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.
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.
As a Board member, I will use my unique perspective as a lifelong educator to focus on:
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
School Board Docs: E-1 Graduation Taskforce Update.pdf
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