(Thousand Oaks, CA) – THRIVE Conejo will host a free virtual forum for the community on Wednesday, September 30, featuring all four candidates running for the Conejo Valley Unified School District Board of Education. The forum will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Zoom.
“COVID has changed the way that our schools operate, now and for the foreseeable future, and has brought issues of equity, access and inclusion into sharp relief,” said Lee Ann Holland, leader and co-founder of THRIVE Conejo.
Holland added: “We are excited to host this forum, because it is essential that voters are able to make informed choices at the ballot box this year. School Board Trustees make decisions that have a huge impact on our children’s lives.”
The candidates – who are vying for two seats on the Board that will appear on the ballot this November 3 – include Patti Jones and Karen Sylvester for Area 1, and Sandee Everett and Lauren Gill for Area 5.
Each of the candidates will be afforded the opportunity to deliver a brief prepared statement prior to taking part in a question-and-answer session. Community members who would like to attend should RSVP at thriveconejo.org. Respondents will also be able to submit a question for potential use at the forum.
The forum will be moderated by Edlyn Peña, Ph.D., director and co-founder of the Autism and Communication Center (ACC) at California Lutheran University (CLU). The center promotes practices that support inclusive schools and communities based on the notion of presumed competence for autistic individuals. ACC also empowers autistic individuals to choose and use alternative forms of communication in order to realize their educational and civic potential and to become meaningfully included in school and community settings.
Dr. Peña is a speaker, author, advocate and award-winning scholar, who actively supports autistic students to attend and succeed in college. She advocates for communication access and choice for nonspeaking and minimally speaking autistic individuals. She also serves as Chair of the Education Leadership Department at CLU.
“I am looking forward to moderating the THRIVE Conejo virtual forum, in part because I am a parent of a child with disabilities,” said Peña. “Equity and inclusion are important to me both personally and professionally, and I want to ensure that each candidate is provided an opportunity to share their thoughts about how CVUSD can best serve all students.”
For more information about Dr. Peña, please visit her website at edlynpena.com. For more/public information about the forum, please contact [email protected]
About THRIVE Conejo:
Formed in 2017 by two moms of exceptional learners, THRIVE Conejo is a nonpartisan grassroots organization of 500+ parents, educators, administrators and community leaders. THRIVE Conejo is dedicated to advancing inclusive education within the Conejo Valley Unified School District to benefit ALL students of ALL abilities. Our primary focus is fostering systemic change to make learning environments more inclusive of students with disabilities. To join the conversation, visit Facebook.com/groups/ThriveConejo or follow us on Twitter @thriveconejo or on Instagram at thriveconejo. Subscribe to our YouTube channel at THRIVE Conejo or view our website at thriveconejo.org.