In your opinion what is the most critical issue facing the school board at this time and how do you plan on addressing it?
Clearly the most important issue facing school trustees today is to restore the health of our public schools. Specifically, we must ensure the viability of our smaller schools, such as those on Hornby and Denman Islands, which form an essential part of their communities.
As a school trustee I would strive to:
• Be accountable in defence of public education, always and everywhere.
• Advocate through the BC School Trustees Association for school funding no less than the national average. Currently, we are last in Canada by many indicators.
• Advocate actively with the Ministry of Education to revise their current policies, which actually encourage students to withdraw from public schools. The shrinking public school population is a result of these bad policies, more than of any other factor.
• Seize the opportunity in the Premier’s statement that she wants dialogue on the future of education in BC.
• Redirect our existing resources to maximize classroom support, with better teacher/pupil ratios, so that all students of all abilities can achieve their potential.
• Restore the seamlessness that formerly existed between home and school.
• Ensure our students experience a learning environment that challenges them mentally and physically, and prepares them for a rapidly changing world in which they must be active, thoughtful citizens.
• Maximize our opportunities to expand the international student program. The Comox Valley and islands offer a safe, beautiful environment to attract students from afar. Some school districts, such as Vancouver, include elementary grades in their international program; we can learn from their experience. The goal is to improve the district’s finances, while also enriching the learning experiences of our students.
Public education is the foundation of our free and open society. We (trustees, parents, grandparents & teachers) must work together to protect and enhance it.