Desrie Campbell is an incumbent and the mother of four FUSD graduates. Find more about her at desrie4schools.com
1- What have been the biggest challenges facing your School District and how did you tackle them?
One of the biggest challenges facing the Fremont Unified School District is enrollment growth and lack of school facilities. I have worked to pass a local bond, build support from the City Council to consider school needs, worked with developers (Warm Springs) to build a new school for their planned 4,000 home development. Organized community (Patterson Ranch) to ensure developers mitigate the impact of their development on Fremont Schools. Finally, I lobbied Sacramento as an advocate for Fremont Schools.
2 – Do you believe there are systemic problems with racial/sexual/gender-based or other discrimination in your district’s schools? What have you done to address them and how will you address them in the future?
Disproportionately African American and Hispanic students are being suspended and over-identified for Special Education. This continues to be a challenge facing the Fremont Unified School District. The actions that I will continue to take is to support the districts efforts and focus on Professional Learning Communities, as a strategy for looking at data to ensure that ALL students are supported and have access to the common core standards. Implementation of restorative practices, District wide, will create equity in school discipline, focus on building relationships and inclusion. Additionally, I support the District’s efforts to create positive campaigns, such as “promoting positivity” and “every day counts”. These campaigns seek to build shared values of respect and trust.
3 – Do you believe the school-to-prison pipeline is operational in your School District? What have you done and/or propose to do to close it down?
The best way to support students to ensure their success is to have systems in place. Fremont Unified has a strong relationship with the Fremont Family Resource Center. Additionally the District has an excellent parent education structure in place—The Parent Institute for Quality Education- PIQE. The District’s partnership with Tri-City Health is another way in which the District supports our students and families in Fremont. As mentioned in the previous question,the implementation of Restorative Practices will help teachers work towards responding to harm through dialogue that sets things right, rather than suspension and expulsion, which creates more harm.
4 – Have you supported having police officers on campus? Why or why not?
The Fremont Unified School District has a partnership with the City of Fremont. We have School Resource Officers at all of our high schools.
5 – What limits to students’ freedom of expression and privacy do you think are appropriate for public schools?
I believe that student privacy is important. It is the responsibility of the school district to keep information pertaining to minors confidential as it applies to laws and policy.
In terms of students’ freedom of expression, our job is to educate and empower students to think critically, and to give them the opportunities to appropriately express their views. However, this expression should include teaching them to consider multiple points of view.
6 – What do you think the School District should do to offer support to homeless, foster and impoverished children and children coming from violent homes?
We have a district liaison who works with homeless students and a strong relationship with Abode, a homeless organization that supports Fremont Families. We also have a district/tutor who provides direct support for students who live in a homeless shelter. We serve their various needs as it relates to counseling, medical care, necessities such as food, clothing and school supplies. There are also backpacks and schools supplies available at the District Office for any student needing one.
The district has a relationship with Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE). They provide training to our students on building safe relationships, ways to respond to violence and where to get help. We are mandated reporters, so by law, we are required to report suspected child abuse.
7 – What should the District do to tackle problems of truancy?
The best thing the district should do to tackle truancy is to add more counselors at all levels—Elementary, Junior High and High School. Early recognition of student truancy concerns and correcting it before a student transitions to upper grades is a great strategy. The District also relies on the School Attendance Review Board to understand the reason for the truancy and provide support resources.
I also think that schools that teach to the whole child, directing learning to student’s different learning styles creates a school environment that is interesting and fun will see less truancy. School should be a place where students feel challenged, care for, respected and given the opportunity to become all that they were intended to become.
8 – Given the explosion of autism diagnoses, what is your plan to make sure children and their parents are getting the proper support?
We have a very strong early learning preschool program (Glankler) with a highly skilled staff. I have been a member of the Mission Valley SELPA who provides parent workshops through its community advisory committee. I am also working with the Special Education Department and the Special Education Community Advisory Committee to host a workshop for parents with students in special education, so that they can understand the resources that available to them,and to help them navigate the special education process.
9 – Are you running as a Berniecrat?
I am a lifelong Democrat; therefore, if Senator Sanders had won the democratic nomination, Iwould have supported his campaign. I believe Mr. Sanders represents the democratic values.