Invest in Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education really is the linchpin to everything - it’s an early investment we can make to promote equity, close the achievement gap, and ultimately help kids develop the skills they need to become lifelong learners and reach their full potential.
The importance of the first 5 years of a child’s life on all aspects of their development is indisputable and while it is definitely necessary to address issues when we spot them - like the Every Student Reads Initiative aimed at 8 year olds that aren’t reading at grade level or the achievement gap that falls along socio-economic and racial lines - the real way to systemically prevent these issues from continuing is Early Childhood Education.
the Way We Educate
and Measure Progress
While our students generally perform well on tests, standardized testing fails to take into account the whole student and should not be the sole determiner of whether a student is considered to be thriving or not. We need to innovate the way that we measure progress.
Individual PAUSD schools have created some amazing learning initiatives - for example, Career Pathways at Paly, JLS Connections, Ohlone, and Dual-Language Immersion at Ohlone and Escondido. We need to expand what’s working to more schools and continue to try new ways of learning.
This includes expanding our bilingual and foreign language programs - whether that be ensuring that all students have exposure to a second language starting in Kindergarten or finding a way to expand our highly impacted bilingual immersion programs or both.
Improve Mental Health and Wellness
for our Entire School Community
We are a district with a long history of mental health crisis, and COVID-19 has put this challenge front and center.
There are many aspects of improving community mental health from integrated access to healthcare professionals, to increasing the number of supportive adults on all our campuses, to improving sleep and reducing unnecessary pressure.
And similarly, in addition to the mental health and wellness of our students, we need to think of the mental health and wellness of our teachers and staff. Because, we cannot have one without the other.
Inspire Students to Own Their Futures
No child should feel like there is only one path to a successful life or career. One of the most important lessons we can instill in our children is the importance of owning their future. We need to give them the tools, resources and opportunities to explore, find, and pursue their passions. We should expand the career pathways at our secondary schools and develop age-appropriate ways to introduce similar programs in earlier years.
When a student is passionate about what they’re learning - whether that’s math, arts, or social justice - they’re that much more likely to be successful.