I am a father of five who is dedicated to the education of all students in Palo Alto. I am also a Google engineer, Yale graduate and former university professor. I served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education and the Gates Foundation regarding educational data. I have volunteered on PAUSD committees on homework and local funding accountability, participated with other community members in Project Safety Net and was invited to join Leadership Palo Alto. In 2011 I founded a parent group that has successfully advocated for better supports for student social and emotional health, and I have attended many school board meetings. My children attended Barron Park, Nixon, JLS, Terman, and Gunn.
We have excellent schools that provide strong academic opportunities. However, district surveys of parents, students, and teachers also point to areas for improvement: increasing consistency in grading and course content; supporting all students in reaching their potential; closing the achievement gap; reducing academic stress; and improving communication with families. I am committed to resolving these specific issues, and working together to maintain our high standards.
We are overdue for reopening neighborhood schools that were closed 30 years ago when student population declined. Over the past 20 years, average elementary school size has increased by 35%, but we have not reopened an elementary school since 1998. Smaller schools increase learning and improve the social and emotional health of our kids. We should promptly reopen at least one neighborhood elementary school. This will reduce overcrowding, enable safer biking and walking to school, reduce traffic, and strengthen our neighborhoods.
Preparing every student to succeed in a competitive 21st century economy is a critical mission for our district. This should include improved computer science literacy, particularly for girls; and foreign language instruction for all elementary school students, with expanded offerings in middle school, including Chinese. Climate change demands a greater focus on environmental science and sustainability. We must also ensure that teachers and students are fully supported as we align our curriculum with Common Core standards.
I am committed to fiscal responsibility, and to transparent, open, and inclusive government. We should encourage the use of data-driven decisionmaking and best practices across all of our schools. We should also build cooperative relationships with local, state, and federal governments.
We have strong schools in Palo Alto. I ask for your vote to make our district even better for all students.