BOE Elections SOMA JUSTICE and P.A.R.E.S. Response from Michael

Response was sent back late on October 14th:


Good Evening Jane, please accept my sincere apologies for missing the deadline for questions. This was a true oversight and mistake on my part. I am running for the BOE because I genuinely care about the students of our district and I hope you will accept my response. I have also discussed many of these items and ideas in greater detail during the first two debates.



Do you believe the district’s access and equity policy introduced in 2016 goes far enough in addressing the issues of inequity in our district (particularly in regards to vulnerable populations, i.e., POC, queer, special needs, immigrant, second-language learners, etc)?What are the benefits of the plan ? What are the highest priority areas still needing improvement ?



It’s a start but does not address all the issues. We support the action taken to develop and define a policy that will allow all children access, but it does not stop there. In order to serve our students in all academic areas we need to align additional resources. Our teachers need further professional development that focuses on differentiation. The current BOE & superintendent need to set the vision and tone with the central

office that this is the way things will be done, no excuses.



What are your thoughts and/or plans to move SOMSD forward in dismantling the segregation and racial achievement gap that exist in our schools? ( i.e. teacher education,policy review etc)



You will hear a common theme, the need to provide our teachers more professional development focused on implicit bias and unconscious bias. That includes partnerships with nonprofits such as the Pacific Education Group.

There is need at this time to explore magnet schools, starting with two themed magnets. Serious consideration should be given to Seth Boyden and Tuscan. This idea is based on these schools having close to the opposite enrollment of white/black students, Tuscan is 70% White and Seth Boyden is 65% Black.  To tackle the achievement gap, we need to look at providing more resources in the elementary schools. Full time social workers and guidance counselors for all elementary schools. We also would like to see reading intervention programs starting in the elementary schools. We cannot allow children to be lagging as far as they are prior to entering middle School.




Do you think that SOMSD should take steps to address the racially disproportionate discipline of students in regard to suspensions and expulsions, and the disproportionate number of students of color placed in special education? If yes, please explain how.


We are in absolute agreement that steps should be taken regarding how our children are disciplined. This starts with the training and professional development of our teachers focused on implicit bias. Restorative circles should be used and can be successful if training and professional development is provided and done well. Watching news report on a school in Baltimore where a former student brought in a yoga class to the school allowing students to have a quiet and peaceful way to meditate during the day; we too can explore these nontraditional methods.



What are the most important safety and security issues facing the district ?How do you believe SOMSD schools can be a safe environment for ALL students ? Do you support the placement of School Resource Officers in SOMSD schools?

AMENDED 10/25/18 : There seem to be some confusion with our response at the CCR debate and our response to the SOMA Justice questionnaire.  We are 100% opposed to any SRO or Security Guard carrying firearms at any of our schools.

We would like to see the district re-consider the outsourcing of the security guards and make them employees of the district.

We have submitted our amended response to Dr. Jane Bleasdale who was our contact for the questionnaire, In addition we responded to a question by the Village Green asking for a statement and would we like to amend our questionnaire response.

We appreciate everyone concerns regarding these and all issues being discussed as these are all important to our children.



Do you support the redistricting component of the capital improvement plan approved by the BOE ? What do you see as the potential strengths and weaknesses of the plan ?


While we support integrating the elementary schools, we have serious concerns about the additional transitions on our children for the proposed middle school 5-6 and 7-8. This would make our middle schools two of the largest in the state. As a district I do not think we should take this route, and I believe that this too will put our children at a disadvantage. We must find alternative solutions that seek to close the racial divide and allow academic success for all.


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at 646-300-5009


Michael Laskowski