Three key reasons:
Improved communications and transparency to help students and families be better informed about actions being taken and involved in decisions being made.
A need for our race and equity toolkit to be put into practice at all levels throughout the district; ensuring that every student is seen, respected, and supported in curriculum, the classroom, and leadership.
A Board that is more representative of, and driven by, the families and students that make up our district.
The short answer: Both of our children are currently homeschooling (read why in the longer answer below). One attended Shoreline Children’s Center (now Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center) for preschool and they both attended Shoreline public schools for Kindergarten. We love Shoreline schools and our plan is for both of them to return, one to Brookside in Fall 2020 and one to Shorecrest in Fall 2023.
The longer answer: Our two children (ages 7 and 10) have both previously attended Shoreline Schools at Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center, Brookside Elementary, and Cascade K-8 Community School. We had great experiences at all three schools, love them each, and are still deeply connected at both Cascade (where we still have close friendships and attend community events, as well as the annual fundraiser to support the school) and Brookside (where we also retain many friendships and I have remained on the PTA serving as Legislative Chair, as well as also attending community events and their annual fundraiser).
At the moment both of our children are homeschooling, each for different reasons. Our choice to do so (which was a very difficult decision and which I am aware many parents consider at different times) was not about having any problems with Shoreline Schools or public school, but, rather, to try a different course possible which felt like a better fit for each of our kids at the place they each are at. Our continued connections to, and my continued service and advocacy for Shoreline Schools on the local and district PTAs, are, in fact, because of how much we love and value the schools here. While our children are currently schooling at home, returning to Shoreline Schools is part of our plan for both of our children, one is anticipated to return to Brookside in 2020 and the other to Shorecrest High School when they get to 9th grade in 2023.
Something that many people aren't aware of is that homeschoolers are also part of and served by the District, as well (through part time attendance at neighborhood schools, the Homeschool Education Exchange, and other support services). This is a testament to our District and something that shows its commitment to supporting all families here.
What this experience has taught me is how each parent grapples with how to best help their children and the resources, or lack thereof, that exist in our district for families to make supported choices to do so. I firmly believe that parents should choose to homeschool because they want to do that, not because they are not receiving the support and quality of education they deserve from the schools. By being one of the homeschooling families in the district, I have been a touchstone and resource for families who have had to make that choice for unfortunate reasons (bullying, racism, bad teacher/education experience, etc) which is something I am passionate about changing.
From this I have also gained a deeper understanding of the impact lower class sizes, additional support staff and paraeducators, and parent involvement all have in helping our teachers give individualized instruction to each of our children, which is the ideal. I am excited to use this knowledge to have robust conversations with District staff on how we can better support our teachers in doing so.
I firmly believe that our schools are the heartbeat of our community and access to free, quality, public education is a basic human right we should ensure for everyone. How we care for and raise our children is one of the most important defining qualities of us as a society. I am passionate about working for our education system to be one that is inclusive, equitable, and supportive of every child and where every parent is empowered to be the best possible partner in their child(ren)'s education.
I would love to talk with anyone who wants to know more about our choice to homeschool, what we’ve experienced or learned in doing so, how this relates to my goals as a potential School Board Member, or anything else they are concerned about or hope to see happen in our District.