Before we know it, another school year will begin coupled with an election year. And the connection is that the civic elections include voting for your Board of School Trustees. Through policy and appropriate financial choices, School Trustees have the responsibility and the means to ensure that your children are getting what they need to achieve their maximum potential. As a Trustee, I would like to emphasize how important it is that we are informed, engaged, and have a desire to work on behalf of the electorate. As your representative, your vote is valuable and important. So what does this all mean?
This means two things – that the community is aware and understands the issues facing education in Alberta, and that the Trustee is engaged with the community in order to understand the priorities of parents. For me, knocking on doors to meet with you personally is a huge component of performing my duty as your Trustee and my third door knocking campaign is well under way as I run for re-election. While I continue to be engaged through regular meetings with parent councils, host coffee meetings, post on-line surveys and dialogue with parishioners after mass, I am convinced that the best way to reach out to constituents and have meaningful conversations with parents, grandparents, students and other tax payers is to meet one on one at your door.
COLLABORATION BUILDING STRONG EDUCATION:
So why is collaboration important? Because the collective whole can accomplish so much more than the individual. I hope I am known throughout this community as the Trustee that values input and appreciates the voice of community. The duty bestowed upon me as your representative and your voice requires that I be informed and that I make decisions based on knowledge of your priorities and concerns. I do not take my role lightly and above all I echo the thoughts and concerns of those I represent on an ongoing basis.
But this isn’t the whole story, as working with local (city) government and MLA’s is crucial in the growth of a strong and effective education system. Using your input, the vision of city planners, the policies of our government related to industry development, health, and other social agencies, (along with some of my own knowledge, expertise, and ideas!) we need to all work together so that that each and every child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential. This requires adequate funding, thoughtful allocation of resources, effective teacher recruitment, support for teachers in the classroom, special needs teaching assistants, resources for students, community planning, wrap around services,a continued focus on teacher preparation at the post secondary level and a model of collaboration to advance and create a progressive education model.
DEMOCRACY BUILDING STRONG COMMUNITIES:
I support an education governance model where School Trustees fill the critical role of ensuring that throughout all the machinations of government, student needs are the priority, and the voices of constituents are heard. Through election (as opposed to appointments), communities are engaged at the grass roots level and Trustees should take on the role of representing their communities with a strong voice. If we fail in this capacity we could see an end to locally elected Trustees at a time when many already feel disengaged and are doubting the role of the democratic process relative to their personal lives.
Also important are the views of all community members regardless of whether you have a direct link to education through your profession or through children. Not only are you part of the tax system which funds education but you are also a community member, both of which link you to our schools. Further, the school buildings themselves serve as community hubs providing, in addition to regular schooling, community and social services. And this is why everyone should have a say and play a role in education.
In moving forward, if I come to your door, feel free to ask me questions and share your thoughts and know that Trusteeship means that all should be heard all of the time. If I miss you, I encourage you to contact me at any time.
I am a firm believer in what democracy can offer and what we can achieve together and this is why I do what I do. I want to make a difference for our students and communities. I will continue to press for reforms that include a well rounded and informed vision. The community must be valued participants in this process!