The Flamborough Review’s Catherine O’Hara recently gave all the school board trustee candidates in Flamborough an opportunity to respond to some questions related to education in our community. The following are my responses to her questions.
Reason for running: I want to ensure that we maintain both academic excellence and a robust Catholic environment to inspire our students to be the best they can be.
Why should residents vote for you: Through my life-long involvement with this Catholic School Board coupled with my real-world experience in community-building and government relations, I will bring a fresh perspective to the education sector, the Board and to your school community.
Q&A 1 – What do you feel is the top issue affecting education in Flamborough and what is your strategy to tackle this issue?
School bus shortages continue to plague our schools across both Boards. The transportation consortium clearly has failed to effectively serve our students. As your Trustee, and with the support of my colleagues, I will direct the consortium to provide a comprehensive analysis of the service levels, complaint resolution process and budget to allow both Boards to explore options related to the agreement that will bring greater accountability to student transportation services. It is imperative that all stakeholders – Board officials, student transportation providers and ratepayers – be involved in collaboratively developing workable solutions.
Q&A 2 – What are your plans to bolster mental health supports in local schools?
Our children and teens need a supportive and safe environment to promote good mental health. As your Trustee I will encourage programs that promote regular physical activity, outdoor activities and a supportive faith environment – all proven elements for positive mental development in children and youth. It is also important for children to be involved in after-school activities that boost their self-esteem and self-worth. Sports, clubs, coding, robotics and other after-school activities can be effectively delivered using school facilities and in partnership with parents, local businesses, community organizations and the parish community.
As Ward 12 & 13 Trustee, I will fully support our Board continuing the strong relationship our schools have developed with the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services. Finally, it is important that our teachers and staff are provided with appropriate supports to maintain good mental health. Faith development coupled with a comprehensive employee assistance program are imperative for good personal mental health as well as a healthy classroom environment.
Q&A 3 – With areas of Flamborough growing at a fast rate, how do you plan to solve for the accommodation crunch?
Through my experience with the City of Hamilton, I am very familiar with the growth projections for the city and its constituent communities. When the Waterdown area began its rapid development, I was very engaged as a parent representative on one of our school’s accommodations committees and presented as a delegation to the Board to encourage the building of a new school. Since then, I have been very pleased with the reasoned and visionary approach the Catholic Board has had in anticipating resources required for growth in Flamborough and other areas. I am confident that the Board’s administration is appropriately planning for growth in key areas across Hamilton and I intend to be diligent to accommodations issues and ensure that appropriate planning continues.
It is very important that the Board is aware of accommodation issues and equally important that ratepayers are informed of planning for student accommodation in our communities. As a communications professional, I know the importance of all stakeholders to be informed and engaged in decisions that affect all involved now and in the future. I plan to provide regular updates to ratepayers and will advocate for meaningful consultation when important policies and decisions need to be made.
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