The information on this page was collected for the 2011 Winnipeg Civic By-Election.
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Candidate in the 2011 Louis Riel - 2 School Ward race.
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Why did you decide to run in the 2011 school board election?
For a number of years I have increasingly become more interested in politics and where I could fit into the process. I want to be a more active member of my community which in my eye's view details becoming involved in representing those opinions and concerns expressed to me by my neighbours, friends, and acquaintances. I am a people person and for that reason I am an excellent choice for the position of School Trustee because people of all cultures, ages, and income levels have found that I am easy to relate with. People feel comfortable in sharing their thoughts, concerns and ideas and know that I always want to help and represent them whenever I can if they themselves do not feel comfortable in doing so. The characteristics I have are that I am a good listener, excellent at researching information and very good at public speaking. I am an idea person and don't like to simply point out problems but provide solutions as well.
What experience will you bring to complement your role as school trustee?
In my opinion a good trustee is one that can relate to those in the community they represent. I live in the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) and have lived in the area for over 15 years. I first lived in Ward 2 and currently am living in Ward 3. I believe it is important that the elected individual has either attended school in the area or has children that have, or currently have enrolled children in LRSD. My three boys have attended Hastings School, Victor H.L. Wyatt, Dakota Collegiate and Glenlawn Collegiate. I take an active role in my boys’ education by being involved with volunteering in school activities and outings, being an active parent with the Parent/Teacher Council, and Safe Grad Committee. Other additional community involvement I have had is Heart & Stroke area coordinator, Canadian Diabetes canvasser, Welcome Wagon representative, co-organized Mom's group that ran out of the St. Vital Child & Family Services office, and Co-Chair for the second largest Winnipeg campaign for the United Way. These exemplify my capabilities as a leader in representing those in the division.
What are the major issues you would like to stand for and why did you choose these issues?
Drop-out rates of children have been on the rise and this concerns parents and educators. A way in which I think we can address this is by discontinuing the policy of pushing children ahead even when their marks do not warrant them to move on to the next grade. Eventually it catches up and when these children do get into high school are frustrated and quit. It is our responsibility as parents and educators to show them the importance of continuing on to higher levels of education.
Better way to deal with bullying. Currently, the division policy is to suspend students that bully others. My personal connection as my son has been bullied in the past and was very upset on how it was handled by school administration. The student that was suspended had a few days off to basically enjoy himself at home to watch TV and play games. This did not send a good message and a better solution would be to have these children perform community volunteer work. A clearer message needs to be sent this behaviour is not okay and will not be tolerated.
Is there anything in particular you would like to change in your school division? In your ward?
I believe many schools would benefit from starting a breakfast program. Many people in the area do not realize the large population of lower income families that live in LRSD, and how many depend on various agencies to assist them monthly. We need to take initiative to begin a program that supports our children with a good start to their day.
I do not think having a laptop computer to attend grade nine is a necessity. This past fall a pilot project was announced at Dakota Collegiate and many parents expressed concerns and frustration to me about it. Parents were not consulted, nor informed but simply told a laptop computer was a requirement, like a regular school supply item. Parents I spoke with expressed concerns that this was not an affordable expense a family could take on. Two related issues were the security of the laptop computer and how their child would be prevented from gaming, or visiting inappropriate websites. We need to get back to basics and when these children get to higher levels of education then they can choose whether or not a laptop computer is a requirement.
Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?
Making a difference to my children and the community is of great importance to me. People that know me know my commitment is my word and I live by my word. I am a good listener and people like to share their thoughts and opinions with me because I do care. When I am elected as School Trustee my commitment to the community will be to provide better transparency on board policies. I will strive to share and include them in the decision making of policies. I will conduct focal groups to discuss issues pertinent to their area of the school division as I recognize the individuality of each area.
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