Thanks to Bonnie Bricker’s effort, she organized a Facebook HoCo School Interest group and had an online BOE candidate forum. There are four questions and my answers to all of them.
Questions, Board Of Education:
- Please describe your role as a board member in creating equity for vulnerable populations including those in Special Education, immigrant and undocumented students, LGBTQ, and racial minorities. (350 words or LESS)
I believe all students, including those in Special Education, immigrant and undocumented students, LGBTQ, and racial minorities, should be treated equally. As an immigrant and racial minorities myself by these definitions, I know the challenges first hand. However, I don’t want to be labeled as “vulnerable” in my work place or my community, neither I want my children to be labeled as “vulnerable” in school. This label puts me down and does not aptly describe who I am. I want everyone to be treated equal with respect. I believe I am not the only one who share this sentiment. Putting our students into different baskets is not the best way to help them to perform to the best of their abilities. It may prevent them to become the best version of themselves and this is not a healthy mindset for students to adopt both in and outside of school.
As a board member, I will ensure all the policies are non-discriminatory. I will ensure these policies are implemented in a non-discriminatory way. Most importantly, I will ensure everyone feels welcomed in school and everyone is expected to achieve the highest standard no matter which “basket” he or she is in.
Family involvement and effective communication is another crucial component of creating a supportive and encouraging environment in our schools. We need to create an avenue for families to communicate to the Board about the inequities they are facing in order for the Board to pass policies to address these inequities. Labeling people as “vulnerable” does not create this avenue of communication and only discourages our families from reaching out for help. We should create a straightforward, efficient and effective feedback mechanism for each policy and each program such that we can engage with the students who are not treated equally or need resources. Only through continuous effort and improvement, we can provide an equitable learning opportunity for all.
- What experiences or skills do you have that prepare you to make educationally focused decisions?(350 words or LESS)
I want to make sure HCPSS has a quality of education for years to come. I have one child currently in HCPSS and another one will enter next fall.
I have been actively involved with the school system. I served on the BOE Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC). I have testified on multiple issues during Board of Education hearings including later school starting time and school redistricting. Most recently I provided suggestions to the school regarding transportation optimization. I have been an active participant in CAC and my local PTA meetings. I also testified on tightening APFO in front of county council since I believe APFO will affect our education system significantly.
I have been elected twice as a Board Member of Columbia Association and River Hill Village Association since 2015. I am a strong proponent of fiscal health and great customer service for Columbia Association. I care deeply about both the organization health and residents feedback.
I was educated in three different education systems, China, Singapore and USA. My unique international education experience gives a multi-dimensional perspective and approaches while looking at issues and solving problems.
As an engineer, I always look for practical and optimal solutions when encountering problems. I look for solutions which are data-driven, pragmatic, community involved and professional derived.
- Redistricting is a difficult process, yet we know it is in our future. How can we best help this process to be more informative and less divisive? (350 words or LESS)
Redistricting is one part of strategies to solve the overcrowding issue. I was involved in the redistricting process last year by applying for the Area Attendance Committee (the selection process was not transparent, to say at least), attending community meetings, engaging with community members, exchanging ideas with HoCo Collaborative Community Plan group, I have learned a lot thought my first-hand experience.
We should improve both the process and methodology for school redistricting. We need accurate, complete and clean data for a data-driven solution. We need to develop in house capability to process redistricting data in real time while discussing this important topic.
We need a more objective goal while moving polygons around. In policy 6010, we should assign each criteria a weight (for example, each criteria 7.69%) objectively and evaluate the overall performance while doing the adjustment. We should not let one criteria dominate all of other factors.
We need to keep student-focused education in the policy center. Siblings, rising junior etc. should not be negatively impacted. We should always try to give parents and families options and choices such that they can choose what is the best for them.
Furthermore, the board should keep the pressure on building new schools as our student population keeps growing. Since the board approved high school #13 at Mission road, the board should continue look for high school 14. We should make sure high school #13 will be completed on time with quality assurance and make sure the elementary school in Turf Valley be on track. We just could not keep large scale school redistricting plan on the table all times.
- If elected, what are your top 3 priorities as a Board member? (350 words or LESS)
1) Work with all stakeholders to solve the $50 million school deficit and bring accountability and transparency back to the school system. Because of the rubber stamp support from previous BOE members and continuous lack of accountability and transparency, HCPSS is hitting hard with this $50 million deficit. We need work with the community, teacher association, county council, county executive and other stakeholders to develop a long and stable plane to address it.
2) Provide equitable learning opportunities for all students and motivate students to learn and to succeed through hard work. Different students have different learning capabilities, different learning environments and different personal interests, the school system should provide individualized learning opportunities for them. At the same time, HCPSS should work with families and communities to address individual student need, motivate students to achieve their best potential through hard work. If there is a will, there is way for both students and HCPSS.
3) Listen to all sides and be open to new ideas for solutions. As a board member, I am looking for data-driven and practical solutions. We have a diverse community and diverse perspectives and we need respect and embrace them and use the talents from all resources.