The Capital News asked the Kelowna trustees candidates to answer a series of questions about issues facing the Okanagan School District.
Do you feel school board policies reflect the values of Central Okanagan communities?
By policy, I refer to the over 150 documented rules and regulations of our district which cover a wide range of topics such as safety, expenses, responsibilities of our staff, roles of students, transportation, discipline, code of ethics, catchment areas, etc. For the most part, our district’s policies are in keeping with the expectations and satisfaction of the constituents in our district. We do hear occasional complaints from parents at the board table, which are addressed on a case-by-case basis and are typically in regard to busing, catchment areas and student support in the classroom.
In what way, if any, are parents not given the opportunity to play a role in their child’s education?
Parents do have a practical forum to weigh in on their child’s educational content through the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) at their child’s school, provided that the PAC meetings are well advertised and scheduled to accommodate the busy, hard-working parents of our community. PACs are open to all parents/guardians of children at that school to participate, have a voice, and impact the learning community of their child’s school. PACs work in consultation with the principal on the governance and establishment of the PAC itself.
What is the Central Okanagan School District doing well or not doing well to allow our students to become productive adults?
A true measure of a student’s success is whether or not they are learning the fundamentals of education. Are they learning algebra, geometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, languages, business, law, physical education, reading, writing, typing/keyboarding, grammar, history? If they are grasping these subjects, then we know our students are more successfully prepared for future education and careers. Our graduation rates are high in our district, plus we offer many streams for further academic/career pursuits, but how do we measure the level of skill and knowledge that our students leave with? I am concerned that the removal of letter grades will make it difficult to establish an accurate measurement of these learning outcomes and if it accurately convey their scholastic achievements.In addition, it is always beneficial for parents to build relationship with their child’s teacher and understand the teacher’s goals and aspirations for the classroom and individual students.
What role should our education system play in supporting students facing gender identification issues?
Although young people today are having to wrestle with such weighty matters as gender identification issues, the education system should not usurp the right of parents to raise their children according to their family’s values. As schools, we endeavour to provide basic supports to accommodate the diversity of students and families.