Let the good work continue in Mission public schools

Trustees and administration must put students first

Editor, The Record:

Open letter to school board trustees:

Congratulations on your appointments to the Mission School Board in the fall election. I attended the meetings, read your literature, and made an informed decision when I voted.

I became involved in the Parent Advisory Committee at ESR when my children were in elementary school — holding the positions of secretary and chair. As my children moved on to high school I held the position of PAC chair at Mission secondary for three years. I was also involved with BCCPAC’s Parent Leadership Information Co-ordinator program. I was the recipient of the Sheryl Samodian Parent Volunteer Award.

I understand the public school system and I have developed relationships with everyone within the school community. I have been amazed at the work, time and energy everyone puts into the youth of Mission. I have attended meetings where the board has had to make the difficult decisions regarding school closures, busing fees, the changing of school boundaries, etc. Whether I agreed with them or not, the tough decisions have to be made, and I know these decisions were not made lightly.

The previous board members from the past two elections — Karen Petty, Carol Hamilton, Pam Alexis, Randy Cairns, Shelley Clarkson, and then Cindy Miller — had the difficult challenge of turning around a negative school community image that Mission faced just eight years ago. The business of graduating students was on the backburner as discord mounted between the previous superintendent, the unions, and the parent community. As the new board members (named above) learned about their new roles as trustees, about what they can and cannot do within the School Act, a new superintendent, Frank Dunham, was appointed.

Slowly over time, another election, and a tough economic climate, Cairns, Hamilton, Petty, Miller, and Alexis, worked together with the Administration of Mission Public Schools. They achieved what other trustees and administration staff failed to do — they put every single student in the district first on their list of priorities.

The respect the trustees (named above) and administration had for each other was evident from an observer’s point of view, and they all got down to the business of making the best decisions on behalf of the parents and students. For all intents and purposes, they succeeded in creating a positive school district environment where our children and teenagers could thrive and learn.

With a new year beginning, and moving forward, it is my hope that the trustees and the administration continue to work together, respect each other, and put the students in the district first, as they have done so for the past eight years.

Shelley Janze

Mission