Katrina's Updates

November 1, 2020

In order to truly unite our community, we first need to understand each other. Empathy is a complicated emotion. And in terms of our community’s current needs, I have a unique perspective. Due to my son’s medical history, our family has lived a parallel life to COVID. Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and even six feet physical distancing have been very real aspects of our lives. Knowing that the consequences of COVID, similar to CF, are unpredictable and frightening, I definitely understand and empathize with anyone concerned about contracting and/or transmitting this virus. Yet, I also know that we need to figure out how to go about our lives. As such, I understand and empathize with those eager to resume daily activities with reasonable precautions, just as my family has managed to do over the past two decades.

Reopening schools and protecting ourselves in the process is possible. But both require making informed decisions and using science and medical experts as our guides. Again, understanding and empathizing with all points of view, we can better understand where we are and, more importantly, what we need to accomplish. Let’s assume less, empathize more, and, in the process of doing both, find ways to work toward our shared goals of supporting not only our children, but also each other, as well.

October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween! This morning I walked through my neighborhood and admired all the Halloween decorations. In some way it seems as though families have gone through extra efforts to be festive knowing that trick-or-treating will be remarkably different (and in many cases absent) tonight. And it made me think back to all the extra efforts we all embraced at the beginning of this pandemic: Yards signs thanking our healthcare heroes, teachers, delivery drivers, and other front line workers. Food banks supporting those who were suffering financially. And all the zoom meetings and phone calls to catch up and/or check-in on friends and family members.

More than ghosts and goblins on front lawns, I saw community spirit and resilience. COVID-19 restrictions have affected us all and it has made everything, especially the way we learn and interact with each other, more difficult. But not impossible. And that gives me hope. Our patience may be wearing thin and our frustrations are justifiably growing, but we will figure out a productive path forward. Those efforts will only come from doing more of how we entered this pandemic. With gratitude, compassion, and supporting each other. Moving towards Tuesday’s election, and certainly beyond, we will need all the community spirit and resilience we can muster. After all, the true battle we are fighting is against a virus. It should never be against each other.

October 30, 2020

We all want students and teachers back inside the classroom. However, one single person (or even one group of people) does not have the power or authority to make that happen. Reopening our campuses will take the hard work of an entire community. Building productive relationships and communicating with transparency between all parties are critical aspects of our success. Moving forward to the November Board Meeting, we should have a clear understanding of the safety goals and guidelines our district intends to adopt based on the input of parents, teachers, students, and experts. Once that is accomplished, district staff needs to send out a survey allowing for families to make informed decisions and each site to construct instructional plans and schedules accordingly. Having accurate, interactive information at hand opens up realistic pathways of putting dates on the calendar and a workable reopening plan into action. Students and teachers want to be back inside classrooms. Let’s work together, constructively and collaboratively, toward that goal

October 29, 2020

Five years ago, I was invited to attend the Precision Medicine Initiative by the White House. After the panel discussion about curing genetic diseases, attendees were invited to smaller round table discussions. As one of the only non “professional” voices in my assigned group, I listened respectfully to the conversation, mostly centered on the obstacles preventing us from sharing medical data. When it was my turn to speak, I simply held up my phone and explained the ease of a recent app that gave my family access to vital information and the peace of mind it provided as a result. It remains an important reminder to me that all voices matter in any conversation. Sometimes the least likely solution will present itself as a valid option, as long as others are willing to listen.

I have and always will be committed to seeking input from all members of our community and working with honesty, transparency, and courage to achieve shared goals. After 70 meetings with members of Congress, I’ve always reminded myself that they, as the elected official, work for me and my voice deserves to be valued and heard. Now that I hope to represent my community, I intend to keep those same lessons and perspectives as my priorities. I am running for School Board because I care about children and believe in our schools. With 20 years of advocating for children’s health and education, I look forward to supporting all members of our SDUHSD community equally and with integrity.

October 28, 2020

In the final days of this election, vote for what matters to you:

Leadership experience? I have 15 years of school leadership and volunteer service, including PTA President of ECC. Currently, I serve as a CASA for foster children and the Board Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Connections to the district? My three children are recent LCC graduates. I still have family enrolled in SDUHSD schools. I’ve served on LCC’s Board of Directors and volunteered in the Foundation office for four years.

 

Reopening schools? I believe we can and should reopen schools. But I want to work towards that goal taking measured steps, seeking community input, and following expert advice in order to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students and teachers.

 

Personal integrity? I have earned the trust and confidence of my peers who have worked side by side with me on a wide range of projects. 4 EUSD School Board Members, 3 SDUSHD School Board Members, PTA Presidents and Board Members, Healthcare Advocates, Foundation Volunteers,

Community Leaders and Board Members, Parents, Students, Classified Staff, and Teachers all value my determination, objectivity, compassion, courage, and respect for others.

 

Leadership, connection, wisdom and character. Vote for what truly matters. 

 

October 26, 2020

I have never been a person who has been afraid to roll up my sleeves, fight for something I believe in and do more than what is expected. I have gone toe to toe with dismissive and slightly hostile Congressmen. I have written letters in support of healthcare initiatives that garnered an invitation to the White House. And I have earned the trust and confidence of those who have worked with me on the many projects I have embraced. But more than my determination to serve my community with collaboration and integrity, I think the quality that best defines me is the reason why I decided to run for School Board in the first place. Gratitude.

I served as ECC’s PTA President and a member of LCC’s Board of Directors because I wanted to actively show my heartfelt appreciation for the amazing educators who have guided, inspired, and cared about my children - both inside and outside the classroom. They are proof that we do not raise our children alone. As the Area 2 Trustee, I want to make sure that all our children receive the same guidance and support. Just as important, I will make sure that ALL members of our community feel valued and appreciated. These may be divisive times, but there are still very tangible things that unite us. Our concern for our children and our gratitude for those who help us raise them.

October 25, 2020

Repeating the same statement over and over again doesn’t make it true. Misrepresenting or even dismissing another person’s viewpoint doesn’t make someone right. We all should have a voice in how we move our community (and even our country) forward. But sometimes I fear everyone is so busy talking over each other, no one is truly listening.

Taking the time to hear what another person is saying actually opens up more avenues for progress. In the over 70 meetings with members of Congress that I have held to advocate for children’s health, I always do my research, I always speak with respect, and I always listen - even to those that disagree with me the most. As a result, I always learn something new. More importantly, I use that knowledge to keep searching for ways to find a solid middle ground. Remember, we are stronger, smarter, and definitely more successful when we are united. Let’s keep talking about the important issues that we face, but let’s also remember to listen to and work towards all possible solutions together.

October 24, 2020

We ALL want students and teachers back inside classrooms. But to me, the question is not IF, but rather HOW we reopen campuses. SDUHSD’s most recent board resolution allows students to return to classrooms with only “one meter” (i.e. three feet) between desks and no stable cohorts. There is a growing group of parents, students, and teachers who question how these measures will keep our community safe. Another group is concerned about the lasting impact COVID restrictions have on our mental health. However, while our district recently posted recommendations for target reopening dates, our community has yet to see a fully constructed, carefully vetted, and easily visualized plan that addresses either issue. The HOW should dictate the WHEN. Not the other way around. In times like this, it is important to remember that we are more united than we all appear to be. We ALL want to welcome students and teachers back on campuses. Let’s figure out HOW to accomplish that goal safely, responsibly, and ideally TOGETHER.

 

October 23, 2020

Character counts.

As PTA President, I’ve shown vision when championing a wide range of academic programs - everything from technology and literacy to health & wellness and the arts - for all student’s interests.

As the Board Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I’ve shown gratitude when acknowledging the collective efforts of an entire community to unite behind shared goals.

As a member of LCC’s Board of Directors, I’ve shown collaboration when discussing the best use of foundation grants to promote exceptional education for all students.

As a healthcare advocate, I’ve shown courage when talking about the personal impact of important initiatives with elected officials, even those who vehemently disagree with me.

As a CASA, I've shown integrity when interviewing all members of my foster children’s team in order to determine recommendations for future placement.

As a mother, friend, neighbor, and aunt, I’ve shown true compassion for the many ways COVID-19 has disrupted our education and lives.

As a candidate for SDUHSD school board, I’ve proven myself to be a compassionate listener, reasonable voice, and objective decision-maker, and always a person of character.

October 19, 2020

Words matter. And so do actions. More than just a candidate for School Board, I am a mother and member of this community and I have acted accordingly over the past several months. Knowing the alarming increase of teen anxiety and depression, I have joined members of our community to discuss ways we can all support our kids. Recognizing the need for all students to feel safe and secure in their learning environment, I have met with the student run Encinitas 4 Equality (E4E) Group to acknowledge their concerns. Understanding the importance of keeping our community focused on collaborative, constructive efforts, I have emailed district leadership outlining issues and asking for solutions. Even outside SDUHSD, I have continued my advocacy for healthcare and education as both the Board Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a CASA for foster children.

So as we move into the final weeks of the election cycle and, more importantly, critical Board decisions that determine the educational and emotional fate of our children, I ask two things. (1) Listen to what everyone is saying. Both sides and all perspectives. All voices matter. (2) Look around. Notice who is extending a hand to unite our community. And don’t be afraid to grab ahold of it and join in on those efforts. Words matter. And so do actions.

October 17, 2020

We are all concerned. And rightfully so. As I look around our community, I see preemptive lines being drawn in the sand. I hear words like “sides”, “against”, “unfair”, and even “wrong.”

And I am concerned that black and white thinking is starting to permeate our conversations when, in fact, we are living in a time in which there are no perfect answers. No matter what decisions we make, there will be ramifications. Many of them serious and long lasting. We are living in a time in which there are many shades of grey. The choices are endless and confusing.

But it is not too late. While our district has witnessed three protests since the pandemic started, we can still find ways to work toward shared goals.

Regardless if you want to reopen our schools now or want a more measured approach, the emotional and academic wellbeing of our children is the one thing we can agree upon. And I would like to urge everyone to focus on that very important fact. If we all spend a little bit of time walking in another person’s shoes, we all might find a more harmonious path forward. Let’s acknowledge that there is a significant amount of students truly suffering with distance learning. We need to find solutions for them now before we do more harm. Let’s also agree that parents and teachers have every right to be concerned by opening classrooms without stable cohorts and the minimum six-foot distance rule. We need to think about what that actually means and the risk that it presents.

As we wait for district staff, the reopening committee, and our Board to do their jobs, let’s do ours. Let’s listen to the viewpoints of the other “side.” Let’s stop pitting friends and neighbors “against” each other. And let’s replace words like “unfair” or “wrong” with phrases like “I acknowledge,” “I understand,” and even “I empathize”. In all the advocacy work I have done, I have been trained to always start with something we agree upon. Because there is always something. For us, it is our kids and our heartfelt desire to protect them. If we all truly want to reopen our campuses, we can, and will, accomplish that goal faster by uniting together. Let’s start today.

October 15, 2020

Like many of you, I logged off last night’s board meeting feeling conflicted. I definitely believe that we should do everything in our power to get our kids safely and swiftly back on campus. There are far too many stories of students struggling emotionally and physically to ignore this fact. At the same time, I still don’t have a clear understanding of how our district intends to accomplish that goal. And that concerns me.

Listening to the five-hour discussion, I imagined sending kids back to school with the more flexible interpretation of forming stable cohorts and distancing six feet apart “as practicable.” But, for my family in particular, I am not sure if that works. My husband is on the front lines of treating COVID patients and I have a child who falls in the “high risk” category. For these reasons and more, I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable with sending my children into a classroom that doesn’t meet all required mandates to ensure safety. But at the same time, I worry about remaining online and possibly further expanding the digital divide. There are an awful lot of expectations being placed on our students and teachers in a very short period of time. And from the number of phone calls, texts, FB posts, and emails I have received today, there are many in our community who feel the same.

We all want kids back on campus. But I want us to be smart about it. Let’s not be in such a rush to trade in our current problems for equally imperfect and damaging solutions. I believe we can figure out a way to accomplish all that we need and want. And I urge you all to let your voices be heard. At the very least, we need an adequate survey that gives clear options for informed choices. There is also a great thread on the STEP UP 4 SDUHSD Group page, specifically a list of questions parents are compiling regarding the proposed plan. Let’s educate ourselves, ask questions, and request a thorough and comprehensive review, as well as a clear and interactive voice in this process.

 

October 14, 2020

For those of you who have been listening to me, I have repeatedly stated that I am running for School Board because I care about students and I believe in our schools. As a mother of three recent SDUHSD graduates, I have a full and comprehensive perspective of exactly what our district represents: Exceptional classroom instruction that prepares our children for their future goals.

Within that knowledge, is the other half of the story. I am also running for School Board out of an enormous sense of gratitude for our teachers, staff, and administrators. From the first day of kindergarten to the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation, the educators in my family’s life have helped me raise my son and daughters to be strong, independent, productive young adults. And I am not afraid to express my profound appreciation for the talent and time they dedicate to all our children every day.

So if for those same reasons, I am accused of being “for teachers,” then I proudly agree. I am for the teachers and staff members who gave up their Saturday mornings and joined my family for our annual walk to raise money and awareness to cure my son’s disease. I am for the teachers and coaches who encouraged my middle daughter to find her voice and inspired her to eventually follow her dream of attending law school. I am for the teachers and administrators who spent countless hours before, during, and after school mentoring my youngest to be the best version of herself, as a student and hopeful physician one day. And I would be remiss if I didn't say I am also for all the teachers in my own family: My grandfather who taught high school history. My mother who taught Kindergarten. My uncle, a writer and English teacher. My sister who taught elementary school. And my sister-in-law who currently teaches elementary school in a neighboring district.

Families, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, coaches, and community leaders. We are all proof that we do not raise our children alone. So while some may choose to discredit our teachers throughout this election cycle, I proudly stand beside them. I stand with teachers because they stand for our students. And together we, in turn, should be standing for the promise of all this extraordinary community has to offer, and knowing that is only possible by working, supporting, and standing up for each other.

October 8, 2020

In times like this, it often seems hard to balance hope with the truth, especially knowing the fine line that divides but also connects the two. The truth of the matter is that living under public health mandates is difficult, isolating, and frustrating on so many levels. At the same time, we still have to find a way to productively and positively go about our lives. We all want our kids back in the classrooms because we know that is the best place for their academic, social, and emotional wellbeing. Students, parents, teachers, community members all agree on this fact. And within that shared goal is the promise of hope that we all so desperately want - and need.

This evening, the expanded reopening committee is charged with an important job. And their success not only hinges on their collaborative efforts, but our support of them, as well. Please join me in thanking them for the courage, clarity, and perspective they will add to this process. Let’s do so by cheering them. And let’s do so together.

After all, it is our ability to band together that allows us to transform hope into reality. And in times like this, we need both. Because, quite honestly, hope, truth, and working together are the only things that ever have, and ever will, bring about real and lasting change.

September 30, 2020

Today, I sent this joint letter to our district leadership with Jane Lea Smith (Area 4 Candidate):

 

Dear SDUHSD District Leadership,

This morning, the San Diego Union-Tribune ran an article about school reopening. The headline states: “Most San Diego County school districts have reopened or plan to reopen in October.” The article puts schools in three categories: (1) Districts that have reopened for in-person learning for all students or for students in certain grades (SDUHSD elementary feeder schools such as Del Mar and Encinitas Union are included in this group). (2) Districts that have announced reopening dates which range from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30 (neighboring districts such as San Marcos, Poway and Vista are included in this group). (3) Districts that are closed indefinitely or do not have set reopening dates (SDUHSD is one of 7 districts on this list). 

 

It is apparent to us that SDUHSD can not reasonably be in the first category. However, upon examination of schools in the second category, we have met (and in some cases exceeded) the same steps toward reopening. 

 

  • San Marcos: According to San Marco's plan, we are already in Stage 3 with our Special Education and students with specialized needs back on campus, something they will not accomplish until mid-month. 

  • Poway: While Poway started to reopen some of their elementary schools with an AM/PM schedule today (and the remaining schools to reopen on Oct. 12), according to their website, their secondary schools (with the exception of Abraxas) will remain fully virtual at least through November. Similar to SDUHSD, they do not have a defined date that we can find. 

  • Escondido: From what we could find online, Escondido only outlines their reopening plan for their elementary schools which (again due to demographics and class size) puts them in a different category than SDUHSD.  

  • Vista: According to their most recent Community Update (#26), Vista will continue with their planned reopening for “Vista Classic” on October 20.

  • Given this information, SDUHSD should fall in the second category, not the third. 

 

The only difference is communication. In order for our community to better compare our progress with other districts, we need more information from you. If we deem ourselves “closed” but are more “open” than other districts, then we are causing more confusion and discord in our community.  Of all the schools mentioned in the UT article, SDUHSD was one of the few that did not offer a comment or explanation. 

 

That needs to change. As parents and community members, we ask for more regular updates, more transparent comparisons to other districts, and more clearly defined goals toward reopening. Our families, and especially our students, deserve as much.

 

Katrina Young - SDUHSD Candidate Area 2

Jane Lea - SDUHSD Candidate Area 4

September 14, 2020

What a week! Last night our School Board discussed the district's reopening options for the second quarter of the 2020-21 school year. This morning, LCC held its first Coffee Meeting with Principal Medina. Our community is charged with making some very important decisions and it is important to talk about all the thoughts, emotions, and considerations that go into resuming in-person and/or hybrid learning. I was actually one of the 10 randomly selected public comments for last night's meeting. A copy of my comments is listed below. But just as important as my stance of re-opening, I want to hear yours. I am setting up a zoom meeting to talk about our shared hope to get kids back on campus.  How do we accomplish that? What are the challenges and requirements involved? What criteria do we adopt? What resources should we rely upon? What aspects are most important to us? But most importantly, how do we all work together in order to prioritize our children's education and emotional wellbeing? Again there are many questions, but no easy answers. But with flexibility, empathy, and optimism, I firmly believe that it can be done. So let's grab a cup of coffee (or two) and talk about it:

 

Katrina Young - Public Comments (9/17/20 Board Meeting):

As a mother of three recent LCC graduates and candidate for the Area 2 Seat of the San Dieguito School Board, I join concerned members of our community in wanting to hear more specific details about our reopening plan tonight. While there are many opinions and emotions regarding this issue, the one thing we can all agree upon is that absolutely nothing is more important to us than our children. And I would like to help our community work together to support their best interest. Especially knowing that we won’t always agree on everything, we all need to have access to the most current information and create pathways for open, respectful dialogue. Life with Covid changes daily and we are all charged with making an extraordinarily important decision. With that, I believe in taking measured, steady, but also absolutely progressive steps toward in-person learning geared at prioritizing students’ academic and emotional needs. In an effort to make any necessary adjustments and avoid (or at least greatly minimize) unnecessary risks to our students, teachers, and staff once back on campus, I look forward to seeing a specific timeframe and identified criteria to successfully execute our second quarter plan. Our Special Education and students with specialized needs returned to the classroom this week. I see that as a positive sign that we can, and will, achieve our shared goal of returning back to in-person learning. But to accomplish that goal we need regular, open communication between all members of this community. In the meantime, I would like to make sure there are provisions for students who need or want to continue virtual learning, as well as a strong emphasis on mental health and other support mechanisms to help all members of our SDUHSD community, especially our children, navigate the emotional, physical, and academic hardships they may be experiencing. While it is our current reality, virtual learning is hard on everyone. Acknowledging and empathizing with that, I believe that mental health is a critical aspect of academic success. As such, it should be a major component and consideration of our reopening plan. Thank you for your careful consideration.

September 7, 2020 - Look For The Helpers

“When I was a young boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people that are willing to help.’” - Fred Rogers

 

I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing three days and (hopefully) found ways to avoid the heat. On this very unusual Labor Day, I wanted to give a special shoutout to all the essential workers (especially the brave firemen and women battling the Valley Fire) who work so hard under these very extreme conditions just to help others. I also want to send out a very heartfelt thank you to all the educators who have literally redesigned the entire platform of their profession in a matter of weeks just to help our children and schools. Look for the helpers. They are everywhere. And I am very grateful for them all.

 

With that in mind, I am hosting my second “Zoom Meet and Greet” this Friday (September 11, 2020) at 10:00AM. There are many words to describe this year. Challenging, frustrating, and difficult come to mind. But I would like to add a few more - flexible, creative, resilient, and even (cautiously) optimistic. I look forward to talking to all of you about the challenges we are all facing. There are, without a doubt, many. School reopening plans, social distancing, mental health, and more are all shared concerns of ours. But I also hope we can talk about ways we can work together as a community to support each other and, more importantly, our children. I especially want to hear your thoughts on virtual learning and even Back To School Nights for those of you whose schools have already hosted theirs. This may be the most unusual school year in recent history, but I look around and am very grateful for all the helpers. People who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and offer their input and support. Together we will get through this pandemic and, in the process, pave a safe and secure path for all our students. As a mother of three and candidate running for SDUHSD School Board, that is my main priority and biggest objective.

September 4, 2020 - Happy Labor Day

As we roll into Labor Day and enjoy a much needed three day weekend, I wanted to answer some questions that a few others have asked and felt that everyone else should have access to the same information. Communication is important.

 

Teachers’ Endorsement: Coming from a family of 5 teachers spanning 3 generations, I am extremely proud to be endorsed by SDUHSD teachers. If nothing else, this pandemic and school closures have shown us both the difficulty and importance of their work. Not only do I appreciate and value our teachers, I also appreciate and value the ability to establish a strong working relationship with them. I believe that parents, teachers, and administration all need to work collaboratively in the best interest of our students. That being said, the San Dieguito Faculty Association (SDFA) made clear that their endorsement does not come with any expectations or “strings.” They chose to endorse me simply because they believe in me and felt I was the best candidate for supporting our students and schools. While grateful for their vote of confidence, I have not accepted, nor will I accept if offered, financial contributions from any union or special interest group. All of my contributions have come from individuals who have either worked with me in the past, heard about me through mutual friends, and/or visited my website and agree with my values and philosophy as a leader. For what it is worth, all candidate donations are public record. You can look up a candidate any time by last name and even by current or past elections by visiting www.sdvote.com or clicking HERE.

 

Children in District: While all three of my children are recent graduates of LCC (Classes of 2019, 2017, and 2016), I am very much connected to and informed about our district. I still have a niece and nephew, along with many friends whom I care about, currently enrolled in SDUHSD. Not having my own kids in SDUHSD means that I won’t be clouded by my own personal objectives, but can use the past 10 years of being involved in SDUHSD school and having a strong working knowledge of the district to consider all the kids as my own. That is what I have done for over 20 years advocating for children’s health and what I also currently do as the Board Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and CASA for foster children. I think any Trustee needs to be in the position for all the kids, not just his or her own. As I hope my volunteer experience and leadership demonstrate, I am running for School Board because I care about all children and believe in our schools. 

 

Zoom Meet and Greet: Please put 10:00AM next Friday (September 11, 2020) on your calendar. I will send out a zoom invitation early next week. I look forward to continuing our discussion about the school year and ways we can work together to support our students and teachers regardless of the learning (virtual or in-personal) platforms. I also welcome any new faces to the conversation, please feel free to forward the invitation to any friends who may want to join. Wishing you and your families a safe and happy Holiday.

August 31, 2020 - First Week Summary

After months of anticipation, SDUHSD began the 2020-21 school year. And from all accounts, the week was successful, filled with old traditions (senior shirt distributions and first day photos) and new changes (google classrooms and wifi connections). In addition to our students and teachers returning to school virtually on Tuesday, SDUHSD held a board meeting Thursday night and I held my first zoom “Meet and Greet” Friday morning. Distance learning, school reopening, and mental health were the main topics of conversation. Below please find a summary of the week, as well as include my thoughts on the upcoming school year. As always, you are welcome to contact me with any additional questions or concerns.

Distance Learning:

  • School started last Tuesday via distance learning. Most, if not all, accounts from students, parents, teachers, and staff were positive and optimistic.

  • There were some connectivity issues, but hopefully with extra technical support and rearranging computers and/or devices closer to home routers, as well as use of wifi extenders and/or hotspots those will be resolved quickly. 

  • I was glad to see SDUHSD (along with each school in our district) redesign their website to make important information more accessible. Of special importance, the district website has added a "Student and Parent Tech Support" link on the “Back to School” page. Click HERE for direct access to that information. 

  • Back To School Night information has been added on the district and individual school webpages. A list of dates can be found by clicking HERE (lower left hand side of the page). Back To School Nights are excellent resources to make sure everyone has all the information they need to start the year off on a positive note, and to get the answers to any questions they might have about distance learning and the 2020-21 school year. 

  • Summary and opinion: The first week of school went well. That is not to say that this quarter or even school year will have its challenges. While in-person teaching is the optimal form of education, I also know that we have talented educators in our district who care about their students. Without a doubt, I remain optimistic that our schools will do everything possible to provide the same level of education and support for all our students. But as we work through all of this together, we will all need flexibility, patience, and empathy for all. In my zoom meeting, we spent a lot of time talking about communication and the increased importance of it during this pandemic. I will pass on more specific thoughts to the appropriate members in our community and continue to do my part of listening and responding to all members within our district. Hopefully, this email demonstrates my ability and continued dedication as a candidate (and hopeful Trustee) to bring all members of our community together to benefit our children. In addition to mental health and safety (see sections below), communication is one of my top priorities

 

School Reopening: 

  • Per the California Department of Public Health mandates and guidelines, schools in San Diego are eligible to reopen starting on September 1, 2020. 

  • There is a multi-step process for school reopening. SDUHSD has completed the first two steps which are (1) drafting a reopening plan (presented at the July 30 Board Meeting) and (2) holding a public hearing of that plan (presented at the August 27 Board Meeting). The agenda and video links of both meetings (once posted) can be found HERE.

  • The final steps of gathering community feedback for the School Board to use to ratify the reopening plan (to be presented at the September 17 meeting) and then submit to the county/state are important ones for our community. 

  • The district has already received and reviewed emails from community members, as well as held several thought exchanges and forums to gather input. At last week’s meeting alone, 29 public comments were submitted to the Board regarding school reopening, of those 9 were randomly selected to be read and 7 of those speakers logged into the meeting and read their comments. 

  • I have inquired about the potential of another community survey and will follow up once I have more information. If you have any questions about the school year, you should reach out to the appropriate individual.  Teachers, counselors, principals, school site/district staff members are working hard to make sure this year is successful. All community voices (students, parents, teachers, and staff) are important.

  • SDUHSD Reopening Guiding Principle: Our decision-making will be guided by considering the health and safety need of our students, families, staff, and community as our highest priority.

  • In order to prioritize optimal and consistent learning platforms despite Covid restrictions, SDUHSD maintains that they will continue distance learning for the first quarter but will start moving toward getting Special Education, ESL, and high risk and/or students without adequate learning environments onto campus as soon as possible. 

  • The district will then start the process of returning all students to campus as they are, again safely, able to do so. Hybrid and rotating schedules are possibilities but must follow state and county health mandates.

  • SDUHSD has purchased, acquired, and/or rented adequate supplies and protective equipment, along with established a safety plan for things like coordinating traffic flow, using shared spaces (bathrooms and media centers), and even distributing food and water. 

  • Starting this week, teachers will be using a universal screening program (STAR) to access academic achievement and identify any learning gaps that may have occurred from the spring closure. Students with the greatest needs will be prioritized in returning back to campus once that process begins.

  • Summary and opinion: From what I heard, it is SDUHSD’s goal to get all of our students and teachers back inside classrooms as safely and seamlessly as possible. I personally appreciate the slow, but steady approach to returning back to in-person instruction as I believe that even the most comprehensive and researched plans on paper can present themselves differently in the real world. Getting kids back onto campus slowly and steadily means that the individual campuses can ensure that all the safety protocols and equipment they have purchased and employed are working effectively and allows school staff to adapt and adjust as needed without putting our kids unnecessarily at risk. If we could reopen schools exactly as before and automatically go back to our “pre-Covid” life, I believe we all would want an immediate reopening for our students and teachers who are so eager to get back inside the classroom. Across the board, I think we all agree on the importance of in-person learning in terms of student success and emotional support. Every day they are working remotely from home means added emotional and academic stress for everyone in our community (students, teachers, parents, and staff). But within that fact, it is important to point out that there is a wide range of opinions regarding reopening schools all the way from opening on the first of September to continuing distance learning for the remainder of the pandemic. All opinions should be considered and valued equally, and our district is tasked with reopening our schools in a manner that considers the safety, needs, and hopes of all the students, parents, teachers, and staff in our district. For now, I agree with SDUHSD and the fact that they are prioritizing safety and public health mandates, while also dedicating themselves to ensuring a robust and comprehensive learning platform for all our students. Our students’ education and wellbeing should always be the driving force behind any decision within the district. Moving forward to September 17, I look forward to learning more about the ratified reopening plan. From feedback I have received, families are especially eager to hear a more detailed timeline, as well as any provisions for students, families and teachers who fall into the high-risk category and/or are anxious about in-person learning. Again, while there are differences in opinions as to how and when our students return to the classroom, it is apparent to me that we all have the same goal in mind. I join all of you in wanting to welcome students and teachers safely back onto campus and providing them all with a safe, supportive, and consistent learning environment throughout the 2020-21 school year. Again, in order to accomplish that goal, all members of our community will need flexibility, patience, and empathy to successfully navigate this school year and keep all students’ best interests at heart.

 

Mental Health:

  • During last week’s board meeting, there was a comprehensive presentation on the multi-tiered plan SDUHSD has in place to identify and support mental health, along with social and emotional issues for all members of our community. 

  • Distance learning puts added stress on students, parents, families, teachers, and staff. SDUHSD has resources available for anyone within our district concerned about mental health - for themselves, family members, and/or other members of our community.

  • Information about Social-Emotional Resources can be found HERE

  • Information about MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) can be found HERE

  • For further mental health support, SDUHSD has partnered with CareSolace, a confidential online resource with a live 24X7 concierge line meant to assist individuals in finding local mental health-related programs and counseling services. Click HERE for more information: In the board meeting, it was acknowledged that there is traffic recorded on this site and its resources are being used. I join the district in hoping more families use the resources this site offers, as needed.

  • During my zoom “Meet and Greet,” mental health was also a big topic of conversation and I sympathize and agree with all concerns.

  • Summary and opinion: Mental health was a primary concern within our community before Covid and I know those same concerns (and more) are amplified during our current pandemic and start of the school year. I am grateful for SDUHSD including mental health in the 2020-21 school reopening plan and the resources they are providing on the website. I hope we not only continue but also expand upon these conversations in a collective effort to make greater inroads into this very important issue. Even under the best of circumstances, our students can not reach their full academic and personal potential unless they are fully supported emotionally and socially. Mental health and academic success go hand in hand. And while I fully acknowledge that there are no easy answers, mental health will remain one of my top priorities as a parent, and certainly as a candidate for School Board. I welcome any and all ideas our community has to provide the support that our students need. It is my greatest hope that we don’t just find band-aid solutions for our children, but work together as a community to get to the root cause of teen depression and anxiety. Especially with the added strain of social distancing, virtual learning, and uncertainty across the globe, our students need us more than ever and I will do everything in my power to help them, starting with emails like this to communicate resources and hopefully open up important conversations.

 

August 25, 2020 - First Day of School

I know I join our entire community when I wish all of our students a great first day of school today. As a mother who has watched her own kids navigate online platforms, I know many of you are unsure about how everything will go. And while a lot will look and feel different, just remember that the important things are still the same. Your teachers are excited to meet you, your classmates are ready to learn with you, and all of us are here to support you. Welcome back to school SDUHSD!

August 24, 2020 - Zoom Meet and Greet

Tomorrow our SDUHSD students head back to school. But instead of walking onto campus, our kids will be logging into the virtual classroom from their kitchen tables or bedroom desks. Understandably there are a lot of emotions and undoubtedly there will be unexpected challenges. But I am hopeful we can still find ways to infuse the same sense of excitement and hope into the first day of school and continue that momentum forward. More than anything, I wish we could all go back to how things used to be. But until we can, I believe there are things we can do to make this school year a successful one.

 

This morning, the LCC Class of 2021 are picking up their senior shirts. Parent volunteers are handing out donuts with a (socially distanced) drive-by pick up. I will take that as a sign that important traditions and school spirit throughout our district will prevail over Covid-19 restrictions. I know you all join me in wishing ALL our students (from pre-school to grad school) a great year. But it is going to take all of us working together to make that happen. 

 

With that in mind, I am hosting a Zoom “Meet and Greet” this Friday to talk about the first week of school and our shared hopes for the remainder of the year. Please email me at katrinayoung4sduhsd@gmail.com for the zoom link and feel free to invite any neighbors or friends that would be interested in joining our conversation.

August 21, 2020 - Special Meeting Update

The short summary of this week's special meeting is that the board voted 3-2 to approve the proposal to purchase Chromebooks for every SDUHSD student. Below is a more detailed summary of my thoughts regarding the meeting:

 

I know there were some questions and concerns about the proposed Chromebook purchase. I agree that our community should be aware of any large purchases such as those and ask about the benefits and any potential drawbacks. With that in mind, I spent the past week reaching out to members of our community in order to get their perspectives. What I learned was that not all the information being circulated was accurate. $5M is a lot of money. At the same time, other districts have implemented Chromebooks successfully as they allow them to automatically download textbooks into a single all-in-one device, including automatic updates, parental/safety controls, and more efficient and effective learning platforms, especially in terms of virtual learning which our kids will be doing either from home or inside the classrooms for at least the first quarter/semester of this school year. The money to purchase the Chromebooks will be funded from Covid-19 relief funds, portions of which have varying deadlines to utilize.

 

Even with my research, I still had some questions about the proposal leading up to the meeting. However, I felt that between the staff presentations and Trustees’ questions and comments, they were all addressed. I liked learning that the Chromebook purchase would not impact the safety, efficiency, and/or timeline of physically returning to school once we are able to do so. I also like hearing that this was a direction that our district was already hoping to go in terms of providing technologically advanced learning resources that better prepare our students for the modern world. In my opinion, I do think the Chromebook will not only help our students inside the classroom (in-person and/or virtual), but also better aligns them for the modern world - which is the shared objective of parents, teachers, administrators, and the community at large.

 

As a candidate for School Board, I believe it is my responsibility to constantly keep on open mind about all the issues, knowing the importance of listening, learning, and (most of all) offering myself as an open, transparent, and reliable source of information within our district. Yet, if I am elected as the Area 2 Trustee, I know that I will eventually have to take a decisive stance inside the boardroom and vote accordingly. But I also recognize that it is never in our students’ best interest to go into any meeting with black-and-white thinking. I intend to always do my due diligence and reach out and listen to as many members of our community as possible. At the same time, I know the importance of learning from the public comments allowed at each meeting, along with the input, questions, and opinions of the four other Board Members, as they all provide valuable insight and clarity to issues at hand. In all the positions I have held, I have always done my best to involve as many voices as possible. I intend to do the same throughout this election cycle and, if elected, my term as Trustee.

 

As a community, we may not always agree with every aspect of every issue. But I truly believe that we all have the same goal of supporting our students and providing them with the best possible education. With that in mind, I will be hosting my first candidate “Meet and Greet” in the next week or two. Please look out for my zoom invitation in the next few days. In addition to any of your thoughts about the Board Meeting, my hope is to hear stories about how virtual learning is going this school year. I know I join all of you in wishing our students and teachers a successful school year. In order to accomplish that goal, I welcome input from all community members. Through zoom meetings, emails, phone calls, texts, and even social media posts, I am available to listen to your thoughts. More importantly, I will always respond to them as promptly as possible, presenting the facts as I understand them to be. I care too much about our kids and our schools not to. #TheFutureIsYoung

August 18, 2020 - And So It Begins:

Especially after months of our slower-paced quarantine existence, life picked up its pace and momentum fairly significantly this week. Most notably, our elementary schools started back at school. While it definitely looked and felt different than any other first day in recent history, I loved seeing all the pictures of smiling faces on social media posts. Teachers, parents and students all made a tremendous effort to start the year with the same amount of excitement and love of learning. I really believe it demonstrates that, even in our separate homes, together we can still accomplish all that we need and want. Without a doubt, it shows our shared love and hope for our children. 

 

Within the High School District, teachers, administrators, and parent volunteers have been hard at work getting the school year up and running. In an effort to continue some of our student’s most cherished traditions, a group of LCC parents have organized a committee to work in conjunction with ASB students. Several fun projects are currently being planned to infuse fun, excitement, and school spirit into the school year. You can join their Facebook page: “LCC Class of 2021- Parent Community.”  I am in the process of reaching out to parents at other SDUHSD schools in hopes they can do the same.

 

On the district front, the school board has a special meeting scheduled for tonight to discuss a proposal to purchase Chrome books with our Covid-19 relief funds. There has been some discussion about this proposal leading up to the meeting and not all of the information, including a petition that has been circulating around, is accurate. I encourage everyone to watch the Livestream meeting tonight at 5:00 Pm to listen to the discussion and gather facts accordingly. (A Livestream link will be added to the district’s homepage: www.sduhsd.net). I, myself, have spent the past several days asking, researching and listening. 

 

As the mother of a (now adult) child with a chronic illness, I have spent the past 20 years advocating for a better future for my son and 30,000 sons and daughters like him. While I definitely have had to use my voice to highlight important issues, my most effective weapon, without a doubt, has been my ears. Over the past 20 years of advocating for children’s healthcare rights, I have learned that I get a lot more accomplished by listening more than I speak. As a candidate and hopeful Trustee, I will continue to listen to all of the voices within our community. But most of all, just like all of the parents in our community, I will work hard to make sure that our kids have a positive and productive school year. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. In every sense, I truly believe, “The Future Is Young.”

August 13, 2020 - The Future Is Femail:

 The future is female. This week, Kamala Harris became the third female Vice President candidate and first Black and South Asian woman to be on a major political party's presidential ticket. As a mother who has advocated for children's healthcare rights, holding over 70 meetings with members of Congress and attended President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative by invitation of the White House, I have visited her office (and the majority of California Legislators on both sides of the political aisle) several times. Three years ago, I even hand-delivered over 50 cards, letters, and photos of families thanking Senator Harris for her strong voice in support of the important provisions that the ACA provides all individuals living with chronic and/or pre-existing conditions. At a time in which n there was so much negative rhetoric and partisan fighting, I found a way to be a positive voice of optimism and gratitude. As Trustee, I intend to use that same voice in support of our students and schools, especially given the uncertainty of our current public health crisis.

It is actually very appropriate that I learned the news about Kamala Harris on my way to pick up my campaign signs. I think it is important to add that the logo on my website and the tagline on my signs were designed by a female SDUHSD alumna. Please join me in thanking Kate Welborn (La Costa Canyon High School Class of 2018) for donating her talent and time to support my campaign. Her work is proudly displayed on the home page of my website. I am running for school board because I not only want to support the next generation, I also truly believe in their future. Kate is proof of that. I hope it is a sign that the future is more than just female. With all my heart, I believe that "The Future is Young."

August 7, 2020 - Your Voice and Vote Matters:

On Monday, I turned in my completed candidate documents, including Declaration of Candidacy, Oath of Ofice, Code of Fair Campaign Practices, Candidate Statement, and Ballot Designation Worksheet. I must say it has been interesting lifting the curtain on the election process and all the behind-the-scenes preparation that goes into running for office. One of the most interesting facts I have learned is that on the ballot, every candidate is allowed only three words to describe their scope of experience (unless they hold an elected office, then they can write out the full title of their current federal/state/local designation). While it might take extra time and work, I would encourage every voter to read through the Candidate Statements (available in the Voter Information Pamphlet) which allows 200 words and, thus, gives a better (and sometimes more accurate) understanding of each candidate's qualifications and intentions as an elected official. these are unprecedented times and we need strong, committed, and compassionate leaders in every sector to help us solve the important issues that our community, state, and certainly nation face. Our ability to vote is one of our greatest expressions of democracy. Each and every vote matters - especially at the local level.

 

With less than 90 days until the election, it is an important reminder to make sure you are registered to vote on November 3rd. Per Governor's Orders, California voters will all receive vote-by-mail ballots prior to the election. You can register to vote, check your registration status, and even sign up to track your mail-in-ballot here. The deadline to register to vote is October 19th. You can turn in your ballot the following ways: (1) By mail, (2) In person at your polling place, (3) By designated Ballot DropBox, or (4) By authorized person.

As Trustee, I will always listen to your voice in order to provide our students with the emotional and academic resources they need to succeed. I appreciate your vote on November 3, 2020. Your voice and your vote matters.

July 31, 2020 - Distance Learning Plan and Goals:

Last night SDUHSD held a special board meeting to introduce the upcoming learning plan for the Fall. A summary of the plan can be found here.

 

A link to the July 30th Livestream meeting can be found hereA link to the July 16th Livestream meeting can be found here.

 

As we embark into unchartered territory, I would encourage all of us to band together to support our children with empathy and optimism. These are not easy times for everyone and no matter how well we forge ahead, important elements will remain missing from our lives. We can not go back to our pre-pandemic lives. But we can control how we react in its aftermath. It is my greatest hope that we will continue to focus on all that we do have and the life lessons we are gaining as a result. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still give our kids the education they deserve. As a candidate for Trustee, I intend to work hard to give our students the emotional and academic resources they not only need to succeed but also thrive. With parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders working together, I have no doubt our district will provide the same award-winning education they have always offered our children - regardless of the platform. With that in mind, I welcome any of your ideas, concerns, hopes, and questions. 

 

Katrina Young

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FOR SDUHSD SCHOOL BOARD

The Future Is Young