On the Issues

Safety

My first approach to student safety would be to improve the infrastructure such as the installation of bullet proof glass and steel doors with panic hardware. I would also advocate for additional staff and student education and training for emergency situations.  We must prepare our schools staff, faculty and students with practice drills to handle unexpected safety emergencies of all kinds -- tornadoes, lightning, fires,  explosions, as well as active shooters.


Why more Arts & Humanities

I believe Pinellas County Schools should implement more arts & humanities throughout its curriculum.  As a school board member I would initiate a partnership with Turnaroundarts.org to develop performing arts programs in low performing schools.  According to a three-year study,  schools that utilized this program saw a  22% increase in math proficiency and a 12.62% increase in reading proficiency. According to the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute, one underperforming school raised their math proficiency 120%. I believe a plan like this could be instrumental in addressing the achievement gap 

Accountability

  

I believe that if charter schools are to receive public funding then they also need to have public oversight and transparency, it is unfair to use public tax dollars to fund private business. 

Less Testing -- More Teaching

 I would Introduce initiatives that support reversing policies that emphasize test scores, statistics, and the micro-management of teachers and students with policy mandates .  I believe that teacher's need more flexibility to use their creative skills in their classrooms and not be tied to teaching for the tests.

Be Work Ready by Graduation

 My second initiative would be to help make all students employment ready by graduation -- both college bound and employment bound students. I intend to introduce a plan that would partner with various agencies to implement technical and vocational certification programs in high schools throughout the county , not just in a select few.

Fiscal Responsibility

  

I want to reevaluate the Pinellas County School Board’s five-year capital improvement plan that was introduced in 2016 to identify unnecessary appropriations. I believe we do not need more money but need to better utilize the money we have. In evaluating the current budget, I want to see a reallocation of funds to address immediately address primary and immediate safety necessities.  Many academic and teaching improvements can be accomplished without additional funds by freeing up more of the teacher’s time during the school day allowing them to utilize their professional skills without being choked by over burdensome mandates.