CATHOLIC School Trustee Candidate Response Form (Responses)
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TimestampEmail AddressNameWardIf elected, how will you champion the Early Years in your governance work on the Edmonton Catholic School Board?How will you support your Board’s current initiatives focused on young children and their families?Do you have any new or different initiatives to propose that will improve the early childhood development results for young children? If so, what are they?
9/6/2017 6:54:17dposa1@outlook.comDan PosaWard 72It is imperative that children get off to a strong start at Edmonton Catholic Schools and I fully support providing teachers with the resources they need to do this. We also need early and immediate intervention when we know a child is struggling with a learning disability. Having strong supports for kids right from the start creates a path to long term success for our students. I say "start early, start right!"The 100 Voices program is an initiative that I fully support. It ties into research stating that early intervention is critical for student success.I would like to see more testing completed at earlier ages to quickly diagnose potential learning and developmental issues. Early diagnosis and professional, caring intervention before the age of 6 years will make a world of difference to many kids.
9/9/2017 21:36:08glenargan@shaw.caGlen ArganWard 75I applaud the Edmonton Early Years Coalition for continuing to bring to public attention the importance of early childhood education. There is no question that children who receive the benefit of supportive, nurturing environments fare much better throughout their lives. The NDP, in the last election campaign, promised to introduce full-day kindergarten, a promise it has been unable to implement due to the decline in government revenues. Full-day kindergarten would be an important development in that it would provide universal access to early childhood education.
Yet, if the province’s economic fortunes change and this promise becomes realizable, it will be important to ensure that all-day kindergarten be designed in a manner that best promotes the long-term development of creative and critical thinking.
I also believe the results of the 2014 Early Childhood Development Mapping Project, which showed that 29 per cent of kindergarten-aged children in Alberta are experiencing great difficulty in at least one of five areas of development, ought to be given special attention. What more can be done to overcome that lack of development?
Further, I would be willing to meet with your coalition to hear and discuss the solutions you offer.
Edmonton Catholic Schools’ 100 Voices program which promotes the learning through play of three- and four-year-old children is a program which deserves continued support. If I am elected a trustee, I would like to learn more about this program and the benefits it provides.Serious attention should be given to the Finnish model of early childhood education in which children do not begin formal schooling until they are seven, partake in 75 minutes of recess per day and are involved in daily vigorous exercise. Children in Finland under age seven are entitled to subsidized, quality daycare. Play and physical fitness have been shown to be important components in intellectual development. I am partial to the belief that emphasis on maximizing each child’s joy in learning would best serve the long-term development of the child.
9/13/2017 21:33:46minaangotti72@gmail.comMina AngottiWard 72Like the foundation of a structure in design, the Early Years initiative is the foundation of life-long learning for a child. Edmonton Catholic is a strong, proactive leader in Early Education. An outstanding example of that is the very successful 100 Voices program. To assess the learning strengths and challenges of a child is instrumental for our students so that they have the best possible chance of effective outcomes. I plan to champion the Early Years program by supporting its growth and listening to the needs of the students and families in the program.When we look at the success of Early Years, I will ensure, with the support of Board members, that funding will continue to be available for its viability and growth. Families in the early stages of child development need to have resources that support and educate them so that they are enabled to navigate the strengths and challenges of their children. It centers around evidence-based learning, and on effective and collaborative communication with parents. Although I am not an expert in the field, as a mom, I realize the importance of understanding at an early stage, what is effective for each child. The more accurate the assessments are, the greater the chance of meaningful learning. I look forward to engaging conversations with experts to facilitate what is essential for a child’s early development and supporting the resources that are required.
9/22/2017 18:12:23gbj1@me.comGabrielle JohnsonWard 74There is no doubt about the importance of the early childhood years and as trustee I would work to promote the awareness of the priority of early childhood development for motor function, socialization, and cognitive skills alongside the Edmonton Early Years Coalitions. I will also promote a wholistic view of learning as a life-long process, with the goal of helping students to become intelligent, well-rounded adults kept in mind from their earliest years. The Edmonton Catholic Schools 100 voices program provides early learning opportunities for children (along with their pre-school outreach programs and family programs). As trustee, I would like to learn all that I can about these programs and promote a spirit of adventure in early learning for Edmonton Catholic students, in ways similar to the Genesis School that Edmonton Catholic currently offers, to provide children with engaging learning opportunities in non-traditional settings. I would like to see the programs intended to promote early childhood development become ever more discovery-oriented. Young children should be allowed the autonomy to pursue interests, use their imagination, and initiate the process of growth, maturation and learning in ways that they find intuitive, in ways that work for them.
9/22/2017 20:26:20info@terryharris.caTerry HarrisWard 71I can and will speak to the importance of these from a foundation of lived experience. As a parent of a child (now young man) with autism, I understand the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. They made all the difference in the world to my son.
Also, I have been active in the autism community for many years and know that my impressions of the importance of this work is commonly held by families in similar circumstances. This work can be life changing for the child and is a life line for families in need.
Fully and unequivocally, through words and action.I would support continuing research into best practices and support efforts to adapt and apply these in our district and community. Further, I would support efforts to connect with global centers of excellence in this field, building relationships with the intent to become a global center of excellence in early childhood diagnosis and development.
9/28/2017 19:09:25alenem@telus.netAlene MutalaWard 75I feel that Edmton Catholic Schools are very successful with their Early Learning Programs that they offer. They address the needs of the whole child and are faith based. They include certified teachers, early learning faciltators, mad many specialists. The programs integrate fine arts and are rich in oral language opportunities. I will advocate for this programs to continue and lobby the government for more money to support the early learning programs as they give our young and disadvantaged children a chance to catch up experience success when they enter Grade 1.As a former teacher I know how important these Early Learning Programs are and I am in full support of all of Edmonton Catholic Programs. I appreciate the programs that help the parents and the families. The parent nights are important as the provide help, learning opportunities and support for the parents. I will advocate for these programs to continue and as a trustee make sure that enough funding is made avIlable for these programs. Edmonton Catholic Early Learning Programs address the needs of the whole child and other school boards are envious of our programs. We need to continue to focus on the mental health of the students and parents as some our immigrant families and refugees have have experienced traumatic situations.
10/4/2017 0:08:54jeffery.jw.lee@gmail.comJeff LeeWard 73When it comes to the Early Years, there is Administrative Procedure 210 Early Childhood Services. “The District supports early childhood education programs for children of eligible age. Enrollment in early learning programs is based on Alberta Education funding criteria and the School Act. The programs will reflect District goals and objectives while adhering to the goals, objectives and program dimensions as outlined by Alberta Education.” AP 210

As trustees, its important to work collaboratively with all levels of government, community, schools, parents and children to continually re-visit, practice, or revise policy to make effective and meaningful change when it comes to early learning.

As trustees, we should not marginalize specific groups of children. Children are the most vulnerable. All children need a voice and they need to be all equally important. All children need to be treated equally regardless of race, creed, color, sex and many more.

Again, it’s important as a board we continually re-visit and ensure best practice when it comes to policy. There are current policies in place such as Administrative Policy 210 “Early Childhood Services”, Administrative Procedure 160 “Commitment to Inclusive Communities, Policy 18 “Commitment to Inclusive Communities” and Policy 20 “Student Voice” that ensures all children are treated equally and they all have a voice.
There are current policies in place that addresses the needs of all children. It’s important as a board we recognize the policies that are in place. We must continually re-visit these policies and making sure they are in best practice. If not, we need to all come together from all levels of government, community, schools and homes to solve the issues together to either revise or make new policy.

We must also recognize society is constantly changing therefore societal needs are constantly changing. As trustees, all we could do is address current issues as they arise.
10/6/2017 13:25:53mjarcilla@yahoo.comMara Jan SuchyWard 71As a parent of a three year old, the Early Years of her education is very important to me. Therefore, I have and continue to do my research to see what is offered in the the Catholic Schools within my area for her age.
Out on the campaign trail, I am finding that there is a disconnect between parents, teachers, administration and the board. In order to find out how to improve what is already in place, we need to be able to open these lines of communications.
If elected to this post, I would do the same for Early Year education as I am doing for my daughter. I would visit and research the current programs that are offered within the Catholic elementary schools in my ward. Speaking with teachers, principals, and parents to see what is working well and what needs changing.
As a parent of a young child looking for pre-kindergarten education, I am truly invested in supporting the Catholic School Boards current initiatives. By visiting with parents, teachers, and principals, any issues and successes can be discovered.
As I mentioned previously, open communication is the way to ensure viability of an policy and allow for pertinent changes to occur if necessary.
To support the current board initiatives, trustees needs to be the voice for the parents, teachers, and principals. Trustees needs to bring those concerns and successes to the table in order to know how to improve policies.
Speaking with parents, one concern that has been brought up is for elementary schools to offer full time kindergarten in more schools. Not all Catholic elementary schools offer full time kindergarten. Having this option would help many working parents.
Speaking with kindergarten teachers and principals as to what is needed to offer full time kindergarten is the beginning. To find out what is lacking: is it teachers? facilities? is there even interest from the parents to offering this?
To speak frankly, I feel all my answers have one common denominator: the need for communication and a voice for parents, teachers and individual administrations. In order to continuously make improvements and keep Early Learning at the forefront, we have to be able to all meet at the same table to continue and improve current programs and to be able to solve any problems positively.
Thank you.
10/10/2017 12:26:49campaign@kristinyeg.comKristin HeimbeckerWard 77Education doesn't begin at kindergarten and I have a keen interest in bringing Early Education to every school in Edmonton. There is no question that early intervention is key to help children reach their full potential. I have worked with the Early Years Coalitions of Alberta for 3 years to build awareness about the important role each and everyone of us play in the lives of young children. I will continue to champion Early Years in my work as ECSD Trustee, highlighting the need for mandatory early screening for all children and allocating more funds to developing early education opportunities. Currently the Edmonton Catholic School District has early education opportunities available for children with identified needs which is a great start. Many children though don't get the opportunity for screening until they reach the school system at 5, which means they missed the opportunity for early intervention. I will work to bring a more universal model of early education within the school system and lobby for more attention to be paid to kids before they enter kindergarten. I will advocate to include child care spaces within schools to alleviate the strain of having a career and children. Incorporating child care into our schools will also allow for community development and encourage young children to become comfortable in a school setting. I also will champion full day kindergarten for all children which would allow more time for interventions in the kindergarten year and ease the difficult childcare problems that come with 1/2 day kindergarten.
9/19/ Debbie EngelWard 74I believe early learning is the key to long term student success. Early Learning has been a focus of the work I have done on the Board and will continue to be if I am re-elected. We know that early learning is a great indicator for future success. Long-term benefits of Pre-Kindergarten & full-day Kindergarten include improved literacy and linguistic, social, emotional, and physical development . Stunted growth in any of the aforementioned areas become risk factors in socio-economically vulnerable children.  Edmonton Catholic offers several Pre-Kindergarten programs, including “100 Voices” and “Little Bethlehem.” We also have an Early Learning Mobile Unit (EMU), which is a classroom on wheels, to assist in cases where parents of pre-school-aged children need help, but cannot come to our Early Learning Centre. The EMU allows us to take the Early Learning Centre to them. These programs are primarily funded through Per Unit Funding (PUF) grants given to children facing developmental challenges. I have been most supportive and involved in the development of these programs, and will continue to do so. I speak of their benefit to those with the power of the purse strings on a regular basis.Earmarked funds to support full day kindergarten programming, especially for vulnerable students. The government must make good on their funding commitment.  Mandatory universal assessment of children by age 30 months in order to identify children at risk of not achieving to the highest level of their potential, and setting them up early for success.  Space is a problem in our District.  I would like to see more partnerships with city facilities (Rec Centres) to provide space for early learning classrooms.
09/26/ Kara PelechWard 77Research clearly supports the value of investing in the early interventions to benefit student’s success. This investment is crucial now especially in terms of the overall cost.  We must also have better access to early learning interventions for those that require it most. Stronger position in advocating to our government is needed. With the 100 voices is an excellent program and I will continue to support the Multi Disciplinary Early Learning teams. Genesis has such an impactful program that not only provides development for teachers but also see the value in having family programming for children and their families. Working with our partners in continuing the partnerships with community groups and the government to create opportunities that prepare children for formal schooling. Creating opportunities to engage in collaboration across ministries to guide the development of an integrated early learning approach. Supporting the districts Goals in that Every student is successful.
I hope to bring to the Board the importance of early learning. I truly know the benefits that a program like 100 Voices has to offer. However, we need to be aware of the cases where the child doesn’t meet the requirements of acceptance, I know that funding is provided if the child meets certain requirements. It is the child that doesn’t get the funding but would still benefit from the program greatly. There is still a gap in the needs of the child and the cost of the program in most of these cases the cost is to significant for the family to cover. We need to be able make this available to the ones that require it most. K to 1 students are very diverse learners and there should automatically be an education assistant in the classroom. We should keep the maximum class size to 20 in those grades. These classrooms should have adequate supports in the classrooms, not only with human resources but material resources. Ensuring that each school has the essential resources, such as Level Literacy interventions, classroom libraries, ect.
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