Candidate for Atlanta Board of Education, District 2
1) Why are you running for Board of Education? I am running for the Atlanta School Board, not only as a candidate but as a former Atlanta Public Schools graduate. My main purpose for running is to restore the confidence of the constituents and stakeholders regarding transparency in education from pre-k to 12th grade, specifically within the Atlanta District 2 neighborhoods. As a school board member, I will work hard for all people, support ideas, and fight for the needs of students, parents, educators, and staff while earning respect.
2) Many students have fallen behind academically because of the pandemic. What policies would you propose or support to help children get back on track?
After engaging in many conversations with people who reside within the Atlanta School Board District 2 neighborhoods and listening to their feedback, my pandemic policy proposal to assist students on getting back on track is this: First, we need to ensure that schools are completely open with parents regarding the loss of student learning. Secondly, we need to set a measurement to access a baseline to determine where students are academically. Further, schools can also look at priorities, such as making adjustments to the academic school day and additional after school learning.
3) What is the greatest challenge for Atlanta Public Schools and how will you address it? The greatest challenge for Atlanta Public Schools is the on-going disparities of academic achievement gaps amongst the total student enrollment population. These gaps heavily impact failing schools, reading levels, and graduation rates specifically within the majority of the Atlanta School Board, District 2 neighborhoods. With these gaps increasingly becoming wider due to the pandemic, we must find ways to continue to address this challenge which centers around a long history of inequity. For example, at the on-set of virtual learning, many students did not have a computer or home internet access. As a school board member, I will address this issue by ensuring that we continue to identify ways to invest more in much needed student resources.
4) Should the school system be investing more money? If so, in what areas (technology, capital improvements, etc.)? There is already plenty of money being invested in various areas across the Atlanta school system. Before we invest more money, we need to look at appropriate fund allocation to determine exactly where is the real need. We can reach this conclusion by asking the question, “What Atlanta School system financial investments have worked and what has not worked”? For example, the Atlanta Public Schools most recent contract sign with an Alabama-based nonprofit to train employees to incorporate technology in the classroom for over $500K. Also, there is a matter of how the $200M in federal stimulus funding should be spent.
5) How would you ensure parents are engaged in their child’s education? As school board member, I would ensure that there is a continuous effort for schools to focus on parent engagement with their child’s education through a collaboration of resources and partnerships. Although there may be many tools and resources already available for parents, there also may be areas of opportunities for improvement. Overall, parent engagement feedback would be key in order to achieve the best effective methods.