Vote Riah Skrinnik
San Juan Unified School District
Candidate for Board Member
Riah Skrinnik helped hundreds of people to achieve their life goals. She is running for San Juan School District Board of Education to help many more to turn anxiety, failures, and frustration into confidence, empowerment, and fulfillment.
Her goal is to build a safe and healthy environment with strategic improvements and a more impactful engagement for our students, parents, teachers, and administration to gain a sense of accomplishment.
1. Reopening: encourage schools to apply for waivers and help them develop proper safety protocols.
2. Get schools back to three major functions: academic learning, social interactions, and mental development.
3. One of the best recent investments was a Chromebook for each student, and the next investment should be a better digital infrastructure, and individualized learning plans for every child to maximize their potential for real life preparedness.
About Riah Skrinnik
Riah and her husband Paul, are proud parents of four beautiful children, one is currently attending Mira Loma High School and three have already graduated from Mira Loma International Baccalaureate Program. The three older children had successfully advanced in higher education and in their dream careers.
Riah owns a practice, where she provides therapeutic services; her mission is to bring healing to individuals and families and to continue increasing the well-being of our community Her clinical experience includes working as a school-based therapist where she helped underprivileged families of Stockton Unified School District to recover and regain their personal and communal value.
Riah has rich work experience in public and private entities. She has 15 years as an Associate Air Quality Specialist at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. During her career in the local government sector, she worked with industrial and corporate businesses to ensure that companies were complying with regulations and staying within the parameters of established environmental policies.
She also served as a local Chapter Chair of the National Career Development Association (NCDA) that represents the interest of counselors in the national legislative process. She was involved in developing workforce practices concerning professional development through quarterly conferences and chapter meetings.
"Riah is passionate about the educational system, and she strongly believes she can bring valuable input into our school system, especially during the uncertainty of today. She believes COVID-19 works as the catalyst, moving schools from the Industrial to the Informational Age, demanding the infusion of scaling resources for our school system to reach new heights."
- Educational Supporter
Covid-19 pandemic assessment:
During the initial shut down, schools abided the governor’s orders with closing for quarantine and developing distant education programs. Some did this well, others were woefully inadequate. Now schools are allowed to apply for waivers by demonstrating they can operate safely. SJUSD has not taken a real effort to create the necessary safety protocols or environment to take advantage of these waivers even though the majority of private schools have done so successfully. Schools serves three major functions: academic learning, social interactions, and mental development—none of these roles are properly addressed by the district's current response. K-6 as well as 7-12 grade students have struggled with learning deficiencies, social isolation, and mental and physical health issues. Stubborn racial and social inequities in our educational systems have worsened due to the lack of social interaction. The resource gap affects low income families which represents nearly a half of the San Juan School District students. This means around 50 percent of students are unable to meet their basic school requirement via distance learning. Inadequate responses of the district to the shutdown has the potential to cause fear, frustration, and stall the learning progress.
Should schools apply for waivers to return to in-person learning as fast as possible? Do parents have voices in making decisions?
Safety should be a priority - but we need to recognize that new problems are being created from the shutdown - particularly in regards to students mental and emotional health. Schools who have the ability to open safely should be applying for waivers and engaging parents to educate them and enlist their help in ensuring students are adhering to safety protocols at home as well as at school. The criteria for reopening should be a collaboration with public health officials, including free testing for teachers and students prior reopening school. It is essential to educate students about safety and allow them a multi-leveled approach to practice safe distancing, PPE, and essential personal hygiene skills. Students and adults both must accept responsibilities for their own safety, and for the safety of others. The ultimate goal should be having all students physically present in school while increasing responsiveness and proper skills to thrive through the pandemic. I support school choice and will be empowering parents and families with expanding waivers to all public schools. Parents should have the choice to select the alternative learning options with consideration of the personal circumstances.
Education experts said pandemic exposed a so-called Digital Divide places lower-income students at a disadvantage. Any ideas for for fixing it?
Something that should have been done a decade ago, providing every student a Chromebook, did not eliminate the digital divide. Rather than empowering all students and elevating everyone together, this situation has brought to light the issues that arise within lower-income students’ households such as a lack of Internet access, computer literacy, and technological availability.
Nearly half of San Juan School District students are from low income families, and their disadvantage is prevalent. An option to battle this injustice is creating a priority list for students who are at a higher digital disadvantage risk to be reintegrated into in-classroom study first. Chromebooks have been a great investment, but more work is needed to develop networking structures beneficial to the educational system accelerating each student’s individual learning path. The potential to use technology has provided an asset in educational and career development that brings with it an opportunity to empower students and staff with new educational heights.
While coronavirus restrictions are expected to eventually subside, budget shortfalls from COVID-19 are expected to persist. How to address these and what are priorities for spending in the future?
While the Governor has promised education funding will be maintained, eventually budget issues will have be dealt with - particularly in aging districts like SJUSD that have declining enrollment paired with rising costs higher contributions to STRS and PERS.
Spending priorities need to be on classroom instruction and investment in digital infrastructure for students. One of the best recent investments was providing every student with a Chromebook to use from home, and I believe the next investment should be a digital infrastructure, and individualized learning plans for every child to maximize their time in school to prepare them for college or career. These should be able to be funded as capital investments that can utilize bond funds rather than taken from operational budget. During the challenging times brought on by the pandemic, schools should reopen with hiring IT assistants and developers in order to adequately provide the necessary infrastructure, along with trained janitorial staff to perform extensive sanitation procedures for both school campuses and school transportation vehicles to ensure the safety of students and staff. These include free COVID-19 testing with consistent illness checking protocols and procedures, daily use of PPE, scrub-type school clothes and spare shoes for school use only.