Name: Graham Evan MacDonell
Party affiliation (if any): None
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts [Journalism], teaching certificate
Occupation: Professional Genealogist
Political experience: School trustee, Surrey School District – 1978-1979
Residency (city/neighbourhood): Abbotsford
Abbotsford Genealogical Society – 2002 – 2004, 2011 to present
MSA Museum Society – 2014 to present
Fraser Valley Heritage Fair Judge and Presenter, 2013 – 2014
Culture Days – MSA Museum Society –
Marital status/children: Two adult children; seven grandchildren
What do you feel are two key education-related issues Abbotsford voters should be considering when choosing trustee representatives in this civic election?
As excerpted from the British Columbia School Trustees Association website, the role of a school trustee is the following:
“British Columbians elect their Boards of Education to improve student achievement according to the diverse needs of these communities. (Education-related issue number one.)
As locally-elected representatives, the trustees best understand their respective communities’ particular strengths, challenges and demands.
Trustees engage their communities in building and maintaining a school system that reflects local priorities, values and expectations. (Education-related issue number two.)
School trustees listen to their communities; guide the work of their school district; and, set plans, policies and the annual budget. (Trustees challenge number one.)
Reflecting the strength of local representation, boards report back to their communities on how students are doing; boards are directly accountable to the people they serve. (Trustees challenge number two.)
Why, and what would you do to address these issues?
Regarding education-related issue number one, Abbotsford School District’s Board of Education needs to attend to a recent drop in student achievement in a number of areas as shown by the “District Plan for Student Success”, and needs to put measures in place to fulfil their role:
to improve achievement for all learners (with two objectives);
to improve graduation rates (with six objectives)
When it comes to Abbotsford students’ provincial exams results, the Plan addresses student achievement deficiencies and areas for improvement in a number of subjects, including Reading, Writing and Numeracy.
Regarding education-related issue number two, Abbotsford trustees need to engage more with their community partners in building and maintaining a school system that reflects local priorities, values and expectations.
Recent concerns on this issue are in funding, resource allocation and more support for special needs students and communicating more effectively with parents such as over the length of the school break and with District’s teachers on their position regarding the impact of a strike.