Breaking Barriers to Build a Future for Every Student in Guilford County. The Future is Here, Today!
One of the major issues centered around our public school system is adequate funding. There is a myriad of other issues that stem from the the lack of proper funding. Re-opening our schools in phases in combat against the COVID pandemic is all based on proper funding, that we severely lack. The funds just aren't available and some of our elected officials have not been bold enough to push the agenda of fully funding our schools. The bottom line is, our schools deserve to be fully funded.
Once elected to serve on the Guilford County Board of Education, my priority will be:
Building meaningful and accountable relationships with the Guilford County Commissioners and other elected officials at the state level, across party lines, in an effort to revisit the expert based facilities study of our school buildings. Many of our school buildings are outdated and condemnable. With our expert analysis, and healthy relationships with the GCS funding body (Guilford County Board of Commissioners), our top priority should be ensuring that our students are learning in safe environment, in modern state of the art facilities.
I believe that this should not be a partisan race. Originally, Boards of Education were meant to be nonpartisan races. Over time, they have evolved and become much more political, often stagnating the progress of decision making for our students. We cannot make the decisions that we make for our children, political decisions. We should all be working together for the common and best interest of all of our students and staff. The silver-lining in partisan school board races is, too often you can tell who is voting with political vendettas over the best interest of collective progress. That makes it easier to put the right people into office.
In October, while working as a youth development coordinator at Vandalia Elementary School, I had the chance to partner with the Guilford Education Alliance on a special project regarding technology for every student. Too often, a barrier that stands in the way of students who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds is access to technology. Wireless internet access should not be a luxury. Sadly, some of the first experiences that our students have with technology is when they are made to use a computer when taking an assessment. That experience can be traumatizing because of the heightened anxiety from taking a test, alone. In an effort to reverse the narrative, we need special professional development for teachers and earlier access to technology for teachers. We must modernize how we teach/learn. Technology isn't going away. When the COVID-19 pandemic arose, I was on the front end of making sure that our students had access to the technology that they needed to do virtual learning through T4TF. Winston McGregor championed that project through the Guilford Education Alliance. Virtual learning is the wave of the future and once we return to the classroom, each student should have a device that is interactive to learn during the day.
Every child in Guilford County not only deserves an education, they deserve to be college and/or career ready at graduation. That is my commitment
There are three primary areas of concentration.Those are as follows:
1. Our most pressing priority as I write this is our students' safe return to school. Since we do not have 1:1 learning or broadband for all, this is paramount for our students and their families
2. Expanding and deepening our Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities to provide meaningful pathways for every student. I have been and continue to be a strong advocate in this critical area.
3. Ensuring we maintain stability as we work through the master facilities study conducted in tandem with the Board of Commissioners to spend our dollars efficiently in this first phase, should the bond pass. We must have 21st century schools as an economic driver for our community
As a Board member I have fought for all 3 of the critical areas in the aforementioned. With respect to the safe return to school I was one 5 Board members to help see that our students now have the option to return to in-person learning in October based on health metrics.
I will continue to build on our achievements in the critical area of CTE. As the lead CTE liaison, I worked tirelessly with the NC State General Assembly to get a bill crafted for Guilford County, earmarking 3 million dollars for our own pilot program. In addition, I worked in concert w/ District officials, the Superintendent and others to help launch 5 Career Academies here in GCS. I continue to work w/business leaders and our County Commissioners on our school needs
I think the genesis of it moving to partisan at that time probably made good sense considering that it all started with the redrawing of lines to create more balance for our Board of County Commissioners, given the State Legislature was dominated by one party for 120+ years. The Board of Education was almost an afterthought with respect to those decisions. I don't bring politics into my decision-making process on the Board of Education. I keep decisions child/parent centered, but I have witnessed political pressure on certain issues. I would be fine if it went back to non-partisan, but I don't know that it changes a great deal either way. "D" or "R", my vision/priorities to be the most excellent District in NC don't change
When I was first elected one of the earliest decisions we made was to invest in digital learning platforms and teacher training that would allow for students to learn remotely. Having been able to talk to other school Districts around the state and region we (Guilford County Schools) are in much better shape than some but we have a long way to go. I will work with getting Legislation written and passed at the State Legislature, and locally to ensure broadband for all, ensuring our District has 1:1 learning for all students. Sadly, our lack of 1:1 devices has been highly illuminated during the pandemic. We know this further widens the achievement Gap, and results in many other detrimental impacts we will feel for many years to come. We also know that as good as technology access and connectivity might be, it's only as good as the student that logs on and actively participates. I think along with improving access, the right software and hardware we must pair this with accountability as we enter into more remote learning. Lastly, I would contend that we need to elevate our Virtual Academy with more investment as a viable and reliable educational alternative for parents and students to consider