Because I keep seeing these expressions again and again, I wanted to take an opportunity validate and engage with the public statements in concern of academic issues in our public schools. To everyone who has shared their feelings publicly; I hear you, I understand you are frustrated, I can sit with your frustration, you are allowed to feel what you are feeling.
As a clinician I have come to practice a “yes and” approach. Basically, yes one thing is true. And another thing can be true, and need attention and care at the same time. Yes the academic needs and challenges are valid, they deserve attention, they deserve care. AND emotional safety, understanding, and care for all students, especially those who belong to groups that are traditionally oppressed need care and attention.
I ask you to consider that mental health and socio-emotional safety and academic performance are not two separate issues. A disconnected child is a disengaged child. In my clinical and graduate studies I have learned that the number one reason why a student drops out of school is due to not feeling connected to their school. Examining our school’s academic performance from a place of deficit can be harmful to our students, our teachers, and our staff. Instead if, as a community, we look at how safe and connected our students feel we may find the answers to academic success.
Our schools strategic plan places emphasis on mental wellness, we have excellent resources in our district to facilitate this. Our schools are already prioritizing safety with the safe and civil schools program. Our educational leaders are deeply passionate about student success. Mental wellness, safety, inclusivity, and equity will pave the way for educational environments in which all students thrive. When a child feels safe and wanted, that child will excel. These are not separate needs or issues. Academic success is not possible in a stressful and strenuous environment.
Finally, I want to encourage everyone to vote in this election. Early voting begins next Tuesday Oct. 5 and the last day to vote is Nov. 2. On the ballot you will see selections for the School Board in your district. Vote for someone who represents the best interest of all students, although I do encourage you to vote for me if you live in District 5. You will also see a very important bond, The Public Schools Building Act (popularly known as HB33), this bond will bring vital funding to our schools and will not increase taxes. Also on the ballot are candidates for the UNM-LA advisory board. Aliisa Grissom, Laura Woodring, and David Hanson are all valuable and incredible candidates. Lastly I encourage everyone to attend the League of Women Voters forum that will take place on Oct. 6 via zoom.
Candidate for LAPS Board – District 5