Platform


Arlington Public Schools (APS) are highly regarded within the state of Virginia. APS high schools are consistently ranked in the top 100 nationally. Most of our high school students will have taken at least one AP/IB course before graduation. Our on-time graduation rate exceeds the state’s year after year*. Arlington has a great schools.

But we have challenges. Our school population is growing. Many schools have reached or exceeded their capacity. Class sizes have grown. Support services, like special education, social services and medical support have not kept pace with the population growth. Testing and technology mandates have often distracted from instructional time and focus. And, while Arlington’s teacher pay scale is generally ranked among the very best in Virginia, deferred pay steps in the last decade have left valuable veteran teachers short of expected compensation.

These are complicated problems. We have plenty of vision on the School Board. But we lack the insights that emerge from a career of working every day with students, faculty and administration. 

It’s time we elect an experienced educator to the Arlington County School Board. 

Why? 

Because policy decisions about what happens inside our schools should reflect the realities of what it is like to teach and learn in our schools, day in, day out. With 40 years of experience inside and outside the classroom --- twenty of them in Arlington Public Schools (APS) --- I have lived the impacts of School Board decision-making. 

Sandy has vision. I respect how she is able to break down a problem and help people see the connections between all the parts. This ability comes from her deep knowledge about education and how schools operate.
 -APS Colleague

As a Board member, I will use my unique perspective as a lifelong educator to focus on:

  • Smart services planning to grow and optimize the wrap-around supports necessary for success in the classroom, such as more counselors, psychologists, reading specialists
    • We must be innovative with this challenge, forming strategic alliances with Arlington organizations such as community organization and businesses with a vested interested in our schools. other county services, adding new focus for this support in our budget. Classroom teachers are just one part of the team needed to ensure the success of our children, who come to APS with a great variety of needs.
  • Smart instructional planning to ensure that we prioritize professional development for any new initiative.
    • We must understand that new programs, methods or technologies cannot be effective unless we also invest to ensure teachers and staff have sufficient training. And we cannot improve and grow any initiative unless we have a plan to evaluate its results.
  • Smart fiscal planning to guarantee that we can recruit and retain the best teachers, while maintaining the quality in infrastructure and other services that Arlington deserves in its schools
    • We must remain competitive with local jurisdictions in the total compensation package which we offer to our recruits, while helping existing staff “catch up” to the pay scale after experiencing deferred steps during the last downturn.
  • Smart capacity planning to respond to the new growth, shifting populations, and diverse needs of our students
    • We must continue to work closely with the County Board to optimize demographic data, anticipate demand for our facilities and programs, and minimize disruption to our families

My personal passion is reading. When a child can read, they are empowered to learn. But the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) as the keys for the 21st century has obscured the fundamental nature of reading in learning. Better reading will be a key remedy to our opportunity gaps. There are multiple instructional methods for reading. I want each school enabled to meet the needs of each student, not just selecting a single method that meets the needs of most students. 

Finally, I believe it is important to have an expectation of success for all our students. But as a teacher and parent, I know that each child may need something a little different to achieve that success. That is the definition of equity for me. The commitment to that mission of individual empowerment is what must be equitable throughout our schools. Everyone, from the School Board down to every person in our buildings, must be committed to teaching each child --- your child.

As a lifetime educator, I know I can bring unique insights and innovative ideas to my colleagues of the Arlington School Board, as we do our part to enable the dreams of all our students.

 


    *For Class 2019

  • On-Time Graduation rate is 92.5% 
  • On-time rate for the three comprehensive high schools is 96% 
  • English Learners show the greatest growth in the On-Time graduation from75% to 77%
  • Students with Disabilities earning an advanced diploma increased from 24% to 25%

School Board Docs: E-1 Graduation Taskforce Update.pdf
Presented by Dr. Laura Newton, Director of Student Services, November 19, 2019

 

 

This website is authorized and paid for by the Sandy for Schools Campaign Committee.






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