On board, on court, an advocate for youth

02/05/2014 12:00 AM

02/04/2014 1:27 PM

In two communities, in two ways, Jordan Dickson is working for youth.

A new Modesto City Schools board member elected in November for a two-year term, the 23-year-old also is an assistant coach for JV basketball at Central Valley High School in Ceres.

Dickson, a graduate of Davis High School and Stanford University – where he majored in political science and minored in psychology – is a shining example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

He campaigned for the school board on a platform of being the voice of youth, eager to engage community members with easy-access technology. In a recent email exchange, he said his strategy was to “convince people that success for every student could be a reality if the right combination of people was in place to make decisions.”

To help with that, he said his campaign team reached out to young people and registered “new voters at MJC and other local campuses and worked to connect with a different demographic using social media tools and analytics to figure out how we could communicate with young voters most effectively.”

His father, Daryl Dickson, said Jordan always has been “involved in school activities and has always had political aspirations, so it is no surprise that he decided to run for the school board.” He added that the whole family is “proud of Jordan and they all had supported him for his school board run.”

At Central Valley High – where Daryl Dickson teaches PE and coaches the varsity basketball team – players whom Jordan Dickson helps coach had nothing but positive things to say about him. Player Josh Sidhu said Jordan Dickson “taught everyone on our team to be a leader and confident at everything we do, even in the classroom.” Sidhu added, “Jordan is the best coach I’ve ever had.”

Supporters hope that Dickson’s youthfulness and close contact with high school students will make him a strong, understanding advocate for students as he serves on the school board. Dickson himself thinks his youthfulness will be a positive factor: “I do believe that my age will be beneficial to my decision-making on the board. The school board is a team of seven people who collectively have to make a decision. To create the most effective team, you need a group with different skill sets.”

He added that he is hoping to “add a perspective that constantly takes into account how our current students think and act, even if it’s different than how it was done in the good ole’ days.”

Dickson hopes that over the next two years, he can “see a successful implementation of common core curriculum and all associated technology and training.” He added that he also is “excited to work toward creating a robust LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) that will ensure our district’s use of funds is consistent with how our community thinks it should be spent.”

In the short term, he has a simpler goal: He wants the school board to “be a board that reaches out to and hears from communities of people that may not normally have a voice in how things are done.” To do that, he has a goal to “visit every campus by the end of the school year so that I can see what students are doing and talk with them about what they think our district can do better.”

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