An Accountability Letter to my constituents on my term 2017-2021
Ben Calf Robe-St. Clare K-9 Replacement school
I have been honored to serve as your elected Trustee for Ward 73 since 2017. I am now in my last year of a 4 year term and have been working hard to fulfill the promises I made in initially seeking election. I want to give you a brief report of some key accomplishments aimed at fulfilling these three items:
- Advocacy for the continuance of publicly funded Catholic education,
- Building Bridges between Home-School and Parish to better support our students
- Commitment to working for a united board faithful to Catholic teaching and good governance.
I know it's all about relationships, so I made it my first priority to propose, and now Chair, a Community Engagement Committee which has developed an intentional advocacy and engagement plan building vital communication links and cooperative
St. Francis of Assisi playground
relationships with parents, school councils, union groups, elected officials (Trustees, City Councillors, MLA's and MP's), parishes (both Roman and Ukrainian Catholic), GrACE, and other Catholic groups and institutions connected with Catholic education. This was a game changer as the new Board pulled together in a united effort to fend off those who were calling for a single school system and worked to rebuild the excellent reputation of Edmonton Catholic Schools. Together, we have navigated difficult waters, the death of our beloved Superintendent Joan Carr, hiring a new Chief Superintendent, Robert Martin, and doing our best to keep a steady hand through significant changes in government funding and the challenges of educating during a pandemic.
Edmonton Catholic School Division is one of the largest in the province with 98 schools and two new ones on the way in SW Edmonton. In my own Ward, we have been successful in advocating for a Ben Calf Robe-St. Clare replacement school, and built five new school playgrounds with two more in the works! We successfully advocated for a new North End High School which will relieve the pressure on Archbishop O’Leary High School. The purchase of a new administration building will bring the Division significant cost savings that will be directed back to classrooms.
The next term
It takes time to understand the complexities of a large school Division with approx 43,00 students and 5,000 employees and to build relationships that will make it even better. Having completed a first term I am in an excellent position to build these further. One of the key relationships that is relatively undeveloped is that with our parishes, we need an ongoing plan for communication so that those most invested in a genuinely Catholic education can be engaged in its development and defense, when necessary. We are also continuing an initiative to review our local schools, to ensure a balance of programming and optimal utilization of school spaces. I believe I can ably represent my constituents' views in this as I have established relationships with all 16 schools, their School Councils and associated parishes and pastors. I will continue to be faithful and active in upholding and sharing all that the Catholic Church teaches, Christ is the source of unity, truth, goodness and beauty that Catholic schools seek to transmit.