Q&A – School Board – Sheelah Donahue

1.  a) What community involvement have you had?
In addition to my Parent Advisory Council work at the school and district level:
·   Cypress Park Little League Past President, Board of Directors, volunteer of the year
·   Little League BC District 5, CPLL Representative
·    West Vancouver Minor Hockey board of directors, division coordinator, coach, Giants Night Coordinator, volunteer of the year
·    Coordinated fundraising nights to raise money for scholarships and Safe Grad
·     Several roles as a parent volunteer for rugby and sailing clubs
b) How many school board meetings have you attended in the past 3 years?
I have not kept track but since becoming DPAC Chair at the end of the 2012/13 school year I have attended all but one.

2.     a) What are the challenges facing the school district?
The biggest challenges are related to funding, changing demographics, and balancing Ministry and parent demand for solid literacy and numeracy skills while pursuing innovation, digital literacy and inquiry based learning opportunities smoothly across K-12.
b) How would you address them?
Some funding challenges can be addressed by advocacy at the provincial level, pursuing additional sources of locally generated revenue, and cost savings opportunities like sustainability initiatives and harmonization of wages and benefits. I support current endeavors to implement community partnerships and teaching practices that simultaneously enhance learning for students new to Canada and those already showing proficiency in English. The challenges that come with curriculum changes and other twenty-first century initiatives can be overcome by inclusive collaboration between all partners in our children’s education and by maintaining and respecting relationships with senior administrators and staff, many of whom are highly regarded subject matter experts.

   3. What makes an effective school board?
An effective Board of Education is composed of trustees who understand and respect fiduciary responsibilities, are non-partisan and act with integrity in all matters. An effective Board of Education must engage with all partners, advocate for enhanced funding, and act as an ambassador for public education.

4.     What action might be taken to compensate for financial losses caused by reduced enrollment of international students?
Should this happen, the Board of Education would need to evaluate alternate sources of locally generated revenue and consider partnerships in areas not traditionally associated with public education.

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