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Atlanta Board of Education Member, District 6

The School Board is the elected governing body of a school district. The School Board provides funds for the operation and maintenance of the system, adopts courses of study, prescribes standards for operation and improvement of the schools, provides for planning, expansion and improvements of facilities, employs personnel, approves the budget, financial reports and major expenditures, and appoints and evaluates the school superintendent
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Biographical Information

What experience do you bring to the job and what is your motivation to serve as a school board member?

If elected, what would be your two top policy priorities and how would you work to achieve results?

What are the most significant challenges to quality public education in your school district? List two and explain how you will pursue them.

Which educational reform idea do you believe has the most promise for your school system?

What efforts do you support to raise the student achievement in each of the schools in the local school district and increase graduation rates?

Campaign Phone (770) 765-3802
An Atlanta native, attorney and former teacher in Atlanta Public Schools, my work within urban settings has been the combination of my classroom, policy and legal experience. Currently, I serve as the Program and Community Director for Jumpstart, a national, early education non-profit, where I work with organizations and communities to provide high-quality early education to all children. Prior to joining Jumpstart, I taught at A.D. Williams Elementary School, as a Teach for America corps member.. As an attorney, I analyzed national education issues and advocated for accessible healthcare at the Children’s Defense Fund. Also, I worked in Cape Town, South Africa, where I helped refugee women and children access quality services and enrollment in local schools and communities.

As your current school board member, I’ve advocated and worked tirelessly to improve education for all of Atlanta’s children. The conversations have been tough. The decisions have been even tougher. We’ve increased our graduation rates, stabilized our schools and strengthened our services to provide whole-child development. Our schools are stronger, and the success of our children continues to rise. It is my hope to continue this path of success in a second term on the Atlanta Board of Education.
1. Equity - Equity is the major issue that I see facing public education. It is the driver of all other issues. From classroom resources to school closures to accessibility to high-quality schools, equity is the common denominator. If we do not make decisions from an equitable lens, we will continue to perpetrate the same system in need of change and further marginalize children with the greatest needs. I've served as Chair of the Policy Committee and have championed policies to move in this direction. Through our budget process, administrative costs have been reduced, and those funds moved directly to our schools. Schools leaders and their teams are more empowered to fund school-based initiatives. I will continue to support decisions, like these, to address equity in APS.

2. Engagement – Over the past four years, APS has worked hard to stabilize the school system. The investment of more resources for schools and classrooms, recruitment and retention of great educators, a more fiscally responsible budget, heightened transparency and engagement has been key areas of improvement. Now, restoration of community trust and true partnership is one of our most pressing issues. We must create and implement a plan that welcomes our community and partners back into our school system. Allyship is pivotal to the future success of APS and the way we engage communities in our schools helps achieve this factor.
1.Poverty and inequity is a harsh reality for Atlanta Public Schools. The lack of resources and opportunities, beyond the school building, cripple student achievement in so many ways. To ensure that every child’s needs are met, we must provide resources, equitably, for all children. Our academic programming should incorporate a wholistic approach, such as the inclusion to wraparound services, social emotional learning and stronger family engagement. We must strengthen our partnership with other entities to support our children after school hours. Lastly, we must align funding and budgets with student needs rather than enrollment. I will continue to support decisions that redirect more resources and funding to our schools while maintaining a strong, stable position to ensure sustainability.

2. We must continue to create a new culture in Atlanta Public Schools – a culture of high expectations for our students, talented teachers and leaders, challenging curricula and a system of supporters that makes all students feel like they are cared for. To have the greatest impact, I will continue to build on the turnaround strategy to support our most struggling schools, expand high-quality early learning opportunities for all and strengthen family and community engagement.

APS’s operating model, as a charter system, provides the most promise for our schools. It provides a higher level of autonomy for the school district and lessens mandates from the state. Under the APS charter system, APS redefined school governance through the creation GO Teams and stabilized schools through cluster models and signature programming. Additionally, APS’s turnaround plan is a comprehensive start to addressing some of our most struggling schools. The plan encompasses a variety of interventions such as consolidations, intensive tutoring, talent development, extended learning opportunities (extended day and vacation academies), and partnership with other education organizations. While everyone does not agree on every strategy of the plan, the plan provides strong opportunities to support our struggling schools – a deeper promise and commitment to our schools.
Efforts, such as challenging curriculum, a system of great teachers and leaders, and strong family engagement can improve student achievement. Exposure to numerous college and career ready opportunities, such as well as workforce development, will continue growth in our graduation rates. These opportunities are culturally relevant to student achievement and improve postsecondary readiness for our students. From investing in early learning opportunities to cluster planning to wraparound services, a continuous, wholistic investment will continue to improve student achievement immensely.

he current board and superintendent turned their backs on me when I asked about school closings. The community pleaded to stop the school turnaround plan but the currentboard and superintendent didn't listen. Now our teachers are fleeing the system and empty buildings are being left in our communities leaving us vulnerable to gentrification. I am a parent, educator, and graduate of APS from Washington high school. I am fighting to bring the pride back like when I was in school.
Stop school closings. Bring job security back to our educators in order for them to stay and teach our children. Be a listening ear and voice of the community that will not turn my back on them like it was done to me by the current board and superintendent.
My son is 10 years old. He told me that public school kids are not failures so why do they keep calling our schools low performing. It broke my heart. Our public schools are being labeled by these privatized publishing companies that bring in skewed data identifing our schools as low performing. It is a ploy to take our real estate by selling our schools. Well schools shouldn't be for sale. That's why I'm running to stop this treachery and bring the pride back to APS. Our children, schools, and communities are high performing.
Very simple. Allow educators to educate! I have been in education 15 years and what I know that is factual, is that our educators are well equipped with the knowledge they need to educate our children. We only need to support them and allow them to do their jobs.
Bring the pride back to APS. The reason I am a successful career professional is because my teachers believed in me. They still are mentors and friends in my life. They signed up for the long haul and have stood the test of time. This is what APS has always had, dedicated people. Now it's time to bring back the pride in order for them to do their jobs and prepare our students to be college and career ready.
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Campaign Phone (404) 752-6080
Valrie is a certified teacher who is committed to seeing students succeed. Valrie is running because of her concerns that the school system is failing many of the students. Valrie’s relevant training includes working with English language learners in Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County Schools,under the supervision of several cooperating teachers. She also engaged students as a Substitute Teacher for Atlanta Public Schools; actively utilized strategies to help struggling students at LaAmistad After-School Program; and successfully tutored under-performing students in Fulton County Schools, in Reading and Language Arts for the CRCT. Valrie also has a history of working with several communities. Valrie earned a B.A. degree in Political Science, an M.A. degree in International Relations, and a Master’s degree teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) from Georgia State University. Valrie also earned a Juris Doctor degree from Atlanta Law School.
My focus would be on equity and equality in the schools. I would recommend keeping the policy in place to provide students with meals, since this helps with brain development. I would fight to alleviate the literacy and graduation obstacles by diversification of the curriculum to include physical education, music and the arts, APS schools would be required to make mentoring available for struggling k-12 students on an ongoing basis. This would consist of peer-to-peer mentoring or paid mentors. If it is not feasible for mentoring to take place on the school premises, the public libraries could be used for this purpose. I would also advocate for more resources in public schools so that students can be educated in their communities.
The most significant challenges to quality public education in the District is a lack of literacy among the majority of third graders and low graduation rates. If students cannot read, they cannot understand content. The graduation rates for some schools have increased from say 58% to 68%. This leaves approximately 30% of students who are not graduating. I would advocate for a holistic approach to teaching. It is necessary for all students to master the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic. However, instead of focusing solely on the three r’s to prepare the students for standardized tests, As already stated, I would advocate for regular physical activity, which could include planting vegetable gardens, and give them exposure to the arts. This would increase the students’ motivation for learning academic subjects.
Providing mandatory mentoring for struggling students has the most promise and it would be relatively easy to implement. Mentors could be recruited from their peers and from the better performing high schools and could be given academic credit for their work.
In addition to the above mentioned strategies to increase motivation to learn, I would support efforts to expose students to 21st Century skills such as the STEM program, even if this means weekend studies and summer.programs for the student. This will provide for the a link to further studies and potential occupations.

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