The North Delta Reporter sent school trustee candidates a list of six questions to gauge their positions on some of the major issues in the 2018 civic election campaign. We gave candidates a limit of 400 words total to answer. Here’s what independent candidate Melody Pan had to say:
(Note, all candidates’ answers have been edited for length, clarity and to conform with Canadian Press style, as required.)
1) Why are you running for school board?
I am skilled in project development (e.g. policy making), curriculum development according to learners developmental stage with reliable evidence and data analysis to evaluate project to ensure best intended outcome and budget. With my educator, nursing lens, my critical thinking and leadership skills, I will have a fresh pair of eyes to look into the education system from a new angle.
2) What, in your view, is the job of a school trustee?
I believe the most important role as a school trustee is to ensure making the decision in the best interest of education and the children. Obtaining adequate funding and making responsible expense budget plan are also primary role of a school trustee. Advocating for teaching staff and students for equity is essential role.
3) What are the biggest challenges facing students today and what will you do to help kids to overcome them?
Mental health issue and discrimination are the biggest challenges. With my critical thinking and nursing lens, I notice there are many discussions around one of the curriculum that nursing professional should get actively involved. Nurses are the expert in understanding how to deliver health-related education to children according to mental and physical developmental stage. I will suggest the school trustee to obtain nursing consultation on any children health-related teaching and utilize nursing profession into health-related education. I would recommend curriculum on mental health and leadership to address those issues in the long run. Also, we should hire more counselling staff to support students mental health needs.
4) What is missing in our schools (for students as well as staff) and how do you plan to address those shortfalls?
Education on mental health and leadership are two key components missing in our education system. Both components have significant impact on students’ success in their life: self advocacy and for others as a leader, etc. I would strongly recommend creating curriculums to teach more knowledge on mental health and leadership.
5) Many issues that come before the board boil down to a question of money: how/where best to spend the funds allocated to the district by the Ministry of Education. Do you think that the district is adequately funded by the province, and if not, how will you advocate for more money for Delta schools?
I support spend funds to hire more teachers and support workers, repair and maintain school facilities, and create curriculum on mental health and leadership program. Speaking about funding from the province, I do not think the province did a good job. I was actively involved in saving Steveston old school site in Richmond 2014 to save the five-acre green space attached to the site. I want the province to do their job and fund school board sufficiently so the board does not need to close schools and sell the property. I think school property rental over the weekend might be one of the options. We can also seek public donation (e.g. local hospitals and university also have similar foundation or alumni to generate donations).
6) Barring additional funds from the province, how can the district best cover budget shortfalls or pay for projects/programs on its wish list?
Pan did not answer question 6.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.