Monthly Archives: November 2014

Education Services Report – November 3, 2014

SD57 EdSC – DPAC notes – from Steve Shannon
1. Accept minutes

2. Adventure Playground – Southridge Elementary
– Approve to go to School Board.

3. Energy and Sustainable Conservation
– Barry Bepple appointed Energy and Sustainable Conservation Coordinator SD57
– has been unofficially monitored since 1984
– Annual ~ $3.2M spent on Electrical, gas, sewer, water, snow removal
– cost of utilities is climbing but SD57 has managed to conserve usage and upgrade equipment to offset cost
– New T8 lighting
– Upgraded Boilers
– Timers on thermostats and lighting
– Recent rebates show conservation and modernizing equipment is helping
– ~$46k from BCHydro
– ~$24k from FortisBC
– Carbon Neutral program has cost ~$832K at $25 per ton, over the last 5 years
– Carbon Neutral program credits to SD57 for projects has totaled ~$181k but having future projects approved will be more likely now

4. Service Delivery Project – Phase 2
– Min of Ed continuing to create this joint services project
– Phase 2 is the forming of committees and workgroups
– SD57 Trustees will be included in the Education Partner Advisory Committee.
– full Deloitte report at http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/deloitte_report_july_2014.pdf

5. Parent Question
– To Brian Bepple
– With the lighting upgrades, will there be any other electrical upgrades? Limited circuit loads, lack of recepticals.
– No. SD57 is aware of aging electrical systems in schools and has projects in the works but will have budgets from Annual Facilities grants.

Trish Bella: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Trish Bella November 6th

1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?

1) I became involved when my daughter entered kindergarten. My involvement went from the classroom to the school as PAC Chair to the district level as a parent representative and then elected to the Board. I remember what inspired me to become involved. What parents want is the absolute best education opportunities for their children. This includes quality, accessible programing, individual support, access to up to date classroom materials and a clean, safe learning environment. They want to be involved in their child’s education as well as be heard while raising concerns. They want to be able to trust that the public education system is working to provide what is needed for their child to be successful.

2. Why are you running for trustee?
2) I am seeking re-election because of my commitment to public education and my belief that all students have to right to a safe, quality, accessible public education that supports their individual need. I believe that a quality public education system is the cornerstone to our society. I am a firm believer that a locally elected Board of Education is responsible for providing the best educational opportunities for all of the students enrolled in its programs.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
3) I understand the time commitment necessary and the complexities of delivering educational programs within a northern, rural district. We have unique and diverse needs as a district. I travelled around the province as well as met with educational leaders from across Canada while I held the position of Director on the Board for BCSTA. Those opportunities heightened my awareness of possible ways to address our needs.

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
4) I have asked for regular updates to be given to trustees regarding parent concerns that are not being resolved. I believe trustees must be available as individuals as well as Board to hear concerns and/or challenges being faced by our partners including parents. We need to ensure that policies/procedures are supported and followed. The appropriate policies must be created or updated as needed.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
5) The governance of the district falls solely upon the elected Board. The Board is responsible for hiring the superintendent. Once hired the superintendent is responsible for the educational programs of the district. The superintendent is accountable to the Board and Ministry of Education. The Board makes its decisions based on input provided by the superintendent and staff. The Board gives direction through the superintendent. It is important to have a respectful, open and collaborative relationship with the superintendent as well as all employees.

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
6) The Board profile needs to be elevated within our community. We need to be out in the media and present at district and community events. The Board needs to make sure that the process for concerns to be brought forward is clear and know. We need to bring all partners together in a united voice for addressing our challenges to the Ministry of Education. A system of checks and balances as well as reporting out decisions needs to be put into place. One such process I have requested through a motion is a tracking system for all correspondence in and out of the board as well as a follow up to the correspondence. I have also questioned the absence of our correspondence in the Board book. I would like to see a tracking of “How they voted” available in the district and will encourage the local media to reinstate it in reporting. There was a time when council decisions were reported as voted. I believe it is an effective reporting structure for the community to be made aware of the decisions made.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
7) I wish to return to the role of trustee to continue working on behalf of all students within our district. I am excited for the possibilities the next 4 years hold. We have the chance now with a new Board and negotiated agreements in place, to bring together our educational community and work for positive change. I want to be involved in that change. I believe “ all students have the right to a safe, quality, accessible public education that supports their individual needs” “ that a quality public education system is the cornerstone of our society” “ that by investing in the education of our students today, our communities will reap the benefits in the future” . I ask for your support in re-electing me to the Board of Education SD57, Prince George.

 

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/incumbent-sees-opportunity-1.1421957

http://www.pgfreepress.com/bella-seeks-third-term-on-school-board/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/02/bella-hopes-to-continue-speaking-up-for-rural-education/

Dennis Fudge: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Dennis Fudge November 5th

1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?
Since the people answering these questions are running for school board trustee there is a very good chance that most of the answers will be based on a good education and a safe and fun environment for their children. This question is a good example as to how one can miss the real question because they are too focused on a specific topic.
I believe what is most important to parents in the district is to have a good job that they enjoy doing so they can live comfortably and have a happy and healthy family. All parents want their children to be happy so by having a good job they can afford to buy what their children want and do what their children want to do. All parents hope that their children grow up to be an intelligent, healthy adult with a good secure job. That is where education comes in.

2. Why are you running for trustee?

I sometimes ask myself that same question. The position of school board trustee reminds me of the 1980’s song by the Northern Pikes called “She Ain’t Pretty, She Just Looks That Way”. There is a lot of time committed to the position, trustees get a lot of criticism and the pay works out to about $5/hr, if they are lucky. On the positive side a trustee gets to attend a lot of meetings, for those who love meetings. So why am I running in this election? I have an imaginative mind, a sense of humour, the ability to think outside the box, as well as the ability to spot patterns and trends in data. With these strengths I feel I can make a positive difference in the education in this school district. And I am willing to commit the time, take the criticism and attend all those exciting meetings to show that I can make a difference. Perhaps over the years, I, like the Grinch, had a heart that grew three sizes, and I am doing this just because I care.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
If you are referring to what I have done prior to campaigning, the answer is quite simple: I have done nothing. Everything I have done related to education prior to campaigning was done for the students, the teachers, the parents and for all PACs and DPAC. When I helped keep Lakewood from closing ten years ago, it was for the students and the parents in the catchment area. I didn’t have children attending that school at that time. When I presented to the school board five years ago against a single track French Immersion school in Prince George, it was for dual track French Immersion schools in College Heights, Spruceland and the Hart. All the presentations I gave to the trustees, PACs, or other parents over the years were all given to point out certain issues. Even when I wrote a paper on the Fraser Institute Report Card on Elementary Schools, it was for the teachers and the trustees so they can have a better understanding of the strengths and weakness of this report. The seven years I was with DPAC was to represent the school my children attend, and to help DPAC as much as possible, to support PACs. So, I am sorry, but I could not think of one thing I have done to prepare myself for the role of a trustee when I never intended to run for trustee until October 10, 2014.

If you were referring to what I have done since October 10th, well, I had a haircut, bought a pair of shoes two sizes too big, to prevent me from putting my foot in my mouth, and I produced a few signs, since it appears that the signs I ordered may not arrive until after the elections. All are irrelevant for the position.

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?

There is nothing anyone can do to ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students, unless they put armed guards around the perimeter and install security cameras everywhere. One cannot guarantee there will not be another Brenda Ann Spencer sitting across the street waiting for the Monday morning bell to ring. Presently, I think the school board has done a good job at keeping the schools safe, but yes, there is always room for improvement.
The main priority is to try to make the schools in this district as safe and caring as possible. Last year, the Board implemented policy 4117 (protecting LGBTQ). This policy should be revisited because it needs to be more enforceable. Even Policy 5131 (code of conduct) may need to be updated since it was revised almost six years ago. Other programs like Safe Start and ERASE have helped as well. Since there have been situations where children as young as eight years old committed suicide, bullying should never be ignored, even in elementary schools.
Other steps that can be taken, are to observe the physical environment and remove or clean up anything that may result in losing sight of students (i.e., low brush or high snow banks), and putting in more lighting for students that arrive early or leave late during the winter.
As for a caring place: if the teachers and PAC in other schools are like those in the school my children attend, then I know they are caring places.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?

I would echo everything the six existing trustees said in their response for this question, because after working with the superintendent and staff for at least three years they would be in the best position to answer this question.

The role as a trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff should be a partnership role. Everyone needs to work together, and before any decisions are made by the trustees, they need to get the advice from staff who have the experience to answers any concerns. As a team, everything needs to be fully understood and agreed by all that a decision is in the best interest of all involved.

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
I believe in providing as much information as possible to the parents. It is known that too much information can be dangerous. Sometimes we need that danger to be brought to the trustee’s attention before it becomes a serious issue. But as long as everything can be justified and accountable there should be no problems. The school board web site needs to be more user friendly and easier to access data or information (like the latest or very old minutes to meetings). Perhaps during the board meeting (as long as they are) there should be question and answer period for the parents.
I am a strong believer in accountability whether it is for federal MPs or local trustees. Decisions are made in the best interest of the student and parents but unfortunately not all decisions are the right ones. Sometimes if problems develop based on a miscalculated decision someone needs to be accountable. If I am involved in any of those decisions I am willing to step forward and take the blame. There may be no “I” in “Team Work” but there is an “I” in “Failure”.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
When asked how one can drop an egg on a concrete floor without cracking it, most people will spend time and resources trying to protect the egg. I would point out that it didn’t matter because no matter how you dropped the egg, it will never crack the concrete floor. Sometimes what seems to be the obvious is not the issue (as in the first question). In order for a board to be successful there needs to be a mixture of strengths in each trustee’s character. The board needs a strong leader, influencer, teacher and a strong innovator who is able to think outside the box.

You will not find a Superman out there to solve all the schools problems, but with the right combination you can have a super team. I am not asking for your vote, I am asking for you to vote, and to vote wisely.

 

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/trustee-hopeful-looking-to-forecast-win-1.1453328

http://www.pgfreepress.com/fudge-outsider-as-trustee/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/12/fudge-hopes-to-bring-a-sense-of-humour-to-school-board/

Survey for childcare needs

What are the Child Care Needs in Prince George, British Columbia?

Request for Participation

You are invited to participate in a community evaluation focused on Child Care Needs in Prince George, British Columbia. We are seeking participants who can inform this evaluation by completing a brief online survey regarding Child Care Needs in the Prince George area.

This study is being conducted in partnership with Northern Health’s Children First Initiative.  The goal is to gain a better understanding of what the Child Care Needs are in the Prince George and surrounding area, and any potential gaps in service provision. The information gathered will be presented in the form of a written final report to Northern Health’s Children First Initiative to support future child care planning for families in Prince George.

 If you are interested in participating in this brief online survey to share your experiences and knowledge, please go to the following web link for further details: http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/joanna-Dbd/child-care-evaluation-1/

 

OR contact the Joanna Pierce directly at the below contact information:

 

For further information or any questions please contact:

 

Joanna Pierce, by email: joanna.pierce@unbc.ca.  Joanna will assist you with questions regarding your participation.

 

Confidentiality and privacy are central to your participation.  Any of the information collected through the survey will kept secure at all points of the evaluation.

Don Sabo: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Don Sabo November 5th

1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?

I think the most important thing that parents want in this school district is for their children’s education, and support service, needs to be met. I say this in a broad context because every child / student’s needs are unique and different.
Parents of special needs children, for example, would have different expectations of the School District than other parents. Aboriginal parents, given their past experiences with residential schools, may have a not so positive view of education, and because of that; their expectations for their children in the public school system may be different than other parents.
The one thing that a child most needs to succeed in our public education system is their parent’s support and involvement in his/her education. The chances of all children graduating and going on to become productive and engaged members of our society greatly increase with their parent(s) support and involvement. As members of PACs and DPAC you as parents already know this and are fully engaged in your children’s learning. Good for you all, and as an elected trustee, I will work with you to find and implement ways for more parents to become engaged and supportive of their child(ren)’s education.

2. Why are you running for trustee?
I am running for School Trustee because I believe education is the key to our children’s future. I grew up knowing what poverty was like, drinking my share of skimmed powdered milk, eating mush and fried bologna for meat. Our province has the highest child poverty rate in Canada and one of the key ways to raising children out of that cycle of poverty is through education.
I believe public education is being underfunded and undervalued, and I am running for school district trustee because public education in this district needs a strong outspoken advocate. I believe I am that advocate.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
I have attended many school board meetings over the past years and have learned about the roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholder groups that are involved in delivering quality public education to our children.
I have been visiting, reading and learning about school board governance from a good source of authority; the British Columbia School Trustees Association. This is the website address where I am learning and preparing myself for school board governance:
http://learn.bcsta.org/successful-governance

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
When I was sitting as DPAC Chair, we heard from the District Student Advisory Council (DSAC) that bullying was a problem in our schools, since then bullying may have become less of a problem, but still exists.
I think the new LGBTQ policy that the current school board has developed, and is implementing, goes a long way towards addressing bullying and harassment. However, based on evidence, i.e. the number of reported school place bulling and harassment incidents, targeted anti-bullying initiatives can be implemented at problem school and district wide. The Student Code of Conduct needs to be enforced while at the same time a bullying and harassment awareness campaign could be implemented.
Of course parent education and awareness initiatives would also help and as school trustee I would have the school district work closely with DPAC and the school PACs in delivering that bullying and harassment education and awareness initiative.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
I see my role, and the school board’s role, as being one of collaboration and team work with school administration, in both delivering quality public education, addressing the concerns of parents, in this district.
As an elected school trustee, I would be one of seven trustees that sits on the school board. The majority of the time, I would work with the rest of the board to “collectively” provide direction to school administration on certain matters.

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
The school board already undertakes a number of communication initiatives that keeps parents and the community informed about school board business: posting school board meeting minutes on the website, attending school PACs and DPAC meetings to report on school board work, inviting and including stakeholder groups on committees, etc.
Can the school board communicate accountability and transparency better, the answer is yes. By being more inclusive of our school district partner groups and the community in school board decision making we can increase accountability and communications.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) has been applied too liberally to restrict information flow out of the school district office. I will work hard at increasing public access to important public information about our public education system. Short of confidential Human Resource information, the odd school district business matters that would pose a possible conflict of interest, or have legal implications, should it be made public, ninety percent of school district operating information should be publically available.

7. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I believe in being more inclusive, and this means including the parents in this district. As school trustee I would be in favor of having dedicated space at the school district office for DPAC. In the interest of strengthening parent voice, I would also be in favor of having DPAC use the school board office, and use the school district’s communication system to have parents (PACs and DPAC) communicate better remotely (ie. Mackenzie, McBride, Valemount).
A small amount of additional funding could be allocated to DPAC for have remote PAC representatives travel and attend meetings from out of town. We need to strengthen parent involvement and participation throughout the school district.

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/take-two-for-sabo-1.1479175

http://www.pgfreepress.com/school-board-has-to-focus-on-entire-district-says-candidate-don-sabo/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/15/sabo-offers-change-at-school-board/

Tony Cable: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Tony Cable November 5th

1.) What do you think is important to parents in the district?
Parents want their children to enjoy school in a safe and welcoming environment. They would like their children to work with caring teachers and staff that give the personal touch. Effective, knowledgeable teachers who can teach the curriculum in an interesting, stimulating manner. School programs that encourage the students to want to come to school. School spirit days, sports, cultural events, music, all add the spice to the school. Parents also want to work with staffs that are open and honest and are willing to communicate between the school and home and home and school.
2.) Why are you running for trustee?
After working in School District #57 for thirty-five years, I feel I have the experience and strong working knowledge of how our school district works. I want to give back to my community and work cooperatively with the school district staff and other trustees to continue to advocate for the students and teachers in our district. I feel with my background I can ask the important questions, deal with the complex funding issues, and continue to direct more funds to the classrooms and the students. I will advocate for students, parents and teachers because education matters.
3.) What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
I feel my work and volunteer experience over the last forty years has prepared me very well for the role of trustee. My experiences include being a Principal at Westwood Elementary, College Heights Elementary, Hart Highlands Elementary, Mackenzie Elementary, and Mountain View Elementary schools and a Vice Principal/Teacher at three elementary schools in Prince George. I have worked for Elections BC as a District Electoral Officer and a Practicum Supervisor at UNBC. I have been active in numerous volunteer activities. I was the President of the Prince George Administrators Association and a Director on the Board of the British Columbia Principal’s and Vice Principal’s Association. I am presently Chair of the Sport Committee for the 2015 Canada Winter Games, Chair of the Great White North Lacrosse Commission in Northern British Columbia, 2015 Winter Games Torchbearer, and city tour guide for the Chamber of Commerce. I have enjoyed working with numerous Parent advisory groups at the nine different schools. We have worked very hard to raise funds and tackle numerous educational issues.
4.) How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for students?
Safe and Caring schools have many components:
-Strong and caring school staffs
-Anti bullying and Code of Conduct policies in place and effectively followed
– Health procedures and allergy policies in place and strictly followed
– Effective communication back and forth from school

– Acceptance of special needs students, LGBTQ students, and other diversities

– Curriculum that supports safe and caring schools

5.) How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
The Board of Trustees are the employer of the Superintendent, senior administration and school staff.
It is very important for the board to work closely and cooperatively with the Superintendent so he and the district staff can look after the daily running of the district.
The board must not, as they say, play with the trains however, the board needs to constantly review policy and be aware of all the operational needs of the district.
One of the most important jobs of the board is to hire the Superintendent and develop policies for the hiring of all other staff in the district.
Tough complex questions need to be asked to make sure that the board has a clear understanding of what is happening in the district.
The board must constantly seek out information and comments from all stakeholder groups especially DPAC.

6.) How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
Transparency implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for all stakeholders to see what actions are being performed. As a school principal and teacher I have always had an open door policy. Parents, students and staff were always welcome to discuss issues and concerns with me. I had a close relationship with the school Parent Advisory councils and we consulted on a variety of issues and they were always a great sounding board. If I am elected as a school trustee I will encourage all stakeholders and groups to contact me via phone, email or in person. I want the school board meetings to be open, honest and definitely transparent. I will try and limit the number of in camera meetings.

7.) Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I believe with my educational experience and background I could be an effective school trustee. I am not running on one issue or platform I wish to have a balanced approach and represent the views and aspirations of various groups. I believe in safe schools, utilizing updated technology, where special needs students are supported and all areas of the district are represented from Hixon to Beaverly to Valemount.
It is easy to make statements but I feel I have walked the walk and worked very hard to support parents and schools and will do the same as a trustee.

 

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/retired-educator-wants-board-spot-1.1421959

http://www.pgfreepress.com/tony-cable-wants-to-see-balanced-approach-from-school-board/

 

Kate Cooke: Answers to DPAC questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Kate Cooke November 4th

1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?
There are three basic things that all parents want: they want to know that their kids are safe, loved (or at least cared for), and learning something useful. Additionally, I think parents want to know that their kids receive adequate support, that problems (like bullying) will be dealt with quickly and fairly, that their role as parents will be respected, and that their kids will get a solid foundation in reading, writing, math, and opportunities to grow in the arts, phys-ed, citizenship, and practical skills.

2. Why are you running for trustee?
I am running for re-election because I have high expectations. For the last three years I have tried to raise the game for everyone involved in student success. I have worked for healthy caring schools and good relationships between all partner groups. I talk regularly with stakeholders and partner groups, especially when I know there are outstanding issues and dysfunction in our district. I have fought for transparent governance, asked tough questions of management and others, and refused to simply rubber stamp motions. Although I respect my fellow trustees, this usually puts me in the minority, often 1 out of 7.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
To prepare for being a trustee I do three things:
a) I talk to people involved like teachers, principals, parents, and support staff to find out what’s going on
b) I read the material prepared by senior staff and ask tough questions about it
c) I make motions to actually deal with the issues that come up, either on my own or with other trustees

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
I will ensure safe and caring schools by continuing to find out what is behind the issues that come up and by holding senior management accountable for dealing with them. I will continue to be persistent. In 2012 I was the only trustee to support a stand-alone policy on LGBTQ bullying. Eventually the others came around. I also started out alone in pushing for class composition reports and better information release on school registration data and future projections. I keep in close contact with a network of parents, teachers, administration, and support staff.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
I see my role with district staff as being an important part of providing transparency and accountability. I have prepared detailed responses to each of the superintendent’s reports and district achievement contracts, and have asked tough questions at every in-camera and public board meeting. I insist on better data for decisions, e.g. the new student information system, and set high expectations for board office communication and reporting, e.g. I’ve kept the pressure up for a better and more useful district website. One of my favourite roles was being the DPAC liaison for two years.

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
I will demonstrate accountability and transparency by asking for a restoration budget to by developed alongside the balanced budget. This shows partner groups and the government what a fully funded schools would look like, and would be developed with inputs from all partner groups. In fact our partner groups made very good suggestions during the “Extended Committee” process over the last two years but we failed to implement those changes in part due to insufficient funds. I also believe we need less closed-door meetings and would push for more inclusion and a redesign of our meetings. Lastly, we have a strategic planning process coming this year and I would like to ensure that it is not a “done deal” process but one that actually listens to and uses the input of partner groups and the community.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
There are different strengths and weaknesses on every board. By my own admission I am not a politician. I am in fact an introvert who works very hard because I am trying to make a change. My work may not always be in the spotlight, but it is important because many of the other trustees are not comfortable doing it, like bringing issues into the light and asking difficult or awkward questions on behalf of parents, students, and employees. Learn more at http://trusteecooke@blogspot.com

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/candidate-offers-leadership-1.1434560

http://www.pgfreepress.com/kate-cooke-hoping-for-second-school-board-term/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/15/cooke-seeks-re-election-to-school-board/

Reminder: Trustee Election Forum TONIGHT

There’s a trustee forum for all trustee candidates Tuesday, November 4th, at Vanier Hall (Prince George Secondary School), from 7pm to 9pm.

There will be prepared questions from the four groups jointly putting this on – parents, teachers, CUPE (education assistants, school secretaries, etc), and the professional employee association (occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, etc).

After the prepared questions are asked, there will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Trustees make important decisions for the school district – their election is important for all parents. Please come and join us – and bring lots of people!

2014 Trustee Forum Poster

Denise MacDonald: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Denise MacDonald November 3rd

1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?

I think one of the main focus of parents in this district is a quality education for their children delivered in a safe, caring and inclusive atmosphere. Secondly to have that education delivered in a cost effective, efficient and cooperative manner, with transparency of decision and delivery methods. Also to ensure that all students have access to this educational system.

2. Why are you running for trustee?

I decided to run for trustee many years ago when I realised how the board had so much affect on my family and my tax dollar. I was unable to run until the completion of our community’s re-building of our school and activity center, and this year that was accomplished. I was shocked at how little public attention and input was given to our board as they made monumental decisions affecting every family and all the taxpayers in this district. This is why I have gone (or viewed the webcast) of every meeting for the past 5 ½ years. Through these years of being in the gallery of board meetings, I also discovered a passion for rural and public education in this province. I believe that the trustee position is very important for the delivery of education and the quality of that education and would be a hard working trustee on behalf of all the students in this district.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?

As stated previously, I have been in the gallery for many years, I understand the role of a trustee from watching the previous boards go through the budget process, craft policy and oversee administrations delivery of educational programs in this district. As a member of my School Planning Council and PAC executive for many of those years, I understand the District Achievement Contract, the Superintendents District literacy plan and the role of the board in overseeing these documents implementation. I think I have a large degree of knowledge of the trustee’s role in our education system.

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?

I am committed to making our schools safe and caring places for our students. I believe that this can best be accomplished by supporting and fostering existing policies, by continuing to monitor the full implementation of the Safer schools initiative, to monitor and encourage the ongoing support and enforcement of our districts Code of Conduct and LBGTQ policies and also to continue to support teachers and staff in promoting an inclusive school community.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?

I see our school district structured as an inverted pyramid with the board and Senior Administration at the bottom supporting the Assistant Administration and Principals on the next level, who support the teachers and staff at the school level, who in turn support the students who are at the top of this pyramid. In this structure I see the Trustees role as crafting policy that supports administration to best provide direction to the next level of the pyramid, to oversee the budget process to ensure an efficient and cost effective delivery of this support and to be accountable to parents and the general taxpaying public on the quality of the education being provided to our students.

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?

I will model accountability and transparency by being available to all parents and community members on an ongoing basis (please call me at 250-649-5915, 250699-2435 or contact at oldmacdonalds@xplornet.com ) and will make these contacts known and encouraged throughout my term. I will encourage direct communication with myself by continuing to make contact information easily available, by encouraging questions of Board processes/decisions and by meeting with all members of our community to discuss board business within allowable parameters.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

In closing I would add that I have a passion for public education, I believe that not only is it one of the cornerstones of our country, but that it is our contribution to the future and the continuation of all that makes this country great. I am a parent with 2 children in the public school system, will devote myself full time to the job of Trustee and am very aware and knowledgeable of the many issues that face our school district. I vow to work as tirelessly for all students in this district as I have for the students in my community, and the Giscome School/ East Line Activity Center is proof of how hard I work to get a job done.

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/giscome-school-advocate-seeks-board-position-1.1425088

http://www.pgfreepress.com/denise-macdonald-looks-to-get-on-school-board/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/02/macdonald-seeks-seat-as-trustee/