Coast 2 Coast Advocacy 2024

This month I had the opportunity to extend my education advocacy to the national level in Washington D.C. along with superintendents and school board members from all over California. An extra bonus for me ended up being that my eldest child Kai was admitted to Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, and their admit days were right after my conference there.  We visited the beautiful campus, met professors and attended lectures, and they committed to attend.  Thank you to YVHS International Baccalaureate program for providing the opportunity in this district for students like Kai to explore and excel in an education focused on global affairs.

Here are highlights of April:

  • School Board meeting held April 24, 2024
  • Walnut Acres International Fair
  • “Miss Representation” film and resources
  • Student Board member application due April 30th
  • Coast 2 Coast with CSBA
  • District Friday letter

School Board meeting held April 24, 2024

The board meeting included Resolutions in support of 

  • School Lunch Hero Day May 3rd
  • California Day of the Teacher May 8th and National Teacher Appreciation Week May 6-10
  • May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month and National Foster Care Month

We also

  • appointed 5 Vice Principals,
  • heard a presentation on and approved ethnic studies course revisions,
  • heard a presentation on and approved the supplemental materials reading list,
  • approved school site safety plans, and more.

See the full agenda, minutes, video here.

Walnut Acres International Fair

One of my highlights of last week was attending the Walnut Acres International Fair. Hosted by the Walnut Acres Parent Faculty Club (PFC), this event is a celebration of the rich tapestry of cultures within our district. From the vibrant performances to the tantalizing array of foods, the fair showcased the beauty of diversity. What struck me most profoundly was the presence of both an Israel and a Palestine table, reminding us of the importance of fostering understanding and empathy in times of global strife. Additionally, witnessing a Northgate student's project on preserving immigrant cultures reminded me of the power of youth voices in shaping our collective future.


“Miss Representation” film and resources

Moving from cultural celebration to critical dialogue, I attended a panel and film showing of "Miss Representation" in Walnut Creek that was hosted by our Assemblymember Bauer Kahan. This event not only shed light on damaging gender norms and stereotypes but also introduced valuable resources like the Representation Project's other films and free curriculum. (see With age-appropriate materials and a forthcoming Gender Equality Training Program (GET), they're equipping educators, parents, and students with the tools to challenge harmful paradigms and foster a more inclusive society.


Student Board member Application Due April 30th

It's so valuable to have student voice at the dais with us at every school board meeting. Be sure to encourage students entering junior or senior year to apply. See information & application here.

Coast 2 Coast with CSBA

Beyond local initiatives, I had the opportunity to advocate on a broader scale at the CSBA Coast 2 Coast event. Alongside school board members and superintendents from across California, we championed several key issues. Foremost among them was the fulfillment of the Special Education funding promise outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Nearly half a century since its enactment, this promise remains largely unfulfilled, with current funding levels hovering around 7-10% of the intended amount. By supporting legislation to establish a glide path toward the promised 40%, we're striving to ensure that every student receives the support they need to thrive. We also rallied support for our own Congressman DeSaulnier’s bill to increase funding for preschool, infant & toddler programs. These are currently funded at lower per pupil rates than 1999, and we know early intervention is the most effective and also cost efficient way to ensure success for students with disabilities.

In addition to special education funding, our advocacy extended to teacher recruitment, retention, and retirement. Initiatives like the Loan Forgiveness for Educators Act and efforts to repeal disincentives such as the windfall elimination provision and pension offset are essential in attracting and retaining talented educators who are vital to student success. Moreover, we recognize the critical importance of broadband access, privacy, and cybersecurity in an increasingly digital world, advocating for policies that safeguard both educational opportunities and student data.


As I reflect on these experiences, I'm reminded of the power of collective action in effecting positive change. By engaging with our community, leveraging resources, and advocating for meaningful policies, we're not only fulfilling our duty as stewards of education but also shaping a brighter, more equitable future for all. Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership in this important journey.

District Friday Letter

And don't miss more fabulous district news & photos in the weekly Friday letter. See all weekly letters & organizational updates at

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  • Cherise Khaund
    published this page in Blog 2024-04-28 14:38:34 -0700