Susan Epstein

Accomplishments

Susan

I'm very proud of our district and its high academic achievement. During my service as a board member our district has:

  • reduced class sizes
  • increased test scores dramatically from a district average of 765 to over 860
  • greatly reduced the achievement gap
  • celebrated that six of our schools were honored as California Distinguished Schools and two were recognized by the federal government
  • expanded music, art, fitness, hands-on science, preschool programs, summer programs, and after-school programs, and enacted systems to ensure fiscal stability
  • increased network bandwidth in the classrooms, provided laptops and smart TVs to all teachers for instruction and Chromebooks to all students in grades 3-6 for enhanced learning
  • maintained our buildings and grounds well, and incorporated green practices including eliminating pesticides in 120 acres of playing fields
  • created an educational garden at each school site
  • returned $1.5 million to residential and corporate taxpayers through refinancing our 1996 bond
  • increased funding for GATE and added additional classes for our autistic students

kids story timeI have been a consistent leader on the board for fiscal responsibility. During our surplus years, I proposed our practice of allocating funding for two years out rather than the current year. This allowed us to plan ahead, so that when the economy shifted we were prepared and avoided sudden program changes for our students.

I led the effort to switch to healthy school lunches in our district. We now serve locally-grown produce and cooked-from-scratch entrees. Studies have shown a strong correlation between nutritious meals and academic achievement. The healthier food led to increased sales and a profit in the food services department. The profit has been so great that some of the surplus funding is now going into the district's general fund to support instruction in the classroom.

three on a slideThank you for electing me in 2013 as the Cox Conserves Environmental Hero. I asked that the cash prize go to the School Gardens program. We have also partnered with the City of Goleta and the Community Environmental Council to upgrade energy efficiency of our lighting at four school sites. With Prop 39 funds, all schools will have energy-efficient lighting by the end of the 2017. Most recently, I've been advocating for solar installation on our roofs as our District is looking at replacing aging roofs at most of our school sites.

During my first campaign, I proposed that the district initiate a strategic planning process. A year later, we did just that. The focus of our strategic plan is small class sizes coupled with differentiated instruction for all students. It has been incredibly effective. We’ve worked hard to continue providing small class sizes even in hard economic times.

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