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|Los Angeles County, CA||November 5, 2013 Election|
My Top Priorities For TUSD
By Mark SteffenCandidate for Governing Board Member; Torrance Unified School District
This information is provided by the candidate
Below you will find my three top priorities for TUSD. I believe that these areas represent the most demanding needs of the district today.The first and maybe the most immediate issue is the successful implementation of Common Core. Being a teacher, I have an understanding of the frustration of not knowing many of the specifics of these new standards. I also know the feeling of apprehension entering this year knowing that I need to get my students prepared for a test they will have to take next year. I feel that in order to accomplish a successful transition from the present California Content Standards to Common Core every stakeholder must be involved and informed. Change is difficult at best and horrendous if done poorly. Ensuring that teachers and support staff are adequately trained and prepared must be a top priority. Training teachers to be trainers is a proven method. Also providing meaningful and regular in-services for staff is essential. Also providing teachers with "example" lessons and an opportunity to practice and discuss them is important.
Another issue of top concern for me is the state of technology in TUSD. Even though TEF has provided a strong wireless network, the inadequacy of our equipment and some of our software cannot take advantage of it. It also frightens me knowing that each student will need to have access to a functional computers and a strong network in order to take the required Common Core exams. TUSD has to look for a way to fund our technology into the future. This may mean looking for funding in many places. It may also mean seeking the voters' approval for ensuring that the long term technology needs of the students of TUSD are met.
A third issue that is important to me is the restoration of staff and making the compensation of staff more competitive with the surrounding areas. To me the restoration of staff, teachers, custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries, and administration is of vital importance to make sure that not only the education of the students is accomplished, but maintaining the investment of the modernization and new construction TUSD has accomplished. We all know that TUSD, due to the great sacrifice of all staff, has a large reserve. I am committed to reducing that reserve in a way that best supports the needs of our staffs, students and infrastructure. We also have to take advantage of new funds that the Local Control Funding Formula might provide. TUSD has to become more competitive in both salary and benefits in order to keep our excellent staff as well as attract the very best. I believe we now have the opportunity to start down that path.
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