I will be a strong voice for the continuation and deepening of the racial equity work that is happening in the Tam Union High School District. In recent years, the Racial Justice Task Force has elevated the voice of students, and district leadership has provided teachers, staff, students, and families with the opportunities to engage in this work.
Despite this, there is still much work to do, particularly as we move past the foundational to the practical. We must evaluate curriculum and teaching practices to ensure that they are culturally responsive, and that all students feel valued, heard, and respected. Curriculum should be inclusive and highlight stories and history of historically marginalized groups. All students and families should feel welcomed and affirmed in our classrooms, our schools, and our community as a whole. We should have high expectations for all students, and an inherent belief that they will succeed. And we must provide our teachers, staff, and community members with ongoing opportunities to expand their knowledge of how to be anti-racist and how to empower all students.
This work is critical for all students. We must put measurements in place so that we as a board can be held accountable, and so that we, in turn, can hold others accountable. Our community and schools are not demographically representative of California or the rest of the United States. It is vital for the success of all students that we teach them to be culturally literate, while elevating diverse points of view so that they will be prepared beyond high school and as they enter the workplace.
Marin County and the Tam District have an abundance of resources, yet we struggle with a massive opportunity gap. Students of color and students with low economic resources are not given the same opportunities for success as white, wealthy students. This opportunity gap widened nation-wide during COVID and the data is reflected in the number of students of color who received a D, F, or I grade in spring of 2022 in our District.
The District has put together a comprehensive plan to bolster academics for students who are not finding success. As School Board, we must put financial resources to ensuring that the plans are carried out with fidelity, and we must be held accountable.
The District has aging facilities and is engaged in a master plan process to identify its facilities needs moving forward. This master plan will guide the District as it explores a facilities bond in 2024. I have been the co-chair of two successful parcel tax campaigns for the Mill Valley School District and was a communications chair and fundraising co-chair for the successful Measure J campaign for the Tam Union District, as well as heavily involved in the Mill Valley School District's recent successful bond campaign. I bring my experience in campaigns, highlighting the need for robust community engagement and transparency to the Board as it continues this work, with the ultimate goal of passing a facilities bond.
Much of the funds will be used for mandatory infrastructure upgrades, but I will be a voice for using the rest of the funds to enhance teaching and learning and for bringing students together on our campuses. Space can enhance or diminish teaching and learning and it will be crucial to hear from all stakeholders, students, families, teachers and staff, and community members, as we plan for the future of our schools.
The District's budget is strong, but as a community funded district, we must be cognizant of property tax revenues and how the current economic situation and potential recession may impact funding moving forward. Enrollment is projected to decrease and it will be important to align our staffing proportionally. Furthermore, pension relief is expiring and the District's pension contributions will again rise.
I have been on the Community Financial Advisory Committee for the Mill Valley School District since 2016 and bring experience stewarding a community funded district through growing and then declining enrollment. I am also on the county-wide Joint Legislative Action Committee and the Pension Ad-Hoc Committee, where we advocate for issues that are important to our school districts, including pension relief and increased special education funding.
School Board members across the County of Marin need to broaden our mandate to take responsibility for all children in Marin. We can do this by sharing resources and collaborating to ensure that all students are given the same opportunities in our schools. In the Tam District, we have multiple elementary school districts that feed into our high school district and collaboration with those districts is essential. Individual autonomy and local control for must be valued, but there are many opportunities for us to come together to increase efficiency, effectiveness and collaboration.
Collaboration at the Board Level: I will provide leadership and bring together school board members from TUHSD as well as our local elementary districts to share best practices, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration. I currently serve on the Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee, which guides the work of collaboration between Marin County School Districts. I'm also on the Next Steps Ad Hoc Committee, which is working to plan opportunities for trustees and superintendents to work together this coming school year.
Family Education: Our three comprehensive high schools currently share resources for many family education opportunities, but this can be expanded to include all of the elementary districts that feed into TUHSD. Workshops and trainings on anti-racist practices are particularly important to be broadened and shared with families and community members.
Professional Development: Professional Development opportunities and opportunities for our teachers and staff to come together should be expanded. We can help to leverage the resources that individual districts have by bringing together our elementary districts and engaging in conversation about curriculum articulation, particularly as we all explore the new California Math Framework.
Advocacy: As a Mill Valley School Board Trustee, I have had the pleasure of serving on the County-Wide Joint Legislative Action Committee, and the Pension Ad Hoc Committee. These committees provide trustees with avenues to advocate for the needs of our own districts at a state-wide level as well as to advocate for our neighboring districts.