The demographics of our school district are changing. At this time, 52% of our district's students self-identify as non-white, and 115 languages are spoken in our students' homes.
Living in a diverse population is an advantage to all of us. The opportunities to learn about each other, to share ideas, and to develop creative solutions to problems are endless.
But diversity brings extra challenges to the table also.
Bilingual students have extra needs; they are working twice as hard just to keep up. Extra resources need to be funnelled toward programs for them to help them achieve grade level expectations.
Teacher training to assure racial sensitivity is crucial.
This is also a good time to review our humanities curricula to make sure they meet the needs of ALL our students. If they are to be adequately prepared for a global economy and workforce when they leave our schools, they need to learn about history and culture from books that are not eurocentric.
PROMOTING AND PROTECTINGS THE ARTS
The new laws defining school funding from Olympia clearly state that arts education will be paid for with local levy monies only, and that levies can't exceed $2500 per student.
As a musician and a professional music educator, I have more than a pedestrian understanding of what our arts programs mean to the lives of our children.
I have been closely involved with the music programs in our district since 1969, as either a student, a teacher, a parent volunteer or a professional collaborator.
I will fight as hard as a I can to promote and protect our finely honed music programs.
For more on this topic, please see the "MUSIC," post in the Blog Section of this site.
SUPPORT FOR TEACHERS
I have worked as a teacher, and side-by-side other teachers for most of my life, and know this to be true: our teachers need better working conditions.
Class sizes are too large. Teachers are working too many hours each day to make sure students are taught as well as possible.
It's past time to quit taking advantage of teachers' altruism and start funding small class sizes.