Michael Gonzales ~ In His Own Words

On November 6th we will have a chance to use the full weight of the electoral process to determine who will be the next Governor of California and our representative in the US Senate.  There will be numerous state propositions, a race to serve in the State Assembly, three positions on the Richmond City Council, the Richmond Mayoral race as well as the State Superintendent of Education.

 As important as these are, here in West County there is also a critical race being contested for three seats on the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s Board of Education.

Radio Free Richmond has extended an offer to all eleven candidates for the Board to post their own words to let you, the voters, know their positions on what they believe to be the important issues.

The candidates have also been invited to post guest editorials on the issues of importance.

RFR will post a new candidate statement every couple of days.

Michael_Gonzales_RFR.jpgThe most vulnerable students in our district are crying out for relief. As a member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board, I will dedicate myself to marshalling our precious resources towards providing a laser like focus on the prevailing conditions that have plagued our instructional system for decades to answer the cries of the unheard by bringing coherent, viable, and systemic change to our school district.

With your support, I will work with the current administration to build a system that has produced results across this nation by emphasizing:

  • An urgent focus on academic achievement, using no cost methods that provide for accelerated learning opportunities for those performing below grade level; diversifying the instructional practices to address the learning differences among students; and instructional practices that are based on scientific brain and socio-emotional functions;
  • Clear curriculum choices and targeted professional development concerning those choices;
  • Periodic assessments that are used to inform, diversify, and govern the pace of instruction;
  • Provide, support, and establish expository writing opportunities across the curriculum;
  • Use identified content experts, internal and external, to support the instructional practices of new and veteran teachers; and
  • Establish methods and protocols for teachers to observe one another; score the work of one another; and work within the established Family of Schools structure to establish pathways grade level performance for all students.

As a father of 4; an educational researcher; and an expert on instructional reform, I will passionately lead, join, and introduce efforts to reform our instructional system so that the happenstance of student placement; residential zip codes; and demographic designation will not overly influence student achievement and by extension educational failure leading to dangerous life paths.

Since 2004, I have successfully worked to adjust instructional systems to research proven strategies that meet the needs of all children and in the role of Board Member, I will continue the fight to move from treating symptomatic causes of school failure to address the verifiable core needs of students to produce healthier and more engaged students capable of self-advocacy and personal determination along a life path that contributes to the quality of life in our communities.  I led and participated in efforts that have successfully raised student achievement, graduation rates, closed the achievement gap; and improved working conditions for teachers and administrators in over 20 school districts across this state.

For the past three years, I have been working within our district, conducting studies on the possible marriage between our social/emotional programs and the core curriculum; considering more effective use of ALD (Academic Language Development) and ELD (English Language Development) time; and supporting intern teachers.  The success of this work has been limited because of its isolation with individual schools, grade level teams, and teachers.  With the opportunity to guide the reform our instructional system from the highest level, I will fight for the students and parents/guardians of this district by establishing a more urgent instructional system that raises achievement for all students; closes the achievement gaps; and uses the most current and proven instructional practices.

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