During my 2008 campaign for school board, I promised to focus on three key areas: Educational Excellence, Family and Community Involvement to support students, and School Facilities.
In my first term, I maintained focus and worked with fellow School Board members and staff to make significant progress in these three key areas:
- Supported the Improvement of Science, Technology, Mathematics, Engineering (STEM) offerings by supporting the Governor’s Career and Technical Academy at the Career Center, the STEM focus at Hoffman Boston elementary school, renovation of the Planetarium, and improved access to attend summer school for middle school students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Technology.
- Supported increased access to technology for students who do not have computers at home by recycling laptops for students to use at home.
- Expanded World Language opportunities by increasing the number of elementary schools participating in the Foreign Language Elementary School (FLES) Program.
- Enhanced compensation to recruit, retain, and develop Arlington’s high quality teachers and provided career advancement scholarship opportunities for instructional assistants to become teachers.
- Developed a strategic partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to expand opportunities for high school students to earn college credit by taking advanced high school courses. In 2010 there were 353 students taking NOVA dual enrollment courses.
- Supported the Establishment of the Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program, a consortium of education institutions including NOVA and George Mason University that is making college more accessible for underrepresented students and increasing their success rate. In 2010 there were 348 high school seniors enrolled in the program.
- Advocated for the Establishment of the Dropout Prevention Task Force that has increased the graduation rate by expanding community involvement and implementing systemic changes to better support high school students at risk of dropping out.
- Enhanced the Arlington Mill High School Continuation Program by offering dual enrollment courses and career technical opportunities to older students. In 2010 there were 559 students enrolled in this program
- Supported additional Pre-School opportunities for children.
- Expanded learning opportunities for low income students by reducing fees and expanding mathematics and enrichment courses for summer school.
- Approved the first comprehensive evaluation of services for Special Needs Students, as recommended by the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee.
- Accelerated English and Mathematics instruction for English Language Learners in order to prepare students for on time high school graduation.
- Supported Home Schooled students to participate on a part-time basis in high school classes.
Family and Community Involvement
- Collaborated with the Arlington Latino Network in order to promote family involvement and participation in order to enhance academic achievement of Latino students.
- Established Language Line Services that help staff communicate with non-English speaking families in an emergency, and to facilitate conversations with parents when an interpreter is not available. Language line provides interpretation in 170 languages.
- Supported community based organizations and college mentoring partnerships that assist high school students in applying for college and university admission and scholarships.
Improved Facilities and Fiscal Accountability
- Supported the adoption of a Progressive Planning Model framework to develop additional capacity throughout the system to address growing student enrollment.
- Approved the renovation of Thomas Jefferson Middle School and the construction of the new Wakefield high school.
- Promoted high-quality energy-efficient buildings, such as the new Wakefield High School design, and supported a review of transportation services to increase efficiency and minimize costs.
- Changed policy to promote greater access of school buildings to the Arlington community.
- Supported the ongoing State of Virginia Efficiency Review of Arlington Public Schools.