✓ I will help improve the relationship between schools and parents.
✓ I will help improve Students’ academic and psychological, developmental
and behavioral assessment
✓ I will help improve support to students’ special education
1. Help improve communication between schools and parents and between teachers and students
Especially with regard to the newcomers and those marginalized. Language barrier is one of the main challenges that schools and parents/students have. Schools need to increase their efforts and find best ways to solve it.
2. Help Improve school psychological, developmental, behavioral, and academic assessment again with regard to newcomers and those with language barriers.
Academic and psychological, developmental and behavioral assessment of students must consider many factors when it is applied to those who are new to Canada, new to the Canadian School system and to the culture. Schools need to take into account that special added support is needed for those academically disadvantaged students to keep up with their peers and to diminish the achievement gap between them. Some children need to make up for lost schooling in basic skills. A child entering Grade 3 after having missed much of the previous two years may not be able to read and may have missed the opportunity to learn or solidify basic mathematical literacy.
Similarly, Schools psychological, developmental and behavioral assessment need also to be careful when students (and their parents) have none or little knowledge of the English language. To have minimally trained interpreters (in some cases interpreters may be just family members) will not be appropriate for an accurate assessment. Inaccurate assessment will have a lasting impact on the child and the family.
School assessment need also to consider students background, their cultures and customs, and their relational behaviors. In order to be fair and accurate assessment, it is imperative that schools start considering to have internationally trained psychologists who can easily understand why a child from a particular geographical area act and behaves in a way that is not acceptable for the school and the staff.
3. I will help enhance Relationship Pedagogy of teachers and increase their awareness of cultural differences.
Relational pedagogy centers in the relationships, interactions, communication and interconnection of teachers with their students’ sociocultural context to enhance and extend children’s learning and development. If our schools begin to prepare their teachers to practice relational pedagogy, they will be able to focus not only on the transition of knowledge and skills, but also on the quality of their interactions with students to develop classroom communities that promote academic, social, and emotional growth. Our schools are populated by students who come from different corners of the world. They all come with their unique educational, cultural, and religious baggage which may be completely new to the teachers and to the school system. This calls schools to increase the awareness of their teachers to cultural and other differences. Studies on Relational Pedagogy show that to have the most successful teacher-student relationship required intention on the part of the teacher to be caring and devote time to the relationship-building aspect of learning.
4. I will work to increase fund for schools to enhance their special education programs.
This is crucial when you consider that some of their students with special needs have
many different barriers: lack of sufficient English language being the main challenge, it surely hinders accurate assessment and makes special education programs less effective. Children with special needs have different requirements, especially when it comes to classroom learning. Schools need to develop specific skills and strategies to deliver effective programs.
5. I support diversity that is well informed and educated.
Educating people on the advantages of diversity is key. I believe that it is important to focus on productivity, creativity, engagement and depth of skills. Schools need to talk openly about discrimination (be it systemic or profiling) in terms of students’ poor performance and mental health issues and need to review policies and workplace practices that may be perpetuating all forms of biases.
To promote this approach, I work to increase funds to schools to improve cultural competency of their staff; to learn about the differences within their school communities; to encourage them to ask their students and staff to share their customs and practices. The fund will serve to invite expert speakers, to enroll their staff in courses and professional developments.
Why should the community support me?
Given the reasons I have mentioned above, I believe the community understands the urgency of the matters and the need to have future Canadians academically well prepared and to prepare strong citizens: socially and emotionally.
If elected, my top priorities will be:
1. Increase fund to support schools to develop a better system of communication with parents, understanding that parents are important in the well-being and education of their children.
2. Help schools to recruit and hire internationally trained educational, developmental, and behavioral psychologists.
3. Improve the system of enrollment of newcomer students and the academic assessment of the minorities and the marginalized.