May 2015 Election: Beaverton School District – Zone 3 and 7

///May 2015 Election: Beaverton School District – Zone 3 and 7

May 2015 Election: Beaverton School District – Zone 3 and 7

(Photo from left to right: Andrew Beach and Melissa Potter)

 

Civic Engagement is central to APANO’s mission of ensuring that Asian and Pacific Islanders are fully engaged in the political process, and have opportunities to vote in elections. In order to inform and educate our members about the May 19th special election, we have reached out to candidates who are primarily running for seats on local school boards and institutions of higher education. We will be posting candidate responses (from only those who have responded) on a daily basis.

Candidates have been asked the following questions to engage more directly with constituents, and for voters to be more familiar with their vision and policies. We are giving equal opportunity to all major candidates in the race.

 

Beaverton School District- Zone 3

Melissa Potter

1. How are you qualified to represent the interests and concerns of diverse communities of color, immigrants and refugees?

As a high school science teacher, I got to teach, what we called at the time, “Sheltered Physics,” a science class for students learning English. To qualify to teach this class, I participated in targeted professional development to help me learn how best to support students with English language learning needs. In my current position as a faculty member with the Center for Science Education at Portland State University, we consistently examine our instructional practices. We push ourselves to establish culturally competent classrooms. By thoughtfully examining my own professional practices, I see how what I have learned about supporting my own culturally diverse students applies well to examining our larger educational system. My experiences give me a unique set of skills to evaluate our system. I can determine what evidence we can use to tell us what is working and what is not.


2. What policies and practices do you support that ensure all Asian and Pacific Islanders can be meaningfully engaged in the decision-making of the institution(s) you would represent if elected?

Because of the public nature of our schools system, community members need a way to communicate their concerns and questions to educators and administrators. As a school board member, I will support the development of policies and budgets that reflect both the values of the community and the educators. In the development of such policies and budgets, the school district needs input from community members. Of particular interest to me, is going out into the community to meet with a full range of groups in their own comfort zones. This will help me learn more about the different groups’ concerns in an environment in which they might be more likely to attend and feel comfortable sharing.


3. Oregon currently graduates half of it’s English Language Learners, who make up 10% of the state’s K-12 student population. What policies will you support to ensure that students–including ones who identify as English Language Learner, have access to quality education and career-readiness programs after graduation?

To fully support our increasingly diverse student population, we need to ensure that our classroom teachers understand how best to address the students’ learning needs. First we need to recruit teachers whose demographics reflect that of our community. With Beaverton’s participation in the Portland Teachers Program we will continue to recruit historically underrepresented groups in the teaching profession. Second, we need to give our current teachers the time and space to collaborate to develop the culturally competent instructional practices that will support their students.


4. Access to quality, affordable, and culturally competent health care ensures Oregonians are able to thrive and contribute. Please explain the policies you will support to increase access to care, and address health disparities, specifically for immigrants and refugees.

In the Beaverton School District, the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center opened its fifth school-based health center (SBHC) at Beaverton High School. Although the clinic opened less than a year ago, the health center has already demonstrated great promise in providing health care to students and the surrounding community. I believe this partnership between the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and the Beaverton School District is a great example of how schools can become a base of community engagement and supportive services. For families and students new to our community, or unfamiliar with how to access services, this kind of partnership will help them address their basic needs. Addressing the basic needs of students and families establishes a strong foundation for supporting students’ academic success.


5. What policies relevant to your institution(s) do you support that strengthen economic opportunity and jobs for all communities in Oregon?

In the last two decades, the skills and knowledge our kids need to be successful have changed. Now, all students need to be able to think critically, know their strengths, act collaboratively with teams, and navigate their future in a society that is more diverse and often divided. Our students need these skills for their future success in education and in their careers. As a community and as an educational system, we must value the growth of all students. We need to recognize that, until we address the learning needs of all students, we have room to improve. Our success as a community to attract employers and innovative solutions depends on our ability to develop the creative intelligence of all students.

 

 

Beaverton School District- Zone 7

Andrew Beach

1. How are you qualified to represent the interests and concerns of diverse communities of color, immigrants and refugees?
Being a public school we accept all students and work to a goal of advancing each student’s education.  We want all kids to be successful regardless of their circumstances.


2. What policies and practices do you support that ensure all Asian and Pacific Islanders can be meaningfully engaged in the decision-making of the institution(s) you would represent if elected?

All of the Beaverton School board meetings are open to the public.  Any party, person, special interest, community member, etc. can be present to provide testimony to the board.


3. Oregon currently graduates half of it’s English Language Learners, who make up 10% of the state’s K-12 student population. What policies will you support to ensure that students–including ones who identify as English Language Learner, have access to quality education and career-readiness programs after graduation?

ELL Students should be receiving response to intervention and additional resources (possibly by Title I funding).  If there is a situation that should be addressed, we can engage the right equity partner to resolve it.  When we do our job as a district, we should be putting our graduates in a position to have a multitude of options. I would be happy to discuss specific ideas to improve education for all  our students.
4. Access to quality, affordable, and culturally competent health care ensures Oregonians are able to thrive and contribute. Please explain the policies you will support to increase access to care, and address health disparities, specifically for immigrants and refugees.
The role of the board is to oversee the budget, manage the employment of the superintendent, and drive strategic vision.  Schools are not equipped to provide health care and there are many community resources that would be able to support these needs.  I would be happy to discuss specific issues and how we might address them with the right contact at the schools/district.

5. What policies relevant to your institution(s) do you support that strengthen economic opportunity and jobs for all communities in Oregon?
As a board member, we are not involved in developing policy outside of education.  So as a board member, I would support making our schools world-class to provide educated individuals that want to build businesses, be an attractive employee to companies with high paying jobs, and give back to the community that has supported them.

 

Read all of our candidate responses here.

By | 2016-11-18T23:23:41+00:00 May 8th, 2015|Elections, News & Events|