Two Vancouver Public Schools board positions up for election

Advancing fairness work and addressing pandemic restoration is, partially, what has the Vancouver Public Schools board’s longest-serving director believing the district’s brightest days are forward.

Wendy Smith, first elected to the board in 2017, seeks reelection in Position 3 — one of two board positions up for election in Clark County’s second-largest district forward of the Aug. 3 main.

Smith is being challenged by Jorge Bailey and Megan Gabriel. Bailey and Gabriel didn’t reply to The Columbian’s inquiries for this story.

The district’s fairness work, long-term pandemic restoration and the reopening of colleges for 2021-22 are among the extra urgent points Smith addressed to The Columbian. She famous August will probably be its most urgent activity; college begins Aug. 31. The state Department of Health hasn’t made main revisions to its fall steering for colleges for the reason that CDC introduced earlier this month vaccinated academics and college students don’t have to put on masks inside college buildings.

DOH steering first launched May 13 reads masks have to be worn indoors within the fall; nevertheless, it has since added “a extra complete replace in consideration of CDC suggestions will probably be accomplished later this summer time.”

While Smith mentioned she admits there have been irritating occasions surrounding COVID-19 and reopening final college 12 months, she mentioned she believes VPS responded to pandemic-related challenges “in an affordable and correctly cautious approach” whereas sustaining a student-centered focus in decision-making.

Recently, VPS revealed its fairness audit, displaying outcomes and suggestions for the district. Work is ongoing, and Smith added one “overarching lesson” she’s realized from the pandemic is “how completely important our colleges are in connecting households to the providers they want.” Those embody the Family Community Resources Centers, that are situated at choose campuses districtwide and will not be funded by state {dollars}.

“I’ve lengthy been a believer in group colleges, and that place has solely strengthened over the previous 12 months and a half,” Smith mentioned. “Schools are anticipated to offer a lot extra to our college students past teachers. Educators have lengthy understood the significance that security and safety play in college students’ readiness to be taught.”

Smith is a social research instructor at Heritage High School in Evergreen Public Schools, and is the board’s longest-serving director on a more recent board that’s endured turnover. Since 2019, the VPS college board has featured six new administrators, together with two administrators in Position 2 since final summer time. The board appointed a brand new superintendent; Jeff Snell started superintendent duties July 1.

The high two candidates from the first advance to the Nov. 2 common election.

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