We asked all candidates to fill out a survey and our group has chosen to endorse, recommend or not recommend based on their answers. Here are Stacy Bernal’s responses that shows that she is a great representative for our teachers, students and parents!
How do you define SEL strategies and what do you believe it does in the classroom?
Social Emotional Learning strategies are so important to our students as they serve as the “soft skills” that aren’t otherwise taught. Especially post-pandemic, I think we need to pay special attention to the mental wellness of students and teachers, and SEL allows us those opportunities. As the mother to an autistic son, SEL has been imperative for him, and he has benefited so much from learning about kindness, empathy, and social skills.
What importance do you attribute to PE and health and how do feel about the cuts made to these subject areas in the past?
Physical education and health is so important for our students, especially since as a society we have become more sedentary over the years. Another area that needs drastic improvement in our schools is age-appropriate, science-backed, comprehensive sex education. Cuts to PE and health programs is a detriment and disservice to UT students.
What ideas have you formulated that will increase public school funding to keep up with growth, fully compensate teachers for their expertise and commitment to teaching, ensure they have the classroom resources they need to be effective educators, and making teacher retention a priority?
While no one loves the idea of raising taxes (and that wouldn’t be my first suggestion), the OSB did just hold a Truth in Taxation hearing and unanimously passed a tax increase (after more than six years of not doing so). A big portion of that revenue will go toward teacher pay, which I feel was absolutely necessary. We also still have allocated ARP ESSER funds that can be used for things like reading and tutoring services, pre-K programs, classroom technology improvements, and more. Beyond that, the district’s foundation does great work with fundraising efforts and there are partnerships with OWTC and WSU that could potentially help with funding as well.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
CRT is a highly academic, college-level course of study that is NOT being taught in our K-12 public schools. Accurate and honest history is NOT CRT.
What vetting process do you support when a parent objects to a book in their child’s school? What actions do you believe school districts should take or not take?
OSD just passed its policy on book banning and it is thorough and thoughtful. In most cases, if a parent objects to a book, the teacher can have that student read an alternative book. If a parent is asking for complete removal of a book from the library, there is a robust process that calls for two different groups to read the book in its entirety and then make a collective decision. OR a parent can ask that specific books may not be checked out by their child. I think this policy is fair to the extent that a parent can have a say in their own child’s education, but it doesn’t impact all the other students.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
Vouchers have historically worked to keep/make schools segregated, and I am opposed to this type of legislation.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
I’m not familiar with the tenets of the Summit program and from what I’ve seen, I don’t think OSD has implemented this.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
OSD is one of the most diverse districts in the state, with more than 50% of the student population identifying as Hispanic. In 2020, the district created an Equity Council that is focusing on ways we can improve on DEI, especially with hiring and retaining more Hispanic teachers. My 5th grader attends the brand-new East Ridge Elementary which houses the Spanish DLI program, and I love seeing all the bilingual signage throughout the building. Diversity also encompasses disability and neurodiversity, and I want to make sure our SpEd kids always know that they belong. I also want to make sure we’re not dehumanizing our LGBTQ+ kiddos and I will work to make sure they feel safe, seen, and included. If elected, I will also be the first Asian American woman to serve on the board– and representation matters.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I’ve volunteered in my kids’ classes, donated money and supplies, and am currently a substitute teacher.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
As a community advocate, founder of Awesome Autistic Ogden, and parent to two OSD students, I am actively involved in the community and committed to the success of our public education systems. I will continue to advocate for our teachers and students, to ensure they have what they need when they need it.