Arts and Students
Arts and creative programming is crucial since it allows a student to build on their interests and passions. As a poet, I know that the arts programming I received in the Edmonton Public School System helped make me who I am today.
1. We will ensure that arts programming is economically and physically accessible for students across the district. No student should be turned away from a creative program because of cost or distance.
2. Support cultural sharing programs in school so that our students can learn about our diversity and what makes us strong.
School as Community
Schools are a central pillar of the community. They do more than just teach our children. They host community events, summer camps, and are an affordable space for community organizations. In addition, schools are where students learn more about who they are and what they want to do in the future. When elected, I will focus on the following three areas and work on solutions which are needed.
1. This is why we will review joint-use agreements to ensure schools stay as affordable and accessible spaces for community. Joint use agreements are what allow community groups to hold summer camps, and allows our communities to host events.
2. We will advocate for support staff to have fair work expectations and a benefit program. Support staff are more than just custodians or teacher's assistants. They often go beyond their expected responsibilities to ensure the school stays clean for student's health, or to help a student who may be experiencing difficulties in class.
3. We will ensure schools in Ward A are a safe space regardless of faith, orientation, gender expression, or ethnicity. I will also work with my colleagues in the Catholic School Board to ensure all students feel safe.
Schools are places where students grow and build the foundations for their future. Ultimately, there will be roadblocks and there will be mistakes. What we cannot allow is for perceived roadblocks to block a child's educational progress or allow a personal mistake to introduce a student to the criminal justice system. This is why, when elected, I will:
1. Review the EPSB policy on suspension and detention with the principles of restorative justice of mind. Criminal Charges should only be reserved for extreme cases.
2. Immediately investigate the bait phone program to ensure students are not subject to entrapment.
3. Launch a review and consultation on academic streaming to ensure students are not streamed below their ability. Additionally, I will ensure academic streaming does not disproportionately impact any particular community. Studies across Canada have shown this to disproportionately impact ethnic minorities and those who are not able bodied.
The school board controls a billion dollar budget. In addition, it guides the education of 100,000 students in Edmonton. Unfortunately, not many people know of the power placed upon trustees. This should change and we need to take a more direct approach to trustee engagement. When elected, I will:
1. Hold weekly coffees for concerned parents, students, or staff to meet with me so that we can have frank discussions regarding our education system.
2. Door knock every neighbourhood within one year of taking office. This should not be limited to only once every four years.
3. Hold monthly community town halls so parents, students, or staff can bring their issues directly to me and so they can hold me accountable.