School Board member Chew Janet Chew will begin her third term serving the Arcadia Unified School District in July. A pharmacist by trade, Chew says her real passion is education. Here, she opens up to Patch about her hopes for the district and even her plans to become a foster parent.
What is the most important issue facing the Arcadia Unified School District?
"There is so much going on in education in general now, it's actually very exciting times. One of our challenges is the potential change to education funding in CA, the LCCF, and how that will impact AUSD now and in the future. We are keeping a very close eye on it to make sure we have adequate funding to properly educate our students. Another is the common core standards and assuring 21st century skills for our students. Staying on top of what our students need to know and the skills they need to be successful in our ever-changing world. And finally, I would say we are always vigilant about school safety. Recent events have highlighted the need to keep school safety a priority and we continue to work to assure we are doing all that we can to maintain the safety and security of our campuses."
What have you done during your previous terms to improve the district and mitigate that issue or others?
"My 6 previous years have been successively challenging budget years and mitigating the reductions and cuts have been much of the focus, but I will have to say that we worked hard to make them in a way that had the least impact on our students and preserved the programs that have made Arcadia schools so successful. That being the case, as the budget and financial situation begins to improve, we are being thoughtful about how we restore, rebuild, and continue to improve our programs. In the midst of all of the budgetary challenges though, I am proud to say that we have been overseeing and successfully continuing our $218 million facilities improvement program and just looking at the transformed campuses including the new PAC [Performing Arts Center] building is a testament to how well it is going!"
What are some of your goals for the district?
"To assure adequate funding for our district and strong balanced budgets into the future, complete the facilities improvement program that this community has generously funded, continue to work on providing every child with an 'A' experience providing the education and skills needed to be successful."
Why did you decide to go for another term on the board?
"I still have the passion, energy, and desire to serve the community and advocate for our schools and public education. And with Ms. [Joann] Steinmeier retiring after 24 years, I felt the need to provide some continuity by staying on to continue the work of the district and help to transition a new member [Fenton Eng, who takes office in July]."
Where do you see the district in 5 years? 10 years?
"Arcadia has always been a forward-thinking district thoughtfully staying ahead of the changes in education and, even in tight budget years, we never sacrificed and continued to plan and implement the best educational strategies for our students. Arcadia will continue to be a high performing district and work to provide the best experience for our students."
What are some important things about your background people should know?
"I am a product of public education, and though I have a doctorate in Pharmacy, thanks to my husband I have worked many more hours volunteering for our schools than I have in pharmacy!"
Why is education important to you and our community?
"I have always believed that education is the key to change and improvement. And education has no age limit, we all need to continue to learn and grow to improve our lives and the lives of those around us."
What are some things you'd like to change about the AUSD?
"Besides adequate funding, just that we would continue to grow as a caring, united school community."
Anything else we should know about you?
"My husband and I are pursuing our heart for loving and caring for foster care children."