Evaluate and address the impact of COVID-19
Students, teachers and parents have experienced significant challenges during the pandemic. One of my priorities will be to address, to the best of our abilities, any educational, mental and social difficulties experienced by our students. We need to meet students where they are currently, and work from there. As well, I will continue to advocate for the supports and resources that staff may require.
Address major concerns over the new Alberta curriculum
There have been province-wide concerns over a good portion of the proposed new Alberta K-6 curriculum, which is to be imposed in September 2022. I support seeking expert, research-based input to address the major concerns raised by our educational community and our stakeholder groups. I will prioritize the promotion of creative and critical thinking skills that are based on a solid and purposeful focus on numeracy and literacy.
Continue management of enrolment increases
Due to the addition of Prescott School, Copperhaven School, Woodhaven modernization and Ecole Broxton mini modernization, over the last term, we are now able to manage enrollment increases for the K-9 school populations.
The focus must now shift to the modernization or replacement of Spruce Grove Composite High School. The major work of planning and design for this project has been completed and submitted by Parkland School Division and rests in the offices of the Department of Education and Department of Infrastructure of the Alberta Government. I will continue to advocate for the completion of this important project.
Monitor school fees
Costs for parents must be kept to a minimum. Continuing to seek efficiencies in our regional bus transportation system and monitoring school fees will be important considerations for reducing unnecessary financial burdens for families.
Provide an inclusive environment
Every child, no matter their circumstance, has a right to top-quality education and a compassionate and inclusive educational environment. Additional support may be required to assist students and their families, which is contingent on adequate and stable funding from the Provincial Government. This requires ongoing dialogue and advocacy with our provincial MLA’s and our Minister of Education.
Honoring the TRC education recommendation
We must honour our role in addressing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as it relates to the education of our First Nation, Metis and Inuit students. A major step in this direction is to continue authentic collaboration with our FNMI partners regarding Indigenous education in our region and to acknowledge and appreciate that we work with our First Nation neighbours on Treaty 6 territory.
Encourage parental engagement
It is important to provide opportunities for timely and meaningful platforms for parent input on programming, attendance area review, transportation, assessment and curriculum. Over the years, there has been an increase in parent engagement, which must be enhanced and fostered in the future.
Ensure fiscal responsibility
Changes to insurance costs and provincial funding models, coupled with Covid-19 costs, have created challenges in the distribution of financial resources. In these times of restraint, it is important to ensure that maximum financial resources are directed to the classroom. There must be a focus on what is best for the students in all decisions that are made.