We need high quality schools so that every student gets the support they need.
We need to focus on what matters most.
Things like smaller class sizes, more after-school programming, and a focus on inclusive, accessible education that leads to better outcomes
Together, we can build a stronger education system and a brighter future for the next generation.
We all know that kids do best when they get more attention in the classroom. More one-on-one time with teachers and EAs means students can get the help they need and make the most of their time at school.
However, class sizes in St. James have been too large, and with too few supports. Some schools share only a small handful of EAs among many classes, and with growing class sizes, many kids just aren’t getting the support they need.
We need to keep class sizes down, and ensure that kids who need extra help have the Education Assistants they require.
As Trustee, I will work to ensure class sizes in St James are kept low, and ensure that at a minimum every class has an EA to provide assistance.
Parents in St James have some great French Immersion options to choose from when they send their kids to school. I attended a francophone university in Quebec, and understand the value of adding immersive language to education.
As our community becomes more diverse, and to recognize and support our new immigrants and indigenous communities.
I believe a Ukrainian language program similar to the program currently in place in the Seven Oaks school division would be a welcoming hand to our new Ukrainian neighbors.
An Ojibwe bilingual program would also allow our students to connect to their culture and help build appreciation and understanding among our students.
As Trustee, I will work to strengthen our French Immersion program, and a explore adding new language arts programs like Ukrainian, and Ojibwe.
We need to improve and maintain our local schools, ensuring our communities have walkable local schools for decades to come.
As Trustee, I will never vote to close a local school, and will push to improve recreational space, and maintain our current schools.
Having a place to go after class keeps kids busy, and helps make life more affordable for families by reducing daycare and extra curricular costs. Youth centres and after-school programming give kids more opportunities to get involved in their communities, while having a safe place to spend their time when the school day is over.
We need programs like Youth Activity Centres to keep kids busy and productive after school and before supper. Meanwhile, Heritage Language after-school programs would help the division connect students with different cultures and learn new things.
These are services that exist elsewhere in the city, and make communities safer, and life more affordable.
Breakfast programs are a great way to ensure every kid has what they need to succeed in school.
By opening schools a little earlier, and having nutritious breakfast options available, we can make sure that parents don’t need to worry that their kids are falling behind because breakfast was skipped.
As Trustee, I will support the creation of a school breakfast program and afterschool programs in the division, including extending gym hours into the evening, drop in sports programs and heritage language programs.
As the mother of a child with unique learning needs, I know firsthand what many families already know across St. James. The St. James School Division has lagged when it comes to supporting alternative needs.
Students thrive when they have an opportunity to do what they’re passionate about and be a part of their community. For some students, they are able to meet those goals in a traditional classroom environment. For others, a one-size-fits-all experience is not always the right answer.
Programs like reading recovery have been capped, and unable to help all the kids who should have access. While EAs in classrooms make a huge difference in education outcomes, we simply don’t have enough to provide the assistance that’s required.
As Trustee, I will work to expand options for alternative education and ensure that St James offers educational opportunities for everyone in our community looking to pursue their secondary education.
Every student should make it to class safely, no matter how they plan on getting there.
We know that giving kids more options to walk or bike to school is critical to increasing the health and wellbeing of our students, and reducing the stress of the morning drop off.
Many students would walk to school if parents felt it was safe. Unfortunately, for too many students, walking or biking to school means crossing busy streets or cycling on or across dangerous roads with fast-moving car traffic.
As Trustee, I will push for walking school buses, and active transportation paths from our communities to our schools to help kids get to school in safer, healthier way, while reducing traffic in front and surrounding schools during morning and afternoon drop off and pickup.
Copyright © 2022 Elect Fiona Shiells, School Trustee, St. James School Division - All Rights Reserved.