The COVID-19 pandemic presented school boards with challenges they’ve met head on. CSBA’s 5 questions series gives board members a chance to share their LEAs’ accomplishments and look toward the future.
Christina Lucero, board president, Baldwin Park Unified School District
What was the most successful initiative your board spearheaded in the 2020–21 school year?
It wasn’t an initiative, but an ongoing outlook. That is to address the mental health concerns for our students and employees. We knew that no matter how long the closure from COVID-19 would last, that the mental and social connections we as human beings enjoy would be disrupted and we would need to find a way to connect and find some support during this time.
What are your district’s plans for summer and fall, and how do you plan on supporting and engaging students?
We have extended the summer school day so that students will focus on academic subjects until 12 p.m. and then, using the staff of Think Together, we will address social-emotional learning until 2:30 p.m. Both sessions are paramount to the whole child and to try to address the needs of our students attending summer school after a year of online learning. In the fall, we have teachers on special assignment to help students that may need more support to advance their skill sets.
Do you have a recent standout moment involving a school or person in your district you’d like to share?
Graduations and watching the resiliency and adaptability of our students and their families. Hearing the valedictorian’s stories while celebrating an important milestone during a difficult year and how they held onto hope and the promise of their dreams and accomplishments in their lives. How they held on to who they are, how they supported one another, and how they kept focused on what was important and who they want to become during a time when it was difficult to remember what normal felt like..
What is one thing you’ve learned while on the school board that other trustees may find helpful?
When making decisions, remember your experiences but do not allow them to cloud your judgment or to dismiss a different perspective. No matter what you have experienced, you must keep in mind that everyone may not have a similar outlook. We are to make decisions for the entire educational community we serve. Too often, we use our perspective as a guide, forgetting that others may be seeing things differently. Be open to other views and experiences.
How long have you been on the school board and why are you passionate about your work?
I have been on the school board since 2007. I believe that education can change lives more than anything else in life. It may be formal education or informal but as long as we are willing to learn, change and adapt to new information or experiences in life, we will become the best version of ourselves. We can do better when we know better.
Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.