You are on page 1of 17

The

Jacksonville Public Education Fund, Save Duval Schools, Duval County PTA, Jacksonville Kids Coalition and Jacksonville Urban League are nonpartisan organizations. We do not support or endorse any specific candidate. Our goal is to educate the community and promote increased participation in school board elections. Candidate responses to all questions will be published verbatim on a special web site at www.schoolboard2012.org. While candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the questionnaire in its entirety, partial or non-participation will not prevent candidates from participating in subsequent public forums or other election-related events hosted by these organizations. The deadline for returning this survey is July 2, 2012. No responses will be accepted after this date and all responses will be published simultaneously to the web site subsequent to this date.

2012 SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE


Ashley Smith Juarez Candidate Name: ____________________________________________________________ 3 School Board District: __________ www.AshleySmithJuarez.com Campaign Web Site: ____________________________________________________________

Primary Campaign Contact Sara Dougherty Name: ____________________________________________________________

Sara@ashleysmithjuarez.com E-mail Address: ____________________________________________________________ 904.438.4275 Phone Number: ____________________________________________________________



JACKSONVILLE PUBLIC EDUCATION FUND 245 RIVERSIDE AVENUE SUITE 310 JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32202 904.356.7757 FAX 904.394.2005 WWW.JAXPEF.ORG

Candidate Biographical Information Please provide a short biographical summary of no more than 500 words that can be used on www.schoolboard2012.org web site and in other publications: Ashley Smith Juarez is an educator, a champion for students, and a leader in education reform. She is a Jacksonville native devoted to education. Ashley graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Secondary Education and History. Ashley served as a classroom teacher in public and independent schools; she knows that children learn differently and that each child needs an excellent education to reach his/her potential. Ashley worked as a dropout prevention specialist serving 13 Duval County Public Schools; she knows the geographic and demographic diversity of our district firsthand. Ashley partnered with parents, guidance counselors, teachers, principals, volunteer mentors and, most importantly, struggling students. Ashley currently serves as the Executive Director of an education reform foundation. She travels the country learning about best practices in education and works to implement them in Jacksonville. Ashley Smith Juarez is a proven leader with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to improve our public schools.

Ashley currently serves on the board of Family Support Services, WJCT, and the Take Stock in Children Leadership Council among other volunteer positions. Ashley lives in the San Marco neighborhood with her husband Alex Juarez, a local small-business owner, and their dog Sam.

Instructions Please answer each of the questions below. If you need additional space or wish to elaborate on your answers to one or more questions, please feel free to attach additional pages to this questionnaire. Please make sure, however, to identify the question to which you are responding by number so we can correctly align your responses with the proper question. You may respond by email, fax, or postal mail. Directions on how to do so are at the end of the survey document. Questions Overall 1. If you had to give the Duval County Public Schools a grade, how would you rate its current performance at educating a. High-performing students? _____ A _____ B _____ C _____ D _____ F b. Average students? _____ A _____ B _____ C _____ D _____ F c. At-risk students? _____ A _____ B _____ C _____ D _____ F 2. In what respects do you think Duval County Public Schools are doing well in their mission to educate students in Jacksonville?
DCPS provides a variety of learning opportunities for students. The district recently expanded course offerings including Mandarin Chinese and Marine Science. DCPS has many magnet programs offering specialized instruction. However, DCPS needs to be more strategic and proactive about our unique student populations and offering coursework that matches student interests. Graduation rates rose over the past few years and DCPS offers more accelerated and career technical classes. DCPS continues to raise graduation requirements. Some requirements are above those the State of Florida requires. Still, DCPS must ensure that the necessary student supports are in place to ensure students reach these requirements.

3. In what respects do you think DCPS needs to improve significantly? What specific changes do you want to make in school district policies or programs to make these improvements?
Jacksonville's Public Schools should prepare each child for college or a career. Currently, 1 in 3 students in Duval County will not graduate on time. Of those who do graduate and enroll at Florida State College at Jacksonville, nearly 60% are not ready for college coursework. They are unprepared. To improve these statistics, DCPS needs to regard each child as an individual with unique learning needs. We need to partner with The Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations to understand the demands of the workforce and build coursework and 21st century learning that prepares students to meet the expectations of employers. We need to work with Florida State College at Jacksonville and other institutions of higher learning to understand the demands of entry-level coursework including the academic, social and emotional expectations. We then need to deploy K-12 coursework that includes character education, critical thinking, analytical skills, cooperative learning and core academics that align with those expectations, along with a data-driven assessment system that provides indicators of student progress. To make these changes, we need bold, visionary leadership that values both internal and external communications and is willing to make significant changes in the best interest of students. We need a strategic plan that sets high goals and lays out tactics to achieve them. We need to measure progress with benchmarks and, when necessary, adjust instruction using relevant data to drive decision-making.

Strategic Plan

Duval County Public Schools has a strategic plan approved by the school board in 2010 that guides the day-to-day management and activities of the superintendent. A copy of the strategic plan can be accessed at http://www.duvalschools.org/static/ aboutdcps/superintendent/strategic_plan.asp. For the following questions, please cite the strategy number and title (e.g. Strategy 1.A: Provide additional support for all low performing students in all schools). 4. On which specific strategy do you see as most critical for the district staff to focus in 2013?
All 5 goals are integral to providing a high quality education to each child. However, #3 Employ the Best Teachers and Principals: Hire, develop, support and retain the best teachers and Principals in the nation is most critical. The Bridgespan Group, a consulting firm, has been working with members of the Jacksonville community for close to 8 months to develop a plan for private community engagement in the reform of our public schools. Bridgespan has worked with several other large, urban districts and has conducted 6 months of

research in Duval. Their conclusions were the same as in other cities: human capital makes the difference in the success of education systems. It is not only important that we have principals and teachers who are high quality, high capacity instructional leaders in their schools. They must be empowered to use their skills and training to the best benefit of their students. Duval County is a large district with suburban, urban, rural and dedicated magnet schools; we need policy that allows principals autonomy and flexibility to address the unique student population in his/her school. Our teachers need the liberty and autonomy to create dynamic, relevant learning environments for their students, to slow down when students need more time to master a concept and to deeply engage in material that piques students interest while building skill sets through content that is engaging. When we have the best educators in our schools, we address not only strategic goal #3 but all five goals in the Duval County Public Schools strategic plan.

5. Which specific strategy or measurable would you propose revising or eliminating and what would you change about it?
Schools should be inspiring, creative, safe and nurturing environments for each student to learn. Among the most basic of human needs is to feel safe and secure. Without establishing classrooms and schools as safe places, the potential anxiety and fear of being in an unstable environment can keep students from mastering problem solving, higher order thinking and critical analysis. Goal #4 Establish Safe, Secure and Respectful Schools: Establish safe schools where all individuals are respected, valued and feel secure addresses an essential element of student success but it is not measured in a way that encourages the environments it seeks to create. Currently, this goal is evaluated based on two measures: the number and severity of disciplinary referrals issued and the school climate survey. Neither measure identifies causes for lack of safety. In addition, the rationale that a low number of referrals indicates a safe school and a high number indicates a lack of safety is flawed. A school could be very safe simply because referrals are issued and bad behavior is not tolerated. We need to ensure strong school discipline by empowering administrators to address student behavior and assuring them of district support. Students need positive incentives to make appropriate choices that assist their learning. DCPS needs methods for identifying why students are making poor choices, like the National Council on Crime and Delinquencys Girl Matters: Its Elementary, a gender-based trauma-informed program addressing the root cause of behaviors of elementary school girls. Other programs include the Alternative to Out of School Suspension Centers supported by the Jacksonville Journey that allow students to continue coursework during suspensions and employs counselors to address student behavior.

We must have safe, secure and respectful schools, but DCPS needs better policies, practices and measures to drive success.

Governance 6. Please provide a description of how you would differentiate between the governance responsibility of the school board and the management role of the superintendent.
A Superintendent must be a strong leader who is willing to make bold and calculated decisions to improve student outcomes, even if that means significant change. He/She must be someone who will put a stake in the ground and be held accountable for his/her decisions without excuses. A Superintendent should take time to know and understand the district but should not hesitate to make researched changes that are in the best interest of students. The individual should have significant experience in large systems and diverse constituencies. He/She should be approachable, listen and be adequately flexible to respond to needs. He/She must be steadfast in the resolve of graduating all students ready for college or a career. The DCSB is responsible for governance: adopting a strategic vision and goals, ensuring policy that supports achievement of those goals and oversight of the implementation of that policy. Board Members should work through the Superintendent to evaluate measurement, data and research to ensure that resources are being deployed in the most effective manner and that the goals are appropriate to achieving the mission.

7. Describe in your decisions how you would balance the interests of your specific neighborhood school board district with the interests of the entire school system if they come into conflict.

The DCSB must pursue sustainable policies that apply to the entire district. If the board becomes too involved in a particular school, it loses the broad vision and is likely to allow the system to suffer in other areas. As a board member I will pursue sustainable policy for DCPS and will work to divest sufficient control to the school level. Principals should have the autonomy necessary to address individual needs at individual schools. Each geographic district should offer high quality opportunities for each child; I will work to ensure this is true for students in District 3. Having effective systemic policy positively affects all schools. As a School Board member, I will work to set policies that determine expectations and ensure those standards are being met. Teachers and school administrators know and understand their student populations. When strong leaders and quality teachers are in place, more autonomy should be placed at the school level. That autonomy should then be balanced with accountability. By divesting more control to the school level, each school will have the ability to tailor education to the specific needs of that school.

When opportunities arise to preserve excellence already in place in District 3 or to expand excellence, I will fight for the best interest of students in the district.

The Duval County School Board is currently engaged in a search for the next superintendent, who will replace retiring Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals in December 2012. 8. What do you consider the key qualifications the next superintendent should possess in order to be most effective?
We need a bold, visionary Superintendent in Duval County. Someone who is willing to take calculated risks and make tough decisions. The Superintendent must be a good communicator both internally with the district staff and the DCSB and externally with the community. He/She should work with the DCSB to create a strategic vision for the district then deploy tactics and benchmarks for achieving the goals. The Superintendent is responsible for making policy recommendations to the School Board, oversight of policy implementation, creating an effective organizational structure, hiring an exceptional cabinet and holding departments accountable. The Superintendent should also develop and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders and spend sufficient time externally to communicate successes and challenges, learn best practice, coordinate advocacy agendas and solicit support for DCPS.

9. The school board is in the process of developing a new formal evaluation instrument for the Superintendent. In addition to this annual evaluation, please describe how you would propose providing formative feedback to the next superintendent on his/her performance on an ongoing basis.
DCPS needs a visionary strategic plan with high goals, thoughtful tactics and metrics to indicate areas of success and challenge. This strategic plan should outline what DCPS intends to accomplish for its students and how we will accomplish the goals. Knowing we are reaching the goals is critical to the success of our district and the evaluation of the Superintendent. The metrics should include benchmarks that can be reviewed on an ongoing basis not simply at the close of a school year. This data will provide ongoing formative feedback for the Superintendent.

Financial Resources and Budgeting The Duval County School Board is responsible for adopting an annual budget that outlines expected expenses. A copy of current budget documents can be accessed at http://www.duvalschools.org/static/aboutdcps/departments/ budget/budget_resources.asp. Please review these documents so that you can answer questions #10-12 as specifically as possible. 10. What specific areas of the district budget would you prioritize, particularly if additional resources became available?
Throughout my career, I always have sought positions that allow me to use my experience, skill sets and deep understanding of education to expand educational opportunities. I will govern with this perspective. All of my decisions will be driven by doing what is best for our childrens success. Student services will be my top priority including electives such as art, music, physical education, ROTC, competitive sports and others. These disciplines activate childrens brains and provide scaffolding and skills for core academic learning. Teachers are the single most important determinant to our students success and should be paid commensurate with their work. We need to ask effective teachers and paraprofessionals what motivates and inspires them so they may motivate and inspire their students. Then, we need to respond in the currencies teachers care about. I hosted a listening session for teachers during my campaign and the teachers said that they value time with their students, administrators who are encouraging and empowering and evaluation that assists them in perfecting their teaching. We need to infuse these things to encourage great teachers to stay in the classroom.

11. With revenues expected to continue to decline in the coming years, additional budget cuts are all but a certainty. What specific areas of the budget would you recommend reducing first?
DCPS in partnership with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund recently commissioned Education Resource Strategies (ERS) to perform a year-long audit of the districts finances and human capital. ERS looked at internal work, as well as compared the operations of DCPS to other similar districts. The ERS report contains multiple recommendations for efficiencies. Recognizing that DCPS invested several hundred thousand dollars to commission the report, I will use the report to guide tough budget decisions. Any efficiency that does not diminish student services and allows for economy are those I will entertain first. The primary responsibility of DCPS is to student success. I will first consider budget cuts that do not have a direct effect on student service.

12. The school district generally maintains a carry-forward balance and reserve fund in its budgeting process, a portion of which is required by state law. How would you balance the maintaining of a reserve in excess of the state requirement and continuing to fund programs and services during tight fiscal times?
The state has certain required levels for district general funds. It is also the responsibility of DCSB members to protect the bond rating of the district. There are efficiencies within the annual operations of DCPS that should be exercised before using a rainy day fund. As Executive Director of The Chartrand Foundation I recommend investments that offer the most effective proposed work. The Foundation receives requests well in excess of the budget. It is my job to determine which proposals align most closely with the Boards interest and best practice in education reform. It is difficult to make recommendation decisions, especially when good work is denied, but that is my charge as the Director. I will use the same discernment as a School Board member. I would consider the use of a rainy day fund as a one-time, stop-gap measure to protect student services, but would not advise using it to expand services or establish new programs. Its primary use should be for unexpected expenses that arise due to significant fluctuations during an annual budget cycle or an emergency.

13. To ensure the district has adequate fiscal resources and avoids budget shortfalls in the future, what, if any, revenue sources should the school district pursue and on what timetable (e.g. increased local property or sales taxes, statewide tax increases, etc.)?
Transparency and efficiency are critical to building support and confidence in our school district. The quality of our public schools affects every facet of the quality of life in Jacksonville and every citizen is a stakeholder. As a Board member I will comb through the budget to ensure that all dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively before I assess the need for additional resources. Transparency, accountability and strategic planning are important to having the support of the taxpayers. If the Board found a need for additional funds after proving its fiscal responsibility, I would insist that a plan be delineated as to how additional funds were to be used and the expected impact on student achievement. This plan should then be clearly communicated to the community to build consensus. As a Board member I would ask the Superintendent to demonstrate a need, make a clear case and solicit the support of diverse stakeholder groups. Then, I would ask for defined assurances that the funds generated would be used responsibly and for the stated purpose outlined in the plan.

10

Community, Parent and External Relationships 14. How would you propose strengthening the relationships between parents, schools and community members?
As a board member, my first request of the Superintendent would be to map all of the current DCPS activity including what is provided by the district and what is provided by external partners such as non-profits, the business community, PTAs/PTSAs and private individuals. We need to define what is best benefiting our students and redirect community efforts to support those initiatives. We need to use that map to identify gaps then seek to fill them. We also need to encourage positive parent involvement. Schools should be welcoming places that approach parent involvement by first asking What can you do for your child? rather than issuing a long list of things parents are not doing. By starting from a place of gratitude for what a parent can give, the school can make additional requests over time. The relationship between the parent and the school must be strong first. Then additional partnership can be solicited. As a board member I will encourage strategic partnerships that leverage the expertise of members of the public. It takes all of us to build an excellent school system. As a board member I will encourage two-way conversations with the community regarding the improvement of our schools. I will vet opportunities against the strategic plan and only use resources for those that help us reach the goal of graduating all students ready for college or a career.

15. How would you ensure that the school district remains transparent to the community in terms of student academic performance, financial management, school board meetings, public records and other areas?
Transparency and efficiency are critical to building public support and public confidence in our school district. The quality of our public schools affects every facet of the quality of life in Jacksonville and every citizen is a stakeholder. To recruit support and build public confidence, DCPS should increase transparency. DCPS should deploy technology to make budgets, policy and evaluation criteria easily accessible and searchable. We need all stakeholders in the community to contribute to education reform. DCPS internal and external communications need defined strategies. Currently, communications are largely reactive and do not build a comprehensive narrative of successes and challenges. The Superintendent should work with the communications team to express the strategic goals, benchmarks and tactics for achieving those goals. Board member Fred Fel Lee recently held community forums at two middle schools. This practice allows Board members to gain insight into individual perceptions and experiences. It promotes a two-way dialog with stakeholders and does so in an organized and concise fashion. I will employ this practice as a Board member.

11

Several stakeholder boards and committees in the community, including JPEF and the JAX Chamber, request participation by a DCSB member. This is an opportunity to learn as well as to communicate district policy and progress. I will support the acceptance of these invitations from DCPS Board members.

16. There are a number of external organizations that interact with and work to support the Duval County Public Schools, from the PTA to the Mayors Office to local nonprofits. Please describe the ideal relationship with entities like these and how you may leverage their services to support students.
Jacksonville needs all stakeholders to engage in our public education crisis to be able to transform our system. DCPS should have a clearly defined strategic plan that allows businesses, non-profits, PTAs/PTSAs, retired folks and the Mayors office to engage in improving our schools. I already have relationships with members of each of these sectors as well as relationships with people engaging in education reform across the state and the nation. I have relationships with people working at the local, state and national levels to improve education opportunities. Jacksonville has many non-profit and for-profit business partners providing support services to students. This is tremendous. Schools should be welcoming places for volunteers and should strategically deploy resources offered to the school. Each school and the district as a whole should have a list of needed supports that is aligned with the strategic plan outlined by the district. People want to help and want to make an impact; DCPS should have an easy and accessible way to guide partners as to how to best-impact student learning and development. I am encouraged that the Mayors office recognizes the critical importance of an excellent public education system in building a top-tier city. The Mayors Education Commissioner can encourage dialog for improving our schools. He can rally support and partnerships. He can support out-of-school time through after-school and summer programs to ensure students arrive ready to learn each day and he can be a thought partner in reform. It takes all of us to build an excellent school system. As a board member, I will encourage two-way conversations with the community as to the improvement of our schools. I will vet opportunities against the strategic plan and only use resources for those that help us reach the goal of graduating all students ready for college or a career.

12

Legislative & State Issues The actions and decisions of the Florida Legislature and State Board of Education have a significant impact on the education of Jacksonville students. 17. What law or policy passed in the past few years by the Florida Legislature or State Board of Education had the greatest positive impact on education in Jacksonville?
Last year, the State Board of Education decided to make a significant investment in the assessment of Voluntary Pre-kindergarten programs. This assessment is designed to give centers feedback on the performance of their program. It will also give elementary schools a better understanding of their youngest students learning needs. Educators should be able to detect literacy and developmental delays more accurately and earlier allowing DCPS to deploy early interventions. These interventions should allow those students entering kindergarten unprepared to catch up to their peers and continue their academic careers on a path to success.

18. What law or policy passed in the past few years by the Florida Legislature or State Board of Education had the greatest negative impact on education in Jacksonville?
Local districts need autonomy to respond to the needs of their students in the same way that school sites need autonomy and flexibility in how they meet the needs of their students. When state policy becomes over-reaching, deploying resources to meet student needs and providing appropriate instruction for students can prove difficult. There are many policies that restrict the autonomy of local districts such as rigid textbook adoption guidelines, requiring online coursework or mandated workforce certification programs at the middle school level when certifications will likely expire before the student graduates high school. Any of these could be helpful for some schools, but likely are not helpful for all schools. Local districts need the autonomy and budget flexibility to direct resources to the best benefit of their students.

Major Policy Issues 19. What do you see as the advantages and/or disadvantages to using standardized testing data as a portion of a teachers evaluation?
We must have a way to assess teacher effectiveness, both to identify and target areas for development and to track the progress of teachers as they develop their craft. We need to know that we have the best-equipped, best-trained teachers in front of our students daily. From my experience, most teachers want to be assessed; they want to continually perfect their performance to the best

13

benefit of their students. We also have a responsibility to students and to the public to be sure that the assessment is fair and accurate. Using an assessment that evaluates student learning gains through standardized testing is one way to evaluate teachers. Value-added assessments have been crafted to measure the difference that a teacher made in his/her students learning. The disadvantage to using standardized tests to evaluate teachers is the highpressure, stressful environment that is created by using a snapshot of student performance that is measured at a single point in time. The test becomes the focal point rather than the learning. We need to continue to calibrate standardized tests to ensure accurate results and eliminate racial and socioeconomic bias. Assessing a portfolio of student work would allow for a more comprehensive assessment of a teachers effect on student learning.

20. Duval County currently operates magnet programs in more than 50 schools, including 13 dedicated magnet schools. How do the districts magnet programs positively and/or negatively impact overall student achievement in Jacksonville?
Magnet schools offer specialized instruction for students with an aptitude toward a particular subject or skill set. Students learn differently and have different interests. Education should grow their interests and challenge children in new areas of study. Magnet schools do that. There is no question that there have been unintended consequences to the creation of the magnet program. While we preserve the excellence in our magnet schools, we also should fortify our neighborhood schools with programs that interest the students and families in the area. We should be able to build programs in each school that serve students well.

21. What impact does out-of-district school choicecharter schools, tax-credit scholarships/vouchers, opportunity scholarships, and similar programs have on the success of students in Jacksonville?
Each of the choice options mentioned is unique and must be treated as such. Some are state-mandated, others are at the discretion of the district. Some place students within district schools, others provide alternatives to the public school system. Research-based, judicious use of options for families can be advantageous for some students and can be instructive to the district. The best way to minimize the demand for school choice options is to fortify DCPS and make every public school a place that families choose as a first-choice option for their students. If we provide an excellent education for each child that is tailored to the unique learning needs of that student, we minimize the need for alternatives.

14

22. Currently, the Florida Constitution limits class sizes to no more than 18 students in Grades K-3, 22 students in Grades 4-8 and 25 students in Grades 9-12, as measured at the actual class level. From your perspective as a potential board member, is the impact of this measure positive or negative in the effective education of students and management of our district? Why?
The State of Florida has spent over $21 billion dollars since 2003 to implement the Class Size Reduction Amendment. Florida districts continue to spend over $3 billion per year to meet the requirements. A Harvard research study conducted by Dr. Chingos revealed that universal class size reduction in Florida has yielded no significant difference in student achievement. We need to have manageable class sizes for students and teachers, but the rigidity of the amendment is not yielding results. Principals should have the liberty to place students according to their learning needs. Reducing class sizes in core classes during transition years has proven effective, but universal reduction is costly, has led to a reduction of elective offerings and has necessitated providing additional classrooms that are often in portables that are disconnected from the school. Another implementation plan uses two teachers in a class with twice the number of students; this can be chaotic and difficult to manage. In addition, many Superintendents have determined that adhering to class size would be detrimental to their schools, so they opt to pay a fine with already scarce resources rather than forcing compliance. The single most important determinant to student success is the effectiveness of his/her teacher. We need to focus on great teaching, be reasonable about student placements and allow districts and principals more flexibility with regard to class size. Flexibility would free up dollars for the arts, sports, transportation, technology integration, counselors and other student services that are important contributors to student achievement.

23. Currently, nearly 60 percent of high school graduates need remedial coursework before being eligible to take credit-bearing courses at Florida State College at Jacksonville. What would you propose to increase the number of students graduating college and career ready and reduce the numbers requiring remediation?


Learning must be relevant as well as rigorous to engage students and have them value learning as a lifelong pursuit. To improve this statistic, DCPS must regard each child as an individual with unique learning needs. DCPS should partner with The Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations to understand the demands of the workforce and build coursework and 21st century learning that prepares students to meet the expectations of employers. We must work with Florida State College at Jacksonville and other institutions of higher learning to understand the demands of entry-level coursework including the academic, social and emotional expectations; we then need to deploy K-12 coursework including performance character, critical thinking and analytical skills, cooperative

15

learning and core academics that align with those expectations along with a data driven assessment system that provides indicators of student progress.

24. If you have children, what type of school do/did they attend? (mark all that apply) _____ Public (inside Duval County) _____ Public (outside Duval County) _____ Private _____ Charter _____ Home Education _____ Other: ________see additional pages______________________________________

16

Additional Responses: Question 1a Duval County Public School (DCPS) has expanded Advanced Placement offerings, Dual-enrollment and International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE). DCPS has dedicated academic magnet programs and growing neighborhood magnets that cater to currently high performing students. However, gaps for high achievers still remain. The Duval County School Board must ensure that all middle schools offer the courses necessary for entry into our dedicated magnet high schools, for example Algebra I. Also, the School Board has to be sure there is equal access to accelerated learning. For example, currently students in Dual Enrollment must purchase their books. Upon satisfactory completion of the class, the student is reimbursed for the cost of the books. This method of accountability is prohibitive for some students from lower income households. As a Duval County School Board member, I will work for sustainable policy that is equitable so that all students have the opportunity to reach their potential. Question 1b All students can excel when given material in an engaging and dynamic learning environment that offers hands-on, relevant applications. DCPS must set high expectations for each student. If schools dont offer academic coursework that is engaging, students currently showing average performance can become disengaged, their learning can stagnate and some will drop out. We need to listen to student feedback regarding their interests and aspirations and offer inspiring content to encourage students to excel. Duval County Public Schools offers an adequate education for students currently performing in the academic middle. Students have a variety of academic course offerings, although enrichment class offerings such as art, physical education and music have shrunk significantly. The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a program to build study skills and personal development for students in the academic middle, continues to expand but implementation is inconsistent across school sites. Also the AVID program is designed to serve 10% of the student body at any school site; often there are more students that could be served beyond AVID enrollment. Career Academies provide relevant, career technical education. DCPS needs to continue to expand these offerings and align them with the interests of the student population being served and the workforce demands in Jacksonville. Question 1c All students can learn. It is incumbent on us as adults to offer learning environments that meet the needs of each child. In the class of 2011, students entering 9 th grade who were 1 or more years academically behind 9th grade requirements were almost 4 times less likely to graduate on time than their on-track peers. These students were not academically ready to enter the 9 th grade when they arrived and DCPS did not catch most of them up. One in three students in Duval County does not graduate on time; that is unacceptable. Several years ago the DCPS Office of Alternative Education became the Office of Multiple Pathways and Student Supports. This change reflects a shift in thinking about how to educate struggling students. It also reflects a commitment to providing multiple high-quality pathways for students to earn a

standard diploma. Still, the Duval County School Board must reinforce this thinking by supporting innovative instruction models like Schools for the Future, a national model for students who are over age for their grade level. Schools for the Future currently operates its first school in Duval County. With all of the tools that we now have in education: technology, brain research in multiple intelligences and learning styles, and real-time data feedback for instructors to be aware of student growth, we must be better at providing curriculum and instruction that meets each students needs. We need to deploy early interventions to ensure 3rd grade students are making the critical transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Elementary students need to have strong foundational math skills that provide a strong base for higher-level Algebra and Geometry. And, DCPS must have appropriate interventions for students not meeting these achievement benchmarks. Most importantly, learning must be relevant. Students need to see connections between their learning and pursuing their passions. Question 25 I do not yet have my own children. I have worked in schools throughout the DCPS and understand the diversity of our district. I worked in dropout prevention in 13 schools throughout the district and cared for each of my students unique needs. I staffed councils of teachers charged with infusing relevant learning experiences in an elementary and a middle school. I have partnered with principals and district administrators to bring needed programs to students and to understand the policies that govern how we educate our children. I have a broad and deep understanding of education. I graduated with honors from Vanderbilt with a degree in Secondary Education and History. I have been a classroom teacher, a coach, a dropout prevention specialist and I now lead an education reform foundation. I understand the successes and challenges of our district from the perspective of teachers, principals, families, community partners, district administrators and most importantly, from the perspective of students. I am Ashley Smith Juarez and I would be honored to have your vote for Duval County School Board District 3. Together we will build better schools.