The following questionnaire was sent to all New Westminster school trustee candidates a little over a week ago. Questions were selected based primarily on comments from readers of Tenth to the Fraser collected via Twitter and Facebook, with a few of my own questions added in. Responses are published in the order they were received. Spelling/grammar are not corrected and candidates’ responses are published unedited.
1. First, let’s hear a little about you:
- What’s your name? – Jim Goring
- Do you have kids in our school system? – Both children attended K to 12 one has graduated one is in Grade 12
- What do our schools do well? – Our schools do many things well including inspiring, challenging and including all our children
- What is the biggest area (aside from building schools) that needs improvement? – One that is in our control is Communication
- What education-related idea or issue is most important to you personally as a candidate? – We must explore how we will engage children and teachers in the future. We need to make the right choices very soon so that we can attract and retain students and teachers.
2. How do you think schools could improve engagement and communication with parents and the broader community? Select all that apply.
- Use social media to reach out to parents and the broader community
- Increase frequency of public consultation opportunities
- Expand public consultation beyond parents of school aged kids to include those with preschool kids and concerned community members
- Improve collaboration/trustee involvement with parent advisory councils
- Develop communication protocols and plans
3. Why should residents who don’t have children care about school board issues?
Public Education has an impact on the quality of life in our community in ways that benefit all, creating good citizens, supporting democracy, providing employees some who become employers.
4. Which of the following statements most closely represents your views on bottled water in schools?
Provide students and the public that uses the school with choice including filling stations and aggressive recycling.
5. Assuming it is possible within our district’s budget, should New Westminster expand programs of choice to include sports academies (hockey school, for instance)?
First we need to consult on how we should evaluate programs of choice so that our decisions can be thoughtful, transparent and right the first time. We should evaluate current programs against this model to ensure they correlate. Adjust the model if necessary. We may also decide to alter the current program. Then we need to look at what programs are out there, not just the last presentations, gauge public interest and support for the likely candidates and apply the model.
6. What will you do to expedite building the new schools?
I moved a motion [2010-274] that we strike a community task force to develop and evaluate strategies to reduce the time it would take to build the three schools. As soon as we have an approved project agreement I would commence the consultation process plan.November 9, 2010 – Capital Project Schedule Moved and Seconded by Trustees Goring and Graham: THAT the Board of Education of School District No. 40 (New Westminster), upon approval of the Project Agreement for the three schools, commit to a public process to examine the timelines for the construction of the three schools; AND THAT the process provides detailed information about the projects and allows for input and ideas; AND THAT the public be invited to comment on the ideas and rate the acceptability of the suggestions; AND THAT the process would start no later than two months after the approval of the Project Agreement; AND THAT the process would not interfere with the commencement or timeline of the individual School Design Committees. CARRIED. Trustee Atkinson Opposed.
7. Would you support prioritizing the construction of the new high school before the other new schools planned for the district?
There is no need to delay the start of the elementary school. The preparatory work that needs to be done on the NWSS Site will take some time. We could have the other schools started and at least one completed while the NWSS work proceeds.
8. What should be done with tiny Hume school?
There is process of school closure /consolidation and it involves consultation over a set period and a decision at the end based on all of the consultation and the Report of the Superintendent. We have gone through such a process recently and the board voted unanimously to proceed with the current review / study to examine ways to grow the school and I am committed to support the Community’s efforts.
9. What more do you think schools could do to improve the health of children? (physical activity, healthy eating habits, etc.)
With the time and resources available there is only some much that can be done. We do not want to increase one important activity if the result is the decrease in another important activity. The challenge may be to increase interweaving where appropriate so that multiple objectives are accomplished in each activity. The collaborative curriculum design processes in SD40 should enhance the opportunity for this to happen.
10. What do you think of the idea of expanding the use of school facilities to act as satellite community centres in neighbourhoods that lack such amenities? (For example, offering recreational programming outside of school hours or offering free space for nonprofit groups to meet, such as residents’ associations)
Great idea, I support it. We work closely with Parks and Recreation now to share spaces. With the Neighbourhoods of Learning space in new schools the community services will increase. We need to be mindful of cost, benefit and liability.
For more information on Jim Goring, you can find him online at http://jimgoring.ca/.