Letters: Heavy Hitters Come Out in Support of Poppenga

Poppenga-updated-hsBlue Devils for Bob Poppenga

by Nichole Arnold, Will Arnold, Tom Cross, Gina Daleiden, Logan Kittle and Rochelle Swanson

Davis public schools are built on a foundation of hard-won successes over the years and a mind-set of continual improvement, owing in large part to dedicated teachers, amazing students and parents, and the support of a local community that cares deeply about education.

Though issues change over time, our school district will have its share of challenges in the years ahead, and, in the process of finding solutions, also could be presented with tremendous opportunities for progress.

To recognize and leverage those opportunities requires clear and innovative thinking, a collaborative approach to problem-solving and genuine community engagement that respects and values diverse perspectives. What we see in Bob Poppenga is a school board trustee who understands Davis kids and families and the wide range of individual needs and complexities involved in providing the best possible education for all students.

Such is not an easy task to accomplish and we are fortunate to have in Poppenga a candidate who brings to the table a strong science background and evidence-based approach to decision-making. He has a proven record of creating closer collaboration with the world-class university in our midst, and he is well-positioned to build other community partnerships that would serve to strengthen our schools.

We view our support for Poppenga as a matter of Blue Devil Pride and we ask that you join us in electing Bob Poppenga to the school board!

Schools Need Scientist Poppenga

by Madhavi Sunder

Strong schools are the hallmark of our vibrant university town. The parcel tax on the November ballot, Measure H, is vitally important to our excellent schools, funding core programs from science to foreign languages, AP classes, music and athletic programs. Losing these parcel taxes (11% of our district budget) would mean teacher layoffs and cutting critical programs essential to student success. I urge you to continue to support our schools by voting “yes” on Measure H, which simply makes up for the parcel taxes set to expire.

After having the privilege to serve on the Davis School Board for nearly two years—and this year to serve as President of the School Board—I understand the kind of vision, talent, commitment and caring it takes to be a successful Davis School Board Trustee. If voters elect Bob Poppenga, our schools and community will benefit enormously. Bob is a professor of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, the number one vet school in the world. One of Bob’s primary goals is to more effectively tap the resources of the world class research university in our backyard to the benefit of Davis schools and children. Bob has already initiated a partnership between the UC Davis Veterinary School and the Davis Senior High School’s new veterinary science program. Thanks to Bob’s leadership, Davis students will have access to paid summer internships at the vet school, tours of the vet school facilities, and quality classroom materials. Bob has served on the school district’s committee to expand career technical opportunities for our students. A Board Member of the Explorit science museum, Bob believes non-profit partners can play a role in expanding opportunities for all Davis students.

It is imperative that we have a scientist as one among our five-member School Board. Over the past 10 years, STEM jobs have grown at three times the rate of other jobs. Bob will help ensure our schools are preparing students for STEM jobs at all levels. Bob’s service will enrich our schools.

Poppenga connects schools, UCD

by Lois Wolk and  Bruce Wolk

We are writing in support of Bob Poppenga for the Davis school board. Bob is an experienced and talented teacher who understands that our schools represent our future. His goal is to ensure that every child achieves his or her maximum potential. He understands that this goal requires high expectations for our students, strong support for our teachers (especially their professional development), new investment in facilities and a creative curriculum to match the incredible diversity of our students.

When our two boys were in elementary school, the Davis schools had a strong connection with UC Davis. Judy Davis’ third-grade class (including our older son, Adam) met in Wellman Hall on the UCD campus. It served as a laboratory for training future teachers and greatly enriched the experience of the students.

Bob wants to restore and enhance this partnership and already has connected the School of Veterinary Medicine with the animal science course offered at Davis High.

A busy UCD Veterinary School faculty member and devoted father of two teenage children in the Davis schools, he nevertheless has found time to be heavily involved with school issues, serving on a variety of school district committees as well as on the Explorit Science Center board and on the Youth Service Committee of the Davis Sunrise Rotary Club.

He really enjoys working with young people and has the skill and — almost as important — the temperament, to achieve meaningful change on their behalf.

We urge you to meet Bob at one of his numerous events around town. He is a delightful guy with a ready smile and an infectious enthusiasm for our schools. Too often, our school board members have acted more like bureaucrats than stewards of our future. Bob doesn’t have a bureaucratic bone in his body. He is a great listener.

Take a look at his website (bob4schools.org) for more details, talk to him if you can, and most of all, vote for him on Nov. 8.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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      1. Matt Williams

        He’ll serve our students well

        by Matt Williams

        My first vote for Davis school board is going to Bob Poppenga.

        Bob gets my vote because of his approach to problem-solving. He doesn’t propose heavy-handed solutions to DJUSD’s problems. He wants to be sure we truly understand the problems we face before embarking on the formulation of solutions.

        That kind of critical thinking means efficient and effective solutions of real problems rather than half-baked problem statements that suffer from incomplete and/or biased analysis.

        Bob is not a person who uses a cookbook approach. My observations tell me he goes out of his way to listen to the stakeholders in an issue, and does his best to walk in their shoes to get an understanding of the challenges they face.

        Bob has shown a significantly greater level of empathy than the other candidates. I believe Bob’s empathy will serve Davis students well, especially those who are not on a trajectory to a competitive academic program.

        Bob has a passionate commitment to forging a much stronger partnership between DJUSD and UC Davis. UCD has so much to offer by commingling its educational mission with DJUSD’s educational mission. Many DJUSD students are the children of UCD faculty and staff and grad students, and many DJUSD teachers have spouses who are part of UCD. Bob will work toward building, enhancing and leveraging those natural win-win synergies between DJUSD and UCD.

        Jose Granda is better prepared and more appealing than he was two years ago; however, for me that only brings him up to a “close fourth” rather than a “distant fourth.” The fiscal issues Jose is raising are very important, especially since it is highly likely that the school district and the city are both going to be appealing to the voters for future parcel tax approvals.

        I believe Jose and all the candidates need to more clearly delineate some of the specific steps they believe the school district should be taking in order to be more efficient and effective in the money it spends. The only way to have a balanced budget when cutting or reducing revenues is to have balancing cost reductions and/or efficiencies.

        1. Marina Kalugin

          Jose may make it one of these days, but he should start campaigning sooner rather than later.   In the meantime, during this election that will be a wasted vote – please vote for the other 2 men who can help set things right sooner, rather than later.



  1. Marina Kalugin

    I have known Lois for many years….we have been on the side of many issues and on opposite sides on others.   I found that overall she listened way better than the current Wolk…who I hoped would not have fallen so far from that tree, however, he is young and was riding on the coattails of his parents.  Hopefully he is now learning from some mistakes.

    I am also now supporting Bob Poppinga….I was not so impressed when I met him last time around due to his stance on Common Core.

    Since then, I have learned lots more about Bob and the more I learn, the more I like.

    For one thing he is not narrow minded and he doesn’t espouse one size fits all.

    His children are on opposite sides of a spectrum, and he understands why the need for GATE and he also sees that the other child is doing adequately under common core.

    As I also like to say, one cannot possibly agree with another person on absolutely everything as otherwise we would only be robots and clones and nothing more, but I appreciate someone so hardworking as Bob.

    Furthermore, Bob is very highly educated and truly understands the issues of children and education these days.

    As a faculty member at UC Davis, he sees how woefully unprepared many students, even those with perfect GPAs, are for college level work.

    The K-12 is hardly preparing most students for university level work nowadays.  Some say it is because UCD is not Harvard or UC Berkeley, but UCD is also a very highly ranked university.

    I am thankful he is running again, and wish I had voted for him last time.

    I hope those on all sides of the education topics will choose him to help get the sinking DJUSD on track again, and hopefully to get a more rational and better educated majority on the board again.

    Please vote for Bob and return Alan to the board also.  Things will be way better for all students of all skill levels.


    1. wdf1

      MK:  I was not so impressed when I met him last time around due to his stance on Common Core.

      I have worked with my kid on his secondary math, Common Core.  It looks okay to me.  I think this version of the curriculum offers more interesting ways to explain certain concepts than were available when I took the same subject.

      At this point I’m not sure that California public schools can opt out of teaching Common Core curricula, as they are obligated to take standardized tests on it.  I have my issues with some of the Common Core, but most of the material I have seen looks about right.

      I have issues with the standardized testing — too much of it, and too much undo emphasis placed on it.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        I am not trying to be snarky….as most children have strengths….and back in the early childhood ed courses I took for fun when I became a mom – I have learned all about the different ways that students learn, etc….

        but is your child a whiz in math?

        If so, then the second grade math curriculum will leave the child stifled…if not, then the common core may help jostle that side of the brain.

        the common core is more for the lower rung who have a harder time ….I am specifically focusing on math here.

        the greatest issue is that with common core the child is subjected to the very same curriculum regardless of skill level…

        in SF in the early 60s, the latest thing was cuisinaire (sp)  rods…in the advanced class in 3rd-4th grade one learned algebra concepts using the rods.

        My brother on the other hand was taking the bus to the HS some miles away for his classes in math while he was still in elementary school.

        Imagine someone of his caliber sitting in a common core classroom doing the activities?

        In Davis, due to the high education level of many of the parents and many, many other factors, we have way more students who are going to above the national average in math….especially given just how low the national average in the US is.

        For many decades and on various topics, one has heard the term….teaching to the lowest common denominator…

        that is common core….

        it does nothing for anyone who is above average in math for example   🙂

        and I would tell you that by star and other tests, during which Davis students as a whole score much higher than the norm….then why are we teaching to a “national norm”….

        illogical to say the least

        PS>… I couldn’t draw even if my life depended on it and I was always the very last person chosen for any sports team….back in the day when students were not given As for just being a good sport, that did havoc with my GPA….

        of course even Lowell was not challenging enough, so I cut school a lot and raised havoc elsewhere….fortunately back then one could actually get into UCD with test scores and high achievements in class and elsewhere…. to the dismay of friends who were always in class, got higher GPAs and were not chosen for the only UC where one could be on the equestrian polo team



        1. wdf1

          MK:  the common core is more for the lower rung who have a harder time ….I am specifically focusing on math here.
          the greatest issue is that with common core the child is subjected to the very same curriculum regardless of skill level…
          I’m sorry.  I really am not connecting with your point.  From my vantage point, Common Core looks like it covers roughly the same curricula in math as the old system did, but with different names given to the courses.  In JH, there is Common Core 1, Common Core 2, Common Core 3, Integrated Math 1, Integrated Math 2, etc.
          If Common Core 1 material is not sufficiently challenging, then you might do CC2, or maybe CC3, etc.

  2. Marina Kalugin

    omg..   Gina Daleiden….I didn’t know until your mom passed last year, that Mary Surkala was your mother…Mary was a dear neighbor and friend, and a substitute teacher for my older son when we lived around the corner and he was attending afternoon kindergarten.

    I was so upset I missed her memorial as I was over 30 weeks behind on the DE last year and hadn’t even heard she passed until way later.

    Mary was such a gifted and caring teacher….I am sure she would have joined you in supporting Bob Poppinga.

    Mary, wherever you are, I am so proud of your daughter for supporting Bob.

    May Bob help turn the tide for the DJUSD since your daughter left the board, and you retired.

  3. Marina Kalugin

    Huh?   to whomever made the crack about Don, I would bet Don would vote for Bob rather than the likes of the current woman on the board who is running again…

    though I could be wrong…however Don’s daughter is a gifted musician who thrived in the GATE classes along with one of my sons.   I cannot imagine he would want to vote for someone who closed the door on the third tier of GATE for this year?

  4. quielo

    I filled out my ballot today for Bob and Alan. The other day I was speaking to Bob and he accused me of posting on the DV as “quielo”. To protect my incognito I have no choice but to vote for Bob.

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