Nov 3 2011

Jon Elliott Announces Candidacy for School Board

The following announcement was received by PCA on November 1 from Jon Elliott –

After 10 years volunteering in and for our schools, I’m running for School Board. I need your support.

The District does a great job for our children, especially considering its budget pressures. As a District volunteer, I have worked for the past decade to ensure that our schools are the best they can be.  I’ve helped in classrooms, reviewed academic initiatives, and led oversight of tax programs.  I can do so more directly and extensively if you entrust me with a seat on the Board.

My Priorities for School Board

The Board and District staff are partners.  The Board sets broad goals and policies, while District staff executes the educational programs.  Together they review ongoing activities and find ways to enhance opportunities for our children.  When money’s tight – and that
has become a given for every public school district – the Board must make careful trade-offs and find ways to adapt programs to changing conditions and expectations.  When this succeeds, academic excellence and financial rigor can co-exist.

• Ongoing analysis of budgets and programs.  The District’s budget and program are constantly moving targets, which require frequent reassessment.  Board members review staff analyses and recommendations with fresh eyes, question assumptions, and evaluate
outcomes.  This has been my approach working with the District.  As a School Board member I would continue to advocate for our children, applying my technical training (law, public policy and engineering) and 30 years of experience with public agencies to keep our schools as strong as possible.

• Timely and meaningful public information, participation and input.  We all deserve timely access to understandable information, and the opportunity to engage with the District on matters we care about.  The District has made great strides to inform and engage the community, and I’ll continue to work to enhance open processes.  Individual
community members often know a lot about specific issues, and our schools benefit when we access this expertise and energy.  I especially want to reach parents of younger children who are not yet engaged, and households without children in District schools who may feel out of the loop and may want to contribute more than just their taxes.

I’ve spent ten years of hands-on involvement with our schools, actively supporting open process, rigorous analysis and evaluation, and a rich innovative curriculum.  I believe I bring both deep understanding of issues and new perspectives to the School Board, and would welcome the challenge of serving.  Thank you for considering my ideas.  I hope
you will share yours with me.

Volunteer Experience in and for Piedmont Schools

I started volunteering the way many parents do: helping in classrooms and driving carpools for field trips when my children began at Havens.  I still drive carpools and volunteer for my kids’ teams and activities, and have also participated in

• Havens science and math support – Science Fairs and Family Science Nights, introduction of recycling and “green” activities; in-class support for Math Enrichment

• PMS Site Council (including as parent co-chair) and PHS Site Council – worked on a wide range of academic and school community issues, including Single Plans for Student Achievement (annual goal-setting and evaluation), Emergency Plans, and supporting students in effective transition from elementary school to middle school to high school.

• District-wide Curriculum Reviews of K-12 Math and English Language Arts, supporting data-driven program reviews and enhancements.

• District Gifted and Talented Education Advisory Council – helping to ensure that programs to meet high-performing students’ needs are integral parts of broad-based, District-wide programs to ensure that every student receives an appropriate and personal educational focus.  I am also a founding board member of the independent group Piedmont Gifted Parents Support, which advocates strengthening differentiated education for all our students.

• Citizens’ Advisory Committee to the Parcel Tax Program Measures B & E – As chair, I’ve coordinated annual review of District finances and budgeting, preparing recommendations for levy of the Parcel Taxes; in the first year we also conducted targeted reviews of several important expense categories at the School Board’s request.

In addition, I’ve helped District staff draft program documents, revisions to Board policy documents, and information for the District website – including policies addressing discrimination and harassment.  I worked with the Assistant Principal and other parents to revise and update the PHS Parent and Student Handbook.  I’ve participated actively
in the Shaping Our Future process in 2009-10 and the current Western Association of Schools and Colleges re-accreditation process at PHS.

Elliott for School Board 2012

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