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COLLEEN MCFADDEN: WHY I AM RUNNING FOR SCHOOL TRUSTEE - BY-ELECTION NOV 26

by Colleen McFadden, November 10, 2011

 

TESTIMONIAL
 
"I met Colleen in 2007 when she was leading a group of parents focused on building a new gymnasium for Queenston School. This was community action at its finest and I was immediately taken by Colleen’s drive and commitment. As the direct result of her efforts, a new gym will be built. This is what we need more of in public office and I wholeheartedly endorse Colleen's candidacy for School Trustee"
 

 

-David Asper

WHY AM I RUNNING?

I believe that communities, all levels of government, schools and families should all work together to better the educational experience and facilities for our children and our communities.
I believe that decisions related to the school system need to be driven by best choices for children.
I am not the type of person to sit on the sidelines and complain. I prefer to take action and initiate change. I am passionate about my beliefs, and I have put that passion to work while working together with others to achieve a goal. I know how to get things done in the school system, and I can put that knowledge to work for the students, teachers, and parents of our Ward.
As a parent and a volunteer I have worked hard for the best interests of not only my children, but all the students of Queenston School. As a Trustee, I can continue doing that for all the students in the Ward.
MY ISSUES
Hearing from residents of the Ward about what is important to them is essential, but I also believe that the expectations of elected officials include leadership on issues.
My main concern is to ensure that our education system makes the best choices for our children. The issues I believe are important, which will be dealt with over the next few years, are:
  • ACCOUNTABILITY
  • ATTENDANCE AND GRADUATION RATES
  • SERVING THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
  • COMMUNITY FACILITIES
  • SCHOOL DIVISION BOUNDARY REVIEW
ACCOUNTABILITY
I think of two issues with respect to accountability: “no fail/no deadlines” (accountability for our students) and standardized testing (accountability for our system).
  • No fail: we do not do our children any favours by advancing them a year where they very possibly will continue to be challenged and could face further failures and frustrations. We need to trust and support our teachers as professionals in their decisions in the classroom. With support for the students we can create respect for our education system at all levels and create the foundation for ultimate success with our children.
  • No deadlines: we also don’t help our children by failing to enforce reasonable deadlines. It does not properly prepare them for the work force; it places an unnecessary burden on teachers, and it sets students up to fail if they continually defer projects until the very end. On a sports team, children learn important lessons about accomplishment, responsibility and consequences for actions and decisions - why should the school system be any different?
  • Standardized testing: I believe that standardized testing helps enforce a standard across the school system and provides valuable information for individual schools, to help hold teachers, administrators and Trustees accountable to the standards set for them.
ATTENDANCE AND GRADUATION RATES
The real issue is how to make a child value getting an education, and value getting high marks over low marks. Crucially we have to find a way to reward the ‘A’ with something that the student perceives as a reward, while motivating all students.
The school as an institution cannot do that without a strong and supportive family standing behind the child. It is a cliche but nonetheless true that children are our future. It is also true that the key to this future are happy homes with loving parents who set high expectations. Children are a critical part of the future of our community, and their successes will become our successes. We need to help children become net contributors to our community and society.
Schools also play a crucial role in raising happy and productive adults. As a Trustee, I can help schools do this well.
I believe that schools need to provide (a) opportunities to learn; (b) a safe environment for learning, and (c) reasonable and appropriate services for kids with disabilities.
SERVING THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Parents of children with special needs know their children best and need to be intimately in
 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.