ELECTION 2018: Summerland school board candidates discuss priorities facing students

Four candidates seeking two positions on Okanagan Skaha School Board

In the days and weeks leading up to the Oct. 20 election for school board, the Summerland Review is asking questions of the Summerland trustee candidates.

This week’s question: What is the biggest priority facing our students?

Julie Planiden

for trustee

The three main priorities here in Summerland are continued access to the many programs and course offerings that can sometimes be difficult to maintain in a smaller community so that students can continue to choose to stay in our community for their K-12 education.

The continued importance to advocate for a new gymnasium for Summerland Secondary School and the community, making sure it is always at the top of the capital projects list.

Finally, it is a priority to work collaboratively with parents, support staff, teachers, administrators, the senior leadership team and the community to provide the best possible education for all of our students.

Dave Stathers

for trustee

It is difficult to choose only one, so I will describe two.

Students in this province are faced with a brand new curriculum that focuses less on content and more on skills. In fact, the government likes to call these competencies and many courses have been formed or changed to meet this new emphasis.

It is part of a government commitment to more personalized learning and the change is challenging.

Challenging to teachers as they prepare new types of lesson plans, challenging to students who must learn to adapt, and challenging to administrators and trustees to ensure the system works in our school district. For example, new prototypes of student evaluation are being experimented with.

The change will be gradual and I believe it requires experienced, new leadership.

Secondly, it is another big contract year for teachers and support staff and we all know that last time around there were two major strikes.

I believe our local school board must take a more active role in avoiding another major confrontation with the B.C. government.

Two large unions, the BCTF and CUPE, have their contracts up for renewal in 2019 and trustees have a crucial voice.

Our schools were crippled by the conflict last time and students suffered.

Linda Van Alphen

for trustee

The biggest priority facing our students in the district is to align the new B.C. Ed plan K-12 and graduation assessments with the admissions requirements of post-secondary institutions in B.C., Canada or the world.

By the beginning of 2019, all curriculum from K-12 will be based on the core competencies of communication, creative thinking, critical thinking, positive personal and cultural identity, personal awareness and responsibility and social responsibility.

The re-designed curriculum includes; aboriginal perspectives and knowledge, flexible learning environments where students will be able to explore learning outside the traditional classroom, personalized learning, ecology and the environment and historical wrongs.

In Grades 10 to 12 students will be on the pathway to graduation through 80 credits and two provincial exams in literacy and numeracy.

Peter Waterman

for trustee

The court decision of November 2016 addressed class size and composition and resulted in the need to hire approximately 3,000 new teachers in B.C.

I want to assist in ensuring school district 67 students and in particular Summerland students receive their share of resources in all phases of their educational experience so they can realize their potential.

There must be equity across the school the school district for all students.

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