Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah wants to help make Tucson Unified District a Better Place for Children, their Families, and the Teachers
The Tucson Unified School District has three vacancies in the coming elections.
Doctor Ravi Grivois-Shah, a successful community physician and Associate Professor at the University of Arizona would like to fill one of those vacant board positions.
A doctor with deep ties to the Tucson Community (his husband was a principal in the district, his oldest of three children attend school there, and he is the Medical Director of Alvernon Family Medicine, a practice that cares for “underserved communities in Southern Arizona,” Doctor Grivois-Shah is running to:
- “To fight for high-quality public education that is accessible to all.”
- “Advocate for ALL Tucson families, just as I’ve advocated for my patients and their communities.
- “Ensuring its teachers have the tools and resources they need.”
If he wins election to the school board, Doctor Grivois-Shah will work to:
- Ensure every school in the Tucson district is outstanding.
- Make the Tucson Unified District the envy of all local residents.
- Make sure students and teachers get the supplies and resources they need to succeed.
- Promote physical education, the arts, sciences, and extracurricular activities.
- Provide a healthy and safe atmosphere that includes nutritious meals, adequate recess, and an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Dr. Grivois-Shah took the time to discuss his campaign and his positions on the issues.
The questions and his responses are below.
- What are your qualifications to serve on the board?
“I am a father of three, and my oldest will enter third grade in TUSD. I bring the voice and perspective of a parent with three young children who is committed to ensuring our schools work for my family and all Tucson families for the generation to come.”
“Serving as the PTA Treasurer in my daughter’s school, I have become more familiar with school finances and resources. Following this experience, I joined the TUSD Audit Committee where I help our Governing Board oversee district finances. Recently, I served as a member of the Family Life Curriculum committee, offering the physician voice to ensure our district adopted an age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive, and inclusive family life (“sex ed”) education for our students.”
“I’m also married to an elementary school teacher who spent 4 years as a principal in TUSD. The perspective I’ve garnered over the years hearing his stories day-in and day-out have helped me better understand the needs of our teachers and educators, and the resources and support they need to create the best environment for our students.”
- Please tell us three reasons you are running for the school board?
“I’m running for the TUSD Governing Board because, as a community family physician, I’ve heard from my patients and their parents the struggles kids in Tucson have in our school system. So many of our kids are lost in classes too large, curriculum that teaches to the test. Many have behavioral needs not met due to a lack of resources in our schools.”
“I heard the same stories from my husband, an elementary school teacher for most of his career, who spent 4 years as a principal here in TUSD. From his experiences and first-hand accounts, I’ve been better able to understand the needs of teachers and of our students.”
“As TUSD parents, our oldest entering third grade in a neighborhood school, we’ve been able to experience the amazing things that TUSD does for its students. We love her school, her teachers, and the programs that her school offers.”
“I’m running so that all Tucson families can have the positive experiences we’re having with TUSD for their children, regardless of their background or zip code.”
- How would you rate the current school board you are running to become part of and please explain why?
“The current board has found a good grove over the last few months and they work well together to meet our student’s needs and help ensure that our students have the resources to meet their learning needs when not in school.”
- In your opinion, what are the three most important education issues schools and all stakeholders in the district face?
“To safely reopen our schools should be the paramount consideration.”
“My first, second, and third priority would be to help ensure our schools open safely for our students and staff.”
“In addition to this, a major priority of my time on the Governing Board will be to work with our district leadership so that our finances are more transparent. The financial reports and budget need to be available in a format that not only the Governing Board can use and understand to set priorities, but that the public can use and understand to hold the Governing Board accountable.”
“I will also be a voice pushing for evidence-based intervention. We know what works to help improve academic achievement –arts, music, and physical education; class sizes especially in early elementary school; behavioral interventions – that we can do a better job of adapting in TUSD.”
“I will also be a champion of educational equity. All Tucson children must have the same opportunities to succeed no matter their race, family income, or zip code.”
- What are your views on the implementation of the district reopening in the fall?
“I think every parent who tried to teach their children from home this spring will agree that safely reopening schools in the fall is a priority. However, expecting children to stay six feet apart and wear masks all the time is not realistic. Our district, in coordination with state leaders and national recommendations, needs to develop a medically-accurate, straight-forward, and innovative plan to reopen our schools and assess if schools are no longer safe. TUSD must also develop alternative learning options and teaching options for students and staff with conditions that preclude them from participating in on-site education.
- To what extent should your school district ensure all students have access to high broadband and a laptop/tablet for virtual learning should the fall opening be delayed?
“School districts are responsible for ensuring that students have the tools they need to succeed. This includes providing transportation services; breakfast and lunch; behavioral health services; and other needs so that students are ready to learn. If the school does not open as planned, the district must be proactive in ensuring its students can access the lessons, materials, and their classrooms virtually with high-speed internet and computer equipment.”
“The responsibility to provide all students with technology is paramount as well as giving proper breakfasts, lunch, and transportation. If we have virtual learning this fall, the kids will not be ready to learn and it is our responsibility to ensure students are ready to learn. I think blended/hybrid models cannot be sustained long term.”
- In your opinion, please advise at least one way your school district should make up for any of the lost learning time of this last academic quarter?
“I trust our well-trained teachers to assess students where they are in the fall and get them caught up to where they need to be.”
- Is there anything not covered in the first seven questions that you would like the reader to know?
“I’m running to ensure that Tucson has healthy schools for a brighter future for all Tucson families. While this is even more paramount today due to COVID era, healthy schools go beyond our pandemic response. I’m running to fight for healthy building infrastructure, healthy food in our schools, safety in our classrooms, and creating an environment our teachers and educators want to work because our teachers’ working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.”
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