What community involvement have you had? How many school board meetings have you attended in the past 3 years?
Over the past three years, as a member of the Board of Education, I have attended 29 School Board Meetings. During the three years prior to being elected I attended 29 board meetings as a member of the gallery.
My community involvement includes:
Age Group Co-ordinator for the West Vancouver Soccer Club (2005-present)
Member and Trustee Representative to the West Vancouver Streamkeepers (2011-present)
Member and Trustee Representative to the West Vancouver Sports Field Working Group (2011- until the committee was disbanded in September 2014)
Co-Chair of the Joint West Vancouver District/School District Joint Traffic and Safety Committee (2011-present)
Member of the North Shore Congress (2011-present)
WVDPAC (WV District Parents Advisory Council) President 2009-11
WVDPAC Treasurer (2009-09)
PAC Chair – Ridgeview Elementary (2006-08)
What are the challenges facing the school district? How would you address them?
There are two major challenges that the trustees will face over the upcoming term.
The first issue, which is impacting our classrooms, is the quickly increasing diversity in our community:
Over the past few years there has been a significant increase of new families moving to West Vancouver, and with that we have seen a surge in the number of students accessing our English Language Learning programs.
To effectively help integrate these students into our school communities we will need to continue to ensure there is adequate ELL support in our schools. We will also need to continue to work with the SWIS (Settlement Workers in Schools) workers, the North Shore Multicultural Society and other settlement groups to help ensure these children, and their families are well supported.
The Changing demographics in our community are also just that – a community issue. The School District will need to work together with the Mayor and Council and other community groups to find ways to engage and integrate these new families into our community.
The second emergent issue concerns the two extended, and acrimonious periods of job action we have just faced. The next Board of Education will need to ensure that we advocate provincially to the Education Ministry, the BCTF, the BC School Trustees Association and the BC Public School Employers Association insisting they work together to assess what went wrong in the last round of bargaining. We need to ensure that steps are taken immediately to fix a broken bargaining system and we have five years to work collaboratively to find a solution so that we do not see further erosion to public education.
What makes an effective school board?
An effective school board is made up of community leaders who understand and value public education. To be most effective a board must work together in a cohesive and collaborative manner to put student success above all other interests.
What action might be taken to compensate for financial losses caused by reduced enrollment of international students?
The West Vancouver Board of Education has always been forward thinking, finding ways to create and enhance revenue streams. We were the first school district to consider international programming and have been a leader in establishing sports academies as ways to increase revenue.
In ensuring that we provide the best educational experience possible for our students we have become reliant on fees from international students to supplement the funding we receive from the Provincial Government.
While we currently have a thriving International Education Program we need to ensure that we have other funding sources to draw upon if circumstances change.
Four areas for exploration are:
Formulate a plan to carefully explore options of partnering with private companies; providing advertising opportunities or donations in kind, such computers for schools and playground equipment.
Expand our current academy programs and look for new programming options that will attract students to our schools.
Continue to work with countries that we have not traditionally looked to for international students. The more diversified our program is the less dependent we will be if economic or social circumstances change in certain countries, preventing students from choosing to study in West Vancouver.
Work with the District of West Vancouver and other school districts to investigate opportunities for shared services such as accounting and facility maintenance.