10 questions: Where does Terry Godfrey stand? | News | Palo Alto Online |


10 questions: Where does Terry Godfrey stand?


Q: What should the district do about the Cubberley Community Center site (4000 Middlefield Road)?

Terry Godfrey said she's hopeful with new leadership in the district and on the City Council, these negotiations can move forward.

Q: Should the district open a 13th elementary school?

Godfrey is supportive of opening a new elementary school but said she would rather invest money in foreign-language instruction in elementary schools if she had to choose between the two.

Q: Should foreign-language instruction be provided in elementary school?

Godfrey served on the Foreign Language Elementary School (FLES) advisory committee in 2007 and 2008 to launch a program, which the board failed to approve. She said the financial picture was too grim at the time to move ahead but that it seems like an "obvious fit" for the district and should get done now.

Q: Should the board repeal its June resolution criticizing the Office for Civil Rights?

Godfrey has said if she had been on the board, she would not have supported the resolution. She has not said if she would repeal the resolution but instead has suggested the district propose participating in a post-mortem with the federal agency to evaluate and learn from both of their processes. Her reading of the resolution is that it authorizes the board to lobby elected officials and education coalitions, a process Godfrey said should not have to include lawyers and "can be a collaborative approach to giving the agency feedback."

Q: Your opinion of district versus school-site decision-making?

Godfrey has said it is more important to her that programs have the same outcome than the programs themselves are identical. She has also repeatedly said that Palo Alto should make sure the thousands of decisions made every day remain closest to the students.

Q: Your view on the district budget?

Godfrey said her top budget priority would be looking at the budget itself "to figure out if we have the right resources in the right place doing the right job." She has also called the current property-tax projections "conservative" and advocates for instead laying out various scenarios for different property-tax percentages so the district "know(s) where the next dollars are going to go and (is) prepared to spend them when the time comes."

Q: Your view of the district's implementation of inclusion programs?

Godfrey said inclusion is really "meeting every student where they're at," and that is both a "beautiful thing and a challenge." She said the board needs to make sure teachers are provided the time and resources necessary so that inclusion is "mak(ing) their job richer and not making their job harder."

Q: What would you do about the achievement gap?

Godfrey has said a culture of high expectations is important, as well as equity training for teachers and staff and a focused recruitment of minority teachers.

Q: How is the district doing on managing student stress/well-being?

Godfrey, a co-founder of Project Safety Net, said that she thinks the stigma around mental health is starting to fade away -- citing a recent increase in referrals reported by Adolescent Counseling Services -- but that there is still a long way to go. Things like implementation of the homework policy will help, although it does not cover honors or AP classes and so is not perfect. Inconsistent teaching -- for example, two students taking English 10 from different teachers, with one doing a lot of work and the other not doing much work -- is also stressful for students, so investing in teacher consistency is important.

Q: Your opinion of Common Core?

Godfrey said she's also a supporter of Common Core, describing it as the first federal curriculum standards in decades. Some of its components are not new: Palo Alto has always had a lot of interplay between teachers and students. As far as testing, the district needs to keep on track and know how students are doing so that it's prepared when the Common Core-aligned test debuts. Overall, teachers are enthusiastic about Common Core, and the district has done a good job giving them the time and space to prepare, she said.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Jessica
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 3, 2014 at 11:44 am

Common Core are NOT federal curriculum standards. They were developed by the NGA - the National Governors Association. State governors. Most of the Republican. Not the federal government. No matter if you love them or hate them, it doesn't change that fact.

Like this comment
Posted by Harold A. Maio
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

---she thinks the stigma around mental health is starting to fade away

And I believe that anyone proposing a stigma is deeply flawed. And any one abetting them is as well.

Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor

Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm

@Jessica, common core became the de facto federal curriculum standard when the Department of Education began to take money away from states that didn't implement it.

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