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Ventura County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Smart Voter

Supporting academic success for all students

By Pauline Mercado

Candidate for Governing Board Member; Ojai Unified School District

This information is provided by the candidate
Enabling all students to be academically successful
Ask any parent or citizen in the community what they want for their children and they will almost always say they hope that their children are happy, healthy and successful in life. Because much of a child and adolescent's time is spent in school these wishes are carried over to the educational setting. Children and the education they receive have an enormous influence on their chances for a happy, healthy, and succesful outcome in life. Parents and citizens in general place a lot of faith and confidence in the schools to accomplish these wishes. To that end,supporting academic success for all students in the school system is of paramount importance. The question that remains, however, is how to ensure that this occurs.

The definition of academic success

I envision a way in which the essentials of schooling can bring forth academic success and in the process assist a student in achieving their life goals. First, we must decide what is the definition of academic success. Academics of course include the basic skills of reading,writing and math. It also includes the higher level skills of critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. As the student progresses his/her studies become more discipline specific. So that now, the basics are enabling the student to access information in the sciences, social sciences, and the arts. Secondly, academic success includes the personal growth in understanding how to communicate,respect,and appreciate others. It is the pride of knowing that they have mastered a topic while also learning to work with others. It is the joy of learning for the sake of learning. It is an expression of their own individual talents and skills as reflected in the arts, music, science, technical and physical areas. In other words,academic success can be a personal accomplishment in any academic or social activity that is meaningful to the student and ultimately to society.

Providing support to students

Knowing that academic success includes a a wide range of activities opens up the possibility for individuality. Everyone is unique. Some students are especially verbal or more hands on. Others are inclined to have talents in the arts or in sports. Still others may have physical or mental challenges that must be acknowledged. What academic success comes down to is respecting these individual variations and planning and supporting them so that the child can reach his/her true potential. It means having caring and perceptive adults in the educational environment with adequate resources to respond to the students needs. It means including parents and community in the educational process so that they enlarge the support system. It also means as President Bush has referred to it as "leaving no child behind". Of course this requires resources,materials time and money. But, most importantly it requires an attitude and a committment by everyone that children come first and that we as educators, parents, and community members will do all that we can to assist a child in realizing a happy, healthy,and successful life. This is our mission and our vision for children and for the future.

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ca/vn Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 22, 2002 08:33
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