If elected, Stephanie will:
Keep Students at the Center of the Work
“We need to meet students where they are.”
- Student academic and personal development should be high on any school board’s priority list.
- School curricula need to be student centered and should meet students where they are. There is absolutely no way to achieve this without knowing who they are. This is why I am leery of pre-packaged curriculum.
- Our children should not be force-fed any curriculum that doesn’t reflect pedagogical best practices and determining whether any curriculum meets that bar is the job of everyone involved — our community cannot not be left out of the discussion.
Grow Partnerships with Parents
“I have been a resident of the City of Richmond for most of my adult life and have lived in my home in the Randolph Neighborhood for close to 19 years. Both of my sons attended Richmond Public Schools, and I have been an active parent and volunteer with RPS for years. My youngest is now in the 9th grade at Open High.”
- Working families deserve a school board representative who takes the time to listen to them outside of school board meetings.
- We must create additional ways for parents and families facing economic or social barriers to participate in their children’s education at RPS.
“I’ve been a teacher at every level of public education: 2 years at the elementary level, 3 years of middle school, 6 years of high school, and now 12 years at the university level as a Focused Inquiry Professor at my alma mater, VCU. As my aunt, Joan Bowser, a long-time nurse educator said to me not so long ago, a good teacher is ‘worth their weight in gold.‘”
- Teachers are professionals with expertise and experience.
- We should solicit recommendations from teachers FIRST when considering the appropriate use of technology in the classroom, grade level/course specific curriculum content and pacing, useful professional development that doesn’t feel like a waste of time, and issues with attendance and student retention.
- We need to make being an RPS teacher attractive and sustainable–especially because we need to attract and retain teachers that share the demographics and backgrounds of our students.
Reimagine Discipline Based on Love and Care
“As a child, I had the good fortune of having authority figures who cared more about nurturing our spirits as young people than about criminalizing our behavior. It is time to get serious about real alternatives that get to the heart of what our students really need.”
- We must transition away from School Resource Officers (SROs).
- We should reallocate funds for SROs to hiring qualified mental health professionals.
- We need more counselors than cops. We need to break the school-to-prison pipeline, and it is only through mediation of the deeper issues students deal with that this can be done.
Fight for More Funding–Local, State, and Federal
“The fight for needs-based budgets must continue. RPS has amazing teachers and wonderful students. I am a witness to that. But they need our support and our willingness to try new approaches that take our students’ minds and hearts into account before anything else. No matter which neighborhood students live in or which school they attend, they deserve a fully-funded, fully-staffed, fully-resourced school.”
- School board members should use their position to advocate for increased funding through organizing students, parents and teachers to advocate at school board and other levels of government.
- I will resist privatization and any move that undermines democratic control of RPS.
Support Policies that Improve Daily Life in Our Schools and Communities
“Well-paying, stable jobs at RPS should be part of the fabric of our city and neighborhoods. Everyone at RPS–from janitorial staff and food service workers to teachers and support staff–deserves our respect and gratitude.”
- Full-time and part-time staff are important members of RPS community.
- Many staff have expertise and community trust that makes them qualified to serve in our schools.
- RPS should explore hiring trusted community members to help out in our schools.
Prioritize Free Support Services and After School Programs
“It is no secret that many parents struggle to afford quality after-care for their children. I was one of them.“
- Public education does not begin or end with the classroom.
- Public schools are community hubs.
- Students and families deserve wrap-around services.
- We need robust, inclusive, safe after school programs that are accessible to all of our students.