Why are you running for School Board?
My two children have been a part of the MUSD family for over a decade. I want to make a positive impact by giving back to the community that we plan to live in for decades to come. Milpitas is a wonderful and diverse city that is evolving with regional and global economic forces. Our public schools hold the key to our children’s future. I am stepping up to help our district thrive amid the strain of a fast-growing population, aging infrastructure, and escalating costs. My goal is to provide our students with the best opportunities, our teachers with the best support, and our community with a safe and stimulating environment. I am passionate about exploring more public-private partnerships so that we can bring resources to our schools, while protecting Milpitas families from tax increases.
Do you have children? What are their ages? Are they in the district? If so, what schools?
Yes. I have two children (12y & 15y). They have been in the district since kindergarten. My elder son is now a sophomore in Milpitas High School. My younger son is a 7th grader in Thomas Russell Middle School.
What qualifies you to be a board member? Are you currently involved with the schools/district?
My children have gone from elementary through high school in MUSD. I have been a PTA/PTSA parent for 11 years, and involved in a wide range of school activities. Additionally, I can add fresh perspectives as an immigrant from a diverse country, a leader of a global team, a city commissioner, and a community volunteer with exposure to local, regional, state, and federal bureaucracy. I am a current parent member of MHS & TRMS PTSA, TRMS SSC, MHS & TMRS Music Booster, and MHS Athletic Booster.
What are some things you see happening at our schools right now that inspire you?
Our schools are the pride of our community. There is a lot of innovation among teachers and students, and as a result, our schools are constantly improving.
What needs to be improved in our district, and how exactly would you improve it?
My top 3 priorities are:
Better education for our students – Supportive environment, academic and extracurricular excellence, college and career pathways.
Greater value for taxpayers – Oversight to ensure effective use of funds and protect families from tax increases. Involve students, parents, teachers, and community as stakeholders in decision-making.
More resources for our schools – Public-private partnerships including middle/early college, mentoring, internship, grant, teacher housing, STEAM programs.
In the state of California, what’s the biggest challenge in public education?
Despite record high state budget for education, our public schools are grappling with escalating costs, aging infrastructure, and demographic changes (poverty, language learners, learning disabilities).
What are your thoughts on the district’s plans for a second high school campus?
I support a 2nd high school campus to alleviate MHS overcrowding. However, the plans are still vague. While conceptually the district aspires to create a small STEAM career-focused program at Ayer Education Park, many questions remain regarding its capacity, programming structure, support services, and student extracurriculars. As the board has not decided on where to relocate the district office to free up the land for the high school extension, we should thoroughly evaluate the options available. I’m concerned that Ayer may not accommodate our city’s long-term needs since its location is away from the high-growth neighborhoods. Many are asking for a second traditional high school. The final decision should be made with community alignment.
The blackface incident over Halloween became national news, as you know. What are some ideas you have for promoting more inclusion and appreciation for diversity across our schools?
Diversity and cultural competency training should be taught to all school employees and students. More diverse representation among teaching staff should be encouraged. More community events to get together and appreciate our diversity.
What are your thoughts or ideas with supporting the mental health of our students?
With 38% of our 11th graders experiencing depression, it is important that our students have a supportive school climate. Social emotional learning could be incorporated into lessons. Provide safe access to counselors and mentors. Policies to reduce bullying and programs to encourage students to make better connection with one another.
Any ideas on how to ensure that innovation is a key feature of our students’ learning here in Milpitas?
More project-based learning will encourage students to innovate. Field trips to difference experiences to open up students’ minds. Opportunities to showcase innovation, including through competitions.
Is the district doing everything they can to promote safety across all campuses? If not, what else do you suggest the district do?
Secure campus entrance and exits, including video cams. Adequately staffed yard duty and drop-off/pick-up including crossing guards. Make sure infrastructures are up to safety code.
Do you see the arts as an important part of our children’s educational experience? If so, what ideas do you have to give students more experiences with the arts?
Art education is essential to help our children embrace new ideas and open themselves to different thoughts and expressions, so that they can build their own successful path in life. Talent show, art exhibition, class performance, partnership with local providers for after-school art enrichment, field trips, shadow days (career in arts).
What is something unique that you bring to the table?
As an under-represented minority in tech/engineering profession, I can empower female students to increase participation in STEM programs and leadership.
What is something that not everyone might know about you?
I prefer to be called Ling as that is my given name. My first name, Chia, is my generational name. All my siblings and cousins have that same first name.
What do you love to do in your spare time?
I enjoy travelling. My goal is to travel to all 50 states and 50% of the countries.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Where can people go to learn more about you?
And finally, what is your vision for the school district in the future?
My vision is for Milpitas Unified School District to be the gold standard of public education, where our students have the opportunities to achieve their full potential.