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The Crismons

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ARLnow: Chaz Crismon: Why You Should Vote for Me

How to Caucus for Chaz

About the Crismons

Be willing to sign this pledge:
I certify that I am a resident of and registered to vote in Arlington County, Virginia; I am a Democrat; I believe in the principles of the Democratic Party; and I do not intend to support, endorse or assist any candidate who is opposed to a Democratic nominee or endorsee in the ensuing election.

Attend one of two Caucus Events (see invitation and download Event Reminder to your Calendar)

Mark Chaz D. Crismon as your #1 choice for School Board on your ballot.
Chaz is a Substitute Teacher, a Stay-at-Home Dad and former Realtor.
He is a Stanford Graduate and Thunderbird MBA.
He speaks Spanish.
He loves his wife, son, and dog.

Charlie is a Hoffman-Boston 1st Grader.
He is a Special Needs student.
He loves gymnastics and swimming.

Heidi is a Physician.
She is a BYU Graduate and Georgetown MD.
She speaks Spanish.
She loves biking Arlington's trails.

Carlton is a Bichon Frise / Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
He cannot get enough of Arlington's Dog Parks.

Intro to Chaz and His Views

How to Donate


I am particularly concerned with how our neighborhoods will be affected by the new schools coming to Arlington in the near future. My broader concerns are for the protection of special needs students and for the empowerment teachers.

My son is a special needs student and I have been a teaching assistant of English to Speakers of Other Languages. The current School Board has done a great job maintaining excellent schools and responding to the special needs of students. Still, I am concerned that many good teachers have left the system in frustration, not feeling trusted or adequately supported. Luckily, we can eliminate shortages of Special Ed and ESOL teachers, because everyone wants to live here! Since we get the best teachers, we need to treat them like they are the best. If I am elected to the School Board, my Rule #1 will be: Listen to Teachers. They can bring Light to the Political Dark Side of School Administration.

The School Board will benefit from my energy and motivation. I have real "skin in the game" (i.e. a child in elementary school). While I have little prior experience in political party activism or PTA leadership, I believe a relative outsider can help the board try New Ways of Thinking and Doing (my alma mater's motto). My experience has been volunteering extensively at my son's school and getting his teachers what they need: more TIME. I have sharpened pencils, made photocopies, and located resources they had no time to find. We need to ensure that our wonderful teachers are fully supported and rewarded for their leadership roles in our community. I cringe when I see others ask teachers for assistance to run pet projects. Let teachers teach and go home to recharge and be with their families.

I believe instruction in our schools should focus more on developing 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. We must move well beyond lecture and memorization for our students to be able to compete in the global economy. Our county's schools are a little behind when it comes to employing online technologies. While getting my MBA at Thunderbird, I assisted in the online delivery of high quality courses to students across Latin America. We must adapt to new technologies or we will be left behind.

If you are anxious to have a friend on the board who knows how to listen to your needs and advocate for them, then support Chaz D. Crismon for School Board.

Q&A: Submit a Question

Q: Are children who are neither green card holders nor naturalized citizens allowed to attend our schools? If yes, do you support this and why? And if not, what are you doing about it?

A: Yes. This is America. We want good hard working people to live here. Immigrant kids are good kids seeking a better life. School administrators are not qualified to validate documents, to determine who is worthy of asylum, or to discover who's cheating the system. Let's educate all children so they can be a strength to our diverse county. The schools should not enforce immigration policy. Let proper authorities interpret and enforce our laws. La Migra will handle immigration, but all undocumented immigrants should feel safe at our schools. I have actually helped immigrants with their papers. I personally don't mind my taxes being at the level they are to give all children of taxpaying households a chance.

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Back Design
We Did It

Front Design A - Student
Where's My Seat

Front Design B - Citizen
21st Century Skills

Front Design C - Teacher
Listen to Teachers

1. What can APS take away from the research and other districts' efforts as it works to reduce achievement gaps, address the needs of every 'whole child,' and adequately prepare all of our children for living and working successfully in a global economy?

Let me highlight first that I am the only candidate (or future 2017 school board member) that is a licensed and trained teacher eligible to teach in our schools. I have trained at Stanford, UVA, George Mason and Educate VA (a program run by top retired and current Virginia administrators). Achievement gaps result from discrimination, cultural insensitivity, low expectations for those who have underperformed in the past, socioeconomic disparities, unaddressed personal crises and poor teacher talent acquisition/retention practices. School systems that invest in good teachers, social workers and psychologists reduce achievement gaps. Mentoring programs and involvement in extracurricular activities, like sports, build up a child's esteem and make schools comfortable places to learn. If students are not happy or respected at school, they do not achieve at school. If their basic needs are not met at home, they cannot function at school. Schools must be nurturing and address the needs of the whole child.

2. What can APS do to promote socio-economic diversity in all of its schools?

I am advocating that we start by promoting a revamped lottery system for choice/county-wide schools that does not place the uninformed at a disadvantage (generally poorer families). Poorer families will be on equal footing if they are given the same random chance as an in-the-know rich family to get on the list for any lottery school (ATS, Key, Drew Montessori, Claremont, Campbell, etc). Parents at these schools generally support this policy (especially after their child is in). All entering kindergartners should be given a county-wide/choice school lottery number that will work for any school they are eligible to attend. Parents who draw an unlucky number won't waste their time fruitlessly going to open houses.

Of course for the neighborhood schools, the County Board should work with civic associations to promote affordable housing or luxury market-rate housing in neighborhoods that lack socioeconomic diversity. I advocate for respecting and retaining current residents while diversifying neighborhoods and adding housing units. This can be done at a Goldilocks "just right" pace.

3. Individual school offerings, parental resources, demographics, and zip codes result in different types of experiences and varying ranges of opportunity from school to school. If elected, what would you do to ensure educational equality for all children within APS?

I want to empower parents to make the best choices for their children. Having different types of experiences available is a good thing. Some people advocate for administrators assigning every child to a school. I do not. I think Arlington’s drive to be creative would be lost in such a system. We do need to place incentives in the system that invite parents to participate in the diversity of Arlington. We need fair funding for all our schools. I believe diversity is our community’s greatest strength. The diversity at my son’s school is encouraging. It benefits from special funding as a Title 1 school. That funding promotes educational equality. The real benefits to increasing diversity—what I care about most—is that students learn to befriend and work with people different from themselves.

If elected, I would address our preschool program. The demand for APS preschool way outstrips supply for slots at many schools. The vast majority of those program slots are highly subsidized and do not contribute to correcting the demographic imbalance of our schools, but magnify them. I think we should look at where we have those programs and why we aren't using them to effectively strengthen diversity and equality at APS schools. Let’s build more preschool classrooms at targeted schools. Allow rich families to pay that high preschool tuition they're happy to pay. Invite them to stay for kindergarten.

4. Individual School Improvement Plans reflect dramatic differences in levels of achievement.

The Gifted Services Advisory Committee's recent report to APS Advisory Council on Instruction (March 7, 2016) indicates variance in services among middle schools and would suggest not all students are being appropriately challenged. There are significant differences in extracurricular and class offerings at each of our high schools. The number, type, and quality of field trips and special programs and presentations vary widely from one school to another.

What specifically would you do to address instructional disparities and to ensure an academic experience of comparable breadth and quality for all students across Arlington schools?

The instructional disparities can only be solved by hiring the right people to teach. I will fight to make sure hiring decisions are made to fill needed positions with qualified teachers highly trained in their specialty. For gifted services, that means a lot of gifted instruction training. We need more teachers and qualified assistants in many specialties. I'll fight for more funding to get them on board. Taxpayers have to know we will spend money wisely. Some are angry at money misspent on technology programs. I will help restore confidence in our school board by making wise investment in human and physical capital. We also need to enlist more community volunteers. I have advocated for paid volunteer coordinators in schools that need the extra help. Teachers are stretched really thin at our schools and their capacity to stretch and support more extracurricular activities is limited. Some schools have stronger PTA's than others. We need to even the playing field by investing where the schools need shoring up.

5. If elected, how will you collaborate with the County and County Board to promote responsible development practices and policies as APS and the County continue to grow? How will you ensure APS responsibly provides, manages, and maintains sufficient, quality facilities while improving educational outcomes and balancing the needs for other services and facilities within the broader Arlington community?

I own rental property on west Columbia Pike. I live across from a new bus yard that the county put on our neighborhood park without notifying us neighbors. I know how the County has dropped the ball on communication and collaboration with residents and disappointed voters. Regarding school construction, it can be harder to ensure good educational outcomes with larger and larger schools. Kids need a reasonable chance of participating in student sporting and academic organizations. They need a sense of belonging. The larger a school population gets, the more a student becomes a forgotten number than a child with unique needs. That said, we still need more space for our teachers to teach and students to learn. With construction, the School Board has been implementing easy solutions the hard way (ie. How and where they chose to build the elementary school in South Arlington). Instead, I will make sure we focus on more responsible solutions to hard problems: We must acquire new airspace, new land, for our school system to build facilities. Most of this new land is in private hands (maybe some of the land is roadway, but no, none of it is parkland). I will make sure we on the School Board and the County work with private landowners to amicably get to an expedited win-win solution. APS will have more real estate when I am done. I was the owner of a real estate company for nearly a decade. The county has to ensure we have the right talent on board to deal with negotiations that will take place with landowners. Governmental entities have acquired property from my family four times: a farm, two small business locations and a warehouse. I think I can help embolden and advise the County to get the right deals done! (Real estate disclosure: in addition to our townhouse in Nauck, we own two condo units, one in Rosslyn, one near Bancroft.)

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May 2016

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Authorized and Paid For By Chaz For Board