Town Where You Live
Current Chair of the Oregon City School Board.
Member, Clackamas County Community Action Board.
Executive Director, Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine.
Retired, Manager Clackamas County Behavioral Health Crisis and Safety Net System.
Simmons College School of Social Work, MSW (1986).
We have worked hard to address these disparities.
As board members we receive letters from parents desperate for their students to return to the classroom citing deteriorating mental health, and others begging us to stay on-line, afraid of infecting vulnerable relatives. Some say their student’s anxiety decreased (and focus improved), others have lost all motivation to study. Interesting trends have emerged. This has not been a “one size fits all” pandemic.
We have learned a lot. The tablets we bought in 2020 will be available this fall when we return to school, providing students who have had difficulty completing homework at home the tools to be successful. My hope is that the multi-disciplinary teams currently outreaching to disengaged students will continue. An integrated on-line option could be developed for students who do better on-line. Covid has illuminated areas where our system has neglected some families and has helped us develop ways to better meet their needs.
Before the pandemic I participated in a listening session of parents who are English language learners themselves. I learned about hurdles and barriers they face and about their tremendous resiliency and strength as individuals, and as a group. They helped each other navigate the system. They had an informal peer-support system.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a peer support model where experienced families lead a 12-week course on navigating the system, accessing resources, self-care, etc. These families share a weekly meal and often form their own ongoing support cohort. This could be adapted for families entering the school system as well as for families dealing with different issues requiring specific types of support (LGBTQ students, students of color, students with different learning styles or physical abilities, etc.) . These groups could also help each other advocate for their students’ needs with the district through their collective wisdom.
The district had to reinvent itself this past year. It wasn’t easy, or perfect. Our enrollment fell by 8% in 2020, affecting future funding. Some parents with students entering kindergarten held back, some opted for home-schooling, others found schools with more experience in on-line learning. We expect that when we return to classrooms our enrollment will also return. There are many unknowns still.
For years we have been under-funded. In 2019 we planned improvements in services and supports enabled by the passage of the Student Success Act, which would have added $1 Billion to our schools. The purpose of the SSA was to increase mental health supports, address disparities, improve safety and fully fund Measure 98 to reduce drop-out rates and improve readiness for career and college. As a result of the pandemic the governor has scaled back on this funding. We never got the chance to spend this money, but still expect some relief from this funding.
Hemos aprendido mucho. Las Chrome Books que compramos en 2020 estarán disponibles este otoño cuando regresemos a la escuela, proporcionando a los estudiantes que han tenido dificultades para completar la tarea en casa las herramientas para tener éxito. Mi esperanza es que los equipos multidisciplinarios que actualmente se acercan a los estudiantes desconectados continúen. Se podría desarrollar una opción integrada en línea para los estudiantes que obtienen mejores resultados en línea. Covid ha iluminado áreas donde nuestro sistema ha descuidado a algunas familias y nos ha ayudado a desarrollar formas de satisfacer mejor sus necesidades.
La National Alliance on Mental Illness tiene un modelo de apoyo entre pares en el que familias experimentadas dirigen un curso de 12 semanas sobre cómo navegar por el sistema, acceder a recursos, cuidado personal, etc. Estas familias comparten una comida semanal y a menudo forman su propia cohorte de apoyo continuo. Esto podría adaptarse para las familias que ingresan al sistema escolar, así como para las familias que enfrentan diferentes problemas que requieren tipos específicos de apoyo (estudiantes LGBTQ, estudiantes de color, estudiantes con diferentes estilos de aprendizaje o habilidades físicas, etc.). Estos grupos también podrían ayudarse mutuamente a defender las necesidades de sus estudiantes con el distrito a través de su sabiduría colectiva.
Nuestra inscripción cayó un 8% en 2020, lo que afectó la financiación futura. Algunos padres con estudiantes que ingresaban al jardín de infancia se reprimieron, algunos optaron por la educación en el hogar, otros encontraron escuelas con más experiencia en el aprendizaje en línea. Esperamos que cuando regresemos a las aulas, nuestra inscripción también regrese. Aún quedan muchas incógnitas.
Durante años hemos estado subfinanciados. En 2019, planeamos mejoras en los servicios y apoyos habilitados por la aprobación de la Ley de Éxito Estudiantil, que habría agregado $ 1 mil millones a nuestras escuelas. El propósito de la SSA era aumentar los apoyos para la salud mental, abordar las disparidades, mejorar la seguridad y financiar completamente la Medida 98 para reducir las tasas de deserción y mejorar la preparación para la carrera y la universidad. Como resultado de la pandemia, el gobernador ha reducido esta financiación. Nunca tuvimos la oportunidad de gasta
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Town Where You Live
If elected, I resolve to be an ethical, transparent, and community-based member of the Oregon City School Board. I will commit to listening to the input of the community in which I have lived and worked for many years. I will serve to make Oregon City Schools places of learning and advancement.
I understand the time commitment and effort it will take to ensure that my role as an Oregon City Board Member is impactful and I am ready to designate my time and attention to this duty; making it a p
I firmly believe we need a baseline to get back to basics. We will need to look not only at the academics but we will need to address the lack of social interaction, the isolation, the emotional toll that the children took on this past year, We have seen levels of fear never experienced before in our county, We not only had to endure the covid restrictions, but we also faced wildfires and a massive ice storm.
We must find a way to bring the children back into the classroom and have them start to relearn to the basics. We also have to remember that many children may have experienced child abuse, lack of food and nurturing, We will also need to find a way to bridge the fears of the teachers fears and concerns as they return to the classroom. I am willing to listen and brainstorm to find creative ways to lessen the tragic impact of the lost year.
I am a parent in this district. I felt unheard and my experiences were discarded at the board meetings. I shared our tragic story of loosing one of my children due to the isolation created by the lockdowns. Our current board blew off many stories not taking the mental health of our children seriously. The parents have stepped up in many ways to aid their children in the online learning, however in juggling jobs, schooling and mental health, we are at a breaking point in our community. I vow to listen with any parent willing to have the courage to share their stories so that we can together lessen the damage from loosing this past year.
In watching the online school board meetings, I have learned of a mass exodus of our students. We lost as many as 1,000 students to either private school, as they were open for in person learning or we lost them to already established online charter schools who were well versed in the online environment. Our current school board voted to delay our reopening of our district even though the science and data showed we could reopen. We have other districts around us that are opening for full time in person schooling and we are still struggling to open up our hybrid system. We have to be proactive in this situation. The school board and district should have been creating scenarios this entire past year as science and data emerged to be ready to open. In order to win back those students we must reopen our district, be transparent, rebuild trust with the school board and district after the unethical behavior.
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