By Kali Kim
October 2, 2022
I grew up in Montana. After college, I moved to California and obtained my CPA license. My last professional position was with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the LA office. My family and I have lived in Rancho Santa Fe for over 11 years. Last year I had a lifer graduate from Roger Rowe and currently have a 4th grader at the school.
During my last 9 years at Roger Rowe, I have prioritized supporting the foundation and the district by volunteering as room parent and participating at various foundation and district events. I have also progressively increased my level of financial giving, a testament to my support for the school and commitment to this district. Currently, I am at the highest level of giving as defined by the education foundation. I prioritize participation as I don’t take the countless volunteer hours and generous donations by participating families for the sake of our students and the long term financial security of our district for granted.
Accomplishments during my last term:
- A Balanced Budget that plans for the future
- School open full time and in person during the pandemic
- Adoption of math and science curriculums for K-8 and Social Science curriculum at Middle School
- Expert teaching model in 3rd-5th grades
- ELA (English Language Arts) Critical Literacy work in K-5th grades
- Implementation of early identifier for reading difficulties
- Beginning Social Emotional Learning work and hiring a school counselor.
- Increased campus security by implementing security advisor’s recommendations
- Strategic planning process which includes all stakeholder voices is underway.
I will continue to balance the district’s budget with the district’s long term priorities. There has to be a critical examination of technology expenditures to ensure the use is to customize learning experiences rather than busy work or test preparation as this is a large portion of our budget. The resources available digitally outside of our curriculum have to be monitored to ensure political and cultural agendas do not end up in the classroom. After seeing videos that taught critical race theory from Brain Pop, I did not approve the expenditure to continue that contract.
This term brings the challenge of hiring and onboarding a new superintendent. Superintendent’s tenures of today are shorter with 5-7 years more common than tenures like that of Dr. Rowe and Ms. DeLaney in the past. This makes the role of the governing board providing direction in the mission and vision of the district and approving curriculum essential. I will continue the collaborative work with all stakeholders to create a living mission and vision in the district. I am equipped to face this challenge as I have learned from the past experience of bringing Ms. Tripi onboard and prioritize establishing strong governance protocols.
The second challenge will be improving the educational experience in middle school. Our state testing data for middle school show ELA scores have started a small upward trend with 90% of our students proficient and advanced. In math however, our testing data shows a decline in grade level proficiency starting in 5th grade as cohorts progress through the grades most significantly in math.
The board, administration and staff recognize this is a problem. We conducted an extensive search for a qualified middle school principal to address this issue. The District reviewed approximately ten applicants, narrowing them down to a final three to conduct panel interviews. We chose Mr. Spengler due to his wealth of middle school experience as a teacher, math coach, math resource teacher, assistant principal, and six years as principal. Mr. Spengler will present a timeline for actions to be taken to the board at a special board meeting in October. I look forward to his professional recommendations and plan to hold the administration accountable to implementing effective change.
However, as suggested by some, quickly implementing a haste program with an honors label to give parents a false sense of accomplishment is the easy answer, not the right answer. I am against lowering the requirements to participate in our existing advanced math program. I am for implementing a well thought out plan by qualified administrators which will lay the groundwork for as many students to qualify and thrive in an advanced math program.
In this next year I want to focus on our middle school to implement best learning practices, particularly from charter and private schools to challenge our students at all levels. Focusing on critical thinking skills in all subject areas and bringing in project based learning to engage our students. The critical reading program being implemented in grade school is a great start and I would like to see more of these practices implemented in middle school.
During my next term, I will continue to advocate to build an inclusive school community that is global in perspective embracing transparency with impactful parent involvement. I believe a truly safe school is a place where learning can occur in a welcoming environment free of intimidation, violence, and fear. We are one community composed of many families representing a broad range of viewpoints, cultures and backgrounds. I want every student, parent, and staff to be treated with dignity.