Wednesday, August 27, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sherman wants to bring insights as classroom volunteer to school board

Claire Sherman, a candidate for the Davis Board of Education, chats with a voter at a recent Davis Farmers Market. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | October 05, 2012 |

* Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of five stories profiling candidates in the Davis Board of Education race.

School board hopeful Claire Sherman says her candidacy springs from her personal involvement at school.

“I got involved in the school board race because I’ve been volunteering in the classrooms and effecting change that way,” she said.

Sherman started volunteering several years ago in her own child’s elementary classroom, but has continued to volunteer in the early grades, even though her son has moved to the junior high level.

“I go in and help them with math,” said Sherman, who has an extensive professional background in that area, “or I provide some extra hands with art.”

Sherman has seen class sizes increase as the school district has absorbed state budget reductions — and what she’s seen concerns her.  “The best teachers I know are not able to scale up from 20 to 30 students. It’s not like a machine where you crank up and say ‘Faster!’

“One of my radical ideas is getting class size in grades K-3 back to 20 students or less,” Sherman said. “And then reapportion larger class sizes at the high school for the juniors and seniors taking honors and AP classes.”

Her rationale: “At grades K-3, students need more attention from a teacher, all those things that serve as a foundation, so they become independent learners.”

On the other hand, Sherman notes that college freshmen at UC Davis taking calculus attend classes that can have “several hundred students. So is it so terrible at Davis High to have calculus classes at 50 or 60 students? The reality is that these are kids who have gone through math successfully. If they were in a college class for the same topic, they would be in a class that would be larger. If these students are going on to college, which most of them are, it readies them for larger classes and how to manage and navigate them, which is actually a good thing. And then the younger kids get what they need — additional attention, smaller class sizes. There are studies that indicate (small class size in the early grades) has benefits that carry through to other grades.”

Sherman acknowledged that many high school classrooms can physically handle only so many students — “the thing that is going to keep down class sizes (at the high school) is the fire marshal. But the idea is to balance this out across grades K-12. Right now, some of the (budgetary) hits are greater for younger kids. I’m not saying older kids don’t need support, but they need it in a different way.”

Sherman said she supports Measure E — the proposed local school parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot. But she points out that in terms of class size, “where we are today is where we’re going to be with Measure E. It’s not that we’re going to be able to reduce class sizes (if Measure E passes). It would be the status quo going forward.”

With that in mind, Sherman urges “more people to volunteer. The teachers need help. This is the bottom line, and I look at myself as an example. I work more than full-time, and yet I volunteer — in a classroom that my kid is not in. It’s not just money that’s going to solve our problems. It’s the community helping. And it’s rewarding.”

She also thinks it is important that good teachers be encouraged. “If you find someone that’s gifted as a teacher, make them happy! Keep them in the classroom working with students. That’s where they need to be. And that’s what the students need.”

And she would like to see a more diverse set of opinions on the school board. “You really want to get a school board with five distinct and unique people who bring something different (to the task), because that is Davis. Right now, the school board is very homogeneous, you don’t get these great discussions going. And those discussions would serve the public in a greater way.”

Sherman grew up in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics (with honors) at Penn State, a master’s in biostatistics at UC Berkeley, and a doctorate in statistics at the University of Waterloo, in the Canadian province of Ontario.

In 1994-96, she was a staff fellow with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. She came to UCD, serving for a year as an adjunct assistant professor and director of the biostatistics unit at the UCD Cancer Center. She then spent a year in Japan as a research scientist with the National Academy of Sciences, living in Hiroshima and analyzing data related to atomic bomb survivors.

She returned to Davis in 1998, serving as an assistant professor in the math department at San Francisco State University. Then she joined the California Environmental Protection Agency in 2000, serving for nine years as a biostatistician in the agency’s Oakland office. Since 2009, she has worked as director of statistics for a Concord-based firm that develops systems designed to improve the safety of blood transfusions.

Sherman’s spouse, Philip Kass, is a professor at the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    True Blue Devil Arnold gave back starting in high school

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City, plaintiffs settle suit over water rates

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Scrap the MRAP, council says, but wants a talk with cops

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Yolo grows sunflower seeds for the world

    By Margaret Burns | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    American militant reportedly killed in Syria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    California beach town sees flooding from hurricane

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Assembly passes campus sexual-assault bill

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Give blood and get a free movie ticket

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Chat with Poppenga at coffee shop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sunder campaign distributes signs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Farmworkers’ son wins prestigious NIH scholarship

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Interested in Portuguese? Drop by I-House

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Play groups offered by Center for Families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    A sweet reward for turning in cash

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

    Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Try yoga, meditation at Holistic Health Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Troops get ‘Hugs From Home’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Raley’s pays $1.6 million to settle hazardous-waste lawsuit

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Back-to-school party benefits Archer campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Breast cancer program examines surgery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Crisis nursery bill on governor’s desk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Global warming on group’s agenda

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    UCD West Village gets an electric Zipcar

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
     
    Documentary reveals ‘The Village Under the Forest’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Little Rock hero featured at reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UCD ranks No. 16 for serving the public interest

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Wolk’s infrastructure bill clears state Senate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Parents could use a hand at home

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Obama risks alienating Latinos

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    A water plan for all of California

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    MRAP sends the wrong message

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Play structure idea endorsed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Thanks for firearms info

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Shaw respects Aggies, while Gould is happy to get a shot at Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils prep for tough 2014 volleyball schedule

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Bumgarner deals as Giants blank Rockies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Buschman, Cats mute the Sounds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    New coach eager to see his Aggie charges hit the courses

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Carter’s blast send Astros past A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Sports briefs: Online registration ends Friday for Labor Day Races

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Field to fork: Play catch-up with summer’s produce

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Franco M. Navazio, M.D.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6