In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Caprice Edmond
Office: Pinellas County School Board Member, District 7
No information provided.
Why should voters vote for you?
I am a parent, educator, child advocate and active community member in St Petersburg, Florida. My platform includes fair funding and resources for all schools, whole child learning, ending the School to Prison Pipeline, recruiting and retaining the best educators and support professionals as well as improving family engagement and community partnerships.
I have been a respected leader for over 18 years working for children in my community. I have multiple accomplishments and achievements as a teacher at a Transformation Zone School. Active in my union, I serve as the Chair of Florida Education Association’s (FEA) Teacher Program Policy Committee, as a Governance Board Member and Goals & Budget Committee Member. I have been a Guardian ad Litem for almost 10 years. I serve as the Chair of the City of St. Petersburg’s Youth Development Grant Review Committee and on the City of St. Petersburg’s Community Redevelopment Area Citizen Advisory Committee. I am also the President of a nonprofit and the past Grants and Patrons Chair for Pinellas County Council PTA.
My education, experience and involvement in the community has prepared her to best represent constituents and advocate for policy changes to ensure there is Equity in Education. I earned a Masters of Educational Leadership, Masters of Elementary Education, Bachelors of Psychology and a Certification in Infant Family Mental Health from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
In general, I think we have many excellent programs and policies in the School System now for our diverse student population including gifted students, differently abled students, English language learners, college and vocational bound students. I think we can do better in some respects to improve results and outcomes. I have identified five broad areas for my platform The top two include 1. Fair funding for all students which means every student has the opportunity to study with the best teachers, with the best curriculum materials, in the best school facility in the county; Currently we have unequal funding in some areas. 2. A whole child approach to education which means student needs that impact their performance are identified and resourced by partner agencies. For example, if a child is hungry and many Pinellas families are food under-resourced, they do not perform well in school and often result in disciplinary problems. We are rich in Pinellas with agencies to deal with issues of poverty, hunger, homelessness. The School System already partners with many but we can do better for our students across the county dealing with these problems.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
- FAIRNESS IN EDUCATION Caprice knows how important fair resources, school safety, and family and community engagement are to impact student success in schools and will be an asset on our School Board.
- ACADEMIC SUCCESS We need programs and resource allocations that address the needs of the individual child and provide the appropriate support for schools and educators to meet students where they are.
- SCHOOL SAFETY To improve safety in our schools, we need to look at the full picture. This means going beyond discipline to address the broader safety context, including health risks, mental health care, and support services.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Anything to do with improving lives of our children especially with respect to our school system:
- FAMILY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
- Encouraging engagement of families and strategic community partnerships is key to helping parents support their students and enabling all students to have equitable access to opportunities such as enrichment and magnet programs, STEM skills, and work experience.
- RECRUIT AND RETAIN EDUCATORS AND STAFF PROFESSIONAL
- Educators and school staff know our students and our schools. Their input on curriculum, discipline, and how to improve performance of both educators and students is essential.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
The most critical challenge to the school system in the short run is COVID. Families and teachers are struggling with school reopening and increasing rates of infection. I am listening to the medical advisors for guidance on this. The most critical challenge in the longer term is sustaining educational quality in the public schools which is the fuel for economic development, job creation and prosperous futures for our citizens.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
Advocate for more training and professional development for teachers, resources for all families and children, policies and practices that reflect the diversity of our educational community. Provide accurate accounts of history, diverse curriculum that includes all our students and their families: students with disabilities, gifted students, LGBT+, English language learners as well as college and vocational bound students.
What motivates you to run for public office?
My children, all the children in our community and a passion to improve our systems.