Arlington Dems School Board Endorsement Caucus
May 19 & 21, 2016
Arlington County School Board (2 Endorsements)
I am a stay-at-home dad of a 1st grader with special needs. Young parents trust me. I am the Millennial bridge for the school board.
My progressive values and real estate expertise will get “more seats” using methods the County Board will expedite and endorse.
I studied education policy and business management at the schools ranked the best for innovation: ASU/Thunderbird and Stanford (USNews, 2015). I am licensed to teach Spanish K-12 and Social Studies.
I can strengthen the oversight of our superintendent with my skill set. Without me, who on the school board will have complete training in Curriculum and Instruction? Who has spent significant time educating high risk students?
I speak Portuguese and Spanish. While teaching English Language Learners, I have learned how to address the unique needs of diverse student populations. I highly respect Emma’s endorsee, Tannia. I also appreciate Nancy Van Doren’s focus on ALL students. We must address the UNIQUE NEEDS of all students.
Michael wants to advance Arlington Tech and online coursework for high schoolers. I want online education to be an opt-in piece of the student experience. I have taken many online courses on multiple platforms. I have family in the online education industry and I have learned from great public school teachers and administrators at EducateVA online. The implementation of online technologies can save time and money. My campaign website is not flashy, but it serves a vital need. I wrote all the code myself. I know technology. Technology is NO substitute for a good teacher!
People without tech knowledge waste money. Let’s stop handing out poorly optimized iPads to 2nd graders! We have to methodically test our infrastructure before rolling out technology programs. Let’s give some of the innovation budget to teachers—and less to Apple. Internet connected devices in the hands of children need adult supervision and strong filters. The technology we adopt must enhance the curriculum and win the support of teachers and parents. At school, students should interact most with teachers and peers, not screens. Let learning at school be social!
I care for children with special needs. I teach. I manage money. I code websites. I listen to diverse populations. After listening to concerns from parents and APS staff, I feel called to serve. My support is growing. You can make a difference. Diversity of talent should be our greatest strength. Vote for diversity. Vote Chaz!
So far in this campaign, I have knocked on thousands of doors all around the County. I’m hearing from many parents and alumni who had positive experiences with APS, but also from many who see where we are falling short. I am asking for your vote in the Democratic School Board Caucus to be the voice of all those community members.
As we get closer to the end of this school year, we are also reaching the final year of the APS Strategic Plan. In our discussions on a new Strategic Plan, we should be keeping and refining the goals we have in place. But we should be adding new Strategic Goals.
We need to increase socioeconomic diversity in our schools and have that as a Strategic Goal. We cannot completely reverse the rising residential segregation in our County, but we can offset its impact on schools. Socioeconomic diversity in schools improves academic achievement for all students and better prepares our students to be citizens in a globalizing world.
Second, we need to adopt a Strategic Goal that all our schools and educational offerings are of comparably high quality across the County. While we deliver new buildings of high quality, we need to ensure that old buildings are adequately maintained.
And we also need to refine our current Goal 4 (Provide an Optimal Learning Environment) so that the goal of providing an inclusionary learning environment for special needs students is front and center. APS falls short in this goal despite years of advocacy for more inclusion. We need to have months of action toward this goal, rather than just continue to have years of advocacy.
When the opportunity came about I got actively involved in our schools. I used my experiences in advocating for my education and the education of others to work for equal access to quality education for every student. I have spent the last 5 years pushing for improvements in our ELL instruction, discussing solutions for our capacity issues, and advocating for programs that help close our achievement gap. I now look to use my experience on the ESOL/HILT CAC, Advisory Council of Instruction, and the Facilities Study Committee among others to represent every community in Arlington on the Board.
It is important to ensure we give a voice to every student, regardless of their background, economic status, gender, race or ethnicity. By thinking of every student in our community while making our policy decisions, I know each one of our students will reach their full potential. We have the resources to address major issues in our schools, including a lack of mental health education and services, the effect demographics play on student achievement, and how we provide a seat to every child. I look forward to working towards these goals and more, once elected. I hope I can count on your vote on May 19 and 21.
Last summer, my Board colleagues elected me to serve as Vice Chair. In this leadership role, I’ve maintained my focus on instruction and educational excellence. My primary goal is to prepare every student to be successful in our 21st century economy. To this end, I have ensured an increase in specialized interventions for struggling readers, expanded opportunities for students with disabilities to succeed alongside non-disabled peers, ensured high expectations for English language learners, and supported the expansion of foreign language classes at all elementary schools. I continue to support APS’ digital learning initiative, which provides all students with access to technology to strengthen their learning. I fully support the launch of Arlington Tech, a new STEM-centered high school program that includes hands-on learning, industry credentialing, and dual enrollment classes for college credit.
To meet APS’ growing capacity needs, I supported the internal renovation project at Washington-Lee High School that added 300 seats. I will support similar projects at Wakefield and Yorktown High Schools. I voted for additions and renovations at Stratford, Abingdon and McKinley Schools as well as for a new secondary school in Rosslyn and elementary school in South Arlington to be built and opened by fall 2019. I served as the School Board liaison to the APS/County Community Facilities Study, which developed recommendations to better coordinate County and School facility resources. I strongly support funding in APS’ 2016 Capital Improvement Plan to complete current projects on time and within budget. I will advocate for funds to increase high school and elementary school capacity as soon as possible, so APS can meet the needs of what will be a 30,000 student school system by 2022.
Today, my priorities remain clear: build a strong infrastructure to meet the needs of our expanding school system while maintaining a keen focus on educational excellence for all our students.
Democratic Primary Election
June 14, 2016
Arlington County Board
On School Board, we focused strategically on ensuring every child succeeds, and we closed our achievement gap by half and cut the drop out rate by more than half. We renovated and expanded almost every school in the county and built several new, creating thousands more seats.
On County Board, I focus on making Arlington government more responsive, transparent and fiscally responsible. Since I became Chair in January, we:
* Hired a new County Manager and independent auditor
* Made it clear that we need modern quality bus service, but we have to follow through to make it happen
* Began video streaming work sessions so residents can follow them without having to sit in long meetings, but we need more ways for people to participate
* Welcomed the Governor here several times to bring financial support to new tech companies, but we still have more to do to reenergize our commercial sector and bring down our vacancy rate, and
* Started online building permits and an open data system to help residents to know what is happening in our community, but both these new systems need work and follow through.
We also must follow through on ongoing projects. Last fall, we adopted the Affordable Housing Master Plan. We must now implement cost effective ways to make housing more affordable for more people including young people, immigrants, middle income families with children, and older residents who want to age in the community they helped build. We must also implement last year’s Community Facilities Study recommendations. We have already started on many, but there are more to go and I will continue to work for them.
We need to work more collaboratively around the region and in Richmond, especially to solve our transportation issues. The crisis with Metro is focusing everyone. I’ve held bipartisan meetings to build a network of leaders ready, willing and able to work together for improvements to Metro and regional bus. I will continue these relationships to improve our transportation.
This is the kind of leadership I have brought to Arlington for almost 20 years. I ask for your support and your vote on June 14.
My wife, Renee, and I have lived in central Arlington for over 20 years. Our three daughters go to APS. In 2004, I started a home maintenance and improvement business, Clarendon Home Services. Through hard work, our team has grown exclusively through word-of-mouth. In 2012, the Arlington Chamber named us the Small Service Business of the Year.
I’ve also given back to our community as a youth soccer coach, on the Board of Doorways for Women and Families, President of the Lyon Park Citizen’s Association, and service on the Transportation and Economic Development Commissions. I currently serve as Vice Chair of the Planning Commission.
Every day I’m grateful that I live in a County that values walkable neighborhoods, diversity, great schools, a strong sense of community engagement, and a strong Democratic Committee that helps unify us around our core Democratic values.
I am running for County Board because I love our community and I believe we can do a better job planning for our future. We must meet the challenges we face today with solutions for tomorrow. I will resist political posturing and short-sighted expediency, and ensure we make long-term strategic investments.
I’ll strongly support transportation options across the County, expand housing options for young families and seniors who want to age in place, work to diversify our economy, strongly support the School Board in meeting the needs of our growing student body, and help neighborhoods in their quest for sustainability and an improved quality of life. And I’ll work to ensure that our civic discussion expands to include even more Arlingtonians.
As a business owner, I know that strong customer service builds trust. I’ve managed budgets, made payroll and stretched each dollar. Innovation matters in business; our County government must reinvent itself to be more efficient, transparent and accountable.
As a life-long Democrat I’m passionate about our progressive values of equality, fairness and compassion. Arlington is a wonderfully inclusive community that must stay this way. We must continue to assist those with less income and seniors on fixed incomes, which underpins my strong commitment to affordable housing programs.
This year, Arlington Democrats have a very clear choice for the future of Arlington. By June 14th, I hope to earn your vote in the Democratic Primary. Together, we can make Arlington an even better place to live, work, start a business and raise a family.
November 8, 2016