Education is the issue closest to my heart. I volunteer as a writer coach with Writer Coach Connection. We go into public schools (I go into Richmond High), and work one on one with students on their writing assignments. I also volunteer as a Math tutor with the city’s Literacy for Every Adult Program (LEAP). We help adult learners get a GED.

What are Vinay’s ideas for improving the academic achievement of our students?

Research shows that parental involvement is key to student success. Yet, parental engagement is sorely lacking in our public schools. I am working with the school district on software solutions, which will send parents daily texts without cutting into teaching time. The texts will include information about their child’s homework, performance, and other relevant matters. This will help create a more school-centered interaction between parents and children, and a more school focused atmosphere in every home.

What are Vinay’s ideas for vocational careers for Richmond students?

I believe that we must complement the Richmond Promise college scholarships program with programs to serve students for whom college may not be the best option. The Building Trades are an excellent option for students who may want to follow in the path of their family members, who prefer to work with their hands, or who need to bring in a steady paycheck soon after they finish high school. I am working with the school district to provide course support for students who want to go into the Building Trades, that is similar to the AP course support that we currently have for college-bound students. To facilitate a smoother transition from school into the Building Trades, I am also working with Richmond Build (our job training program) and Serra Adult college, which has one of only two programs in Northern California to train people to get into the more lucrative Building Trades.

What is the Richmond Promise, and how will Vinay make it better?

As part of the Chevron modernization agreement in 2014, Chevron agreed to fund the Richmond Promise program, which gives every Richmond student attending college a $1500 per year scholarship. I made sure that all students were eligible regardless of what type of school they attended. However, the number of students who availed themselves of the scholarship was well under half of those who were eligible. Although the program also includes college orientation components and help for students to access additional funding, I will see to it that our outreach is much better. I will also work with other organizations working with students so that together we foster a college-going culture. Only then, can we use the Richmond Promise program to unlock the full potential of all our children.