Safe & Welcoming Schools
As a parent of 5 boys myself I know the most important thing when it comes to my children’s school is that they receive an education tailored to meet their unique needs and prepare them for the world they will enter into after high school. The first step to that is creating schools that feel safe and welcome. Across the county we have many safe and welcoming schools already, however, I firmly believe that every student should have a school environment that is warm and welcoming. This feeling of belonging is critical to a student’s ability to learn, without it a child cannot focus on the rigors that our educational system demands. Currently our county sits in a good position to help support this in all our schools as there are many examples both at the county and district levels where this level of support is demonstrated. Through a Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) for academic, behavioral and socio-emotional needs the county can support schools to further develop environments that are not only welcoming but also one that ensures our students leave our educational system fully prepared for their next steps.
College & Industry Ready Graduates
A critical component to ensuring the viability and success of our county is dependent on graduating High School Seniors who are ready to enter the workforce or pursue the post-secondary education of their choice (Community College, Vocational School or a 4 Year University). This readiness comes from offering high quality educational programs beginning in preschool and continuing into high school. In high school it is critical to ensure students not only get the basics but have choices to ensure their preparedness for the real world. Additionally, by students having choices in high school it will allow them to focus on their strengths and not force them into a particular path. These options will lead to students being successful on whatever endeavor they choose to embark on.
High Quality Professional Development
One of our county’s greatest strengths is the professional development program offered by the County through the Educational Resource Services (ERS) department. The department has done a great job ensuring the staff is well trained in the latest and research based instructional strategies. This high quality professional development is critical to the development of educators. I believe this not only needs to continue but we need to continue to improve and expand the trainings and learning opportunities for educators throughout the county. One way to make this training more accessible to individuals across the county is to partner with districts and hold satellite trainings in different portions of the county. This would ensure that these educators received high quality training but also make it convenient for them to receive it close to home. I believe this would lead to increase in training and as a result a better prepared teaching staff to educate our future.
Support & Accountability
One of the key roles of the County Office of Education is to provide support to districts. This support is critical, particularly for our numerous single school districts that may not have the same resources as the larger districts. Through its role the County can provide not only high quality training but staffing resources to these smaller districts that may only need a part time staff member. This is critical because all students, regardless of their district of attendance, deserve to have high quality staff and the resources necessary to be successful in their education. However, along with that support the county must provide accountability. This accountability not only comes through the approval of Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) but also through fiscal accountability. This fiscal accountability ensures the long term success and viability of each of our districts and helps to make certain that students have the necessary supplies to learn and be ready for the real world once they graduate.
Parent & Community Involvement
As I have witnessed in my own children’s education and in numerous districts across the county parent involvement is a critical component to a school district’s success. In addition, with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and LCAP it is imperative now more than ever that our parents are active and have a voice in their districts. However, this involvement doesn’t end with just the parents. It is critical community, business leaders and other agencies are included in the conversation. The reason this community input is so critical is because after high school these are the organizations that will employ many of our graduates. Only as a united community of parents, educators and involved community and business leaders can we truly build a system of schools that provides the pathway to the future of Tulare County.