Natomas School Board Race: Community Relations

BY THE NATOMAS BUZZ STAFF
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

FOURTH IN A SERIES

We invited the 10 candidates running for Natomas Unified school board to answer questions submitted by readers. Today’s question asked:

“Are you willing and/or interested in communicating with community members who are not parents? And, if so, how do you plan to do so? For example, construction is under way at multiple campuses in the district which impact neighboring residents who were not informed ahead of time of the projects.”

Here are the answers submitted by the deadline, in the order they were received:

Micah Grant

MICAH GRANT
Yes. Community members who are not parents are still taxpayers who have a vested interest in their schools and their neighborhoods and deserve the same level of respect and communication. I’ve always encouraged the district to enhance its presence on various social media platforms used by our community and to make as much information as possible available on the district website. I’ve also pushed the district, when possible, to partner with the city and county to ensure all residents remain informed. I support expanded communication from the district to local neighborhood associations and other community groups about the latest happenings in the district. As a trustee, I’ve voted in support of live-streaming board meetings to ensure working-class residents can review decisions made by the board in a manner convenient for them. I will continue to push the district to be more creative in its approach to communicating with all stakeholders.

Monica Barrios

MONICA BARRIOS
Yes. I absolutely plan to communicate with all members of our community. Our schools are a source of pride. As a board member, it would be my expectation that there be regular communication between the schools and broader community to share information of relevance. The communication should not be limited to just transactions. There are many positive things happening and opportunities to promote our schools to the larger community. It is also critical to be transparent about all activities so the public is aware of how schools are spending taxpayer dollars. Regular communication through all platforms (website, social media, public notices, etc.) should be happening all the time.

Ericka Harden

 

ERICKA HARDEN
I am more than willing to work with all community members that are interested in our schools regardless of their status as parents. As they say, “it takes a village” and the future of the students in any educational system should be considered on a broader level in society. For example, if there is construction going on at different campuses in the district, all residents should have equal notice based on equality and public safety issues alone. I have a voice in the community and have developed many relationships from different associations and I attend a wide variety of public meetings. In each event that I have attended the quality of the outcome has been effective because there was inclusion and transparency among all stakeholders. Therefore, I take my role as a representative for the district and from the community seriously.

Mariana Corona Sabeniano

MARIANA CORONA SABENIANO
I was fortunate to have people in my life that believed and encouraged me to pursue a higher education, despite a number of barriers. My passion for education and giving back led me to become actively involved in the district, as a non-parent. There is a role for all community members to help students be successful. I will ensure we continue to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment for all community members to engage. I will be proactive in seeking input and maintaining ongoing communication to increase the involvement of nonparents. I will hold frequent virtual/in-person meetings and broadly share information with organizations for distribution to the community at-large. As taxpayers, homeowners, business owners, etc., we all have a vested interest in ensuring Natomas has the best schools in the region. A high-quality education produces the future workforce, creates safer communities, and improves the overall quality of life.

Dr. Susan Heredia

DR. SUSAN HEREDIA
As your school board member, I represent the community and am accountable to the public for the performance of our schools and students. This includes being accessible to not just our parents and students, but our community members as well. I enjoy meeting with our community to address any concerns they may have. In order to strengthen our relationship with the community, I lead the district creation of the Constituent and Customer Service (CCS) Department. In 2015, CCS was recognized in California as one of the state’s most outstanding examples of parent and community involvement by winning the Golden Bell. CCS ensures that every voice counts, thus recognizing our commitment to every community member. Ultimately, our goal is to continuously improve our communication and response to parent and community concerns, so please don’t hesitate to contact CCS at [email protected] or me at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Sumiti Mehta

SUMITI MEHTA
First and foremost, the responsibility of a school district is to provide best education to its students. Family and community engagement are a vital component in improving student achievement. The district in my experience is doing a good job of keeping parents engaged and informed through surveys, emails, and phone calls. Live broadcast of board meetings has brought the meetings to the living rooms. The district does need work to expand the outreach to non-school community. The non-parents community members are just as important to our schools as our parents. They equally support our education system and local infrastructure with their taxes. As a board member, I will work on building strong partnerships with community and neighborhood associations. I will ask the board to consider a monthly newsletter for our community. I will also drive policy for proper notifications of school events and any construction that will impact the community.

Raynette Johnson

RAYNETTE JOHNSON
I am interested in and eager to converse with the community who are not yet parents. It takes ”a village” to raise our children; we are all co-parenting. The community of all genres impacts our learners. I would hold an open forum to discuss upcoming events with our neighboring residents to ensure everyone is adequately informed.

Scott Dosick

SCOTT DOSICK
As your Natomas school board member, I see my job as representing and being accessible to the entire Natomas community – students, parents, teachers, staff, and residents. Thanks to Natomas voters, we have successfully passed two bonds (Measures J & L) which are now being used to, among other projects, construct the new Paso Verde campus, replacing and upgrade the Natomas High track and field, in addition to converting American Lakes, Bannon Creek, and Jefferson from K-5 to K-8 schools with 21st century facilities. Whenever we start a construction project, we post information on the district website, send emails to parents, and share information on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and NextDoor. NUSD also has a stakeholder mailing list that is available to anyone simply by emailing [email protected] The district makes great efforts to keep the community informed about all activities and continuously looks for new opportunities for improvement.

The Natomas Buzz is hosting a second online candidate forum. Register at here for the second forum 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 22. Students from Natomas Charter School, Westlake Charter School, and Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep will host a student-facilitated candidate forum 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 which will be broadcast live via YouTube.


The deadline to register to vote in California is Oct. 19. Register online at https://registertovote.ca.gov/.

Comments

  1. Hello readers. My response to this question was submitted after the article was posted. For those interested, below is my response to the question. I hope you all are doing well and staying safe.

    Yes. Maintaining transparency and communication with the community are important. This includes stakeholders who are impacted by decisions of the board and district. It is important to consider all methods of communication in order to ensure we communicate effectively with community members. This can include discussions in community forums, use of electronic communications and social media, and mail, among other things.

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