ACTIVIST FOR EMPOWERMENT

 THROUGH EDUCATION

If they can not learn in the way that we are teaching, then we must teach in the way that they learn.

My son Charles, my grandson Kenton, and I

REPRESENTATION MATTERS

We Need a Seat at the Table

As a Black woman and former student of LACCD community colleges, I am the only candidate with the hands on knowledge and passion to deliver what our students desperately need. Unlike my opponents, I am not a member of, nor endorsed by the establishment that has long failed to make sure our students have the proper resources to realize their goals to completion. I have the detail-oriented plans to make sure the vulnerable communities that we serve are given the proper opportunity and representation. 

To make sure that the diverse group of students have more accurate representation, I am proposing that we include more student trustees on the board, one from each campus. Every campus has different demographics and different needs. Each campus should have a student representative on the board which allows representation from each campus, but also allows students who are interested in learning about policy to be a part of a representative democratic process.

Community

Building Community Partnerships

My foremost goal as a Trustee Board member would be to prioritize the active word in LACCD - Community. 

  • We need to build more community partnerships, to ensure that  students get real life work experience and opportunities for community service with our local business and nonprofit organizations. 

  • We need to strengthen our partnerships with local 4 year universities, importing campus resources to help recruit and guide students through the transfer process if that is their desired goal.

  • We must contract with more women and minority owned businesses. To guarantee this happens, I would review and audit the BuildLACCD data to ensure that the 30% mandate is being made to include Local, Small, Emerging, and Disabled Board Veteran. 

  • We need a more diverse faculty, one that accurately represents the community it serves. To increase diversity of faculty, I propose we actively recruit and appropriate more funds for the Project Match Program.

  • We must guarantee a safe space of community for our LGTBQIA+ students to create relationships and build coalitions with others who they have shared experiences with. I will make sure to keep open communication with this community so they can inform me, as an ally, on steps I can take and resources we can allocate to help their community.

Black Lives Matter

Divest Police Funding, and Invest it into Community Resources

In the aftermath of the tragic murder of George Floyd, widespread renewed interest in the vast funding for policing of underdeserved communities has been widely derided. The detrimental effects of over-policing have sadly touched our own community. On June 18th, Andres Guardado, an LACCD Student, was killed in an officer-involved shooting. As it stands, the board has done little to address the threat armed officers present to students, a majority of which are at a heightened threat by police. LACCD contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to police our campuses. Under the current board, they have increased the monetary funding for this contract to $23,462,832, a statistically significant share of LACCD’s current budget. As a board trustee, I would push to divest this money from the Sheriff’s Department and invest in contracting with trained unarmed safety officers, increased mental health support on campuses, and community resources. 

 

Not only do Black Lives Matter, but Black and Brown Education Matters. The rest of my policy proposals center around creating the necessary resources for students to succeed by fostering a community that is tailored for us, by us. 

ESTAMOS UNIDOS

Resources for Latinx and First Generation Students

We must protect our undocumented students, provide recourses for DACA recipients and first generation students. The threat DACA recipients and undocumented students face of possibly losing their status, or facing deportation means completing higher education may not become a priority.

  • Almost half of our students, 49.4% are first generation. I want to allocate funds to create a department on each campus to provide mentorship and resources to new incoming students who are first generation who often become lost in a system they are unfamiliar with. 

  • We need to contract with nonprofits to provide legal resources to DACA recipients that are seeking to maintain their status, or understand the risks they face under the threat of the Trump Administration and recent SCOTUS decision making.

  • These same nonprofit partnerships would provide undocumented students witht the legal knowledge to understand their rights, hopefully instilling a sense of security into them.

Retention 

Programs to Boost Retention Rates

Hover over graph to see data points

Data Source: LAACD Survey on food and housing insecurity

Increase Funding to Recruitment Programs

Emergency Preparedness

Expand Emergency Preparedness Programs

AB 705 exists to regulate and ensure that students are not placed in remedial courses which can delay or dissuade their academic progress, unless evidence suggests they are highly unlikely to succeed in the college-level course. With just a little more than 50% of California public school students performing at grade level on the English language arts standardized test, and only 4 out of 10 (39.7%) scoring proficient in Math. These results only show a 1% increase over the 2018 test result. Students that feel left behind often leave the higher education system.

 

 Small Learning communities 

  • I am proposing the development of small learning communities to foster a shared experience, provide academic support and combat loneliness.

  • These small learning communities would be peer-driven with a mentor, promoting accountability between small groups of students so no student would slip through the cracks.

  • A study from the National College Health Assessment, found that 53% 0f students felt hopeless, 85.5% felt overwhelmed, 83% felt exhausted but not from physical activity, 63% felt very lonely, 68% felt sad, 41% felt so depressed that they couldn’t function, 62% felt overwhelmingly exhausted and 11% had considered suicide. Small learning communities foster mutually beneficial partnerships, remedying overwhelming loneliness felt by students that often lead to dropping out 

 

 

Homelessness and Food insecurity

Another threat to retention rates is homelessnes and food insecurity faced by our students. 

  • 19% of LACCD students are homeless and 62.7% are housing insecure. I am proposing we audit the budget, the majority of which goes to contracting buildings, to create more affordable student housing to help remedy this issue. Additionally, we should look into building partnerships with the private sector to provide more affordable housing units to students.

  • Another landmark program in am proposing is to implement a free and reduced lunch program, much like the one we have at K-12 schools.

  • We must also make sure our food pantries are always fully stocked.

Recruitment
 

Enrollment at LACCD Community Colleges is at a decline and we must boost these numbers, especially in communities where this is the most accessible higher education.

  • We must make sure we are actively recruiting at high school campuses, especially at campuses in urban communities.

  • As it stands, less than 1% of our current budget is allocated to recruitment programs, we must increase this funding to reach a higher volume of students in poor communities and communities of color.

  • To promote dual enrollment, I am suggesting we expand the program of holding community college classes on high school campuses, and encourage partnerships with school faculty to promote this program.

In the aftermath of COVID19, it is important that we focus on the creation of an Emergency Response Preparedness Team.

  • In response to COVID we must develop a strategy and plan for the return of students and faculty which includes the development of new curriculum and certificated programs in response to COVID: community tracers, community responders etc.

  • We must provide support to our faculty and students during this unprecedented time in which we face new challenges to retention and engagement.

  • We must develop a crisis response strategic plan and train students in emergency management.

START CHANGING

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Dr. Nichet James-Gray

- FOR LACCD -

Justice 4 LACCD

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18017 Chatsworth St

PO Box 375 

Granada Hills, CA, 91344

 drnichet4laccd.com