Save Scona Pool (2020 edition)

A message for those of you in mature neighbourhoods, attendees, or alumni of Strathcona High School or the surrounding schools:

It looks like Scona Pool is proposed again for closure. Eastglen, Scona and Oliver pools as well as Oliver and Tipton arenas have been recommended for closure, which would save the city $1.4 million in operating expenses this budget cycle. As the Trustee for Strathcona High School and Ward F (the central area Edmonton communities), I’ve witnessed the pool's contributions to Strathcona High School, and to schools and central communities (Parkallen Community League launched a petition in support of the pool which you can see here). Strathcona High School administration have reiterated the benefit of the pool, and I have heard from leaders really creative ideas and a willingness to help keep the pool open until one day a new facility is opened.

CALL TO ACTION: For those of you available on Monday, the Queen Alex Community League has coordinated a special 1 hour conversation about the Scona Pool & Tipton Arena. There will be more information provided about how to make your voice heard, volunteer, and support your community. RSVP here to get the Zoom link. 

Please make your voice heard by filling out this quick survey. We want to know how you feel about the proposed closures.



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Taking Action on COVID (November 2020)

At the November 24th meeting of the Edmonton Public School Board, I will be introducing the following motion and requesting a Notice of Motion so that it can be debated and actioned immediately. I welcome your feedback into the motion and if there are suggested amendments or more specific steps you would like to see included:

MOTION:
In order to assist with contact tracing, reduce in-school transmission, keep schools open, and avoid another lockdown, that the board write a letter to the Premier requesting: 
1) stricter community health measures and 
2) immediate access to the federal contact tracer app, "COVID Alert”.
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Federal COVID funds must go to PUBLIC not private schools

The federal government recently announced $2 Billion pledged to support school reopening funding.

Alberta's share is $262.8 Million, but there has been no word from the UCP how they plan to allocate the funds. (https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/alberta-government-still-quiet-on-distribution-use-of-federal-back-to-school-fund)

My concern is that, much like the broken UCP funding formula, it won't adequately help public schools. Instead it will be allocated to fund their supporters and donors in wealthy, elite, or religious private schools for families who have opted-out instead of public classrooms who need the most help.

We must ensure 100% of this new federal funding goes to public schools, especially those with the highest covid risks and economic need. While our public schools languish with class sizes of 40 or 50, private schools are bragging about their small classes and ability to withstand the pandemic. Ninja and trampoline schools are making headlines as private interests seek to profit from and fracture our public schools. Now is the time to focus any dollars on our fragile public education system at our desperate time of need. 

We must say no to corporate welfare and the misuse of our public taxes. Imagine if they took our tax dollars allocated for public libraries and gave it to religious organization or private business to subsidize a bookstore. This is an equally similar egregious misuse.

In Ontario and other provinces, zero public dollars are spent on private schools: by definition, they are private and are 100% self-funded. Alberta has the highest subsidy to private schools in Canada. As we look to balance the provincial budget, $300 million in cash is spent subsidizing private schools, many of whom are posting multi-million dollar surpluses. If the Minister allocates federal funds, the subsidy to private schools will only increase.

On September 8th at our next Edmonton Public Board Meeting, I'm going to ask for a waiver of notice of motion to ensure this money is shared only with public schools and not private schools. We must take a strong stand immediately to make sure that the funding is allocated to the Public, Catholic, and Francophone system, not the private or charter schools.

From the ASBA Choice in Public Education policy position:

Did you know?

  • Alberta funds private schools at a higher rate than any other province, in addition to being able to charge tuition.
  • The public education system in Alberta is widely recognized as being among the best in Canada – and the world.
    • Alberta performs third highest globally in science
    • Alberta performs third highest globally in reading
    • Alberta performs eighth highest in globally in math
  • The public education system offers a variety of program choices to meet the needs of a diverse student population, while remaining accountable to the public through publicly- elected trustees.

Alberta School Boards Association believes:

  • In the public education system comprised of the public, separate and francophone school boards in Alberta.
  • That all students across the province deserve equitable, accessible, inclusive education.
  • That every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and this potential is best achieved within a strong public education system.
  • That choice exists in the public education system, and offers a variety of programs based on the needs of students and their local community.

In order to build a viable, sustainable, equitable public education system, public funding should only be spent on public education.

 

 


It is past time to rename Dan Knott and Oliver Schools

MOTION: That the Division rename Dan Knott and Oliver Schools following a process where we seek input from the community, following a process similar to the naming of new schools. (Vote: September 8th, 2020)

Renaming conversations are an educational opportunity for all of us. They challenge our perspectives about who we celebrate, what blinders we may wear to the lived experiences of others, and provide us an opportunity to define better representations of who we aspire to be.

Symbolism is powerful, but it is important not to mistake renaming as a substitute for real action that makes material improvements in the lives of Black Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC). Later in the post, I'll discuss more of the actions we are undertaking as a school district.

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Advocacy for anti-racism in the new provincial curriculum

We need the provincial government to make explicit anti-racism outcomes in the new provincial curriculum.

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Partnership in Action: EPSB Kindergarten students to receive free EPL cards!

As many readers know I’m a passionate supporter of EPL and a former 6 year Edmonton Public Library Trustee. So you can likely imagine my reaction to this exciting collaboration between EPL and EPSB!

I’m overjoyed by the fact that we are working together to improve early literacy and help even more kindergarten kids get free library cards!

 

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Edmonton Election Advance Voting Oct 4, 2017 — Ward F

The 2017 Edmonton municipal election is being held on Monday October 16th, 2017 from 9AM to 7PM. If you are unable to vote on the October 16th, there will be advanced voting held on Wednesday, October 4th. To find where to vote you can use the Where to vote tool available on the edmonton.ca/election website. 

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What I'm hearing about Inclusion

As I started door knocking in May for my public trustee re-election campaign, one of the most frequent questions I received from teachers and parents (whether they had special needs students in their family or not) was: what do I think of changes to classroom composition?

When I decided to become a trustee candidate in 2010, I took the time to pen out my vision and values. Many of my beliefs and values surrounding public education were honed by researching for the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta and serving as the President of the Students’ Union at the University of Alberta. Both experiences grounded my vision and values in a belief in a strong public education system guided by the wishes of the community to ensure all voices are heard and every student can succeed....

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Southwest Edmonton Needs New Public Elementary, Junior and High Schools

Southwest Edmonton Needs New Public Elementary, Junior and High Schools

Since I was first elected school trustee in 2010, advocating for the construction of new K-9 and High Schools— especially for the Southwest— has been a top priority.  However, the responsibility for allocating new schools falls solely in the hands of the Provincial Government — not the school board or the city council. This has been the case since 1994, and it is important for you to know the board of trustees are exhausting every single opportunity advocate for new schools, and to make sure public school families get their fair share. Edmonton Public school families are competing for their fair share of school construction money against not only against Calgary and other rural Alberta communities but publicly-funded Catholic and Francophone schools as well. Your voice can help....

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Hello, Bonjour, Guten Tag, Nǐ Hǎo… Second language instruction in Edmonton Public Schools

When it comes to public education, Edmontonians speak with many voices. Over the past few months of door-knocking, I’ve had thousands of conversations about everything imaginable. Overwhelmingly, people have wanted to tell me about the important relationship between their school and their community, but I’ve also heard about school fees, the future of textbooks, and everything in between!

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