Friday, February 15, 2008

Ward Meeting #1

On Wed, Feb. 13, I held my first ward meeting, with the kind cooperation of Ross Sheppard High School's principal, Jennifer Lawley. 15 people came, which was a nice manageable number for the initial meeting. I circulated a survey asking a number of questions about the future format of the meetings. It was wonderful to have this dedicated crew help me to decide the shape of meetings to come.

The consensus was: 3-4 meetings throughout the school year, 2 hours in length, a portion of the meeting would be a set topic (topics determined by group input), the remainder of the meeting would be open for discussion on any item. The length of time for the set agenda item would depend on the participants' engagement and interest level... however, it would not exceed one hour. Childcare would be provided at all meetings and the meetings would move around the ward. The Principal at Jasper Place High School has already kindly offered to host the next meeting!

Once we'd agreed on the shape of things to come, we spent the rest of our time together discussing items of concern. Everyone brought something valuable to the conversation. I heard about: school closures, inclusion of special needs students, the importance of public engagement, PATs (standardized testing) failing to recognize the brilliance of auditory and spatial learners, bus ride times, site based decision-making, the need for open communication, etc. We started a great conversation around the question: What is public education? What does it stand for? I also heard what people expect of me as their trustee and what their hopes are for our District.

Thank you to everyone who joined me on Wednesday. I was honoured by your presence and inspired by your comments.

The next meeting will be in May and I will be sure to give everyone more advance notice.

No comments: