09 Oct Evelyn GarciaMorales
Photographs provided by candidates or their campaign committees.
for Trustee, Clark County School District C
Candidate contact information:
Email address: Evelynfortrusteec@gmail.com
Phone number: 702-816-6146
CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES
Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
The first person I spoke to about my candidacy for CCSD School Board Trustee was my mom. I thanked her for always encouraging me to do well in school, which has led me to where I am today. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money so we depended on community programs and resources to get by. However, my mom always used her voice as her form of currency to motivate me.
Similarly to my mom, I want to use my voice to uplift our community through education.
I am running because I want to make CCSD schools a place where all children can thrive. Currently, I have the privilege of helping high school students achieve their post-secondary dreams as Executive Director of the Fulfillment Fund Las Vegas, where I oversee an annual budget of $2.2 million dollars. Over the course of my career, I have developed and overseen fiscally sound budgets for various programs and organizations.
I have experience allocating resources in ways that ensure equity of opportunity and demonstrate accountability. I spent 11 years in Washington, D.C. leading national educational and leadership programs for Latino high school and young professionals.
What are your views on providing age-appropriate, medically-accurate, culturally-inclusive sex-ed to Nevada’s students?
Now more than ever, during this unprecedented assault against reproductive health care, I am committed to ensuring students have up-to-date, age-appropriate medically-accurate, culturally-inclusive sex-ed. Additionally, I believe in consent education. This helps young people make good decisions and treat people with dignity and respect and empowers people to make decisions for themselves. I believe in advancing policies that equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions. These policies are especially important on a local level, for example with the CCSD Sex Education Advisory Committee which reviews, discusses, and makes recommendations on all instructional materials for classroom use that include information on human reproduction, related communicable diseases, sexual responsibility, and HIV/AIDS.
If elected, what strategies or policies can be implemented to keep racially-based threats and other discriminatory behaviors out of our schools to keep our children safe?
Across the 362 schools in Clark County, 76.24% of students come from diverse backgrounds, representing the incredible strength that exists in our community. It is incumbent of our leaders to develop policies that protect the assets of our diversity. As a Trustee, I will work with my colleagues to advocate and create inclusive policies that protect all of our students in the district. This includes: requesting data and reports from the Superintendent on suspension and expulsion rates across the district, assessing the opportunities available through restorative justice, advocating for increased funding, and developing a central support system that is responsible for facilitating training across the district to all staff. While these are ideas that I have, I’d like to be a thought partner with the community to ensure that we are having courageous conversations that help our students and our district educators and staff be successful.
What do you believe is the best approach to ensure all of Nevada’s children have access to a quality education?
A high-quality education includes a first-rate school district that monitors, recognizes, and celebrates students’ academic milestones. Strong leadership and governance from the top, including the superintendent and trustees, is vital; they must be accountable and accessible. Furthermore, a high-quality education includes strong educators who hold students and themselves accountable. It also includes analyzing data, making informed decisions to improve the system and provide timely and accurate professional development support. Trustees and the superintendent must review, develop policies, and make strategic choices based on data that keeps academic success at the center of decisions.
What steps should be taken to ensure the safety of Nevada’s children in our schools and communities? How would you specifically address the potential for gun violence in our schools?
As a trustee, I will focus on common-sense approaches, especially those advocated by EveryTown for Gun Safety. Specifically, I recommend CCSD:
- Establish evidence-based threat assessment programs in schools to identify students who may be in crisis, assess the risk, and appropriately intervene without overly relying on discipline or the criminal justice system but by expanding access to mental health services in schools
- Improve schools’ physical security (for example ensure all schools equip doors with interior door locks to help prevent shooters from gaining access to classrooms).
- Establish safe and equitable schools to help reduce gun violence, especially in high-risk communities.
Actions must be taken with a mindful lens for potential racial disparities so that students of color or with disabilities are not disproportionately affected. Lastly, we must reject the dangerous notion of arming teachers. This is reckless thinking.
How should Nevada address the ongoing difficulties to effectively and equitably fund public schools across the diverse landscape of the state? How will you use your position to address this issue?
I believe we need to revamp Nevada’s antiquated funding formula, which the Legislature approved in 1967, back when the state’s population was roughly 449,000 (now the state’s population exceeds 3 million). The Nevada Plan must include a new funding formula that adds weights to serve special populations.
Nevada should also create a new stream of income and revenue. Lastly, I commit to serving as a public education advocate in Carson City and work with local business leaders. It is incumbent on leaders and stakeholders to come together to address how we can all collectively best equitably fund public schools across the state. The band-aid solution utilized at this point is not sustainable and not in the best interest of children.
What do you see as the government’s role in providing students with access to different education choices (including magnet programs, charter schools, homeschooling, etc) to meet a variety of unique needs? What standards do you think should apply across schooling options?
Families deserve to have educational options that fit their families’ needs. As a community, we have a responsibility to ensure that our district provides high-quality seats for all students. This includes utilizing consistent standards to access areas of growth and invest appropriately in professional development and training.
What are the biggest issues facing the education community in Nevada, and how do you propose to solve them?
Our state faces a variety of urgent priorities in the arena of education that must be addressed so that our communities can continue to thrive. From underfunding, teacher shortages, budget cuts, online distant education, and equity gaps in student achievement these challenges must be addressed with the help of various stakeholders. One of my first priorities as a Trustee will be to conduct a listening tour to hear from families, educators, support staff and administrators, and learn their pain points when it comes to their experience with our education system.
Furthermore, I intend to collaborate with all parties to find practical solutions that will serve our community. This includes advocating the legislature for increased support to address policies that will help all students.
How can Nevada disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline to ensure that students are not prematurely introduced to the criminal justice system?
Our community must have a difficult conversation about the educational achievement gaps for students of color. For example, in District C alone 40% of students in elementary and middle school are proficient in reading and 32% of elementary students, and 26% of middle school students are proficient in math (2018-19 SPAC results). This is especially concerning because District C serves a diverse population, with 60% Hispanic, 22% African American and 24% English Language Learners students.
Further, when we layer the demographic and performance data with the suspension rates of our students we arrive at an uncomfortable truth, something is not working. In CCSD, students of color are disproportionately suspended at higher rates than their peers.
We cannot respectfully say that our school district is providing high-quality education when a large population of our students is not meeting academic milestones. This is unacceptable and must be corrected.
How should our schools address gender-diverse policies to ensure the safety of all Nevada’s students?
CCSD Trustees are responsible for developing inclusive policies that support all students. This includes creating policies that protect transgender and gender-diverse students and help them feel safe in the learning environment. While we currently have a policy in place that is based on a student’s individual needs, it is imperative that CCSD continues to evaluate the effectiveness of the current policies and revisit as needed.
Across Nevada, Spanish speaking parents struggle to receive assistance and attention in their children’s schools because many schools with high Latino student populations fail to provide bilingual front office staff readily available to assist parents. What is your position on passing legislation that would offer schools with significant Latino and ELL (English Language Learner) student populations funding to hire bilingual staff designated for parental engagement in the school’s administrative office?
I support programs, initiatives, and additional funding that will benefit ELL student populations, including hiring bilingual staff, especially in administrative offices. During the 2019-2020 school year, 46.57% of students come from Hispanic/Latino households. It is imperative that schools create a climate of inclusivity and ensure that staff is reflective of the community it serves. If a bill came before the legislature in the next legislative session, I would be supportive of this initiative.