Last weekend I enjoyed talking with community members at my meet and greet event. I am so grateful for Lori Jacobs and her family’s hospitality and those who attended, both old friends and new.
The meeting gave me an opportunity to listen to concerns, as well as share my opinions and possible solutions. The primary concern I heard was the need to have more programs to meet the specific needs of individual children. I shared my belief that it’s important to meet children where they are and bring them to their greatest potential. We discussed that CVUSD has programs focused on developing good character in addition to meeting strong academic standards. Community members and parents appreciated that different schools in the Conejo offer support for different interests based upon needs and learning styles of individual students.
Another topic of concern that came up is district support for the Horizon Hills Parenting program and Conejo Valley Adult School. Parents participating in the Horizon Hills program learn how to raise children who are independent, responsible, cooperative and respectful. This contributes to success throughout school and life. Correspondingly, the Conejo Valley Adult School is an invaluable resource for parents who want to become more fluent in English, which will then allow them to be more involved and invested in their children’s education. This is in addition to the continuing education the adult school provides in various subjects and skills, which allows adults in the community to embrace the concept of lifelong learning and model it for their children.
We also discussed the difficulty in dealing with waiting lists and getting into high demand programs like EARThS Magnet, Discovery Academy, The Schoolwide Enrichment Magnet at Acacia, or The Leadership Program at Conejo Elementary as well as others. Parents in and around the Conejo Valley seek programs that best fit their children. We discussed the possibility of replicating high demand programs at additional campuses with similar personnel and materials. Providing the necessary professional development and materials to expand the success of programs to other settings to make sure we include all students who want to take part is a priority.
We discussed inclusivity, another topic about which I am passionate. All students deserve to be in programs where they are given space to maximize their abilities. And “all” means “all”.
Expanding programs led to a discussion of the budget. Expenses must be prioritized. Expenses that have the greatest direct benefit to students should always come first. I will look for savings on expenses furthest away from direct benefit to the classroom. Most important will always be the physical, social, and emotional safety of children and district personnel.
I will look for ways to alleviate our district’s budget deficit by increasing revenue. We will do this in two ways, First, we will increase and replicate successful programming to attract more families and children to our schools, from within and beyond the Conejo Valley. Second, we will increase marketing efforts using a wide variety of social media platforms and traditional outreach strategies. We should improve our district web page school list to include highlights of special programs at each school, such as links to videos that show students in these programs “in action”. We have to make it user-friendly in order for parents to learn about the quality of each school and its unique offerings. I believe we can increase enrollment and therefore revenue through more complete communication of the quality of the programs at each of our schools.
And, while this wasn’t all that was discussed during a very interactive 2+ hours, it was great to start getting more time with our community. I’m looking forward to participating in more meet and greets in the future and would love for you to reach out if you’re interested in hosting, or if you’d like me to come walk your neighborhood and introduce myself.
Like my cake at the meet and greet said: “It’s about the kids!”
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