COPE Education Policy — October, 2008

CLASS SIZE

A COPE School Board Will:

Recognize that children learn better in smaller classes and that students with special needs learn better when they receive individual attention from their teachers.

Advocate for sufficient funding to allow for smaller class sizes at both the elementary and secondary level.

Advocate that the provincial government restore sufficient local bargaining to allow school boards to negotiate directly with the teachers’ unions to establish, appropriate, flexible and meaningful class size and composition limits for Vancouver students.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

A COPE School Board Will:

Advocate for the implementation of a progressive, comprehensive, province- wide system of early childhood supports, services and care in keeping with the diverse and contemporary needs of young children and families in British Columbia.

Advocate for funding of unrestricted access for all 5 year olds to all-day kindergarten classes.

Work with community organizations and groups to promote fully funded, play-based early childhood development, programs and care for 3-4 year old children that meet the needs of all families and are universally accessible. The form and content of such programs should be determined after community consultation.

Work with community organizations and groups to coordinate before-school and after-school programs to ensure the safety, security and social engagement of young children.

ENVIRONMENTAL  SUSTAINABILITY

A COPE School Board will:

Support youth participation and initiatives in the development of green programs.

Develop a targeted Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Program.

Support recycling and school composting.

Support the establishment of school gardens where possible.

Establish a VSB Bike Advisory Committee.

Develop a district approach to protect and improve neighbourhood schools.  (This includes daycare/after school care space, gyms and activity rooms that meet the needs of the school community).

Lobby for funding to build/upgrade schools that are green and meet silver/gold LEEDS standards (eg. heating and solar).

Lobby for school playground funding to remove and replace unsafe playground equipment.  (i.e. secure and boost the Annual Facility Grant).

Implement a “Students Environmental Bill of Rights”

Work closely with Toxic Free Canada to remove toxic paints and cleaning products from schools and to ensure a fragrance and allergy free environment.

Encourage and facilitate the use of alternative methods of transportation by staff, parents and students.

SCHOOL OPENINGS AND CLOSURES  

A COPE School Board will:

work to avoid school closures.  We believe that schools are vital neighbourhood centres.

We support alternate uses such as before and after school care.

Allow one full  year of advance notice to a school community when consideration is being given to closure in a specific community.

Enable full discussion and analysis with the local parent advisory committee, adjoining schools, local community organizations (i.e. day care groups, after-school organizations, etc.) and any individuals or groups that feel a potential closure would impact negatively on them.

Ensure that any decisions to close schools are thoroughly explored and examined.

Press for the accelerated opening of new, full-funded (by the provincial government) schools in the four areas of Vancouver that are in urgent need – the Endowment Lands (UBC), the Fraser Lands, Yaletown (International Village) and South-east False Creek (Olympic Village).

Press for a realistic revision of the current outdated, provincial school space policy as it affects demographics in city schools in light of the VSB’s expanded learning and care mandate.

CELEBRATING DIVERSITY AND PROMOTING EQUITY IN EDUCATION

A COPE School Board will:

Welcome, reach out and listen to all of Vancouver’s diverse communities.

Support an inclusive and comprehensive neighbourhood public school available for every child.

Work for the best possible learning environments for all students.

Encourage diversity and cross-cultural relationships in school communities.
Work to ensure schools and students are protected from corporate advertising and marketing efforts.

Support programs that meet the diverse and specific learning needs of all children.

Stop the cuts to supports for the most vulnerable students.

Improve staffing and supports for students with special needs.

Improve and expand ESL instruction and services.

Improve the learning experiences for Aboriginal students by building respectful relationships with parents, students, First Nations, and community groups.

Ensure the implementation and expansion of anti-bullying, anti-racism, and anti-homophobia initiatives.

Improve and expand interpretation and translation services for parents.

Continue to work with other Lower Mainland school boards to get adequate provincial and federal support for immigrant and refugee children and their families.

Recognize, advocate for, and meet the unique needs of, children and youth in the inner city.

Advocate, in collaboration with community organizations, for the removal of societal and regulatory barriers for children and youth living in poverty.

Support affordable and nutritious breakfast and lunch programs in schools.

Advocate for free public transit for all school aged children.

Work towards the elimination of school fees and demand the province fully fund shortfalls that will arise with the elimination of those fees and thereby limit dependence on parental fundraising which can lead to a two-tier education system.

Facilitate dialogue on issues of fundraising disparities across the city.

Advocate for the repeal of the provincial government’s law which results in the denial of  community living services to developmentally disabled adults if their tested IQs are 70 or over; advocate for improved social assistance for those on social assistance.

ADVOCACY

A COPE School Board will:

Be strong, persistent advocates for public education and adequate funding from the provincial government that meets the needs of all students in order to enhance our students’ learning environment.

Welcome and support the advocacy efforts of education partners and community members in support of public education.

Reactivate the VSB Advocacy Committee to coordinate advocacy efforts and engage education partners and community members in common advocacy.

Engage in and lend support to active campaigns to advocate for public education and adequate funding from the provincial government.

USE of  LAND & FACILITIES

A COPE School Board will:

Get seismic upgrades back on track so students are safe in their schools.

Keep in trust for the present and future children and youth of Vancouver.

Ensure any development of VSB lands for non-educational uses must take into account the community’s need for public space.

Encourage the use  of excess space to provide facilities for all types of early childhood education and child care.

Ensure any review of the use of educational facilities or land by the VSB should be done through a public process.  All up-to-date, relevant data should be collected and shared in a timely fashion.

Advocate for provincial and federal funding to complete seismic upgrading as soon as possible.

Encourage increased community use of our school facilities.

OPENNESS, TRANSPARENCY AND DEMOCRACY

A COPE school board will:

Welcome and seek out diverse parent, student, teachers, staff and community views prior to making decisions, including encouraging delegations to come to board and committee meetings.

Make public meetings of the school board a place where important issues are discussed openly and where questions from the public are welcomed.

Ensure sufficient notice and information is given of important issues under consideration to allow for proper internal and external consultation and informed trustee deliberation.

Encourage full public involvement in developing the VSB’s annual budget based on open sharing of information, an expanded timeframe for input and dialogue, and more opportunities for public, cross-sectoral discussion.

Enhance students’ problem-solving skills and sense of civic responsibility by actively supporting their right to participate in decisions that affect them at all levels of the school system.

Empower VSB advisory committees to do outreach, make recommendations as needed and become truly valued partners.

Ensure our diverse community of parents and students are aware of district policies and procedures and understand their entitlements, especially those whose first language is not English.

Promote positive labour relations and respect for employees’ collective bargaining rights

Strengthen and enhance communication with parents, PACs and community partners

Monitor and establish a transparent and accountable hiring process.

 

Board of Education (School Board) Policy