School Board-Alexandria District C: Ronnie Campbell
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Votes

School Board-Alexandria District C: Ronnie Campbell

Question and answer



Town of residence: Alexandria City

Age: 59

Family: Mother of three: Erika, Crystal, and Wyatt, all ACPS graduates (Wyatt graduated in 2014).

Education:

Offices held, dates: Alexandria City School Board - Member, 2006 – Present

Occupation and relevant experience:

30 year USPS employee, all customer service related positions

Community involvement:

  • Member of the Virginia State PTA board of Managers from 2005-06
  • The 1st Assistant Director of the Fairfax District PTA (the regional PTA for Alexandria City) 2005-06
  • President of the Alexandria PTA council 2003-04
  • President of John Adams Elementary PTA 2001-02
  • Alexandria City Intervention and Prevention Gang Task Force 2006- Present
  • School Board Budget Advisory Committee 2004-06
  • School Board Calendar Committee 2003-04
  • School Board Health Advisory Board 2002-04
  • Special Education Advisory Committee 1998-2006, Vice chair 2003-05
  • Therapeutic Recreation Committee 2000-06
  • City Before- and After-Care Committee 2004-06
  • Alexandria Soccer Association Certified Coach 2000-06

Website: www.RonnieCampbellCan.org

Email address: CampbellCan@comcast.net

Twitter handle: @rc_cares

Name three favorite endorsements: The teachers (APACE, of the Education Association of Alexandria), Congressman Don Beyer, State Senator Dick Saslaw

Questions

What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?

To ensure ACPS students graduate prepared to be successful in life. Whether they started with ACPS in preschool or arrived in high school, plan to pursue continued education or begin working after high school, are receiving free or reduced school lunch, are English language learners, or have special needs, all students need to believe they can be successful in order to succeed. If students aren’t properly prepared and supported, they may not graduate in the first place or, if they graduate unprepared, they may not have the tools needed to be successful moving forward.

I will continue to push for support for the whole child. Mental health is an area that needs our continued support — it isn’t just about academics or test scores. Without proper support, the pressure to succeed can be too much.

The Youth Risk Behavior survey (a voluntary survey taken approx. every two years) results came out recently. From 2011 to the most recent (2013/14), results show three risk categories that have gone down- substance abuse, aggressive and violent behavior, & sexual behavior (ACPS is below national average). However, the percentage of grades 10 & 11 students who feel sad or hopeless went from 23% to 30%.

I advocate keeping classroom sizes down, the student to counselor ratio low, and for professional development for teachers and staff to understand & work with students with mental health issues.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?

As a single parent of three Hispanic children (one of whom received special education services and one of whom was in TAG), I represent a diverse population that may otherwise not be represented well. I understand what’s needed and will listen & act on parent concerns, as I’ve experienced many of the same issues. Since I have been an ACPS parent from 1995- 2014, I know past and current issues. Additionally, I have more school board professional development than any other candidate and have received awards for my work on the board from the state.

How can Alexandria address overcrowding within the current budgetary confines? What ideas and skills do you bring to solving this?

We have to think creatively and outside the box. Two schools began the school year with additional classrooms and more are planned. We’re currently looking at buildings that can be convertible to classroom space and I have spoken with City Council members about converting city buildings and private vacant buildings to address capacity concerns.

This, with current redistricting efforts, would free up classroom space across our district. I have experience as a board member on this issue and with maintaining communication with Council members, also as an advocate for students prior to my service on the board.

While the majority of Alexandria schools remain accredited, what can be done about continuing problems facing Jefferson-Houston? For incumbents, what lessons have been learned from the problem? For non-incumbent candidates, what would you have done differently?

Starting with what has been learned: There were far too many programs, and issues with implementation and alignment. We needed fewer programs and a better system for monitoring programs.

I’d like to change the negative discussion of continuing problems to continuing progress at Jefferson-Houston. With Superintendent Crawley, we have put into place necessary leadership to advance student achievement and the school has aligned itself with rigor to boost academic achievement. The instructional programs are now aligned with state standards. We are focused and this is evident by recent standard achievement results which show two years of progress in one year. Jefferson-Houston is on course to being fully accredited and enrollment has increased significantly.