October 14, 2020

Paula DeJongh

Pronouns: she/her
School District:Union City Community Schools
City: Union City

How long have you lived in your district?

First 25 years of life, left, then returned 6 years ago

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Because I am an advocate in our community for open and honest communication with rationality, sensitivity and common sense.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

To me education justice means that all teachers and students are nurtured and cared for so that teachers may provide and students may achieve their highest standard of education.
In context to my school district I will work to assure that all UC school employees, students and our community work together peacefully and fairly to provide teachers and students with quality educational resources, courses, and a focus on restorative justice to ensure that all students graduate high school

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

The schools would be run more efficiently and effectively with the students completely returning to their campuses with excitement and gratitude to learn and work together. Many lessons learned in order to provide a stronger, safer, healthier and happier environment for all.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Kind, considerate and open communication skills are the most effective way to create satisfaction, even during difficult situations. Parents, students and families just want to have a voice and we need to be there for them to feel heard. I would suggest respectful open forums through media in private groups to be able to have a voice and someone with experience to have the voice of reason as well.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

None, as this has been a low-key campaign

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

1) That our teachers, pupils and employees feel supported and appreciated so that they will excel at their jobs as educators, students, and leaders in their field of work!
2) That each student is nurtured, guided and cared for so they can reach their next educational goal
3) That each student graduates from UCHS

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

Provide adequate and equitable school funding
Improve the health, safety, and wellness of all students
Recruit future teachers during this time of shortage

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

I feel our schools are already doing a terrific job of protecting students and staff by requiring masks, making Wednesdays a home school day, deep cleaning twice weekly as well as small class rooms. I anticipate more challenges, illness and burnout, as the winter months approach. I hope the board will listen and brain storm together to provide the necessary support to staff and students.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

I don’t feel I can answer this due to lack of information at this time.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

I feel right now they play a big role in dissatisfaction and stress from listening to the students and teachers, so I don’t feel they are very productive, but I understand there is a need for standardization. I’d like to examine this subject closer in the future as a board member.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

Without already being on the board or having children in school currently, I don’t feel I can answer that subject with a good knowledge base. This is yet to be determined, but I’d love there be a focus on life skills, coping skills, anger-management skills, etc.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

I feel it is every person’s responsibility in the school district to support each other emotionally and physically; therefore, I feel the district needs to reflect that same attitude in a professional manner.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Student discipline issues should be handled with care and concern in a case-by-case manner with understanding and compassion for all concerned. Safety of staff and students being of utmost importance.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

My top priority is that each student in the special education area is supported and guided in a compassionate and caring way, unique to their learning style, so that they may achieve their highest goals and leave UC schools with confidence and the ability to be a productive member of society

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

I’d like our school district to strive toward fairness with earned respect and gratification through hard work, morals, values and ethics so that each individual within the school district feels safe and comfortable with the ability to grow their strengths within the system based on the above disciplines.

Any other information you want to include or share?