By Pablo Jaime Sainz
With a student population of about 6,700 students, the National School District, which has 10 schools in National City, will be having elections on November to select three board members.
The majority of the student population in the district is Latino, many of whom are English-learners.
In this race there are six candidates, two of them are incumbents. Voters will need to vote for three out of six candidates.
La Prensa San Diego contacted all of the candidates via e-mail and telephone calls. Only Governing Board Member Anne Campbell took the time to respond to La Prensa San Diego´s information request.
Rosalie “Rosie” Alvarado is currently the board president. In her candidate statement, she said that “children hold the future in their hands and that they deserve the best education and nothing less.”
She said she “provides knowledge, experience, and leadership which have resulted in consistent increases in student achievement.” Alvarado also said that she “makes a difference because of her long-standing ties to the community and her strong convictions to enhance the safety and quality of the learning environment.”
If re-elected, she said that she “will continue her thoughtful efforts on behalf of our children through hard work and honest communication.”
Barbara Avalos is a small business owner. In her candidate statement she said that “my vision is to assure the highest level of educational achievements for all students.”
She said her vision is to develop social, emotional, and health service programs to foster character and personal well being.
Avalos said she believes that parent and community involvement in our schools is crucial for the academic success of students.
Anne Campbell currently serves as a board member and she´s also city librarian at National City Public Library.
She was the only candidate out of six who took the time to respond to La Prensa San Diego´s information request.
“I believe in public education. I want to ensure that our public schools provide our children with a quality education that will help them successfully encounter the challenges of tomorrow and be participants in our democratic society,” Campbell said.
She added that her experience will continue serving the needs of the district.
“As an education professional, I have been involved in library and literacy programs for over 34 years. I have a unique perspective in understanding the dynamics of family literacy, and am committed to improving literacy for all National City residents,” she said.
The three most important issues that need to be addressed in the District are, according to Campbell to continue to improve the academic performance of National City students; to provide a safe learning program before and after school; and to continue to provide stellar educational programs with decreasing dollars.
“I am a proponent of strong reading, English and math programs, resulting in eight straight years of improved achievement for our students,” Campbell said.
Brian Clapper is a substance abuse counselor. In his candidate statement, Clapper said that his “vision for our district: All students afforded equal opportunity to excel. A curriculum that includes the fundamentals, the arts, is culturally sensitive and technologically advanced. Enhance the academic environment to further promote learning/retention, student self-esteem/performance, teacher workplace satisfaction, community pride.”
Alma Sarmiento Graham is a business owner. In her candidate statement, Graham said that she “has the experience, energy, and dedication to the children of National City.”
She added that during her 12 year tenure as a board member, she formed the “Safe Routes to Schools” Committee and brought together stakeholders from the National City community. As a result, Graham said, National City was awarded the “Safe Routes to Schools” grant and the committee’s efforts were recognized as a model for grant applicants throughout the state of California.
Toni Romo is a community volunteer. In her candidate statement, Romo said that “as a community volunteer for the last 8 years, I have developed a unique understanding of the daily struggles that many of our children face. I have forged strong relationships with teachers and principles in our area schools. I have worked to ridge the gaps between parents and teachers, by working within my local school to create a parent/teacher group that focused on the needs of the school.”
If elected, Romo said she “will continue to bring a positive, solution-driven attitude, which focuses on the needs of our children and their futures. I will work to support our schools to close the achievement gap and keep an open door for our parents.”