TVDSB Candidate: LeeAnne Hopkins

Kelly’s note: Re – # 3 – I emailed LeeAnne to clarify that the “French” board she is referring to is actually Catholic, and thus not a viable option for many of the kids attending public French Immersion at the TVDSB. I also clarified that WCI offers high school FI.

1) What is the greatest strength of the TVDSB?

     My first initial response was not too sure.  It’s hard to see a strength between all the current issues within the board.  With more thought, I would say it has to be the frontline staff within our schools.  Whether it be teachers, EA’s, ECE’s custodians, etc.  These dedicated individuals continue to adapt to multiple changes within the school year, deal with lack of resources and support to strive to provide the best educational experiences for our students.  

2) What is the greatest weakness or failure?

    There’s a few to pick from, so here’s my top 3:

        – the lack of proper governance;

        – poor relationships between board members, staff and communities (there is lack of trust at all levels);

        – being able to provide across the board, a well rounded programming for all learners to strive in their strengths and interests.

3) Do you value French immersion or specialty programming? If so, do you have any solutions for protecting it?

    I’m not going to lie, I waver with this one.  I can see on the oneside where there is a need and like other programming this provides an avenue for students to be challenged and provide opportunities for further development and future choices. Maybe my waver in support for this programming is from my limited knowledge of the program and that there is now a French board.  Though I do believe these schools are facing the challenges to accommodate growth within the area.

     Doing a little bit of research on the French immersion programming offered within the board, before responding to this email, I’m uncertain how these students within the French immersion program are supported once leaving the elementary schools.  From my knowledge and what is on the board site, it doesn’t seem to mention that there are specific Secondary schools that offer this programming, like seen in the elementary schools.  Though stated they offered it up to grade 12.  Therefore if not a smooth continuation of programming the gains seeked may be lost.  Possibly you could provide a little more insight?  My other concern is the availability of qualified teachers to teach such programs, if there was the need or want for more of this programming could it be fully supported with qualified teaching staff and resources?

   Another thing I would like to add and it goes with your comments earlier in your email about accommodating growth, is that we need better relationships not only with the communities, but with the municipalities that these schools are in.  Having this relationship allows the board with better insight needed for planning as the municipalities can provide information on future planning/growth within their communities and the demographics to come up with a better plan to accomodate for growth.  This is not being done currently and these issues will continue to occur until others like myself stand up and promote this working relationship. It will not be an easy task as this part of things also heavily involves the provincial government.

4) What is your experience (volunteer or paid) in the school community?

     – Before becoming a parent and a teacher working for a board, I would volunteer at my local schools with their reading programs and I continued until I reached full time employment (4 years);

     – I spent 10 years teaching in a public board other than TVDSB;

     – Once I had children attending school I joined our Home and School group, where I took on the roles of Volunteer coordinator (3 years) and President (2 years);

     – I was the chair for the Zorra Local School communitte, which was a sub-committee within Zorra Township (3 years).

     – I continue to try and volunteered for food days, events at the school like farm safety days, parent-teacher nights, school trips and within classrooms;

     – Lastly, attending board meetings and community meetings that have been held.

5) What do you think is your biggest asset in running for trustee?

     The biggest thing is my passion to serve others and my community.  Next, is my willingness to learn (I’ve already been doing PD on good governance for a school board) and make connections with those I represent.  I have said this to many in past conversations, which is, I can not do my job well without knowing my communities I represent.  My other assets would be in general that I am an ambitious, hard working individual that is willing to have tough conversations, ask questions and listen with hopes of coming up with the best possible solution for our students and communities.

6) How do you plan to cooperate with the rest of the board/advocate for Oxford County? What will make you more successful than our previous trustees?

    As I have mentioned earlier, establishing good working relationships regardless of our differences is key in cooperation with the board.  I have over the last couple weeks met with educators and other trustee candidates to gain insight and establish a rapport that will be helpful in moving forward.  I will continue to establish these relationships if elected.  I believe that being able to respond to emails is not good enough.  I plan, if elected, to make sure I am visible in the community schools within Oxford by attending events hosted by the schools, Parent council and/or Home and School committee meetings, attending community events outside of the schools, as well as, attending municipal meetings.  Yes, I know that’s some time commitment and there will be conflicts with other commitments, but to the best of my abilities I will try to make stronger connections and these are just some of the avenues I will accomplish this task.

    Lastly, another thing that I feel I will be more successful at than previous is being prepared, so I can make the best informed vote when they occur at the board meetings and/or provide the best input to policy changes, programs and other matters involved in the role of trustee.  I don’t take the decision to run lightly and I’m not a person that likes going into something without feeling prepared.  Hence, my mention of my light reading on school board governance earlier.   

7) Anything else you would like to add?

   I realize I’m not going to have all the answers and this first term is still going to be a big learning curve, but if I don’t know the answer I will ask and/or find information to be able to do so.  I’m ready for this role and to be a stronger voice for Oxford county.  

I encourage you to check out my facebook page for more information on myself, as well as my current approach in trying to educate others about the role of a trustee, importance in voting and school board news.  [Leeanne Hopkins – Oxford County TVDSB Trustee Candidate

1) What is the greatest strength of the TVDSB?

     My first initial response was not too sure.  It’s hard to see a strength between all the current issues within the board.  With more thought, I would say it has to be the frontline staff within our schools.  Whether it be teachers, EA’s, ECE’s custodians, etc.  These dedicated individuals continue to adapt to multiple changes within the school year, deal with lack of resources and support to strive to provide the best educational experiences for our students.  

2) What is the greatest weakness or failure?

    There’s a few to pick from, so here’s my top 3:

        – the lack of proper governance;

        – poor relationships between board members, staff and communities (there is lack of trust at all levels);

        – being able to provide across the board, a well rounded programming for all learners to strive in their strengths and interests.

3) Do you value French immersion or specialty programming? If so, do you have any solutions for protecting it?

    I’m not going to lie, I waver with this one.  I can see on the oneside where there is a need and like other programming this provides an avenue for students to be challenged and provide opportunities for further development and future choices. Maybe my waver in support for this programming is from my limited knowledge of the program and that there is now a French board.  Though I do believe these schools are facing the challenges to accommodate growth within the area.

     Doing a little bit of research on the French immersion programming offered within the board, before responding to this email, I’m uncertain how these students within the French immersion program are supported once leaving the elementary schools.  From my knowledge and what is on the board site, it doesn’t seem to mention that there are specific Secondary schools that offer this programming, like seen in the elementary schools.  Though stated they offered it up to grade 12.  Therefore if not a smooth continuation of programming the gains seeked may be lost.  Possibly you could provide a little more insight?  My other concern is the availability of qualified teachers to teach such programs, if there was the need or want for more of this programming could it be fully supported with qualified teaching staff and resources?

   Another thing I would like to add and it goes with your comments earlier in your email about accommodating growth, is that we need better relationships not only with the communities, but with the municipalities that these schools are in.  Having this relationship allows the board with better insight needed for planning as the municipalities can provide information on future planning/growth within their communities and the demographics to come up with a better plan to accomodate for growth.  This is not being done currently and these issues will continue to occur until others like myself stand up and promote this working relationship. It will not be an easy task as this part of things also heavily involves the provincial government.

4) What is your experience (volunteer or paid) in the school community?

     – Before becoming a parent and a teacher working for a board, I would volunteer at my local schools with their reading programs and I continued until I reached full time employment (4 years);

     – I spent 10 years teaching in a public board other than TVDSB;

     – Once I had children attending school I joined our Home and School group, where I took on the roles of Volunteer coordinator (3 years) and President (2 years);

     – I was the chair for the Zorra Local School communitte, which was a sub-committee within Zorra Township (3 years).

     – I continue to try and volunteered for food days, events at the school like farm safety days, parent-teacher nights, school trips and within classrooms;

     – Lastly, attending board meetings and community meetings that have been held.

5) What do you think is your biggest asset in running for trustee?

     The biggest thing is my passion to serve others and my community.  Next, is my willingness to learn (I’ve already been doing PD on good governance for a school board) and make connections with those I represent.  I have said this to many in past conversations, which is, I can not do my job well without knowing my communities I represent.  My other assets would be in general that I am an ambitious, hard working individual that is willing to have tough conversations, ask questions and listen with hopes of coming up with the best possible solution for our students and communities.

6) How do you plan to cooperate with the rest of the board/advocate for Oxford County? What will make you more successful than our previous trustees?

    As I have mentioned earlier, establishing good working relationships regardless of our differences is key in cooperation with the board.  I have over the last couple weeks met with educators and other trustee candidates to gain insight and establish a rapport that will be helpful in moving forward.  I will continue to establish these relationships if elected.  I believe that being able to respond to emails is not good enough.  I plan, if elected, to make sure I am visible in the community schools within Oxford by attending events hosted by the schools, Parent council and/or Home and School committee meetings, attending community events outside of the schools, as well as, attending municipal meetings.  Yes, I know that’s some time commitment and there will be conflicts with other commitments, but to the best of my abilities I will try to make stronger connections and these are just some of the avenues I will accomplish this task.

    Lastly, another thing that I feel I will be more successful at than previous is being prepared, so I can make the best informed vote when they occur at the board meetings and/or provide the best input to policy changes, programs and other matters involved in the role of trustee.  I don’t take the decision to run lightly and I’m not a person that likes going into something without feeling prepared.  Hence, my mention of my light reading on school board governance earlier.   

7) Anything else you would like to add?

   I realize I’m not going to have all the answers and this first term is still going to be a big learning curve, but if I don’t know the answer I will ask and/or find information to be able to do so.  I’m ready for this role and to be a stronger voice for Oxford county.  

I encourage you to check out my facebook page for more information on myself, as well as my current approach in trying to educate others about the role of a trustee, importance in voting and school board news.  [Leeanne Hopkins – Oxford County TVDSB Trustee Candidate www.facebook.com/advocateforruraled

Thank you again for your time.  Again I will extend the offer to meet with you to discuss things further.

Best regards,

Leeanne Hopkins

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