It's Time to Bridge the Gap between the Community and the Board of Education.
Now more than ever, we need action in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. I want to make Pittsburgh Public sustainable for the future. What is a sustainable school system? Robust funding, ample opportunities for students, and most importantly, a diverse student body.
We need a candidate who knows what it is like to be a student in the age of technology and innovation. We need a candidate who is easily accessible and will do everything possible to create positive growth in our schools. I’m a leader ready to be a part of positive change starting on day one if elected to the Pittsburgh Board of Education.
Over the past few years, I have had the unique gift of interacting with students from across the city. Whether we are playing chess in the Hill District, visiting Downtown, or walking in the heart of Squirrel Hill, I have a diverse perspective on education because I have learned about the schools through my chess students and their experiences.
I have been an advocate for youth and student-centered education. My work in the chess community has provided me the opportunity to work with students in community centers schools, libraries, and at public events. I do not solely teach chess. I use the game to create economic and social change. I help students use the game to empower themselves. I also serve on the board of Kidsburgh to highlight the opportunities that Pittsburgh provides for families.
Most importantly, my students and I are a family. Where is the common thread? Youth are more comfortable telling me about what is going on in their schools because of my youth. Not that long ago, I was where they are now. As a college student, I am taking the next step to fulfilling my dreams. I am that bridge who can advocate for students and communicate with parents, teachers, and school administrators. We need a youth advocate. I’m ready to serve.
Lead, Inspire, Change.
What do I care about?
Students deserve funding.
The financial challenges of the Pittsburgh Public Schools have been a major concern for families and community members in recent years. I believe that the Board of Education needs to make financials transparent to the public and focus on gaining additional funding to support students and their goals. An important part of this campaign is to acknowledge any and all financial instability in our schools and work towards raising money and spending it on students. I want to work with the board to create a strategic plan for additional funding resources.
Students deserve the best we have to offer.
This should be a given. Students deserve to learn in safe and supportive environments that provide the tools and encouragement they need to succeed and realize their dreams. This includes accommodations and modifications for students with special needs.
Students deserve opportunities.
All students deserve equity. I hope to work to expand after-school opportunities, work on reading and writing proficiency, and focus on ensuring every child has the necessary components to succeed. I hope to work with the community of Pittsburgh to increase volunteer and internship opportunities, resulting in students gaining real-world experience.
Parents deserve open communication with their board representative.
When you email a government representative or elected official, you shouldn't wonder whether the message went through or why you haven't received a response yet. It is our duty as the district representative to be as responsive as possible with community members and be an active member in each student's life. I want students to be able to call or email me and know I will be there for them always. I communicate with parents on a daily basis because that is how I run my chess organization. For our schools to be successful, we need that open line of communication.
Teachers deserve support.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that teachers are the basis for a stable democracy and are the mentors for the leaders of tomorrow. Just as the Pittsburgh Board of Education works for students, we work for teachers as well, and it is our responsibility to ensure every teacher has the tools, supplies, funding, and opportunities they need to help their students.
The Pittsburgh Board of Education works for the students and families attending schools. If elected, I would create various youth committees where student representatives from each school come together and their voices are a part of the decision-making process on important issues.
Where Do I Stand on the Biggest Issues?
1. Property Taxes
Funding needs to be expanded beyond property taxes to explore other sources of funding. I will seek partnerships with foundations across the city to expand opportunities for students and ensure growth in our schools.
2. Charter Schools
I believe that charter schools need to work directly with the public schools. Charter schools need to follow the same rules and requirements as Pittsburgh Public Schools. We need to work as a team.
Teachers need support and all of the resources available to ensure they can do their job. I support teacher unions. Teachers are the educators of our future leaders.
4. Special Needs and Disabilities (Inclusion and Equity)
Students with special needs deserve to have the resources they need to get the best education possible. If elected, I would ensure every public school has a trained support specialist to help students with autism and other developmental delays succeed. I am a strong believer in equity.
5. Class Sizes (Student-Centered Education)
I’m a believer in student-centered and individualized learning. Classrooms need to be small enough so that every student feels like their voice is heard, acknowledged and appreciated.
6. Racial Diversity (Every Child Deserves the Opportunity to Go to College and Pursue Their Goals)
All students deserve access to the same resources, opportunities, and avenues to pursue their dreams. Too often, I see disparities between schools and their graduation rates as well as college enrollment.
Bullying should not be tolerated. I care about the whole student, and if kids are concerned about going to school for fear of being bullied by another student, that is just not acceptable. Schools need to be safe, enriching, and kind communities.
Guns have no place in public schools. The presence of guns around children places them in more danger and increases the risk to the security of our schools. Our students need to feel safe and secure, and guns do not provide this type of comfort.
9. Supporting All Students
I believe in celebrating and supporting our diverse community. Pittsburgh's LGBTQ+, special needs, and international students and their families deserve to feel safe and know school is a place where they can learn, grow, and lead.