Wednesday, April 25 , 2018, 8:22 pm | Fair 55º


Santa Barbara School Districts Q&A: Jacqueline Inda

[Editor’s note: One in a series of six candidate Q&As for the Santa Barbara School Districts Board of Education. Click here for the main story. Click here for Annette Cordero’s Q&A. Click here for Susan Deacon’s Q&A. Click here for Ed Heron’s Q&A. Click here for Kate Smith’s Q&A. Click here for Charlotte Ware’s Q&A.]

NOOZHAWK: What is the single biggest problem facing our schools, and what is the best way to solve it?

JACQUELINE INDA: Children are failing in our schools. When our children feel as if they have failed at a young age, they disconnect with schools, loosening school pride and achievement. We need someone to connect with and learn from.

The feeling of inability to learn leads our children to build a bond with others who feel the same way. It is because of this disconnect that our youth look to peers and get involved with violent activities.

We need to reconnect our children back in to schools. We must create curriculum that connects our youth back into schools giving our children lifelong success.

NOOZHAWK: La Cumbre Junior High, Santa Barbara Junior High and McKinley Elementary schools have all been labeled “Year 5” schools in program improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act. Technically, this means the schools could be closed and re-opened as charter schools, and the principal and most of the staff could be replaced. The district is allowing those schools to continue their ongoing improvement plans without a drastic change in direction this year. Is this the right course of action?

JACQUELINE INDA: The No Child Left Behind Act is a tool that has statistically shown our needs for improvement. Our children and youth need help. Continuing without providing a drastic change will not help. We must reanalyze strategies within our district.

There are many schools succeeding in our country with lower poverty levels. Most of those schools have supplemental curriculums set up to help children succeed in a more individual basis away for the classroom.

Our teachers are trying all they can to make our children become more successful. Yet it is up to our district to create programming in addition to what is being provided.

NOOZHAWK: Throughout California, the percentage of students in GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) hovers around 5 percent. In Santa Barbara’s junior and high schools, the proportion is more like 20 percent. Should steps should be taken to lower the percentage?

JACQUELINE INDA: I believe all children have the right to succeed. This is why in our country we provide the opportunity for free quality education to all children. In the city of Santa Barbara we have a world of untapped resources. If our school district connects with those untapped resources, we will be able to achieve a higher level of academic achievement. We must continue to provide quality education to our GATE students and at the same time, we must strive to get all of our children to an advanced academic level.

NOOZHAWK: Should the elementary and secondary districts’ open-enrollment policy be maintained?

JACQUELINE INDA: Our job as a school board is to represent the families in our school district. This means we must provide the best quality with the most advanced strategies we could offer. In accepting a current open-enrollment policy we give a clear message to our community that we offer the best quality education possible to all students.

NOOZHAWK: Would you support a districtwide school uniform policy?

JACQUELINE INDA: Our schools must have a direct connection with our families. In order for our families to feel heard, we must give them decision-making abilities. I believe our parents and teachers could decide on their own what dress code is appropriate.

NOOZHAWK: Would you support a proposal to ban certain forms of gang apparel and styles?

JACQUELINE INDA: Our youth in general are able to express so many things with what they wear. Our youth express feelings, thoughts, character and so much more.

Knowing a little bit about youth in gangs, I know that the clothes you choose is a part of your identity, giving you pride in what you have chosen to be. I believe we all have the human right to feel that pride in our expressions. It is when we put others and ourselves at risk of danger, that it’s up to policies to enforce safety.

NOOZHAWK: What are your thoughts on the district’s proposal to hire two gang-intervention specialists, also known as outreach workers — at a salary of $49,000 each?

JACQUELINE INDA: The cycle of violence must stop. In order to do this effectively, we must all do our part in this city. It’s our district’s responsibility to analyze what we have done to aid in the disconnect of our children to our schools. We also have the responsibility to provide a safe and caring environment for all of our children.

Our district is responsible for our children’s learning. Community agencies are our key to educating parents and helping our families. If we work together to provide a structured safe environment that reconnects our children back into schools our city will succeed.

NOOZHAWK: The district is being asked to pitch in $64,000 annually to keep the truancy program alive. Historically, the program has been funded by Santa Barbara County, but the Board of Supervisors has said it would cut the entire program unless individual districts pony up. Would you vote yes or no on spending that amount?

JACQUELINE INDA: Parents put a child in the hands of our schools in the hopes that the child will gain a chance for lifelong success. Truancies are a direct result of a disconnect between our children and the school they attend. Truancies affect our school budgets and lead our youth in a path to failure.

Our truancy program is a spiral down into the juvenile justice system and can ultimately lead our children away from our school district. If our district must spend funds, we must do so for the better good of our youth and our district.

NOOZHAWK: Do you support using one of two unused parcels of district-owned land to build price-controlled housing for teachers?

JACQUELINE INDA: In the great city of Santa Barbara we have many resources for housing. Programs like People’s Self-Help Housing and other foundations that are trying to aid in cost of living. If we collaborate with our community agencies and establish agreements, we could aid the cost of living for our teachers and school district staff.

NOOZHAWK: Do you generally agree with the direction in which Superintendent Brian Sarvis is taking the schools?

JACQUELINE INDA: I believe it is the job of the school board to oversee the effectiveness of our superintendent. I believe in the constant evaluation of our programming and staff. That evaluation must include the input of teachers, parents and the community.

NOOZHAWK: What’s your favorite book?

JACQUELINE INDA: I have many favorite books. I enjoy reading fiction for fun, but love learning from what I read in factual content.

Click here for more information on Jacqueline Inda.

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