The Mission Record asked all seven school trustee candidates two questions. The trusteed were ased to keep their answers to a combined 250 words.
The questions are:
1. What is the biggest, or most important issue facing Mission Public Schools at the present time?
2. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in the next four years?
Here are their answers:
1. One of the biggest issues, as always, is ministry funding and whether it is sustainable and continuous. Hopefully the current funding-formula review will address some of these concerns. Funding supports our board in the implementation of new curriculum and the training of teachers so they can prepare students for today’s world.
The importance of trades as a viable option for many students needs to be supported and expanded at both middle and high schools as well at Riverside College, which is extremely important for youth in our community. Our single senior school has brought back quality courses such as Advanced Placement and many blocks of diverse opportunity for students’ education in an aging facility.
Improvement to our technology capacity district wide and keeping to our plan going forward is key to supporting these initiatives for educators and students; advocating for a new high school and Hatzic Elementary school and preparing Stave Falls Elementary for its September 2019 opening.
2. I hope to advocate for and get a commitment from our MLAs and the minister of education for a new high school and a replacement for Hatzic Elementary. We need to complete out IT plan in the next term. I want to bring our electrical program on site at Riverside College in an ITA-approved structure to facilitate that program and others going forward. Improve the completion rates of all students by having more opportunities in courses and supports going forward. Having a new contract through free collective bargaining completed in a respectful manner for our employee groups. Keeping our dialogue with the District of Mission ongoing to work together to support our growing community.
1. The most important issue we face is improving student achievement. Our students are not performing as well as their provincial counterparts in the areas of graduation rates, Indigenous grad rates and transition to post-secondary education. We have been making strides with the addition of the Jump Math and Joyful Literacy programs in our elementary schools as well as a significant increase in professional development for staff.
Continuing to add and enhance resources to classrooms, including teachers and EA’s, technology and other classroom resources will remain on the top of my priority list.
2. I would like the board to undertake a community-wide strategic plan that addresses improving student achievement and a plan for population growth. The board has already been working to address the issue of growth and it will continue to be a top priority for the next board. At the end of four years, I would like to have a commitment from the Ministry of Education that MSS will be replaced, as well as approval for other capital projects that will help us keep up with population growth. I look forward to building on our successes and making Mission Public Schools a great place to learn and work.
1. There is no single critical issue; rather, many parts to its whole. It is my belief that the all-encompassing goal is increasing student educational results.
2. The new B.C. elementary curriculum implemented during our past term and the new high school curriculum expected for implementation in 2019-20 will prove to be a valuable step forward. Learning through the passion of the student and a focused education to the student need is critically important.
To achieve this, we must:
– plan for our facilities to be safe, sound and not overcrowded given our growing population.
– ensure early childhood learning is supported, the implemented elementary curriculum continues to flourish, and the new high school curriculum is implemented in a timely, seamless and consistent fashion.
– support systems are in place for student independent needs in a timely fashion (early identification, designation, intervention)
– continue upgrades to our information technology to an acceptable standard (meeting student and educator needs).
– ensure our educators and support staff have every available tool to lead our students through their education journey.
– ensure the upcoming bargaining process is met with professionalism and does not become a distraction to the classroom
– ensure the District Strategic Plan and Succession Plans are visited regularly and amended where and when necessary to fit the fast-paced changes facing public education today.
– ensure the growing needs of students are met in a fair and equitable fashion and are balanced by fiscally responsible decisions of the board of education.
1. The most important issue facing the school district is the replacement of Mission Secondary School. Although maintenance staff have done an excellent job making it operational and “livable,” the school is far too small, technologically impaired and physically outdated for student and staff use in the future.
Considering the future planned development in Mission, we need a secondary school that will meet the population’s needs. Trustees need to continue to aggressively lobby the provincial government to provide funding for this important project.
2. If I am elected, I plan on using my 33 years of experience and operational knowledge of the Mission School District, as a former shop teacher and work experience and apprenticeship coordinator, to support my fellow trustees with vital first-hand information to improve our school district.
I will also bring 10 years’ experience as a successful local businessman to the position of trustee.
I also plan on spearheading improvements to career-related programs and the expansion of career training at Riverside College. Too many of our students do not take advantage of the “free” career and trades training that is available to them within our school district while in Grade 12 or post-graduation. Our students have a unique opportunity in that they can receive career and trades training locally as part of their graduation program so they can continue on to personally and financially rewarding careers.
1. Our population growth has resulted in overcrowding in some schools, while others are underutilized or empty. A review of how we use each school is necessary. We must work with the district and the B.C. government to ensure that our services are ready to respond to our increasing population.
2. I will strive for open and respectful dialogue with parents, students and employee groups. I will push to change the start time for committee of the whole meetings so that working parents and school employees may attend.
My goal is to provide our students with educational options for every type of learning environment. Riverside is a good example of an under-promoted education option for students who wish to pursue a trade. I will request an analysis of how feasible it would be for our schools to reduce or eliminate costly and constantly revised textbooks and provide each student with an e-reader or similar device. Fewer textbooks equals greener schools.
Trustees set direction and monitor how the school board office manages our school district and how funding is spent. This can only be accomplished if the trustees are fully informed and engaged in their duties. I will work to ensure that, as trustees, we understand what is working, what is not and what needs to be improved.
RURAL TRUSTEE CANDIDATES
1. Equally important issues facing Mission Public Schools presently are to maximize and fully support student success; to increase the health and safety of our children, parents, teachers, teacher assistants, support workers, union members, administrative employees, community members and communities inclusive with our Aboriginal communities at large; to protect the public education system in Mission and British Columbia as public education serves the common good and is the fundamental investment to our society; as well to have a traditional, balanced and collaborative approach with all stakeholders in public education, providing the best for our children in the hopes of developing our children to be good people with kind hearts caring for others and our world.
2. Working together with key incumbent board members and bring to the table my high education standards, financial expertise, vision and new ideas. My goals for the next four years are to increase and support student success; to have open and transparent communication with the public; to generate legal policies with traditional values, equity and fairness; to consult and listen to all voices in the community, bringing together the District of Mission District and Mission school board for the common good; to inspire our children to have fun in school through recreation, belonging and great choices in programs; to successfully open Stave Falls Elementary School for the community; and to work hard to lead, oversee and strengthen our vital public education system while continuing to fight for our rural schools.
1. We have a few important issues in Mission, not just one. We have aging schools, some elementary schools and our high school.
There is a small shortage of teachers. As many districts, we face the class size and composition language from 2002 being restored, which was won in the Supreme Court of B.C. that has seen a shortage of teachers and classroom space all over our province.
We are fighting for our parents and their students that are here attending schools, for the right for inclusivity. SOGI curriculum and special needs students need us as trustees to listen and make decisions that are right for them, to have a safe and inclusive school life.
I also think some of our traffic issues are important. Being the FVRD incumbent trustee, I have listened to parents’ and students’ concerns on our traffic within our school zones. There is a huge issue of large semi-trucks speeding past our schools with children and parents walking kids to school.
2. First would be to keep working on the above issues. My hope is to have a great working relationship with the Mission council. Together we can do great things for our students and parents of Mission. Council can collaborate with the Mission Public Schools to ensure safety in the school zones. Council can take our messages directly to their part of municipal government to campaign for new schools.
I also want to keep our rural schools up and front of all discussions. Dewdney, Deroche and Stave Falls elementary schools That is my passion to always keep the small community schools open and be viable buildings in their communities.