Graham Paige is proud of the school board’s work and says he wants to continue working on a lot more

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Seeking a third term at the Albemarle County School Board, Samuel Miller District Representative Graham Paige looks forward to continuing to work to address overcrowding issues in the county’s schools, support success and equity. students and keep the division’s anti-racism policies in place.

As the nation is engaged in conversations about what critical race theory is or is not and whether it should be taught in K-12 education or not, Paige said conversations related to race race should continue and that they can foster the appreciation of others.

While Critical Race Theory – nationally referred to as CRT – is not taught in local schools, Culture-appropriate education, which shares the same acronym, is something in the process of being implemented. Culturally Appropriate Teaching is a certification that teachers can achieve, which promotes an understanding of cultural differences in the approach to teaching and learning.

Paige said he was excited about the continuation of a pilot program called Courageous Conversations About Race, which first took place this spring at Henley Middle School. While this has sparked controversy among some parents in the district, Paige calls it one of the most important jobs the board has worked on.

Meanwhile, Paige said he also understands that others may confuse or confuse ACPS programs with actual critical race theory – which is a legal framework. taught at the college level, not K-12 education – due to some overlapping topics.

“What we’re doing with the story might have some type of connection between the two. Another connection could be the idea that we are trying to ‘teach children to hate each other’ – as an oppressed group and as an oppressor group, ”Paige said. ” It is not the case at all. We really try to make sure that the students start to like each other and start to see how our country has a complicated social structure and that we can’t leave anyone behind.

Paige notes that teaching seeks to explore history in a larger context.

“We frame the narrative, and in that we try to make sure that all the complicated history of our country is really taught – that we don’t forget things that were left out or things that were sort of past. in silence, or things that have been embellished but shouldn’t have been, we try to make sure that our history lessons really teach a true picture of what the history of our country has been like.

Paige himself has had a racial history – growing up in Albemarle County, he attended school during segregation. Originally born in Charlottesville, Paige grew up in the Esmont area of ​​Albemarle County. The county town of Albemarle originates in and takes its name from the purchase of an old plantation, and the region’s population is predominantly black.

Paige went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, a historically black college college, before earning her master’s degree from the University of Virginia. And it was in the Albemarle County area that he spent much of his career as a professor of earth sciences and biology before becoming a member of the school board. He was first elected in a special election in 2015 and then re-elected in 2017.

Paige said she was proud to have contributed to the board’s anti-racism policy and explained that the overall strategic plan, Learn for all, aligns with his convictions as an educator and an elected official.

Like many other candidates for city and county school boards, Paige also supports ongoing efforts to expose students to training and education that can prepare interested students for careers after graduation that do not exist. don’t need college degrees. He noted how the Virginia Department of Education recognizes various career paths and the state’s specialty academies, which it plans to continue supporting.

Another job he would like to do is to address overcrowding issues at some schools in the county and support the expansion of Crozet Elementary School, which will attract about 600 students from Brownsville.

Paige explained that he believes the changes to the Gifted Program are even bigger as the district grapples with learning disruptions amid the pandemic.

“We make sure our talented teachers work with all of our students,” Paige said. “This would help in the long run to provide enrichment opportunities for all of our students.”

What’s more, he says culturally relevant education in the county can also help fill the achievement gap.

“We still have a lot of work to do on this,” he said. “[It] helps teachers recognize that they may have to use other strategies to reach children in the classroom.

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