Seleena Reid is among the group of eight candidates seeking the Ward 6 and Puslinch seat on the Upper Grand District School Board.
1) In 100 words or less, what’s your main reason to run for school trustee?
I am running for School Board Trustee because I believe in the benefits and opportunities that public education provides for our children and youth. I want to help ensure that we continue to allocate resources for programs that engage not only the minds of our students but for programs that keep them physically active while encouraging critical thinking. With a growing population, we need to develop programs that make not only the newest members of our community but all members of our community feel safe and included.
2) What is the role of school board trustee as you understand it?
The main role of school board trustees is to help facilitate student’s wellbeing and achievement by making decisions and creating policies that benefit all students. Additionally, boards set budgets and are available as a resource for parents to turn to if they have issues or concerns regarding their child or their school.
3) How do you think the relationship currently stands between the Ontario government and your school board?
The relationship between the Ontario government and all school boards at the moment appears to be strained given the recent changes to the Health and Physical Education and Indigenous curriculum. Our school board will continue to support our youth`s voices and will support teachers that are educating students not only in the required curriculum but by providing additional resources and information students need in order to develop healthy relationships.
4) The mental health of young people is a growing priority; how will you help ensure that schools get the resources they need to address this important issue?
Society as a whole is getting better at supporting individuals with mental health issues. Initiatives such as #sicknotweak and Bell’s Let’s Talk day are shining a light on this important issue. Today’s youth are much more accepting and willing to talk about their struggles with anxiety or depression and I am looking forward to working closely with the other trustees to make access to mental health resources a priority for all our students.
5) Guelph will continue to grow in the next 20 years, where and when should the priority be for new school construction?
With the extensive development that is currently under review for the Clair Maltby area, plus the development that has occurred over the last few years, it easy to assume that the South End will continue to see rapid population growth and expansion.
Thankfully the new South End High School will help alleviate the capacity issues at all our high schools, however, there will likely continue to be a need for additional elementary schools.
6) While mayor and council candidates talk about city infrastructure, let’s talk about the infrastructure of our schools. How do our school buildings fare? Are they accessible enough? Are there enough resources to address repairs? Et cetera.
Based on my research and what I have seen in Ward 6, our schools are in excellent condition. I cannot comment on whether there are enough resources available but I will advocate to ensure that all school renovations, additions and improvements will be done with accessibility as a priority.
7) What can the school board do to give teachers the resources to improve how students learn in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses?
Research shows that play-based learning enhances learning outcomes and teaches children skills relevant to the 21st century. Applying this model to the STEM/STEAM curriculum would help make sure that both students and teachers are engaged with the specific subject. We need to ensure that teachers are well trained and providing input on what resources they need to help make students successful.
8) What’s an example of something that Guelph schools are doing well versus schools in other board jurisdictions?
I think Guelph public schools have done a great job with respect to anti-bullying campaigns and instituting a zero tolerance policy. They have created anonymous tip lines and teachers are willing to listen to students if they need to report any issues. While many boards have taken a similar approach, it seems that very few take bullying seriously when it comes right down to it.
Additionally the partnership with Guelph Police to develop the Youth Engagement Program has been a huge success.
9) FRENCH IMMERSION: If you’re running in the Upper Grand District School Board, how do you think the board has handled the pressure of demand for French Immersion? If you’re running in the Wellington Catholic District School Board, should the board be looking at developing its own French Immersion programs to help relieve the pressure?
The UGDSB has made strides in trying to accommodate the huge demand for the French Immersion program. Expanding the program to accommodate more students isn’t as simple as hiring additional French teachers. Unfortunately, there is limited space and limited qualified teachers available. One way to relieve the pressure (both on space and staffing) could be for the WCDSB to create its own French Immersion program. By working together, we could advance the program for the benefit of all students.
10) There’s a political question about dissolving the Catholic and separate school board system and creating one school board, what’s your opinion on the issue?
I do support the idea of amalgamating the two boards into one. The Public school system teaches diversity and inclusion in ways that the Catholic system cannot. Additionally, sharing infrastructure and resources, administration, teachers and knowledge gained from experience makes sense.
11) Is there an issue concerning education or public schools you feel needs more attention? What is it, and why?
I think it is important to equip our students with life skills. Critical thinking, curiosity and nutrition, along with hands on skills, such as trades and cooking. Having funding available to help meet these needs would be an area that I would look at.
12) For someone that doesn’t have kids in school, why should they care about who’s running for school board?
School board trustees have such a large impact on how and where funds are allocated. By voting for the trustee of your choice, regardless of whether or not you have children, will have a direct impact on the direction of the board and thus the resulting education for our future generations.
13) Where can people learn more about you, or your campaign, and how can they get in touch with you?