Category Archives: election

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/

Brenda Hooker: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Brenda Hooker November 2nd

1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?
I think that the most important thing to parents is that their children have safe, nurturing learning environments at schools they either choose or are situated in their neighborhood. However, parents also want to ensure that schools have curriculum that engages their children and teaches them the skills they will need when they leave the K-12 system. I think another important thing for parents is to have an education system that listens and responds to concerns and issues when they come up. They want teachers and administrators who care for their child as much as they do and will address concerns in a positive and collaborative manner.

2. Why are you running for trustee?
I am running for Trustee because I truly believe Nelson Mandela’s quote that “education is the most powerful tool with which to change the world” and I want to do what I can to change the world through our SD57 students. I think I bring a responsive, collaborative leadership style to the Trustee role and that my accounting designation adds a financial perspective to each Board discussion. I worked hard this last term to truly learn the governance role, the workings of our District and to address the concerns of each education partner group. I would like to continue as Trustee as I want to continue to be an advocate for our SD#57 students. I am also excited to be a part of education transformation. Hopefully we will have labour stability for the next few years, allowing the focus to be on updating curriculum and practice to a format that will really engage and excite kids.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
To prepare for the Trustee role, I have set about educating myself. I read extensively, attend all the training and workshops I can, conduct research online and meet with stakeholders at every opportunity. I had previous experience in local government but needed to learn how the Trustee governance worked. Before I put my name forward in 2011, I researched the issues and made sure I felt I could be value added to the Board team. I was humbled to be entrusted with your children for the last three years and I have continued to work hard in making sure I am preforming the role in an accountable manner. I strongly advocate for our children at every local and provincial opportunity but to do that I need to be well informed about all the viewpoints and issues.

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
Our Board implemented a new LGBTQ policy, created a live “safer schools” binder, are active in the provincial ERASE movement and have provided training and professional development for staff. Going forward, we are still working on a new safe schools policy. I believe a growing area of concern is cyber bullying and again I have extensively informed myself on the issue. To make schools safe and caring, we need to ensure we have policy in place and the tools for staff to implement policy fairly and consistently. We also have to work on relationships and education in schools. Research overwhelmingly indicates that safer schools are created by having children connected to caring adults and thus a relationship they feel comfortable confiding in if they are having struggles at school. I want all our children to love school and remove the barriers they may feel prevent them from wanting to be at school. Schools need to develop a culture of caring and tolerance and the Board needs to do everything they can to ensure that happens.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
The Trustees are the employer of the Superintendent and the rest of the staff are under his/her purview. Trustees also have to have a working knowledge of the District so we have to be aware of the operational side of the District through information on staff activities by the Sr. team. I have often reassured our Sr. team that in-depth questions are not a vote of no-confidence but just a need of mine to ensure I have all the information necessary to make good governance decisions. However, we are also a check and balance for the system. Our role is to also gather information from all our stakeholders including the Superintendent, DPAC, P/VP’s, PGDTA, PEA and CUPE. Information and issues from all these sources then need to be rolled up into the best governance decisions for our students. Overall, I see the Board and Sr. staff as a team working together for the best of our students through enacting those good governance decisions.

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
The accountability and transparency of the school district is of paramount importance. We are elected to be the public advocates in public education. School board governance is an emerging issue as the MOE has hired a consultant to review the Auditor General’s report on the matter. I think that the strategic plan will help guide the new board in ensuring we are more accountable and transparent. As well, I would like to see us review our liaison structure, how we conduct two way dialogue and our committee structures. One idea I had was to hold an open house with the board once the board book is out to collaborate and gain input on pending decisions. Personally, remaining accountable is very important to me. Let me give you a recent example: at one of our forums a concern was raised, I followed up with the individual to gain more info and then had the item placed on an agenda to see if we can address the concerns before our mandate is over. I am always available for a phone call, email or a coffee as your information and issues can only be addressed if I am aware of them.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It has been an honour to serve as one of your Board of Education for the last three years. I sincerely appreciated the confidence in 2011.Then I ran on three promises; to work hard, to be accountable and to serve with integrity. I have followed through with those promises and would like to continue serving for another term. However, there is an excellent slate of candidates to choose a team from. I am excited and curious to see the team complied for students on Nov 15th. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my thoughts. If you would like further information contact me on Facebook at Re-elect Brenda Hooker, Twitter at HookerBrenda, email blhooker@shaw.ca, or call at 250-961-3659.

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/incumbent-seeks-fresh-term-on-school-board-1.1418581

http://www.pgfreepress.com/hooker-seeking-second-term-on-school-board/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/07/brenda-hooker-seeks-second-term-on-school-board/

Tim Bennett: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Tim Bennett November 1st

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

I believe that the following are three of the most important issues for parents in the district.
• Your child’s physical and emotional safety
• Your child is receiving an equal and quality education that will provide them with the skills and knowledge to pursue whatever opportunity they want to once leaving the K-12 system.
• Your child has the opportunity to attend the school in the community or neighbourhood in which they live.

2. Why are you running for trustee?
The reason I am running for trustee today is the same reason I ran three years ago. It is because I believe that every child needs an advocate and that the best return on investment for society is to proactively invest into our children and their education. I believe that the board needs to do a better job advocating for all students and that my professional (currently the Executive Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters) and volunteer experience (sat or currently sitting on numerous boards at the local, regional and provincial level) are an asset to the board and the decisions we make each and every meeting. I believe in order to represent students in the 52,000 square kilometers that is SD57 you need to be available and present at schools, meetings and in the communities we serve.
In addition, after serving the past three years on the board my eyes were opened not just to the great things happening in the district but also how much more can be done. I am seeking re-election so I can continue with the work I have started and can bring my leadership, advocacy, experience and passion to the role of trustee and work together for the betterment of students currently in the system and those yet to enter it.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
I have had the opportunity to serve on the board for the past term. During this time I had the chance to not only preform my regular trustee duties but also take a leadership position on the board. I have served as Vice Chairperson for the past two years and also have chaired numerous district committees including Policy and Governance (2 Years), Management and Finance (1 Year), Expanded Committee of the Whole on 2014-2015 Budget (1 Year), Committee of the Whole on Technology (1 Year), and Ad-Hoc Committee on Mobile Technology (1 Year). I believe the last term has prepared by well for the next term.
I believe that in order to be an effective trustee you need to be able to give it everything you have. I have met with my employer and had conversations with my family to ensure that they were supportive of me seeking re-election. You deserve 100% and I wanted to make sure I could continue to provide it.

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
I believe work has started on this over the past mandate including the passing of the standalone LGBTQ Policy, the creation of the Live Binder, the hiring of a part time Inclusion specialist teacher, and directing the Policy and Governance Committee to review and strengthen other district policies with regards to bullying and safety. This policy review has yet to occur and will be something that the next board will need to pick up and finish the work. We need to ensure that policy and practices are in place to ensure all students feel safe and welcome at school.
However, policy is only the first step and it alone will not create change. District Student Advisory Committee (and I am sure DPAC) are really interested in combatting bullying in our schools and the district needs to work with those interested to find solutions that will work. We also need to work to include more opportunities to professional development and in-service to give our staff additional skills to ensure each school is a bully free environment.
In addition to the work to ensure an emotional safety we need to continue to work with facility services and custodial staff to ensure schools are physically safe. They do a great job with the resources they have but our buildings are not getting any newer. In the most recent Ministry of Education Facility Index 71% of our schools were rated as “poor”. We need to continue to pressure government regarding our aging infrastructure and ask them to not only invest in capital projects in our district but also to increase annual facility grant funding to help us complete more work each year to maintain and improve conditions in our aging buildings.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
The board’s only employee is the superintendent and they are responsible to providing the Superintendent with the vision and set the direction of the district. The superintendent runs the day to day operations of the district. The board meets on a regular basis with the superintendent and members of the senior administration team to be briefed about what is going on in the district and receive information needed to make proper governance decisions.
In this co-governance model we are the employer and we need to advocate and support staff in our district. I recognize that work needs to be done to create positive change when it comes to staff morale and I believe the board has a role hear. We need to regularly meet with partner groups to have honest two way conversations and it could help start rebuilding the relationship between staff and employer.

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
I think that this is an important question and ties into one of the main reasons I ran. I believe that in order to be accountable and transparent you need to be present and available. Over the past mandate I have made myself available to the district through social media, email, and telephone and in person. I am willing and able to take the time needed to provide information, talk through problems, provide clarification on a decision of the board and most importantly listen. I took many concerns you brought forward to board or staff and know that a lot of them were dealt with. I will continue to provide that accountability over the next mandate. I want to hear from you regardless if you are happy, sad, confused or angry and believe that every call, tweet, and email needs to be replied to as soon as possible and not left unanswered. I do need to get better and updating my blog and this will be a goal of mine for the next mandate.
As for transparency I believe that the work of the board needs to be transparent and that there should be no surprises (this is value of mine and bring it to the work I do. An example of this is regularly updating through social media with regards to my campaign spending and will once again post all the information by end of day on November 14th). Saying that there is a portion of our work that needs to be done in-camera. I believe the next board needs to continue to strive to ensure that business being done at in-camera meeting is truly an in camera item and in the event that it is not to move it to the public board table.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to sit on the Board of Education of School District 57 for the past term. It has been a great experience and I committed and passionate about serving another term. If you want to learn more about me and my beliefs and/or platform you can visit my blog at www.timbennett.me, find me on social media (Facebook: www.faceboook.com/TrusteeTim; Twitter/Instagram: @tiben12; LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/tbennett12) call me anytime at 250-649-8316 or send me an email tbennett@sd57.bc.ca or timps.bennett@gmail.com

 

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/bennett-seeks-second-term-on-school-board-1.1413069

http://www.pgfreepress.com/bennett-seeks-second-term-on-board-of-education/

http://www.250news.com/2014/09/30/bennett-seeks-second-term/

Valentine Crawford: Answers to DPAC questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Valentine Crawford November 1st.
What do you think is important to parents in the district?
Parents want their kids going to school knowing that they will be safe, encouraged, supported, and empowered to be great people! This is the foundation for success and that is what every parent wants for their child.

Why are you running for trustee?
I know we are do better for kids. Born and raised in Prince George I dropped out of high school at the end of grade 10 when at a time in my life of being honest about who I was, a young gay man. When I was ready to go back to school the School District was there for me via the TAPS programs. The program had some amazing teachers and social workers that were committed to my success. They believed in my potential and they encouraged me 110% of the time because there was always times that I doubted myself. These people changed my life forever and I believe every kid should have the opportunity and chance to succeed like I did.
Despite the courage of teachers and CUPE members, job action has taken a tremendous toll on everyone in the district and the first job of a trustee must be to restore moral in the district. As we are all partners in education, teachers must begin to feel supported in their classrooms and have their work and ideas validated again. I believe that Trustees must be leaders and a voice for education in our communities and the trustees have become silent on what is most important in our district…students! I Believe in Empowering Educational Leaders, keeping kids in school, and building Student Leaders”

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

I bring with me a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.
• District #57 Trustee (2008-2011)
• 11 years as President of Pride Prince George
• 6 years on College Board of Governors
• 5 year with College of New Caledonia Students’ Union for 5 years
• Commissioner – National Queer Constituency Group Canadian Federation of Students’
• Three years Provincial Executive Rep of the Canadian Federation of Students (BC)
• Four years on the College of New Caledonia Education Council
• 3 years Prince George & District Labour Council Rep.

How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
A primary function of a trustee is district policy and this is an area I have identified that trustees have let lapsed in our district. I am proposing that we being to phase in Restorative Practices as the means to addressing student behavioural challenges throughout the district, especially bullying.

How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
The Board of Education is the employer! The Board as a whole sets the tone and direction of the district and must have a healthy and strong relationship with the Superintendent of Schools to ensure that the educational needs of students are exceeded and the expectations of the Ministry of Education are met.
District staff must feel safe and confident that they can approach any member of the Board of Education publicly and privately and express their concerns, frustrations and needs.

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

As your Trustee I must put first thing first and build a foundation of trust and openness with each school community. Within the first four months of being elected I will meet with everyone school community to have an open discussion about their schools and their needs and expectations moving forward for the next four years.
Second, I will form a new working relationship with local media so we can open our schools and classrooms up to the entire Community. In addition, on an ongoing bases my goal is to something unique going on in the district to be presented at every Board meeting.
Rebuilding the trust and morality of the district is going to take time and each trustee is going to have to work hard to earn the trust of every school community. I will commit to actively meeting with PAC’s every three months so they have a direct link to the Board to talk about anything they want and will do the same with teachers, support staff, and principles because it is the right thing to do.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
This election is more than just about funding for schools, it is about real ideas that support Healthy and Safe Schools! My vision for this district is built on the platform of; Empowered Teachers, Transparency, Healthy & Safe Schools, and Student Leaders. If we want to move the School District forward we must do it together and it begins by voting for Trustees that are able to express their opinions respectively, work collectively and stand for what is right for our community. I made the decision to stand your for you and family again because I know we can do better and it begins with someone having an honest vision for what we can do together!
Explore my ideas at www.valentinecrawford.ca

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/crawford-looks-to-return-to-school-district-1.1413077

http://www.pgfreepress.com/valentine-crawford-looks-to-get-back-on-school-board/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/06/valentine-crawford-runs-for-school-board/

Eric Depenau: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Eric Depenau November 1st.

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

I believe that parents want to be involved in their children’s learning, and that parents have excellent advice and suggestions to give that can benefit the district. It’s important for parents to have their voice heard and that their concerns are answered. It’s important for trustees to attend meetings and talk face to face with parent groups.

2. Why are you running for trustee?

I am running for trustee because I care. Education is the foundation that individuals, families, and societies are built upon. Considering the importance of the position, I want to see that people have options when they go to vote. My interest is to ensure that accountable, thoughtful, and tireless representatives are elected to advocate for, and protect our region.

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

I have represented students from our region on Provincial and National levels with the Canadian Federation of Students. Currently I serve as the College of New Caledonia’s Student Union Chair Person and as a member of the Colleges Board of Governors. Previously I have sat on the College of New Caledonia’s Student Success and Education Council’s. In these roles I have worked with diverse budgets, unique teams, and groups that are too often forgotten by those who represent them.

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

I personally want to be a champion within our district; leaders need to lead and role model what we want to see in our communities. I feel a group of individuals making positive examples would be a powerful step as we continue to move toward more accepting and secure schools. Additionally, we need to ensure that the policies and bylaws reflect the environment we want to see in our schools. If there are inconsistencies between our vision and what is “on the books,” then this needs to be fixed.

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

This relationship needs to be managed carefully. We must always work together to do the best we can for the district. There will not always be easy decisions or unanimous agreements on the direction that needs to be taken. We owe it to those who put their faith in us that we will not stop working toward improvements regardless of those disagreements.

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

I want to see confidence rebuilt and strengthened between the community and the school board. To do this, trustee’s will need to be present at community events, meetings and always be available by phone, email or in person to answer questions and take suggestions from whomever is offering their concerns or input.

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

I am excited to see so many people taking an interest in education; I am glad that folks will have options for who will be representing them in the future. I also want to thank you for reading this; taking the time to learn about the many candidates is extremely important and I thank you for doing it.

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/unbc-student-offers-classroom-perspective-1.1425082

http://www.pgfreepress.com/university-student-looks-to-get-on-school-board/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/11/unbc-student-takes-run-at-school-board/

Bruce Wiebe: Answers to DPAC questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Bruce Wiebe November 1st.

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

Parents want their children to enjoy learning in a safe, positive environment where they will receive quality instruction and maximum learning success. Caring teachers that will help each child develop a broad range of skills that will ensure ongoing success throughout life.
2. Why are you running for trustee?
For 35 years, as an educator and school principal, I have worked with children, parents and staff to provide a wide range of learning opportunities for each child. As a school trustee, I will have the privilege of continuing to support and expand educational opportunities for all students across School District 57.
3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
My career as a teacher and a principal of Dunster, McBride, Hixon, Nukko Lake, Malaspina and Vanway Schools gives me clear knowledge of the needs of students and school communities across the district. I have a strong knowledge of operating systems, and district budgets, of the curriculum and of district policies. I understand student growth and development learning levels and care about student success.
4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
I will work with the district educational professionals and the parent communities to support and enhance safe and caring schools. I believe that we need zero tolerance for fighting and bullying, with clear expectations, direct guidelines and fair but consistent consequences. In addition, I value the need for providing social counselling for students in need. We need to look at programs that help build self-esteem and self-control. We need to encourage cooperation, teamwork and acceptance of diversities.
5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
The superintendent and staff are the educational professionals that provide and manage day to day educational processes to meet the learning needs of students. As a trustee I see the opportunity to work closely as a team to develop and enhance educational policies that maximize learning success for each and every student, through careful analysis of programs, resources and community input.
6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and the community?
I will listen to parents and the community, and have the board meeting minutes published and displayed on the School District 57 website. In addition the board of education meetings are open to parents and community to attend.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
As an educator, my focus has always been on life-long learning and maximizing student success. I believe this is accomplished by instilling the A,B,C’s of Achieving, Believing and Caring by Learning and Working Together. I believe the future outlook of the communities in School District 57 rests on the skills, attitudes and strengths of our students.

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/ex-principal-offers-first-hand-approach-1.1470298

http://www.pgfreepress.com/take-education-back-to-basics-says-candidate-bruce-wiebe/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/14/trustee-candidate-espouses-the-abcs-of-learning/

 

Chris Stern: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Chris Stern October 31st.

1) What do you think is important to parents in the district ?
Getting a good quality education, a safe and healthy environment and the safe transit of students are important to parents in the district

2) Why are you running for trustee?
I have skills that no other trustee running has and feel I can bring some strength to the board with the following skills

  • Have worked for two different school boards in Alberta as a maintenance worker
  • Have 23 years experience working with municipal government
  • Have 15 years as a union activist and I know how to get things done and navigate the red tape

3) What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
I have attended many school board meetings. Meet with the PGDTA, the two CUPE locals and attended the new trustee meeting at the school board office
Through my union training I have taken such courses as BC Labour law, parliamentary procedures, conflict resolution and many others
I have researched and read the board polices , gone over the budgets and looked at the provincial formula funding and policies

4) How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
First we have to make sure that the right polices and procedures are in place as this is what the trustees are limited to.
I will go to the schools and meet with the staff, students and parents to see what their concerns are

5) How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
The superintendent is the only employee that works under the trustees. I would expect that this employee follows the wishes of the trustees
and that both parties work together for the best interests of the kids. The Trustees have no direct influence with the staff but I still wish to know what their issues are.

6) How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
I would do this by attending and participating in relevant functions. Giving out my contact information and following up with parents
Most of all I will stand up for right and wrong and voice what is best to the students. I will give straight answers with no spin.

7) I s there anything else you’d like to add?
I will stand up to the provincial government and their lack of adequate funding. I will document all the short comings in the district and take them to the minister of education in victoria

 

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/funding-concerns-stern-1.1421966

http://www.pgfreepress.com/stern-sets-sights-on-school-board-seat/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/07/chris-stern-wants-to-make-a-difference/

Bob Harris: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Bob Harris October 29th.

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

I think that having access to a safe and caring school environment where there is a high standard in terms of behavioural expectations and where achievement in all its forms (academics, manual skills, citizenship, arts etc.) is promoted, recognized and rewarded are important features to parents in the district.

  1.  Why are you running for trustee?

I am running for trustee because as a retired teacher/counsellor with 35 years of experience at the Junior Secondary, Secondary and Post-Secondary levels and at both the local and provincial levels I have an abiding interest in the health and well-being of the public education system and a long-standing commitment to those it serves. As a retiree I retain the knowledge and the interest and now I have the time.

3.    What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
Much of the work I have done as an educator has involved serving on bodies which formulate policy that has a direct impact on the opportunities from which students benefit. Creating environments that promote the likelihood that young people will develop into mature, caring and accomplished adults is worth the investment of time and energy and that is where I’ve chosen to spend my working life.

4.    How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
Drafting policies to ensure that schools are safe, caring places is important but it is only part of the solution. Another part involves molding the environment or the culture to make things like abuse or bullying a practice that is genuinely frowned upon and rejected by those within the culture. We have seen how this phenomenon has developed with regard to drinking and driving – I would suggest that young people are far more mature in dealing with the issue than was the case when I was growing up. In terms of schools, I have watched how effectively the leader groups (often unofficial) can influence the entire culture of the building by making it clear that they do not “take kindly” to those who make life miserable for others. I remember one particular moment when a couple of our respected senior students simply sat down with a younger student who was making life difficult for a new grade 8 boy. Without threat or bravado they simply explained, “We don’t do that at Kelly Road”. It proved far more effective and in many ways gentle than a more formalized approach might have been.

5.    How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
As I understand it the Board has essentially one employee – the superintendent. As a result I see the Board as the body representing the interests of the public which elected them and the group which should give policy direction along with the Ministry to the superintendent and by extension the staff. I would certainly seek information from staff in their areas of expertise for the purpose of developing policy and providing direction.

6.    How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
I would hope to make Board meeting minutes widely available, limit in-camera sessions to an absolute minimum and invite parents and students to participate actively and frequently to ensure the system remains accountable.

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

I can’t think of anything that I might add apart from an insightful quote I happened upon. Ghandi said “There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” In my experience parents working positively with teachers can accomplish great things for students.

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/ex-teacher-makes-policy-case-1.1479172

http://www.pgfreepress.com/bob-harris-in-the-running-for-school-board-seat/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/14/retired-teachercounsellor-runs-for-school-board/

Andrew Burton: Answers to DPAC Questions

DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Andrew Burton October 29th. 

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

I think what matters most to parents is the wellbeing and future of their children. Beyond that there are practical issues that occur. When there is disruption in school schedules parents are faced with having to make special arrangements for child care and transportation. Costs for supplies, extracurricular activities and special programs are a concern for some parents. Safety from harm and exclusion is an important issue as well.

2. Why are you running for trustee?
I have worked with young people for most of my adult life. I have the skills, education and experience to be of benefit to our youth and our community. I have a Master’s Degree in Education and specialized training in counselling to back up years of work. I see some real positives in our schools and some room for improvement as well. I believe I can make a difference. I believe that some people run for the wrong reasons. Some are reacting to a specific issue such as the recent contract negotiations and disruption of school schedules. Others see school boards as training for other offices or as a forum to advance partisan political agendas. I am here to serve the interests and the future of our young people and our communities, period.

3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
I have worked with youth and with parents for a long time. Much of my work with youth has involved theatre presentations and workshops by the Street Spirits program that I founded. This has involved engaging youth in defining and addressing problems in the world, many of which are problems in the school system. I listen to what they tell me and to the concerns that affect their lives both within the school system and without. I have followed and researched the issues related to school operations closely.

4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
This is a significant issue. We talk often about bullying and I know that the board has instituted policies to ensure safety. However, such approaches are often regulatory in nature. The focus is on punitive measures. For example, in addressing diversity issues there are rules in place that authorize disciplinary action for discriminatory language and behaviour. This is a good thing but it does not go far enough. Punishing wrongdoing often serves to drive such behaviour underground. It also teaches people to look to authority to manage or settle problems. We need specific elements in curriculum and in the daily practices within the school to challenge the thought processes that drive bullying, discrimination and marginalization. We need to develop critical thinking and encourage young people to challenge inequity and to build strong, open, inclusive and egalitarian social environments within our schools. Such changes must involve and be driven by the youth themselves. They can be supported and encouraged but cannot be imposed.

5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
I believe that board members should have a role of supportive collaboration with the superintendent and staff. We need to recognize that school staff members are for the most part, there because they want to serve the interests of their students and have the skills and abilities to do so. We need to listen to them and support them in providing the best possible environment for our children. I believe as trustees one of the most important trusts we have is to maintain the focus of the school system on its mission. We can do that by asking questions. When decisions are being contemplated we need to ask not just the board but school staff and superintendent; “Is this in the best interests of our students? Is it achievable? Are there other ways to do this? What else will this do? What else needs to be done?”

6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
I will make a commitment to communicate with and listen to all sides of every issue and to be easily available to people who have questions or opinions they wish to share. I will consult with parents and school staff before making decisions on significant issues.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Too often elections focus on sound bites, slogans and appeals to emotional issues. Such an approach does not serve us well. The issues facing schools and the issues facing parents are complex and challenging. We are faced with a changing world and a changing society. None of us know with any certainty what the world will be like, what social and political changes may come, what technology will appear and what the economy will do in the coming years. We need a school system that prepares our children to learn and live in that changing world. We need to build resilient, creative, socially capable critical thinkers. I will work to do that.

 

More information on Andrew Burton, taken from newspaper article links:

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/your-vote-matters/candidates/street-spirits-force-has-trustee-hopes-1.1434554

http://www.pgfreepress.com/andrew-burton-says-school-board-has-to-have-better-idea-of-where-to-spend-money/

http://www.250news.com/2014/10/11/education-needs-a-re-think-says-school-board-candidate/

List of Trustee Candidates

SD57 has posted a full list of candidates for school trustee, with contact information: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/Pages/newsitem.aspx?ItemID=5

Our good wishes go out to all the candidates: 

  • Alger, Dori
  • Bekkering, Betty
  • Bella, Trish
  • Bennett, Tim
  • Burton, Andrew
  • Cable, Tony
  • Cooke, Kate
  • Crawford, Valentine
  • Depenau, Eric
  • Fudge, Dennis
  • Harris, Bob
  • Harris, Sheldon
  • Hooker, Brenda
  • MacDonald, Denise
  • Sabo, Don
  • Stern, Chris
  • Warrington, Sharel
  • Wiebe, Bruce

Watch for more information to come!