VANCOUVER SCHOOLS ARE BETTER WITH COPE

2005 COPE School Board Platform:
A Record of Success and a Plan for the Future

Vancouver wanted an alternative to the con-frontational approach of the Non-Partisan Association
and the NPA’s ineffectual opposition to provincial funding cuts. School Board Trustee Allan Blakey.

COPE School Board Trustees have a record of a success and a plan for the future. COPE Trustees adamantly support public education and have generated great pressure on the provincial government to properly fund the needs of all Vancouver students. Quality public education is dependent on additional funding from the provincial government and COPE Trustees will continue to work hard and advocate for every child so they can benefit from a challenging, supportive and safe learning environment.

Since the election of a COPE majority to the Vancouver School Board, COPE Trustees in collaboration and cooperation with parents, students, teachers, administrators, support staff and community groups have sustained, developed and enhanced critically important public education programs. COPE Trustees will continue this process of meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders to help make the most informed local decisions, and continue to bring our communities’ voice to the attention of key decision-makers in provincial and federal government. Vancouver voters need to elect a strong, autonomous local school board that can best represent their children’s interests – a COPE board.

The Vancouver School District is one of the largest and most diverse in BC. COPE Trustees understand that inclusive schools are good for students, their families and the community. Supporting every school’s capacity to enhance student learning means creating environments that value the contributions of every staff member. Support and respect for teachers and restoring staffing levels are crucial ingredients in making our schools better able to respond to the needs of every student.

There is always more to do to defend and improve public education in Vancouver but COPE School Board Trustees’ record over their last three years shows that progress can be made.

In just three years, the COPE Vancouver School Board has:
* Reduced class sizes in Grades 4 to 7;
* Increased funding for textbooks;
* Helped win back $150 million in provincial funding for all public schools;
* Stopped $3 million in provincial cuts to inner city schools and our most vulnerable children;
* Supported and reached out to Vancouver’s diverse communities;
* Restored multicultural workers cut by the previous NPA-controlled Board;
* Expanded access to All-Day Kindergarten in a number of schools;
* Funded the expansion of Eric Hamber Secondary School and built Elsie Roy Elementary School;
* Negotiated with the City and the Province to expedite the building of new schools at UBC, Fraser Lands, International Village and South-east False Creek;
* Increased the number of First Nations Support Workers and Special Education Assistants;
* Increased efforts to eliminate bullying, racism and homophobia in our schools;
* Set policies that offer healthy food choices in schools and establish schools as advertising-free zones;
* Introduced a consultative budgeting process;
* Brought parents, teachers, students, and staff together to work through tough issues and build a common, inclusive vision for public education in Vancouver and;
* Recruited one of the country’s most respected educational leaders as Vancouver’s Superintendent of Schools – without using an expensive headhunting firm.

COPE’s goals of quality public services, livable neighbourhoods and social and environmental sustainability are being met and enhanced through the School Board’s dynamic and critical role.

COPE’s School Board Trustees truly care about kids and public education and have made education the cornerstone of all Vancouver neighbourhoods over the last 3 years – their record proves that!

On November 19th, please vote to re-elect the COPE School Board – our public education system in Vancouver depends on it!

QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES

A COPE SCHOOL BOARD WILL CONTINUE TO BE EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES FOR STUDENTS BY:
* Defending public education while advocating for increased funding from the provincial government, including highlighting the needs of inner city schools;
* Working towards the elimination of school fees;
* Working to ensure schools and students are protected from corporate advertising and marketing efforts;
* Providing affordable access to school facilities for childcare programs and;
* Advocating for free public transit for all school-aged children.

A COPE SCHOOL BOARD WILL CONTINUE TO IMPROVE LEARNING BY:
* Working to further reduce class size where needed;
* Improving and expanding ESL instruction and services;
* Supporting the expansion of All-Day Kindergarten programs;
* Increasing support for school libraries;
* Increasing availability of contemporary textbooks and resources;
* Supporting academics, fine arts, additional languages, physical education, career and trades programs, and social and environmental responsibility;
* Supporting programs that meet the diverse and specific learning needs of all children;
* Supporting programs that respect the diverse cultures of Aboriginal children and;
* Advocating for the elimination of inappropriate use of standardized testing.

A COPE SCHOOL BOARD WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT AND IMPROVE FACILITIES BY:
* Working to ensure there is a neighbourhood school available for every child;
* Promoting environmentally sustainable renovations to schools and playfields;
* Advocating for provincial and federal funding to complete seismic upgrading within 10 years;
* Maintaining public ownership and control of our schools and board owned lands;
* Co-operating with the City of Vancouver and Heritage Vancouver in maintaining, where possible, the heritage features and character of our schools and;
* Encouraging increased community use of our school facilities.

EDUCATION:
PART OF A LIVABLE NEIGHBOURHOOD

A COPE SCHOOL BOARD WILL CONTINUE TO PROMOTE EQUALITY IN EDUCATION BY:
* Supporting comprehensive and inclusive neighbourhood schools as a priority;
* Working with other Lower Mainland school boards to get more provincial and federal support for immigrant and refugee children and their families;
* Improving interpretation and translation services for parents;
* Improving the learning experiences for Aboriginal students by building respectful relationships with parents, First Nations and community groups;
* Providing appropriate staffing and supports for students with special needs;
* Advocating for improved support and removing barriers for children and youth living in poverty;
* Supporting affordable and nutritious breakfast and lunch programs in schools;
* Ensuring the implementation of anti-bullying, anti-racism, and anti- homophobia initiatives established over the last three years and;
* Working to increase the number of First Nations Support Workers, Multicultural Workers, Youth and Family Workers and Special Education Assistants.

A COPE SCHOOL BOARD WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS BY:
* Involving parents, students, teachers and other staff in improving the learning environments of all students;
* Welcoming and reaching out to all of Vancouver’s diverse communities and;
* Continuing to improve positive labour relations and respecting employees’ collective bargaining rights.

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

A re-elected COPE School Board will continue to work
for smaller class sizes, more resources for libraries, textbooks, special needs and ESL, reduced junk food sales and for safe, healthy schools.
School Board Trustee Allan Wong

A COPE SCHOOL BOARD WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY BY:
* Supporting the right of students to participate in decisions that affect them at all levels of the school system;
* Implementing an ethical purchasing policy;
* Providing more bike racks and working to reduce car trips by students and staff;
* Expanding environmental and educational programming;
* Increasing healthy food options in schools;
* Working towards school board control of all remaining cafeterias;
* Developing a targeted Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction program;
* Continuing to remove toxic paints and cleaning products from all schools and;
* Implementing the “Students’ Environmental Bill of Rights”.

School Board Issues