Jen Franklin is focused on improving class discipline and school safety, restoring the recognition of achieving Valedictorian and Salutatorian, preparing our students to be workforce and career-ready, reducing class sizes and attracting quality teachers to teach in Virginia Beach.
Class Discipline and School Safety
Creating a safer environment for students, teachers, and staff is vital. I decided to run for School Board after having conversations with multiple teachers regarding the struggles they were having with discipline in the classroom. Some teachers felt unsafe around the students, and they also feel like they cannot control their classes. Education is the primary reason that we send students to school; if the teachers can’t do their job due to discipline and safety issues, then our tax money is not being well-utilized. Some children are also being harassed on buses and in schools; we need to address these deteriorating issues head-on and make our schools into positive places that improve teacher morale and respect learning.
Restore Valedictorian and Salutatorian
When I heard that the School Board voted to do away with these rankings, I couldn’t believe it. While not every student may value those accomplishments, achieving the honor of Valedictorian and Salutatorian should be restored in our schools. Being recognized for attaining success should be celebrated, not erased. I will support our schools to acknowledge students who have gone above and beyond their academic responsibilities.
Workforce and Career-Ready
Our students have incredible potential to succeed in life, and our schools must find ways to guide students in not only attending college but also becoming workforce and career-ready. We see now more than ever that having career options open is incredibly important. I support providing opportunities for students to obtain apprenticeships in high-need skill-based professions. I believe that in working with our great Virginia Beach community, we can offer students new possibilities in helping to decide career choices that are right for them.
Reduce Class Sizes and Attract Quality Teachers
A smaller ratio of students to teachers is integral to student success, especially for younger grades. Teachers can be more effective in developing positive relationships with their students and teaching effectively with a smaller student-teacher ratio. Students can focus on learning in an environment with reduced distractions and more individualized feedback.
Attracting highly-qualified education professionals must also be a priority for our school district to remain competitive across Virginia. Improving educational outcomes begins with recruiting and retaining excellent teachers. Three decades ago, the average teacher had 15 years of experience – for current teachers, that number has diminished to just three years of experience. Too many teachers are leaving the profession; even though they love teaching, they feel undersupported. We need to take a hard look at how our school division is preparing for long-term academic success by investing in highly-qualified teachers.