Archive: May, 2012

EPSB Board honoured as Parade Grand Marshall of 2012 PRIDE parade

The Edmonton Public School Board has been honoured by being named Parade Marshall for the 2012 Edmonton PRIDE Parade for our policy work in creating safe spaces for LGBTTQ students in Edmonton Public Schools. As a board we are continuing to work with our partners in the Alberta School Boards’ Association to try and further advance positive supports across the province of alberta.
Last year, the Calgary PRIDE parade selected Mayor Naheed Nenshi as Parade Grand Marshall. With prominent Mayors and elected school trustees saying no to fear and intimidation and bullying, Alberta continues to show that this is a province that welcomes everyone.
This honour is especially timely considering the last provincial election and the resounding rejection by Albertans of the Wildrose Alliance Party and their lack of condemnation of hatred and bigotry.
As Mayor Stephen Mandel said, “homophobia has no place in today’s alberta.”
If you’ve never attended the PRIDE festival, Expect to see a lot of colour and many other families. As someone who attends almost all of Edmonton’s festivals, CariWest is much more risque. At the Pride parade and after party, public indecency isn’t tolerated. It’s about celebrating with the LGBTTQ community (and their straight-but-not-narrow-minded-allies celebrate love) the progress we have made as we move towards equality. If you are going to be there, send me an email!
Look for me driving the convertible!
Read the release below:

Edmonton Public School Board to act as Grand Parade Marshals

For Immediate Release – The Edmonton Pride Festival Society is very excited that the Edmonton Public School Board has accepted its invitation to act as the Grand Parade Marshals at this year’s Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9, 2012.

Each year, the Society, organizers of the annual Pride Festival, selects an honourary Parade Marshal to lead the parade. This is the Festival’s opportunity to both recognize and honour an individual or group for their contributions to the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer) community.

Last November, the School Board approved a new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity policy that ensures all sexual and gender minority students, staff and families are welcomed, respected, accepted and supported in every school. This ground- breaking policy, which was supported unanimously, is the first of its kind developed by a school board on the prairies.

The School Board’s leadership exemplifies this year’s Festival theme – Stand OUT! We are thrilled they will be playing such a prominent role!

The Edmonton Pride Festival Society, representing the LGBTQ community, coordinates a yearly festival to showcase the community’s unity and diversity.


Michael Phair, Director at Large – 780.426.1516 Terry Harris, Director, Communications – 780.721.3857 Colleen Sutherland, Co-chair – 780.722.6266 Warren Becker, Co-chair – 780.405.2999

Startups and Edmonton Public Schools

(image thanks to Ken Bautista)

I’m spending portions of today and tomorrow at the #accelerateab event presented by C100, BDC, and sponsored by a broad slice of the tech edmonton community. This event is much more than just starting your own business, it’s about exploring opportunities in the tech, bio, entrepreneur, and digital media sectors. The participants I spoke to today were from a wide range of backgrounds but almost all were under 35. Ten or 20 years ago, I wonder how many of these entrepreneurs were sitting at school, sketching out ideas on a notebook of their next invention or project?

As an Edmonton Public School Trustee I think these sort of events are an excellent way for leaders to reflect on our public education system. As the digital/new/tech economy develops, opportunities are becoming available for our graduates, not just in San Francisco, but right here in Edmonton. The more we can lasso our talent and support their dreams right here, the better for our whole community.

Today’s event was about ideas, people, and helping hungry entrepreneurs collaborate. Here are some questions I have been reflecting on:

  • What sort of skills are we providing our graduates that would enable them to be the next Zuckerberg, Jobs, or <insert tech leader> of the future?
  • What sort of extracurricular opportunities can students engage in to start a business and pursue their passions?
  • When we talk about creativity and igniting a passion for learning, how do we ensure that students are exposed to a wide breadth of subjects that can inspire them?
  • What tech-literacies do our future graduates require?
  • Should our second language requirement be extended to a programming code?

I look forward to the discussions!

Advocating to our Ward F MLAs

In the calm after the storm, you and your parent council might need to update your advocacy contact list for the MLAs who overlap our schools. In your relationship building, here are a few ways to connect with the new MLAs for our ward. (Thanks to Daveberta for the contact info)

We also look forward to working with our new Minister of Education Jeff Johnson. Exciting times ahead!

Edmonton-Riverview Incumbent: Kevin Taft (LIB)

PCSteve Young (FacebookTwitter)

Edmonton-Strathcona Incumbent: Rachel Notley (NDP)

NDPRachel Notley (FacebookTwitter)

Edmonton-Whitemud Incumbent: Dave Hancock (PC)

PCDave Hancock (FacebookFlickrTwitterYouTube)

Edmonton-Centre Incumbent: Laurie Blakeman (LIB)

LIBLaurie Blakeman (FacebookTwitterYouTube)

The EPSB Foundation

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to sit down with Sandra Woitas who is the Executive Director of the EPSB Foundation. Sandra has devoted many years to public education, community service and volunteerism in the Edmonton Community and was also named one of the Edmontonians of the Century.

I’ll admit that in a perfect world, I wish we didn’t need to have a foundation. I wish that we had a fully-funded public education system and that our government invested in early learning, especially for the highest risk populations who need it the most. But they don’t, so that’s where the Foundation comes in.

The foundation is working hard to try and deliver full-day kindergarten in 15 different Edmonton schools. This goal was established by the foundations board of directors.

The Foundation hosts info lunches every couple of weeks, completely open to the public– You are invited! They also host a major fundraising event in May, the “Ready For Life Breakfast.”

In addition to raising valuable dollars for some of the most needy kindergartens in Edmonton, The Foundation plays an amazing friend-raising role for Edmonton public. Their advocacy for the importance in investing in early learning and kindergarten programs helps reach out to many sectors and raise awareness for the importance of public education, especially to those without school-age children who might not have been in an Edmonton Public Facility for a few years!

So don’t be shy and don’t worry, you can come to a foundation event with no obligation to give! It’s an exciting organization supporting a very important cause.

Follow them on Twitter here:!/EPSFoundation

To learn more about the foundation:

3rd annual Ready for Life fundraising breakfast While enjoying a breakfast made by students, you can learn more about the Foundation from students, staff and community members directly involved. Please note that breakfast is free, but we will ask our guests to consider making a contribution.

When:  Thursday, May 24, 2012; 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Where:  Ross Sheppard School; 13546 – 111 Avenue

Contact us to register.