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Let's Put Saugus Back On Top!

Julie Olsen strives to restore Saugus Union School District's position as the top performing and most sought after elementary school district by parents, teachers, and staff, in the Santa Clarita Valley.

As an education advocate and learning professional, Julie has been a consistent, positive, and vocal advocate for students, parents, teachers, staff, and taxpayers. As a Board member, Julie will promote policies focused on the following priorities:

School Safety & Security

Student, staff, and volunteer safety and security must be the Board's highest priority. Schools are home away from home for our children and Julie's commitment to safety and security is unwavering and began the first day she entered a Saugus campus and began working with school and district leaders to enhance security, resulting in important changes on campuses. 

Julie's collaborative contributions and commitment to campus safety led to her being invited to participate in a committee to evaluate new security products for district-wide solutions.

Julie supports fair and equal enforcement of the district's anti-bullying/anti-harassment policy and will work to identify ways to reduce bullying on Saugus campuses.

As your Trustee, Julie will work closely with district leaders, parents, and local law enforcement to ensure effective policies and procedures to enhance school safety for all students and staff.

Excellent & Innovative Education for All Saugus Students

Solving Site Inequity -- Julie believes in equal access to innovative learning opportunities. All Saugus students deserve to have access to the latest Arts and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs that make the two "focus" schools special.  Those schools are no longer open to enrollment to students outside of those schools' boundaries, therefore it's time to revisit the plan and bring these programs to more schools.

As new housing developments come online and push some sites beyond their planned capacity limit and other sites experience significant declines in enrollment, it's important to evaluate existing attendance boundaries to determine if adjustments are needed.

Eliminate Direct Instruction Mandate -- Julie supports policies that empower teachers to exercise their professional judgment and select from a range of proven effective research-based teaching methods that inspire and meet students' differing learning styles.  Julie believes in setting high standards of excellence and accountability while providing a learning environment that is nurturing, creative, and academically challenging. 

For the past four school years, Julie has been calling for the elimination of the district's requirement that teachers use a single teaching method (Direct Instruction) for all new lessons, in all subjects and grades. She draws upon her expertise in the learning and development field and points to key sources of educational best practices and research when recommending teachers be given the flexibility to select from a variety of research-based teaching methods to engage students with different learning styles and levels.

The California Department of Education and the California Standards for the Teaching Profession state that using a variety of instructional strategies is a best practice:

"Teaching is not a profession in which a single approach to professional practice will be effective for all practitioners in all contexts. Although the standards articulate a common vision of excellence in teaching, different teachers have different ways of enacting the standards effectively. By respecting the diverse ways in which teachers pursue excellence in professional practice, schools enrich and enhance the education of all students. "

Click here and advance to the 31:31 mark to view one of Julie's statements to the Board on the issue.

On the New Standards -- The Common Core roll-out continues to challenge our teachers, students, and parents. While the district has done well in many areas, there are significant achievement gaps revealed in this year's testing results.  Testing is just one indicator out of many that we look to check on the health of our schools but the data can offer powerful insight into where our focus needs to be, to close achievement gaps.  Soon we'll be rolling out the Next Generation Science Standards and we need to be ready to support students, teachers, and parents for a successful transition.

Julie's learning expertise and her understanding of our local and state education policies position Julie well for identifying priorities, strengths and areas of need.  

Fiscal Responsibility

As a business leader, Julie has experience managing multimillion dollar budgets, maximizing revenue and making responsible financial decisions.  She's not afraid to ask the tough questions, pursue alternative funding via grants and foundations, and reduce spending where appropriate.

Julie played a significant role in getting the Measure EE bond passed in 2014 and then became an appointed member of the Measure EE Citizen Oversight Committee, responsible for ensuring tax dollars for the bond are spent responsibly and in compliance with the predetermined set of projects that voters agreed to support.

Julie believes in responsible fiscal planning and budgeting, and responsible, effective use of your tax dollars. All projects should involve a fair and transparent bidding and award process for major expenditures, with details easily accessible to the public. There are significant projects to be completed over the next several years that will require careful evaluation and decisions that will benefit from Julie's business and education background, and her track record of seeing every job done through to completion.

Parent, Teacher, & Community Engagement

Parent/guardian engagement is the top predictor of student achievement. As a working mom, Julie understands the challenges with juggling work, school, and family commitments and is ready to make it easier for all parents/guardians and community members to get and remain engaged.  

Julie will work to bring the PTA School Smarts program for parents/guardians to all schools, and engage in proactive board outreach with all stakeholder groups.  She'll work to improve access to board and committee meetings through the use of technology and better scheduling to accommodate working parents' schedules.

As a long-time current advocate for all students, Julie solicits parents', teachers' and community members' input on important policy and procedures and consults with district leaders on solutions - bringing your needs and concerns forward for collaborative resolution.



Paid for by Olsen for Saugus School Board 2016 - FPPC ID 1374050
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