Almanac

Viewpoint - October 23, 2013

Editorial: Incumbents, Pollioni look best for Woodside school board

Woodside Elementary School has escaped the runaway enrollment growth found in Menlo Park's Las Lomitas and Menlo Park City school districts, but nevertheless, school officials are likely to seek voter approval of a bond issue in the next year or so, to upgrade classrooms and other facilities at the 451-student school.

In the school board race four candidates are vying for three seats, and responded to an Almanac questionnaire. Our endorsements are based on their answers to those questions.

Woodside Elementary has always provided a top-quality education for its students, who routinely post test score results that are among the top in the state. The one-school district also benefits from a strong education foundation, which funnels around $2 million into the district every year.

In this race, voters are fortunate to have two excellent incumbents — board president Wendy Warren Roth and Marc Tarpenning — and two well-qualified challengers — Robert Hooper and Claire Pollioni. Our choices are the incumbents and Ms. Pollioni.

Wendy Warren Roth has a long history of working in the district, including nine years with the foundation before joining the board in 2009. She helped design a long-term strategic plan for the district and helped guide the district as it began the transition to the Common Core standards. In response to concerns that working parents cannot attend the afternoon board meetings, she said she was open to trying later meetings, although she recalled that when tried before, very few, if any, spectators showed up in the evening.

Marc Tarpenning, vice president, has served four years on the board, and said he is eager to help the school through the implementation of the Common Core curriculum over the next two years. Along with other board members, he has supported increased professional development for teachers, including experimentation with strategies aligned with critical thinking and Common Core goals.

He supports a bond measure to help repair and remodel some of the school's buildings, and create new space for project-based hands-on learning.

Ms. Pollioni, a longtime parent volunteer and PTA member since 2005, has been involved with the district's Facilities Committee and was liaison from the PTA to the board. She considers the district's support of teacher development a factor that will help with the implementation of the Common Core standards. She believes it is important that students graduate with strong writing and communication skills as well as math, which she would like to see emphasized in the years ahead.

Robert Hooper, a former teacher, also is well-qualified, although we prefer Ms. Pollioni due to her long commitment to the district.

We urge Woodside residents to vote for Wendy Warren Roth, Marc Tarpenning and Claire Pollioni for the three seats on the Woodside Elementary School board.

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