By Al Beeber on October 16, 2021.
Tricia Doherty believes she can make a difference in the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. So she’s thrown her hat in the ring to win a seat as a trustee in Monday’s municipal election.
As a first time candidate, she wants people to know she’s willing to stand up for parents and be a voice for them, said the southern Alberta native.
Doherty is an advocate for the health and safety of students during the COVID era and she knows first-hand how difficult the past year-and-a-half have been. Between government-mandated online learning, being forced to quarantine after a COVID-19 case was discovered in his classroom and his school being closed due to lack of staff, Doherty’s son spent 11 weeks at home in the last school year.
“It was a constant roller coaster ride. It’s not good for our students, either, to have to do that back-and-forth constantly. I know they had to do what they had to do and I appreciate them being able to pivot. And teachers were amazing through all of it. However, the kids need a good supportive education in the classroom. That’s the best for them,” Doherty said Friday.
Doherty is a huge supporter of the work teachers are doing, especially during the pandemic.
“Teachers do one of the hardest jobs; I know for me it’s not a job I could do. I could not be a teacher and I appreciate everything they do and everything they’ve done for my kids and my family,” said Doherty.
The candidate says one of the biggest issues facing education in this election is the proposed K-6 draft curriculum.
While it won’t affect her kids who are in junior high school, she is concerned about a similar draft being done for later grades which Doherty fears will affect the quality of their education.
“The curriculum is a major issue, especially in this election,” she said.
“From what I hear they’re already started on the next draft for the grade 7-12s so we need to make sure our voices are heard with this draft so that they don’t do the same thing with the second draft,” said Doherty.
She said the government needs to talk to stakeholders and “experts in the field. Make sure this curriculum is setting up for success later on.
“It is very questionable. I don’t understand why they thought it was going to go over well,” Doherty said.
“It’s just not a good idea. It is not suitable,” she added.
Her reason for running, said Doherty, is the chance to be involved in students’ education “and the choices for their education and having that opportunity to maybe make a difference at the board office instead of just as a parent on the school council,” she said.
Doherty said COVID is a concern for her as well and she’s been asked by members of the public what she thinks about current protocols that are in place.
“I support the health and safety of our students and our staff and we need to make sure that is a priority and how we recover out of that as a board. How do we make sure learning gaps are addressed? And how do we make sure students still graduate and do well later on after everything they’ve gone through in the last year and a half or two years” is important for the board, she said.
She also believes there needs to be strong communication between the board and stakeholders including parents, teachers and staff.
“Relationship and communication are a strong basis for being able to address issues that may come up,” she said. Being able to communicate with every stakeholder, she said, will make a better school district.
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