Among others, Dr. Lundin feels that the board must decisively address the following key issues in the months ahead:
Supporting Our Struggling Campuses While Maintaining Excellence Within All Of Our Schools
Since its introduction in March, Dr. Lundin has expressed serious concerns over the proposed “Achieve 180” model for improving historically underperforming schools.
In the course of leading the turnaround of multiple underperforming campuses across the city, Dr. Lundin learned firsthand how fostering lasting progress in struggling schools depends on building long-term faculty and staff capacity within each school.
In his opinion, “Achieve 180” fails to devote adequate attention to this crucial area and instead shifts existing staff from campus to campus. Such an approach does not address the core issues that have led to those schools’ underperformance, while also fostering instability across the district as a whole.
As a result of this staffing model, as of mid-July a record number of H.I.S.D. campuses faced staffing vacancies and/or new principals transitioning into their schools. Dr. Lundin outlines the underlying issues, as well as what he believes the board must do to prevent further instability in our schools, in the above video.
Managing Taxpayer Dollars
The H.I.S.D. board is charged with oversight of a $2 billion budget, and has a duty to ensure those resources are being spent in a responsible way.
In 2016, the district exceeded its budget for the building of new campuses by more than $211 million. That overspending directly impacts the building of future campuses, such as the construction of Askew Elementary and Sharpstown High Schools in District VI.
Dr. Lundin believes that our trustee must push for greater accountability on how your tax dollars are being spent, as well as ensure they are always being used to improve educational opportunities for your students.
Appropriately Serving Our Students With Special Needs
Above all else, H.I.S.D. has a fundamental duty to deliver a high-quality education to every one of its students. This is particularly true for our children with specialized learning needs, including students receiving special education services, English language learners, and those identified as gifted and talented.
EVERY student is entitled to receive educational services that are tailored to their specific needs.
In recent months however, it has become clear that too many of our students requiring special education services have been denied the support to which they are entitled. Families have been forced to battle district bureaucracy to advocate for their kids, and some have found that the services their children require have not been made available.
Dr. Lundin firmly believes that H.I.S.D. not only has a legal duty to improve how it serves students receiving special education services, but a moral one as well. As its trustee, he will closely monitor both the specific special education programs provided on District VI campuses and whether every eligible student is receiving the services to which they are entitled.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
Houston is one of the most inclusive and diverse cities in the world, and that diversity is reflected in the incredible number of languages spoken across District VI.
As a former bilingual teacher, Dr. Lundin is passionate about setting every student up for success in our schools regardless of their native language. He believes we must expand opportunities across the district for students to build language skills.
Spanish-English dual language programs are in place at only three of District VI’s fourteen elementary school campuses (Ashford, Emerson, & Ed White).
An increasing number of international students require tailored support in languages other than English or Spanish. Though the district has specialized campuses dedicated to serving recent arrivals to the United States, they lack adequate capacity to accommodate all qualifying students.
GIFTED & TALENTED EDUCATION
Whether or not a school carries a “vanguard” label, all students should have access to opportunities to be academically challenged on their campus.
Dr. Lundin believes that H.I.S.D. must continue to strengthen and expand its offerings for students who demonstrate the capability for advanced levels of achievement. We must also broaden our methods for identifying children’s exceptional abilities beyond standardized assessments, as some students exhibit talents that might not otherwise be recognized.