Motion – Live Streaming Meetings

I submitted the following motion to be heard at the December 4th meeting:


There have been past motions from previous boards which have been passed  to record all open board meetings and yet they have not been implemented even though many other boards and cities have stepped up to improve transparency and accountability to the public.
The Board of Education SD 40 has five new trustees and it’s time for our school district to make transparency and accountability a priority by using technology to give everyone the opportunity to access to all open board meetings at anytime.

To improve transparency and accountability, I recommend that the Board of Education of School District No.40 (New Westminster) commit to live streaming all public board meetings by directing staff to assess the feasibility of implementation and report back to the Board in January at our Operations meeting.

Motion – Requirements for High School Graduation

Motion for Joint Education and Operations Meeting – November 13, 2008

I put forward the following motion:

During the civic election campaign process, at the District Parent Advisory Committee all-candidates’ meeting, a student-drafted question was put forward to all trustee candidates.  The question was:

There are many High School students who are not able to get into the courses they need to ensure they get into University. Universities do not recognize many of the elective courses that are offered at NWSS. How would you advocate for high school students to get into courses they need to graduate and go directly to University, without having to take extra online courses?

In addition to their enrollment at NWSS, a good number of our senior-level students said they were compelled to enroll in on-line high school courses elsewhere in order to satisfy standard university eligibility requirements. It is concerning to hear from students that our high school did not offer the required academic courses in a capacity sufficient to meet student graduation transcript needs.

To better understand the extent of the situation and make any needed changes for the 2019 graduation class,  be it therefore resolved that the Board of Education, SD40, receive a report from staff outlining the situation and what will be done to ensure that NWSS students can meet their graduation requirements by taking NWSS courses.



I am really gratified to be elected as an independent in a heavily dominated Labour Council endorsed Board. To me it means there is a real appetite from the voters for a new perspective to round out some challenging priorities facing SD40.

There are a number of priorities I continue to be focused on such as music programs in our schools, transparency with the new New Westminster Secondary School and establishing a Queensborough bus program for students travelling to NWSS. I know how big these aspirations were. I am pleased to say we are seeing progress.

Music in our Schools:  I consulted with various schools around their existing musical programs and was surprised to learn there was no music program at all at the Queensborough middle school.

What came out was a win for the students and residents in New Westminster. With their newly funded part-time band teacher, the school was able to offer a band program to students. The student band performed its first concert in 2017. We know from research, students who participate in extra-curricular activities are more likely to stay in school, so it was wonderful to see there was so much excitement and interest in the music program.

The New High School: The announcement for a new $106.5M state-of-the-art NWSS was met with much excitement.  I committed to doing everything in my power as a trustee to keep the project as transparent and as accountable as possible.

Through the provincial government, Partnerships BC was appointed to manage the community consultation process. Two community consultations were held in November – December 2016 and February-March 2018.  The following priority areas were discussed:

  • Timeline (which is currently set for September 2020)
  • Design elements
  • Outdoor spaces
  • Pedestrian and cyclist access and amenities
  • Student pick-up and drop-off areas.

Click here for ongoing updates on construction.

I will continue to work for more resources to be allocated to extra-curricular programs, additional space for the physical education program, and reinstating the program for international students (funding from this program was used for school programs and initiatives.)

Queensborough Bus System:  I heard from many students and parents in the Queensborough area, and the need for a dedicated bus system for students there commuting to NWSS is vital.

I put forward a motion to survey the parents and two surveys were sent out (online). The survey taught us parents wanted the service, but it has to be affordable. I was glad to see the process inspired many parents to start their own petition to the School Board with specifics around the bus system they would like to see. I hope to work with my fellow trustees to create a viable solution for this growing part of our city.

As I became more immersed in the intricacies of being part of the Board, I gained a better understanding of what the needs and concerns are from our parents and students. I believe we are here to serve them and their voice is the most important one at the table.

They tell me:

Our schools are overcrowded. Overcrowding in Queensborough schools in particular have long been unviable. In elementary schools, almost half of students are in portables. We have portables on school sites with no washrooms. And, there are some strong sentiments around adequate green space for students with new housing developments in the area.

Kids taking part in extra-curricular activities stay in school. New Westminster has had some strong programs in the past and I would like to see us re-evaluate resources dedicated to music, arts and athletics programs at every school level.  Promoting a full educational experience for students that not only includes the classroom but also extra-curricular activities that are accessible to all students. The Hyack Football program has been a tremendous success at providing engagement and a complete educational experience for all involved, at very little financial cost to the school district. Similar models need to be created in other extra-curricular programs within SD40.

Teachers need more resources. Our classrooms are growing, our student demographics are changing, we need to listen and respond to our teachers. They are the front line leaders to a diverse and complex group of students and we need to give them what is required to succeed especially now when we are implementing BC’s New Curriculum.

Give our students a voice. I have long supported having a student attend our Board Meetings as a student trustee. We can’t legitimately say we are working to help our students if we aren’t giving them a seat at the table.

Success comes from many perspectives and voices especially when we have to find creative solutions for challenges we face. The most important thing is we share a common goal: the current students and future students of New Westminster.