Carlos’ Priorities

Prioritize teacher recruitment, training, and retention

It’s been said that a good teacher explains, but a great teacher inspires. Today more than ever, we need strong leadership in our classrooms. This is the single most crucial factor in ensuring student achievement. However, each year NPS is losing more teachers and finding it increasingly more difficult to attract teachers who are highly qualified. Teacher turnover – or churn is not a problem unique to NPS according to the learning Policy Institute “it also contributes to teacher shortages throughout the country, as roughly 6 of 10 new teachers hired each year are replacing colleagues who left the classroom before retirement.” In addition, “research shows that urban districts can, on average, spend more than $20,000 on each new hire, including school and district expenses related to separation, recruitment, hiring, and training. These investments don’t pay their full dividend when teachers leave within 1 or 2 years after being hired. Thus, we must create a system of recruitment and retention by taking a closer look at our incentives to attract and keep our best teachers at NPS.

I will work with the other members of the Board, Superintendent, and members of the Norfolk City Council to ensure policy and financial resources are in place that will enable NPS to recruit, develop and retain effective, excellence-driven, entrepreneurial school, and classroom leaders.

Greater Transparency and Accountability

As a Board, we are tasked with creating robust and strategic goals and policies that reflect the needs of our communities and our children. Establishing these shared goals/strategies and agreeing on what constitutes success combined with increased transparency through program audits will allow for increased trust and create effective two-way communication that ultimately produces a school district that is approachable, accessible, and equitable for all.

Cultivate Dynamic Partnerships with our Community Stakeholders

For the City of Norfolk to represent the best of us all, we must expect greater collaboration between our community stakeholders and elected officials to create the city and the opportunities our children deserve. I will work with fellow board members and school administration to ensure there is an emphasis placed on the necessary resources needed; that they are put in place to focus our parental, community strategically, and resource engagement efforts for Norfolk Public Schools to meet the growing and unique needs of our schools as well as emphasis is given to growing and expanding the district’s mentoring program.

Expand Early Learning and Career Technical Education (CTE)

Pre-K provides students with a solid foundation for success in school and life. Unfortunately, Pre-K 3-4 resources are not widely accessible in our district. We must expand early learning programs through public and private partnerships, so underserved communities and all families have access to high-quality early learning and Pre-K opportunities. Equally important is our students’ need for innovative and forward-thinking options to become part of and contribute to the workforce here in Hampton Roads. Placing a genuine focus on the term “college, career, and citizen ready” must remain a viable option for our students. Therefore, I will actively support the formulation and implementation of the Career and Technical Education Pathways High School, and as a way to deepen collaborative efforts with our local colleges, universities and the business community as this will be a focus of my board service.  

Implement and support strategies proven to increase reading literacy and math proficiency.

Research shows that, if children are behind in reading in the third grade, they generally stay back for the rest of their academic life. It is imperative to implement strategies proven to increase reading and math literacy.
As a board member, I will work within our budget and with the Superintendent to implement strategies known to increase literacy rates, with particular attention towards reading and math proficiency. Emphasis will also be given to growing and expanding the district’s mentoring, tutoring programs, and literacy initiatives.

Provide opportunities to support learning for all students

From the lowest to the highest performing students, opportunities to expand and support their learning must be put in place and supported. As a board member, I will advocate support to increase or maintain resources for music, art, gifted, special, and alternative education programs. I will also place special attention to the “Overage for Grade” and “Autistic” student populations, ensuring they are given exciting options and opportunities for academic success.

Minimize external barriers to a child’s ability to learn.

“There is no reason that the zip code you’re born into should determine your success or failure in school.” Naila Bolus, President & CEO, Jump Start. Every board member should have the desire to focus on minimizing external impediments to learning. I know that experiences occurring outside the classroom can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn inside the classroom. I will collaborate with other board members to build community partnerships and offer strategic support to assist in the provision of wraparound services to students and their parents. These will include health, nutrition, mental health, family support, and other vital services. 

We cannot consider education in a vacuum. It is much harder for students to learn when they are hungry, neglected, or hurting. These educational hurdles are a reality, and on the board, I will champion to address and find solutions to these challenges.

School Construction and Maintenance

The average age of our school buildings is 50+ years in Norfolk, and it is long overdue that our city makes the necessary investment in providing quality and start of the art facilities for our children. With limited resources and many competing priorities, it is vitally important that as a school district, we find a practical approach to prioritizing projects in a way that removes the guesswork and politics. This is why it is essential to rely on reliable data and a clear understanding of organizational objectives to establish a sufficient facility capital planning process that balances short-term with long-term goals. I am committed to working with my colleagues on the Board, City Council, and the School Administration to produce a sound Capital improvement plan the necessary funding needed to provide safe and secure learning environments for our students, teachers, and staff.

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