Locals are guaranteed one new trustee on the San Carlos School District board this fall, with Eric Von der Porten stepping down and incumbent Tom Quiggle running against two challengers.
Those challengers are Seth Rosenblatt, who serves on the San Carlos Education Foundation board and has two sons at Arundel School; and Sonya Sigler, who serves on the San Carlos Charter Learning Center board, where her three sons attend school.
The San Carlos School District recently changed leaders when Superintendent Patricia Wool left for a post in the Walnut Creek School District and Steve Mitrovich took the helm in July. Five of the district’s seven schools are charter schools, although only the Charter Learning Center resembles a traditional charter school.
Quiggle, Rosenblatt and Sigler agree that the district is doing well academically, but could do more to reach out to parents and create a more welcoming climate. They also agreed that the district could always do more to improve individual students’ learning process.
“We need to look at differentiated curriculum for students at the high and low ends,” Sigler said, referring to a model that works well at the Charter Learning Center. “It’s the same curriculum, applied in different ways, because it’s important to meet the needs of all students.”
Quiggle agreed that the district should find more effective ways of reaching kids who “are not in the middle of the academic spectrum.There are kids who are falling behind and we need to address that — and we have kids who are not adequately being challenged,” he said.
Rosenblatt said that teaching students should go beyond their years in school. “We need to teach them to be lifelong learners as adults, to be passionate about learning,” he said.
The candidates differed when it came to a recent 3-2 board vote in favor of installing synthetic turf at Heather School, whose athletic fields are leased to the city for youth sports programs.
While Quiggle voted in favor of the move, he felt the citywide debate over the shortage of athletic fields was more a “parks and recreation issue, not a schools issue,” he said.
Rosenblatt supports not only synthetic turf at Heather, but at any other school in the district — and in sharing resources with the city.
Sigler, on the other hand, opposed the turf. “These are our children,” she said. “They should be playing on natural grass.”
» Age: 45
» Occupation: Software architect for community platforms at Yahoo; incumbent
» Endorsements: School board members Eric Von der Porten, Beth Hunkapiller and Carrie DuBois
» Age: 40
» Occupation: Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Optimost, a Web-optimization firm
» Endorsements: State Sen. Joe Simitian, San Carlos Mayor Tom Davids, all members of the San Carlos School Board
» Age: 40
» Occupation: Vice President of Business Development and General Counsel for Cataphora, an electronic evidence-analysis firm
» Endorsements: Current and former school board members, parents at all seven district schools