Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three Candidates Seek Two School Board Seats | South Pasadena Now

Three Candidates Seek Two School Board Seats | South Pasadena Now:

Three Candidates Seek Two School Board Seats Election on Tuesday

NPE Action Endorses Dr. Suzie Abajian - NPE Action

Three candidates are seeking two seats on the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education as residents go to polls next Tuesday, November 3, to cast votes. Joe Loo is the incumbent and will be challenged by Suzie Abajian and Jon Primuth. The South Pasadena Review asked each candidate to express his or her views on local school issues. Here is what they had to say:
Dr. Suzie Abajian
How can you make a difference by serving on South Pasadena’s Board of Education?
I bring to the table 16 years of experience in the field of education, including many years of teaching at the K-12 and university levels. I understand educational policies and the impact that their implementation has at the classroom level. Because of my professional background in education, I will be able to ask the right questions to hired educational experts, consultants and staff and ensure that the School Board is making sound policy decisions. As someone with an extensive mathematics education background, I will use my experience and knowledge of innovative mathematics curricula and educational practices to bolster our mathematics programs. My connections and work in higher education will be invaluable in partnering with local colleges and universities to provide more resources and opportunities for our students. I will work with the School Board to broaden partnerships with local organizations and strengthen collaboration between the School Board and the City Council.
In your estimation, what is the state of South Pasadena schools?
In South Pasadena, we have award-winning schools and a dedicated teaching force. However, our academic programs, such as mathematics, could be further supported and strengthened, particularly within the context of the newly released 11th grade Smarter Balanced test scores. Although we are performing above the county average, our 11th grade mathematics scores are below neighboring schools such as Mark Keppel in Alhambra and Arcadia High School. Also, we have a persistent achievement gap. Although our schools provide an excellent education to many students, there are still different groups of students who are underserved and need further support including our Special Needs students. Additionally, we do not have the wealth of enrichment programs that a district like ours could provide its students. We can expand our arts, music, theater and Dual Language Immersion programs, offer alternative foreign language instruction for elementary school students and invest in alternative athletic programs and girls’ sports.
If elected, what would be your top three priorities for the Board of Education?
When elected my top priorities will include:
1) Bolstering our Mathematics and STEM programs as well as advocating for a well-rounded curriculum for our students that encompasses a strong arts, theater, music, Dual Language Immersion, foreign language instruction and alternative/varied athletic programs.
2) Addressing our persistent achievement gap for our underserved students including Special Needs students.
3) Building stronger communication and collaboration between the South Pasadena School Board, South Pasadena City Council and the larger South Pasadena community.
The South Pasadena Unified School District is looking to have a 91-unit residential complex constructed in its parking lot as a revenue stream to support local schools. How do you feel about the project? Should it be built?
We need to carefully evaluate the findings of the Draft EIR that will be released in January and the impact that the development will have on issues of congestion, traffic, pollution and water usage. A careful cost/benefit analysis must be conducted, with sufficient community input, to decide what is the most sustainable and profitable move for our school district and community because this decision has significant ramifications that will impact many generations to come. We have to consider the effects of this project on our school district, given the expanding student population and the increasing need for space within our schools. The School Board needs to make a more concerted effort in engaging the community and listening to the concerns of the residents living within close vicinity of the project and make a decision that is best for the district as well as the City of South Pasadena.Three Candidates Seek Two School Board Seats | South Pasadena Now: