Town Hall Hones in on School Culture & Fields School Board Candidates

Apr. 4, 2016 / By

Hundreds of students and parents gathered at the Cal Rec Gym on Saturday to address the need to create a positive school culture and climate.

The event titled “Voices and Visions” featured an interactive town hall discussion and activities with students and parents, a keynote address from State Board of Education member Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon, and a school board candidates’ forum.

“Voices and Visions offers insights and solutions from parents and students to address larger problems,” said Jerlene Tatum of Success in Challenges and co-emcee of the event. “This event is timely as we approach the school board elections on April 12th and engage the candidates on the issues that matter to parents and students.”

Hosted by the Every Student Matters Campaign and Building Healthy Communities, four key demands outlined at the event included the need to invest in high need students, close the discipline gap among students, increase health and wellness services, and value student and parent voice.

Sarai McKenzie, a senior at Jordan High School and co-emcee of the event, expressed that many students like her would like to see changes happen with issues that have been acknowledged yet have not been refined.

“Our communities have had visions of positive school climate and engagement for a long time,” said McKenzie. “We want to focus on how all of us – students, parents, teachers, and school board members ­­– can work together to make that vision a reality.”

Success stories were shared such as the actions local mothers took to acquire a school bus for Roosevelt Elementary School students and how Reid Continuation High School student Brianna Moore’s relationship with Restorative Justice Coordinator Janay Watts helped her graduate.

“Because of her, I have the support I needed,” said Moore. “I now have straight A’s.”

The latter part of the event consisted of a LBUSD Board of Education candidates’ forum.

Candidates Felton Williams, Jessica Alvarez, and Rosi Pedersen were in attendance taking questions from attendees on disproportionate suspension rates, higher education preparedness, dual language programs, and health services.

The candidates will be on the ballot for Long Beach’s upcoming city election on Tuesday, April 12.IMG_2430

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