Vancouver by-election: NPA platform commits new schools, support for teachers, end to bullying

THE NPA’s five school board candidates released their five-point platform on Tuesday that includes building new schools, improving support for teachers and expanding arts and music programs for students. The NPA platform also includes strengthened support for vulnerable and gifted students and a commitment to uphold the district-wide code of conduct to end bullying and harassment.

“The NPA will build new schools in our growing neighbourhoods, ensure all schools are seismically safe and improve support for educators who are our most valuable resource,” said NPA candidate Lisa Dominato. “The NPA’s five-point platform puts students, parents and educators first through good governance, ethical leadership and responsible stewardship of school board resources.”

The NPA’s five school board candidates include Dominato, Robert McDowell, Julian Prieto, Christopher Richardson and Fraser Ballantyne.

The platform consists of five overarching pillars:

  1. Ensuring a safe, welcoming work environment where bullying and harassment are not tolerated.
  2. Building new schools and ensuring schools are seismically safe.
  3. Supporting ongoing professional development of teachers, administrators and all educational staff.
  4. Strengthening support for vulnerable and gifted students.
  5. Enhancing language, arts, music and Aboriginal programming.

“As a language teacher, I understand the importance of ensuring that our education system serves Vancouver’s multicultural society,” said Prieto. “We commit to expanding language offerings, supporting the arts and music fields and increasing aboriginal programming.”

“Vancouver is behind neighbouring cities in seismically upgrading our schools,” said McDowell. “The five NPA school board candidates will make sure upgrading happens as quickly as possible and make seismic upgrading a priority.”

“Investing in teacher’s professional development and student learning is investing in our students,” said Ballantyne. “With the influx of over 450 new teachers and 50 new principals and vice principals, the board needs to provide value added support so that the transition over the next year can be as seamless as possible. The NPA will ensure all educators and administrators are valued, respected and provided with the optimal working environment in which to teach students.”

“It is essential that we ensure that students who are vulnerable and gifted receive the appropriate interventions and supports as early as possible,” said Richardson. “In addition, specific access to related professional development opportunities for our teachers, administrators and other educational staff will better ensure successful interventions and supports for every learner.”

Earlier this month, the NPA school board candidates signed a pledge to end bullying and harassment in the workplace in light of the recent Goldner and WorkSafeBC reports that identified systemic harassment at the Vancouver School Board by trustees, resulting in senior staff taking leaves. The Vision Vancouver trustees continue to hide and ignore calls to un-redact their names from the reports and have called anti-bulling initiatives “silly”, the NPA said.

This platform offers a vision for the future of the school board where the best interests for students and educators comes first.