BOE Survey Yun Lu, PhD – District 5

1. How long have you lived in Howard County? Which voting district would you represent?

I have lived in Howard County for 8 years. I represent District 5.

2. What is your experience with and interest in public schools?

I am currently serving on the Board of Education Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC). I have two children in Howard County public schools. When we first moved here eight years ago, my daughter was a kindergartener and I volunteered every week at their school. I have been a school MathCounts team coach, a homeroom Mom, a regular volunteer at school, and a long time PTA member. I came from a family of educators and I am teaching mathematics on Sundays. I have a deep interest in education and have testified in front of the BOE many times. I

Seeking election to the BOE is about preparing children for their bright future – improving their academic achievement, physical well-being, as well as social-emotional readiness.

3. Considering many schools are still overcapacity, how should the BOE address this continued concern?
Given the new HS #13, there will be another redistricting in 2022, and the BOE can address overcapacity during that redistricting. The appropriate level of utilization needs to be school specific, because different schools have their unique situations. For example, Glenelg High School is an older school with narrower hallway, smaller cafeteria, and shared septic system, so the school utilization level should not be as high as some newer or larger schools. The BOE also needs to consider enrollment projection change in the next few years in order to prevent moving students back and forth. Students, families, and communities need stability. Neighborhood school is important, and we need to build new schools where students come Turf Valley area has new development and needs a new elementary school. Talbott Springs Elementary replacement and Hammond High School renovation and addition to add capacity.

4. How should the BOE ensure that resources reach the students who need them most?

Below are suggestions to the superintendent: First the superintendent needs to have accurate information about what resources are needed and who need the resources most. The superintendent should design an effective survey that gathers the information and ensure that the survey reaches all the HCPSS students. After the resources are distributed, the superintendent needs to follow up with the students. Keeping communication channel open is important to obtain feedback and up-to-date information.

5. What should the relationship between the BOE and the teachers’ union be?
The BOE should be independent of all the unions. There are more than one unions here, such as the teachers’ union, the administrators’ union, etc. At the same time, they should all work together as a team. The HCPSS budget difficulty is a long term problem, and all stakeholders should work together to overcome this. They need to work as a team to improve public education and put more resources in the classrooms. They should build a long-term collaborating relationship, work towards a common goal, and respect boundaries. The BOE also needs its independence.

6. What should be the approach to school safety? What is working and what could be done differently?
Foster a welcoming, caring, safe, nurturing environment is important to improve school safety. A good environment benefits everyone and it brings the best out of each other.

To improve safety in schools, preventative approaches need to be taken. Limiting entryways to schools, monitoring visitors and school properties is working.

Similar to public health, education, early detection, and early intervention is essential to improve school safety. I would suggest the school system to provide trainings to students, teachers, and staff regarding school safety, provide preparedness procedures, establish reporting system and monitoring system to detect potential safety threats early, and act accordingly. School safety should include physical safety, mental health safety, and public health and safety such as the covid-19 outbreak that we are facing right now.