Greetings Area 4 residents! I wanted to give an update on what I’ve been up to since I began serving as your San José Unified Board Trustee. It’s been a busy first two weeks in office, so I wanted to look back and reflect on my start.
I’d like to spend a moment to say that I’m truly honored to serve as your Board Trustee. As an engaged parent, I know how important education is to our children’s success in life, and that we as parents can make a huge difference. As someone who works in technology, I know that keeping curriculum up to date and relevant to today’s (and tomorrow’s) economy is critical to setting our children up for success whether they choose to go to college, or directly enter the workforce. As a community servant, I know how important volunteers are. Those who put their city and neighborhoods above themselves and their families, for the good of society. So thank you for all that you do.
As I promised I would do, I’ve hit the ground running, and wanted to share with you a list of all the meetings and events I’ve attended since being sworn in on March 15th.
March 17th: I attended Senator Jim Beall’s Education-focused Town Hall at the Cypress Community Center. Senator Beall has several bills that he has either authored or sponsored that would help out many students throughout the state, and specifically within San José Unified. SB940 will help students who grow up in foster homes by expanding their eligibility for Cal Grants to pay for college tuition, SB1019 will increase the amount of money spent on minors from the Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, and SB1362 will make changes to the state education code with regard to accointability of charter schools. I encourage you all to take a look at these bills and read them for yourserlves.
March 20th: Hacienda HIPS meeting — I introduced myself to Principal Loy and the Parents of Hacienda Elementary students.
March 22nd: I attended a candidate forum for the upcoming election for Santa Clara County Supervisor in District 4. The county funds multiple education-related programs, and I think it’s important to hear what all of the candidates think about the various issues.
March 23rd: The Silicon Valley Leadership Group hosted a reception for California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson. Mr. Torlakson has served two terms as the head of the California Department of Education, and has been instrumental in increasing funding for schools, as well as increasing school districts control over how they get to spend their budgets. In addition to speaking with Mr. Torlakson, I also met his wife Mae Cendaña Torlakson who manages the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) organization. MESA runs multiple programs targeted at helping educationally and economically disadvantaged kids become engineers and scientists.
March 24th: I attended the very impressive performance of Guys and Dolls at Pioneer High School. The entire production was professionally executed, and my only regret was attending on the final evening of the production so I couldn’t return with my kids to see it again.
March 26th: Every trustee also serves as a representative or alternate representative on several committees relating to the district. Trustee Foley is the representative for the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, and I serve as the alternate. We both attended the meeting together that covered LCAP, the district’s strategic plan, and other topics related to special education.
March 28th: Santa Clara County School Board Association (SCCSBA) — Another group that board trustees serve on is the county school board association, and while I am neither the representative nor the alternate, I wanted to attend this meeting because the featured topic was “Demographic Trends in Santa Clara County.” The presenter was Tom Williams, who is the demographer for several of the school districts in the county, and he brought up some concerning statistics regarding birth rates in the area and how they may contribute to declining enrollment.
March 29th: Project Cornerstone’s Annual Asset Champions Breakfast — What an incredible event this was. For those of you unfamiliar with Project Cornerstone, they work with Silicon Valley schools to foster positive environments and create “Upstanders.” San José Unified was honored to have Los Alamitos Elementary School win the award for “Caring Elementary School.” You can click here to watch their video. I was also thrilled to see that the San José Public Library (I also serve on the Library Commission) won the award for “Community Values Youth.”
March 30th: Last, but certainly not least, I began my school tours. I started my day with a tour of John Muir Middle School with Principal Harding. I was particularly impressed with the mock trial being developed by the 6th grade Speech and Debate class for the case of “Jack and Jill.” After John Muir, I spent time at Almaden Elementary, Terrell Elementary, Canoas Elementary, and Carson Elementary. I’d like to thank Principals Montes, Reghitto, Keesaw and Aratin for being great hosts and highlighting some of the great things you’re doing at your schools. I will be touring the remaining schools in my area in the near future.
And that concludes the month of March. April is already off to a busy start as well, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.