Inclusive schools key issue for Walker

We asked all the School District 57 Board of Education candidates to fill out a questionnaire so you may get to know them a little better. We will be running their answers between now and election day.
 
Corey Walker
 
Why are you running for trustee for School District 57?
Corey Walker is seeking a spot on the School District 57 board of education.
Corey Walker is seeking a spot on the School District 57 board of education.

I am running to push for inclusive schools, with equal opportunities for all learners, to reduce bullying, and to ensure that all staff, student and parents’ voices are heard at the board table.

What do you think is the single most important issue facing School District 57?

The biggest issue facing the district right now is the challenge they’re facing in recruiting more staff, especially specialty teachers.

What do you see as the main role of the School District 57 board of trustees?

The primary role of the School District 57 board of trustees, is to make decisions that ensure each student has an equal opportunity for success in our public schools.

Do you support the current sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) curriculum in schools? Why or why not?

I do support SOGI. While I recognize it’s controversial, I support it because I feel that all students in our school need to feel safe, supported and included. Being a child is difficult enough these days, without students feeling marginalized, isolated or unsafe in schools. When delivered properly, SOGI is about teaching respect and acceptance for all students, regardless of the differences each student may have from his of her peers.

How will you ensure that rural schools are adequately funded, and represented?

My plan is to establish a long term plan for rural schools, by involving all our stakeholders and partners, including rural parents, rural school staff, community associations and the Regional District. I want to explore ways that rural schools can generate revenue after hours by having them double as social and recreational hubs for their respective communities. We have to pay for utilities and maintenance even when school is done for the day/week/year. Let’s work with our rural communities and partners, to more fully utilize our schools all day, every day, and in doing so, to share in the costs of running them. In terms of representation, I think we need to hold board meetings in regional locations other than Valemount, McBride and Mackenzie, so that there are opportunities for the entire board to visit these rural communities, and to see what shining stars these rural schools are. We also need to check in with our rural communities regularly, to keep abreast of any concerns and issues. Doing these things is a good starting point to ensure greater rural representation. Also, the new ward system is also going to help because there will be at least trustees from rural areas on the board at all times.

If you have one pet project you would like to accomplish as a school trustee, what would that be?

My big pet project would be to see that all students’ unique learning needs are accommodated, with resources being distributed based on need, so that students with special learning needs can get the supports they so desperately need, but aren’t always currently receiving.

What do you bring to the board table that no other candidate does?

I think the fact that I live with several disabilities every day (autism, OCD, Tourette’s Syndrome and ADHD) gives me a unique perspective and first hand knowledge of what it’s like to go through school with special needs and limited supports. I was also bullied a lot as a student, so I know first hand the pain that comes from that as well.

Recruitment and retention of teachers and support staff is an ongoing issue. What are your thoughts on ways to keep the district properly staffed?

I think we need to establish a recruitment task force that involves parents, teaching and support staff, as well as community members, administrators and trustees. By incorporating the voices of many, we will get a broader perspecctive and certainly come up with some creative ways to recruit new teachers that weren’t previously thought of.

How will you try to ensure public education funding for School District 57 increases?

By being a thorn in the Minister of Education’s side, and by constantly advocating the Provincial Government for more funding. We need to leverage the power of media, including social media from parents, students and school staff, to drive home the message about how important proper education funding is.