It's time to stop shortchanging our teachers.
For decades, teachers have been leaving the field in droves, and the COVID-19 Pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. Inflation is skyrocketing and the district continues to refuse standard cost of living adjustments, but continue to increase classroom sizes. Teachers already endure low wages for life-consuming work, unpaid hours outside of the classroom, and out-of-pocket expenses to provide their students an engaging learning environment. Denying fair wage adjustments is unacceptable and cannot continue.
If we want our students to have a world class education, we have to not only retain our best teachers, but attract talented educators. Our teachers must receive the wages, benefits, and administrative support that allow them to not just survive, but thrive. We must proactively build cost of living adjustments into our educators' pay scales, instead of forcing our teachers into the undignified position of fighting and begging to be able to afford to continue supporting our children.
Embed social emotional learning in the classroom
The culture of violence and bullying among our students has rocked our district, and punitive discipline doesn't address the roots of the issue. It's time for a new approach.
Embedding social-emotional learning in the classroom is the first step in developing a healthier culture among our students. Providing the tools to engage with empathy and express emotional needs prevents misunderstandings, allows students to give each other space for resolution, and teaches that our differences are to be celebrated.
School to Prison Pipeline
Practice restorative justice and early intervention
Our children are in school to learn, and learning how to participate meaningfully in the world is a part of that process. When we remove students from a learning environment, we eliminate opportunities for growth. When we incorporate policing into our schools, we criminalize children before they've had the chance to learn how to self-manage. We can't build a thriving community when its very future - our children - are treated as criminals.
In a district where black students already disproportionately face suspension, we have a responsibility to stop the school to prison pipeline at its mouth. Our children need trauma-informed, solutions-based support, and restorative justice practices to not only repair past harm, but prevent future harm.
Engage & elevate community voices
Elected officials are representatives of the community, and the school board cannot effectively do its job when the community is excluded, under-informed, and left out of the conversation. We must institute parliamentary procedures (meeting rules) that not only encourage community involvement, but ensure that the board and community both are fully-informed (without meetings that stretch late into the night!).
AESD's Board of Trustees should be a community partner, and we need more than campus visits - through cafecitos, community listening sessions, and regular reminders of upcoming board meetings, we will make the AESD Board of Trustees more representative of our families, kids, and teachers.