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San Diego County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Pearl Quinones

Candidate for
Board Member; Sweetwater Union High School District; Seat 2

This information is provided by the candidate

A Passport to Opportunity Pearl Quiñones Friday, July 25, 2008

Thank you, thank you very much, Please allow me to begin by thanking the honorable Ms. Yolanda Hernandez, President of the San Ysidro School District. for that wonderful introduction.

I also want to thank Kathie O'Brien and Orlando Sanchez--my supporters and friends from the Sweetwater C-S-E-A.

I also want to thank the elected officials who are here tonight...NAMES....

I also want to thank my son Eric and also Damon who are always there by my side.

I am so honored see so many new faces and I am also so honored to see the faces of my long time supporters here tonight, Thank you for being here.

Eight years ago. It was my dream to serve on the board of this wonderful school district That dream has not only become a reality, but it has surpassed my expectations. I stand here before you, not only as the first Latina... to ever serve on the board of the nation's largest secondary school district, but also as the President.

My entire life... I have believed that education is the greatest equalizer. It is for this reason... that I went back to college to earn my bachelor's and master's degrees as a single parent. I stand here before you as a product of public education.

Education was hard for me, it is today for many of our students, in the Sweetwater school district.

But it is my belief!!!! That education is the passport to opportunity.

We've taken some big steps.....since I have been in office. We have built four new schools, upgraded aging facilities and modernized 354 classrooms. But that is not enough!

That is why in the year 2006 with you're your help and your support we successfully passed Proposition O, a $644 million bond which will allow us to continue our efforts to make our schools a place for inspiration and learning.

We are in the first phase of Proposition O, and we are going to completely transform nine of our oldest schools. Chula Vista high, Chula Vista middle, Southwest High, Southwest middle, Hilltop High, Montgomery High, National City Middle and Sweetwater High.

This new bond will allow our students and staff to be proud of their schools once again. We all know that pride inspires confidence and confidence equals student achievement.

We will be the largest school construction program in the state using the new "green" technology. I'm proud to say that we'll be leaving a smaller carbon footprint for our next generation of students.

We are known throughout the nation for our innovative reform efforts--especially the Compact for Success... our partnership with San Diego State University

When we began this program in the year 2000, we didn't know the kind of impact this program would make. Today, we have... hundreds of students attending San Diego State University as a result the Compact for Success. Before the Compact, only 600 district graduates were admitted to San Diego State. This year, I am proud to say, we have more than 1,400 students admitted to San Diego State. That's a 120% increase!

Since I have been in office, All my efforts.... have been dedicated to ensure that all students have equal access to a high quality education that prepares them for the demands and challenges of a four year university. But we all know... that is not enough.... because not everybody chooses to go college. So what are our plans for students who want to go to work after graduation? Today we're embarking on a high school redesign that will give students career options while still in school. Because...... It is time to transform today's education to meet the job's of the future and the needs of tomorrow's economy. Right now...Every school has a career pathway. For example, there's Administration of Justice at Otay Ranch, broadcast journalism at Montgomery High, information technology at Hilltop High and health careers at Sweetwater High. But this is not enough.

I want to give our students the opportunity to be not only a mechanic, but a mechanical engineer. To not only have the skills but to be the owners of their own company.

Four years ago I told you... that I had a deep passionate commitment and would take care of the "forgotten" student. These are the students who face the greatest challenges... coming to school. These are the students who have the language barriers; these are the students who have learning disabilities, the students who think they are forgotten. I want to have the support systems in place to give these students another opportunity to succeed.

That is why...Last year I started an incentive attendance program to motivate students to come to school. 186 Students with perfect attendance received a $250.00 gift certificates.

This year our incentives included a laptop, play stations, iPods and a $1,000 scholarship. We had 7,800 students with perfect attendance and another 9,300 students who improved their attendance. And next year we want to take the attendance campaign to a new level. One student with perfect attendance is going to receive a car. So why is attendance important? Because attendance = student achievement!

During my tenure as a board member, we created a partnership with the Urban Corp to help students who need to work while they finish school.

We created a new health and wellness policy that addresses childhood obesity, improves cafeteria food and increases physical activity--and we are way ahead of any other district in the state. I have been fortunate to have been selected to participate in the NALEO's California Health Leadership Initiative and as result; a research firm recently came to Sweetwater to see how they could create these same programs in other cities across the country.

We have built free health clinics on our campuses to ensure our students and their families stay healthy--the only district in the South Bay to do so. Doctors and interns come to these clinics several times a week, offering many of our families the only health care, they have. Why do we pay so much attention to the physical and health needs of our students? Because healthy students = student achievement.

We've strengthened our after school programs to give students a safe place to extend their learning time. We've added more campus assistants and even in tough times, we kept our School Resource Officers.

Why are safe schools important? Because safe schools = student achievement, But we can still do more

That's why for the first time since I've been in office, we turned to our community to ask THEM what they wanted in a world-class education.

And they told us.... loud and clear.

More than 300 people helped us put together our five-year strategic plan. Many of the initiatives we have begun recently are a direct result of what our community wants.

They told us they wanted to be more involved in our schools. I am proud to say that we have more parents involved in decision- making committees, attending open houses, and back to school nights. Our district was recently awarded the "Trophy of Excellence" for having the most parents attending the Title One conference and receiving training on how to be a parent advocate.

Thanks to our teachers, our classified employees and our administrators, as of today, our latest preliminary results indicate that all of our high schools that are under program improvement have met their target scores.

In the last four years, our test scores have gone up and the number of dropouts has gone down. Our district A-P-I has increased 70 points and our dropout rate has fallen to 12 percent--the lowest in the county.

Our special education students have one of the highest scores in the county on the state C-S-Ts. They've increased 43 points over the last three years.

We have strengthened our program for language learners by creating a partnership with the Mexican Department of Education. And we continue to dominate the county's Academic Decathlon. A Sweetwater school has won the title for the last nine years. In fact, Southwest High has won it six times--more than any other school in the county.

And despite the budget crises that we have all been facing these last couple of years in the state of California, we continue to pass a balanced budget without laying off a single permanent employee. Fulfilling a promise that I made to all of you since I first took office.

The Sweetwater family is very near and dear to me, and I promise that I will continue doing everything in my power to preserve jobs.

I've just told you about the successes our district has worked hard to achieve during the last four years, yet there is more work to be done. We are the verge of true greatness in the Sweetwater district.

That is why, I, Pearl Quiñones, am here today announcing my candidacy for re-election for the Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees, seat Number 2.

I promise you that I will continue to keep working hard. I promise you that I will always be here to listen to your concerns. But most of all, I promise that every decision I make, that every vote I cast, will always be in the best interests of "our children and our future."

To do anything less.... is to do a disservice to our young people. That's what this campaign is all about. It's not about an election. It's about the passport to opportunities we provide our students.

Can I count on you? Please join me in November in victory.

Thank you for being here tonight, thank you for your confidence in me and thank you for your continued support.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 4, 2008 16:49
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