sandiegounified.org/shep
What resources and knowledge I bring to the table in response to COVID-19
I bring experience as an educator. As a university professor, I had to quickly pivot my courses and move them online. It required more than just transferring information; it required thinking about the entire student experience.
I bring the ability to strategize and focus on the mission. I’ve worked with many, many nonprofit organizations to support their work and to help them with long-term sustainability. This means planning for the immediate and long-term need and allowing for flexibility to adapt to the changing environment.
I also bring the ability to think outside the box and creatively address issues. Sometimes creative ideas ruffle feathers. But we cannot continue with “business as usual”. The district has to understand that one size does not fit all.
This pandemic has given us an opportunity. The opportunity to think about things differently and to be more collaborative. Let’s not waste this moment bogged down by what we can’t do, but rather let’s talk about what we can do.
Are schools going to be ready to reopen in August from a health and safety perspective?
Many parents want to know. But, I don’t think anyone can say what it will look like at this point.
There are measures that the district can control and implement immediately (physical aspects such as social distancing, masks, cleaning, etc.). However, I think we need to come up with a plan that has flexibility both for families and for school sites.
We need to look at what other schools are doing. What are charter schools and homeschoolers doing? We could learn a lot.
For example, Mt. Everest Academy, one of the district’s schools, operates a hybrid model. Classes are held once a week and most of the learning is done off campus.
We could give smaller schools the option to open because they have more space to work with. Or, we can adjust the daily schedule. Clairemont High School for example has a 4x4 schedule whereby the same group of students go to the same 4 classes during the day.
But, regardless of any decisions, we need to know what parents are comfortable with. We need to talk to parents about what they are willing and able to do.
For example, some children and families may be medically vulnerable, some may not have the option of working from home, some may feel that the quality of instruction won’t be there. I've sent out a survey that asks these questions, because the district isn’t thinking along these lines.
Regardless of the model, if we do end up relying on distance learning, it must be part of the overall strategy. It can’t just be a band-aid, but rather a legitimate component of the curriculum.
What Does a Board Trustee Do?
A board trustee is an elected position, just like a San Diego City Councilmember. San Diego Unified School District has 5 board trustees that represent its 5 sub-districts.