Barbara Klausner for School Board

Q&A on District Isues

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These questions were prepared by the the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto and asked of all candidates for this office and can be found at:

1. What problems do you see facing the school district and how do you propose to address them?

Key issues are facilities planning, enrollment growth, and our strategic plan. The important element in addressing these issues will be the processes we follow. We must re-establish effective decision-making, informed by good lines of communication. My experience in the district will help frame issues effectively and identify the relevant experts and stakeholders to bring into the process. By acting with the best information considered in a timely manner, the board can develop fiscally responsible, comprehensive, long-term solutions and win back the community's trust.

2. What steps need to be taken to foster better communication among the school board, superintendent's office, and local school management?

The new "Protocols" recently adopted by the board and superintendent delineate their roles and relationship to each other. The spirit of these rules, and the earlier recommendations for improving relationships with principals, must be implemented in a manner that supports a transparent, two-way flow of information and a collaborative approach to decision-making. The relationships and trust that I have established while working in numerous roles across the district will facilitate our progress towards better communication.

3. What approaches would you support to help all students achieve their educational goals, whether they are college bound or not?

We teach to the student, college bound or not. Our current strategic plan calls for "appropriate challenge [so that] every student makes at least a year's growth each year." As an educator, I have directed efforts in our schools to assess each student, to teach to their needs through differentiated instruction and other approaches, and to assess their growth. This system is effective for all students regardless of their educational goals.

The approaches I would recommend and support are:
* Develop additional assessment tools (beyond standardized tests) to measure what    matters and to better diagnose and inform teaching
* Organize, maintain and utilize a K-12 portfolio of qualitative and quantitative    assessment data for each student
* Enhance teaching strategies to meet all needs and learning styles; consolidate best    practices in the core curriculum
* Offer additional high school program choices