As newly-elected Sandy Watson prepares to assume her position as Thornhill school trustee for the Coast Mountains School District board, she says her goals remain the same as when she first became involved in education.
“My goal has always been the same and that’s advocating for parents, advocating for students… so that we are sending kids out into the real world who are ready,” said Watson in an interview days after winning the election for the vacant trustee position.
“We’re not raising kids, we’re raising adults, and what kind of adults do we want to see leaving our school system? Personally, I want to see well-rounded and capable and confident adults going out… and it is a lot on the schools to prepare our students for the real world.”
Watson said her two top priorities within that are getting more parents involved and engaging students.
Her plan is to stay involved at schools as a volunteer, attend Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meetings, post on Facebook about school matters, and talk to and encourage parents.
To engage more First Nation families, she wonders if the school could hold some meetings on reserves.
“I know it has been tried in the past and turn out has been low, but I don’t think that means we stop doing things like that, and trying to bring in those families that don’t often step foot in the school,” she said.
Watson wants to encourage teachers and administrators to make schools feel safe to parents, through activities such as hosting movie nights at the schools, which draw families in so they get familiar and comfortable with the space and teachers.
She also wants to encourage ways to make school fun and engage learners in order to improve grad rates.
She says early literacy and numeracy are key, as well as making primary and elementary school fun because then ”there is a better chance they are going to want to go to school later on.”
“I think the schools are doing a really good job of that,” Watson said, referencing food and sports and after-school programs at Skeena Middle School.
“Let’s keep it going and what can we add to that? … Let’s get creative,” she said.
Watson was voted in last Saturday, Jan. 9, by 73 Thornhill area residents who cast their ballots at the Thornhill trades centre.
Watson will be officially sworn in with a brief ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 27 at the Board Education Office in Terrace BC.
The public is being encouraged to attend.