Kathy Rallings (Area 5)
Lancer Link: Do you believe it’s important for ALL students to have access to mental health resources on campus? What would you do to ensure these resources remain available to all students?
Kathy Rallings: As the current Trustee for Area 5, I have advocated for increased mental health resources on all campuses. In addition, I will continue to insist that our staff include all laws and guidelines in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I) 3-year strategic plan to ensure ALL students feel safe and heard when accessing mental health services.
LL: A significant amount of CHS classes have over 35 students per period. Do you believe that this class size is ideal for a healthy learning environment? If not, what would you do to change it?
KR: No. Over the last eight years, I have encouraged our district to see class size reduction as a budget priority and an investment into our future. We have done some smoothing to decrease class sizes on the margins during that time. However, it takes 3 votes on the School Board to increase the on going dollars necessary to significantly reduce class sizes on a permanent basis.
LL: “From July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles,” (PEN America). What will you do to ensure students have access to a diverse and inclusive curriculum in CUSD high schools?
KR: I have faith in the professional decisions of our teachers and staff to make the most appropriate choices for their classes and support the educational programs in our schools to continue our successful award-winning culture.
LL: Do you think the workload at CUSD high schools has a negative effect on teenagers? What ideas do you have to help students manage high academic expectations?
KR: I am a big believer in project-based learning and practical application of academic assignments. This way students can share the workload through collaboration and demonstrate understanding without adding to the plate. Next year, CUSD will be offering Financial Algebra for students as an alternative to Algebra II as part of the A-G standards. These courses can increase engagement with students and reduce workload. My hope is that we can find more classes like this in the future.
LL: Half of all high school students have used marijuana products (CDC). Over 10% of California teens have reported using drugs in the past month (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics). How do you plan to address alcohol and drug use amongst CUSD high school students?
KR: In my view, education and inclusion is the key to overcoming alcohol and drug use among teens. As a Board, we encourage the school sites to conduct ongoing education for students and parents around drug use. In addition, when students feel a sense of belonging and they are provided with unique learning opportunities they are less likely to jeopardize their participation by turning to drugs or alcohol. I think a proactive approach is much more effective than a reactive one.
LL: What ideas do you have to ensure that all students feel safe and respected on campus?
KR: Our Local Control Accountability Plan and Facilities Master Plan prioritizes safety on campus by providing additional Counselors, Community Liaisons, fencing, cameras, and other safety provisions. In addition, our Board policies strive to ensure respect is extended to all students, staff and teachers so we can continue to provide an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment.