Schools: The Heart of the Community
A few years ago, when I heard about the potential closure of Queen Victoria around the corner from our house, I was very upset. We need to remember that schools are the heart community: places of connection between neighbours that are necessary to create healthy children and families. Therefore, school development and planning needs to take place with the community in mind. Parents make financial decisions on where to live based on the school and community. Small to moderate school size models create the best most inviting environments for students and teachers. When students and teachers can know each other more personally they can foster relationships that help develop skills and confidence.
I want to keep schools open and thriving in core neighbourhoods.
In my current role, I’ve worked to develop strong resident engagement to advocate for various issues, such as crime prevention and neighbourhood improvement. I fought against vacant buildings in the downtown last year, and I will continue to advocate to protect schools, students and their families in the surrounding area. I want to take this experience and momentum to the School Board in order to ensure schools are not only protected, but also strengthened so that they contribute to the positive growth of neighbourhoods.
Better Policies to Support Families and Help Children Thrive
Even though my daughter is not yet in school, I have participated in the Dougall School breakfast program for the past 3 years to better know my neighbours and community. As our family now has to decide where my child will go to school, I want to ensure, as all parents do, that she is getting the best education within a safe and supportive learning environment.
To create these environments, we need to actively engage in conversations about mental health, nutritious food, access to nature and physical activity and safety to better support students where they are at to help them succeed. We need to pursue innovative, evidenced-based policies to positively impact student achievement.
I want to make sure that schools can be places of positive experiences that focus on well being. I will work towards implementing supportive programming tailored to each student and each school, to ensure high student achievement.
Equality of Learning Opportunities
I grew up in LaSalle and Amherstburg and went to a French Immersion school that was fairly far from my house. This opportunity gave me the chance to speak fluent French and has given me additional opportunities in my education and career that I am very grateful for.
However, I had to take a bus more than an hour to attend that French Immersion school. In considering which school to send my daughter to, I am faced with a similar dilemma. How far will she have to travel in order to have access to second language opportunities? Are we doing all that we can to make sure students of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds have access to high quality learning opportunities? All kids deserve access to diverse programming based on their desire of the parents and the needs of the student..
Collaboration and leadership are needed today to make sure we are preparing children for the future. My research background has given me a strong passion for evidenced-based decision-making.
I will work towards comprehensive, system-wide reviews to ensure that ALL students, of ALL backgrounds have access to the best learning opportunities.