A brighter future for schools

Fully Funded Public Education

Schools as the Heart of Community

Safe and Inclusive Schools for Everyone

Reconciliation & Respect for Diversity

Student Success Through Good Governance

Sustainability In Schools

 

 

Students must be the centre of our schools, and our schools are the hearts of our communities. With every decision your Vancouver Green School Trustees will ensure that we focus on the best interests of students and that we are creating a school district that meets every student’s needs, and in particular, for our most vulnerable students.

We do politics differently. Our core values include collaboration and respect for diversity, and we will strive to seek out the voices of our students, parents and guardians, teachers, support staff, administrators, and the local community. We will take a broad and long-sighted view of public education in Vancouver to provide excellence in learning, build respectful relationships, advocate for our students, support local communities, and ensure good stewardship of our school district. By aligning our decisions and actions to the Six Core Green Principles, we will work to create the best possible education system to enable our students to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Your Greens will champion:

Fully Funded Public Education

A fully-funded public education system is the best investment we can make to create a better future for our province. After many years of limited funding, Green trustees look forward to working collaboratively with all VSB Trustees and the provincial government. We will:

  • Advocate for funding, both operational and capital, that meets our district’s needs.

  • Work collaboratively with stakeholders on creating the district’s Needs Budget.

  • Continue the district’s active participation in the provincial K-12 Public Education Funding Model Review, including increased support for special needs students.

  • Pursue the VSB becoming a Living Wage Employer to invest in our employees and the community by fostering a dedicated, skilled and healthy workforce.

  • Effectively implement the Supreme Court-ordered reinstatement of the collective agreement with teachers, and advocate to the province to adequately set the Classroom Enhancement Fund.

  • Seek provincial support to build new schools in areas of the city where there are more students than school spaces, such as Olympic Village and downtown (King George Secondary), and in the future along the Cambie Corridor, at UBC, the East Fraserlands and the Jericho Lands.

  • Ensure that the unique opportunity presented by the BC Hydro proposal does not set a precedent for the province to give no funding for new schools.

  • Refuse to vote for the sale of any school sites despite pressure from provincial government. We will fulfill the previous board decision to preserve neighbourhood sites for future generations and only consider land swaps and partial sales that would be a net gain to our school district and its students.

  • Resist any provincial government pressure to sell VSB land, such as Kingsgate Mall, to cover either operating or capital costs the province should fully fund such as seismic projects.

  • Advocate for improved maintenance funding to improve school buildings, for example washrooms, water fountains & filling stations, covered play areas, and fields. At present there is more than $700 million in deferred maintenance for VSB buildings.

  • Continue the district’s advocacy focus on Ministry Area Standards to ensure new schools provide adequate space for an excellent learning environment, especially for the new curriculum.

  • Advocate to the province for additional playground funding beyond the current allotment for one playground in a district each year.

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Schools as the Heart of Community

All Vancouver families should feel confident that their neighbourhood school is an excellent place for their children to learn, giving them the best opportunities to build their lives and communities. Schools are so much more than buildings where students learn during the day - they are places that bring communities together. Vancouver Green Trustees will:

  • Work to improve the two-way communication between the VSB and parents by better hearing what parents have to say and better sharing VSB information. We will continue to improve the VSB website and work closely and respectfully with the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC).

  • Explore all opportunities to work with daycare providers, other levels of government and partner agencies to expand childcare spaces at school sites, especially for before and after school care.

  • Support use of school spaces outside school hours by neighbourhood organizations and the community, for example by working closely with the park board or through online bookings for school spaces and fields.

  • Not sell any school sites to ensure the investment in public land is available for future generations of students. Explore options to generate capital funds for new projects through targeted development of portions of large school sites or non-school sites, including workforce housing for VSB teachers and support staff.

  • Continue the district’s review of Choice Programs, for example French Immersion, and look for additional options to support and expand these programs where appropriate.

  • Support and seek to expand art and music programs in our schools, including showcasing students’ art and performances. We will work with the city and park board to provide better access to VSB space for arts and cultural activities as outlined in the Master Joint Use Agreement Motion of April 2018.

  • Strive to provide a continuum of lifelong learning by supporting preschool programs such as Strong Start, Ready Set Learn, and Welcome to Kindergarten, as well as adult education, acknowledging the improved provincial funding for graduation classes and English Language Learning.

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Safe and Inclusive Schools for Everyone

Every student has the right to be safe at school. School safety provides a sense of security and wellbeing which is key to students’ physical and mental health and therefore their success in school. Vancouver has a very diverse student population, which presents much strength but can also present challenges. All students must feel safe and welcome at school so they are ready to learn. Working collaboratively with all levels of government and stakeholders we will:

  • Accelerate the seismic projects such that all Vancouver schools will be safe by 2030; there are more than 60 schools that are not yet seismically safe.

  • Ensure we have safe drinking water for all our students. We will immediately review remediation work to date and develop a plan to remove all lead from water pipes. We will work with the province to upgrade facilities and with school communities to ensure they are informed.

  • Support wellness and mental health initiatives for all students, teachers, support staff and administrators and in particular address the increase in stress and anxiety experienced by many students.

  • Work closely and collaboratively with the Vancouver Police Department to support students in making good choices at school and in their community.

  • Support access to food programs for vulnerable students as any hungry student will struggle to learn. In April 2018 the board asked staff to report on the steps to be taken and costs associated with a district wide plan to address food security and healthy eating through food programmes in all our schools. Green Trustees will take action on this report, so that no child goes hungry and every child eats healthy.

  • Support English language learners, Multicultural Liaison workers, and family support programs to accelerate student success.

  • Work to ensure a robust teacher/support staff on call list so that classroom absences will be fully covered.

  • Continue the implementation of the guidelines for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities (SOGI) Policy, monitor their success, and look for improvements.

  • Continue the successful SACY (Supporting and Connecting Youth) program to advance substance use prevention and support students who are impacted by the opioid crisis.

  • Continue to support the Active Routes to School partnership with the City, ensure action plans are implemented, and seek to increase the number of schools participating each year.

  • Seek funding and partnerships to provide cycling safety education in all schools that request it.

  • Continue to work with the park board to coordinate the appropriate use of school grounds and adjacent parks by dog owners.

  • Focus on excellence in our district: in student success, in support for all staff, and in all district operations.

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Reconciliation & Respect for Diversity

We have only just begun on our journey of reconciliation and much more needs to be done. Green Trustees will put a renewed focus on improving two-way communication with local First Nations and the urban Indigenous Peoples for this reconciliation journey and for recognising the impacts of our colonial past. Our city is very culturally diverse and Green Trustees will strive to ensure our policies and their implementation will honour this richness and strength in our community. We will:

  • Seek to enhance Indigenous students’ sense of belonging in our schools and address barriers to student success. We will increase knowledge, appreciation, and respect amongst all Vancouver students for Indigenous cultures and their contributions.

  • Continue to support and enhance Xpey’ Elementary, the VSB’s Indigenous Focus School.

  • Continue to ensure our district works with the Jordan’s Principle service coordinator to access appropriate services for Indigenous students.

  • Learn from other successful districts, like Sea to Sky, and work collaboratively with staff, teachers, and community members to improve the learning outcomes for students, with a focus on addressing the needs of our diverse Indigenous population.

  • Improve two-way communication with local First Nations - Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh - and urban Indigenous Peoples by learning protocol and working more closely with councils and community organizations.

  • Encourage and support student- and teacher-led cultural education in the classroom that reflects and honours the makeup of individual schools and their broader community.

  • Support the district’s revision to the school naming and renaming policies to enable better representation of the city's historic multicultural heritage and the board's commitment to reconciliation.

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Student Success Through Good Governance

Green Trustees will strive to promote student success through good governance, acting with integrity and staying true to the Six Core Green Principles. We will pursue budget stability and transparency as parents and voters need to know that the district’s funds are being spent wisely. We will put an emphasis on long-sighted planning as our decisions today can and will have an impact on children for generations to come. We will:

  • Lead by example and embody the values of integrity, respect, and collaboration both in and out of the boardroom. We will ensure a safe and respectful workplace for all employees as well as for all students and their families.

  • Continue to update and be informed by the VSB’s five-year strategic plan to improve student success.

  • Continue to update and improve the VSB policy manual to ensure there is a strong framework for the district that is readily understood by all.

  • Ensure that the board develops strong, respectful relationships with other levels of government.

  • Work with the provincial government to create stable, multi-year funding for school districts and plan multi-year district budgets.

  • Look to multiple sources of data to provide evidence for decision making.

  • Explore the best ways to measure student success - academically, in the core competencies, and in developing engaged citizens.

  • Set up every student for success as they transition from K-12 education to work, entrepreneurship, or post-secondary education, including trades and apprenticeships.

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Sustainability In Schools

We must work towards making our schools more environmentally sustainable and educate our students about environmental sustainability. Vancouver Green Trustees will:

  • Implement the VSB Environmental Sustainability Action Plan, by following the principle that education is our leverage. We will support student and teacher initiatives, and make our efforts lasting.

  • Work with the provincial government to allow the district’s provincial carbon taxes to be directly applied to locally administered carbon-reducing sustainability projects. This money could be used in Vancouver without the administrative costs of the provincial program.

  • Explore options to implement energy and cost saving projects in Vancouver’s schools, such as solar panels on school roofs, that would enable short to mid-term cost recovery.

  • Work with the provincial government to enable sustainability upgrades in conjunction with seismic upgrades.

  • Strive to protect, restore and improve heritage school buildings.

  • Explore ways to strengthen the connection students have with growing, preparing, and eating food, for example by supporting school gardens and food-related community partnerships such as Think & Eat Green. Most schools already have space set aside for garden plots; Green Trustees will support the ongoing efforts of planting and maintaining these spaces.

  • Support student- and teacher-led initiatives to increase access to the outdoors, both on school grounds and in the community.

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