WHO I AM — AND WHY I'M RUNNING FOR THE SALEM-KEIZER SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD

Salem is my home. I have lived here my entire life. My mother and father worked hard to raise me, my brother and four sisters.  I am a proud product of the Salem-Keizer schools — Scott Elementary School, Waldo Middle School and McKay High School. I have tried to make a difference in my 19 years in Salem. I was Student Body President at McKay. I played trombone in the marching band. I served as teen member of the Board of the Mid-Willamette Valley United Way and spent a summer in Washington DC as an intern for Senator Jeff Merkley. My proudest achievement was to lead an effort in the spring of 2018 to raise over $400,000 to create Taylor's House, an emergency overnight shelter for homeless youth that is now in full operation. I have recently begun my first year as a student at Willamette University on a full scholarship, and I plan to major in political science. Having just recently graduated from Salem-Keizer schools, I believe I can bring a unique perspective to our school board. I can be a voice for the students and for the teachers and staff that have been my friends and my mentors in the very recent past. With your help and support I hope to be able to continue to make a difference, and continue to be of service to my community.
      — Raul Marquez
THESE ARE MY TOP PRIORITY ISSUES
Pursue adequate funding to reduce class sizes and expand career and technical training

For too long our students and teachers have suffered from overcrowded classrooms. Students don't get the attention they deserve and teachers spend too much time in "classroom management" instead of teaching. I experienced this myself throughout my time in Salem-Keizer schools. Our recently-passed bond measure will add classrooms to all our schools, but will we have the resources to add more teachers and reduce class sizes. I pledge to work on this tirelessly if elected. I also pledge to work for more career and technical training in all our high schools. We know from our experience with the very successful Career Technical Education Center that we can increase graduation rates and give more students the skills and training they need to go on to successful careers.

Empower parents to be actively involved in their child's education

Parents are our first teachers. We need to motivate all parents to read to their preschool children and engage with them in other ways that research shows will make them ready to succeed in school. Then when children get to school we need to show parents how to stay closely involved with their child's education. We need to invite them in, and give them the knowledge and the motivation to continue to help their child succeed and eventually graduate. This will not happen in all cases if the schools don't take an active role to make it happen. 

Enable more students to participate in our award-winning music programs and other activities regardless of income

I am a product of the award-winning music program in Salem-Keizer schools. Because of my music education, I am now an accomplished pianist and trombone-player. I know the challenges many students face in participating in school music programs. My family could not afford to purchase a trombone, so I had to borrow one from my school. Thankfully, that happened, but I wonder how many other students have been left out of our music programs because of financial barriers. I pledge, if elected to make sure that no student is denied the opportunity to participate in our music programs or other school activities.

Provide more staff training to meet the needs of students from varied backgrounds and cultures

The Salem-Keizer School District has become one of the most diverse districts in the state. This has happened rapidly. I saw it happen in my time as a student. Today less than half of our students identify as White. The majority of our students are Latinx, multi-ethnic, Pacific Islander, Asian, African American, or Native American. This diversity is a strength, not a weakness. But our faculty, which is still 82% white, need more training in order to have the cultural competency to be effective educators in such a diverse learning environment. If elected I will work to improve our faculties ability to be effective educators for all our students.

"We can increase graduation rates if we don't let any student fall through the cracks."
Increase capacity to provide mentors so more students have exemplary role models

Mentorship works! I know from first-hand experience how having mentors made me a better student. Most of the accomplishments I have had would not have happened without mentors to guide me along the way. But there is a shortage of good mentors and most students are not able to take advantage of what good mentoring has to offer. We need to change that. Our schools need to be proactive in finding mentors and helping students make the connections to mentoring that can help them achieve their goals.

© 2019 by Raul Marquez for Salem-Keizer Schiool Board

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