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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
California Common Cause@CommonCauseCA
November 6, 2018 — Elección General de California
Local

Ciudad de San FranciscoCandidato para Board of Education

Photo de Alida Fisher

Alida Fisher

Parent / Education Consultant
37,735 votos (4.61%)
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Make every student feel welcome, included and valued at their school. After all, if a student doesn’t feel safe and supported, they are not open to learning.
  • Provide supports and interventions in every school so that all students are proficient and confident readers by third grade.
  • Be fully transparent and accountable in our budget and decision making processes at every level of the district. As Joe Biden said, “don’t tell me your priorities. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you your priorities."

Experiencia

Educación

Case Western Reserve University Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering (1998)

Biografía

In the thirteen years my four children have attended SFUSD, I have been an active parent volunteer at seven schools. I am Chair of SFUSD’s Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC), a member of the African American Parent Advisory Committee, and a member of the LCAP Task Force. I participate in multiple district committees, stakeholder engagement teams, and working groups. I am a Parent Mentor with Support for Families of Children with Disabilities and a volunteer advocate with the Community Alliance for Special Education. As a former foster parent and adoptive parent of African American children, two of whom have disabilities, I am particularly passionate about the issues of equity and social justice. 

 

I am a mechanical engineer by training, and spent 15 years selling automation equipment. In 2017, I decided to follow my passion and changed careers. I have spent the past year taking Spanish classes at City College as well as advocacy courses with COPAA, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. I am now a special education advocate, helping families of students receiving special education services understand their rights and responsibilities. I am a licensed small business owner within the City and County of San Francisco. I work with families of all backgrounds to ensure that our voices are being heard - and our feedback being included - when decisions are made about our children's education. 

 

I am a collaborative leader with a track record of bringing diverse groups of people together.  In the 2017-2018 school year, I worked with the Office of Family Engagement and leadership teams from multiple district advisory committees to plan the Family Leadership Alignment Summit.  The summit was so well received amongst parent leaders that we are expanding our work with a second summit in November.

 

As the Chair of the CAC, I have increased our advocacy efforts at the district and state level. I have coordinated campaigns and visits to Sacramento to meet with legislators and budget office staff in order to increase education funding. The President of the Special Education Administrators of County Offices credits CAC advocacy during the 2017 budget cycle for allocation of an additional $100 million towards special education teacher recruitment and retention. 

 

I will continue to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to implement solutions and policies that benefit all students.

 

I’ve attended hundreds of district Board of Education meetings and committee meetings. I'm ready to make the move to the other side of the table: I want to do more than comment in committees and at board meetings. I want to ensure that we consider and support our most vulnerable students and families in every decision, resolution, and guideline.

 

¿Quién apoya a este candidato?

Featured Endorsements

  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • FDR Democratic Club
  • San Francisco Democratic Women in Action

Organizaciónes (2)

  • San Francisco League of Conservation Voters
  • Coleman Action Fund

Creencias poliza

Filosofía política

I spend a lot of time working with SFUSD families.  In my years of outreach and engagement, I have learned that families have the same concerns:  we all want our students to be valued, supported, and challenged academically at their schools.  

 

In a district as diverse as SFUSD, how do we do that?  Our opportunity gap is huge. While San Francisco has the second highest concentration of billionaires in the United States, we also have the highest percentage of homeless youth and young adults. At many schools within SFUSD, the performance gap in SBAC proficiency levels between White and African American students is more than 50%.  In previous years, SFUSD has been sanctioned by the California Department of Education for over-identification of African American males into classrooms for “emotionally disturbed” students.

 

While these statistics are heartbreaking, I am encouraged to see that SFUSD leadership recognizes our challenges and is working to improve outcomes.  We are seeing improvements.  The Superintendent has identified “PITCH schools” - schools that have been historically underserved or have a high achievement gap - to receive additional resources this year.  The African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative (AAALI) was created in 2013 “to hold SFUSD departments and City agencies accountable for providing a high quality educational experience to African American students.”  Pupil Services offers training and support to SFUSD employees, particularly teachers and paraeducators.  

 

SFUSD is implementing the Community Schools model to support many schools.  A “community school” is a school where educators, administrators, families, and community partners work collaboratively to identify the largest challenges facing a school’s student population.  Wraparound supports are brought in from the community, and parents are treated as partners is supporting the needs of each child.  The Department of Children, Youth, and their Families (DCYF) has provided the district with increased funding in 2018-2019 for Community School model will allow the target schools to include many more supports for families and students.  While there is much work being done to support our students, the reality at our schools is that they are understaffed.  When a school has to choose between a nurse and a social worker, that’s a problem.

 

Is all of this enough?  It won’t be enough until we see equitable outcomes amongst all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses within SFUSD.  So how do we do more? 

 

We need to start having some very real conversations about perceptions, stereotypes, and racal bias.  As an advocate for children with special needs, I often run into the mentality of “encroachment.”  Some families fear that funding initiatives to support children with disabilities, English learners, or students of color will negatively impact other children by taking away resources from their child(ren)’s learning environment.  I have found the opposite to be true.  Education isn’t a zero sum prospect.  As John F. Kennedy said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  Training an educator to differentiate instruction for a struggling second grader also helps that teacher understand how to support the child in the who is reading at a fifth grade level.  Providing an educator with positive behavior intervention strategies helps that teacher manage his or her entire classroom, not just the students identified with challenges.  This allows more time to be spent on instruction for all students.  We need more support for our teachers, including additional paraeducators, teacher mentors, and robust professional development opportunities.  Research shows that diversity helps us become more thoughtful and innovative. It helps us become better problem solvers. And for those of us raising kids in San Francisco, it helps prepare our kids for the reality of our city.

 

SFUSD must allocate resources towards robust implementation of policies such as Restorative Practices (RP). All personnel need to be trained in cultural humility. Educators must understand the impact of trauma on our students. The resources required to fully implement a large-scale initiative such as RP are significant.  It would require a massive focus on training, and a shift of practices at some schools.  But these steps are necessary to improve outcomes for all students, and particularly our most underserved.

 

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