"As a wife, mother and grandmother, I have witnessed, had first-hand experience and been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to serve in the kinds of initiatives and programs that work. Community engagement and involvement are key to the team effort needed to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for District 5."
Accountable Public Schools
The school budget accounts for a substantial portion of the county budget each year. We owe it to our residents to be very mindful of how money is spent and whether we are receiving the expected return on our investment. Over the years, we have invested in many programs, with seemingly little data returned to directly gauge their effectiveness.
Metrics for success should be well thought out and planned ahead of time so that by the time a program has been in place for a number of years, data has been easily collected at selected points during the program. The resulting data should then be indicative of the continued value of the project, or that it has run it's useful lifespan and needs to be discontinued.
Particularly with needs and technology changing so quickly, we need available data to make quick decisions that best support the effective use of our limited resources. This is made all the more crucial by living in an era where the trends in Federal and State support are decreasing at best.
I want to work for you to make sure that every dollar we invest in programs is actually moving us forward.
High quality Pre-K will be critical for improving our schools and ensuring every student is ready to meet the rigorous demands of 21st century learning. High quality Pre-K has been proven cost effective and yields long term benefits.
The impact of high quality Pre-K on underserved communities is undeniable: reduced high school drop-out rates, reduced teenage pregnancy, improved academic gains, increased attendance, increased high school graduation and college attendance.
More than half of the children eligible for these programs are not receiving the program or are not receiving a high quality program using standards to help ensure kindergarten readiness.
If we truly want to improve schools and close the achievement gap, high quality Pre-k must be made available to every 4 year old in Montgomery County. I will work with the board to come up with viable options for making this happen.
Addressing Achievement Gaps
Despite being one of the top school systems in the country, the achievement gap continues to be a challenge in Montgomery county. We find ourselves at a crossroads and despite the uncertain social and political climate, have a real opportunity to positively impact educational outcomes.
Outcomes should not be predictable based on one's race or zip code. Closing the achievement gap has been a goal for years, because we know that better educational outcomes across all boundaries has a direct, positive, impact on the community; as the water rises, all ships rise.
We have been learning many lessons over the years. For instance, the value of an environment which nurtures our students, allows for creativity and innovation by both students and educators, and which provides equitable opportunities has been shown to have a direct correlation to better educational outcomes.
We need to strive to continue learning and identifying ways to support and increase positive educational outcomes regardless of any physical, social, or economic difference between students.
In order for our students to achieve, they need spaces conducive to learning. Many of our buildings are over capacity and/or are in need of maintenance and modernization.
The growth in Montgomery County Public Schools has outpaced our county and state’s financial means. Only through decisive and creative leadership will we be able to get a handle on and manage this challenge.
As your board member I will work to make sure that funds are used wisely and effectively to meet the growing space needs in our county's schools.