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Guest column by Donna Ruebusch: MHUSD board president aims to include everyone

Goal: to help all students achieve academic success

Published in the January 4-17, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Donna Ruebusch

Sometimes I am asked why I ran for the role of Morgan Hill Unified School District board president. My answer is the same as it was when I ran as a candidate for the board in 2014: it is for the students.

My entire adult life and profession has been dedicated to the MHUSD students. My view of education is taken from the perspective of the classroom. As the board president, I will continue to use the classroom lens as we, the entire board of trustees, evaluate and make determinations to meet the needs of students, parents and employees.

Our focus must be on the vital role of support for students to positively affect their future. That requires that we work together. I’m happy to welcome two new board members, Mary Patterson and Teresa Murillo, along with re-elected trustee Tom Arnett. Each bring perspectives and experiences to enrich the board and our policy discussions.

All trustees recently attended a conference of the California State School Board. This high-level professional development program gave us time to discuss, learn together, be updated on state education initiatives, funding, laws and best practices. As a board, we agree it is an important goal to find ways to work together for our students’ success. One of my goals is that with the support of my fellow trustees we strive to include all individuals and perspectives represented within our community. The community and our students expect and deserve a board focused on the needs of the classroom.

I value the work of all employees in the district and understand their challenges and working conditions. My service as a teacher and as the teachers federation president for six years gave me the opportunity to work with many groups across the district and community. Those relationships will help support the work of the board.

MHUSD students are achieving success. We see the results of our focus academies, dual immersion language programs, increased equity in enrollment in college prep courses, expansion of Career Technology programs, integration of technology into the curriculum, improved facilities through Measure G, increased supports for at-risk students, extensive and targeted student-centered support programs before and after school, Bi-lingual Liaisons at each work/school site, more directed counseling programs, parent education programs (CABE) and our impressively high graduation rate.

I have requested that an ongoing information agenda item be established that highlights the equity programs being implemented within the schools and the resulting improved student academic success. By frequently conversing about our many equity initiatives, the board and community will keep the classroom and student achievement as a focus. MHUSD will also use data to help the entire community better understand and value what is working for students.

With a new board we now have a new opportunity and a responsibility to our students to work effectively together. By supporting the educational initiatives and the employees who do the work, we will be supporting programs that ensure all students will achieve.

Donna Ruebusch serves as the president of the MHUSD Board of Trustees. She wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.