John Curry is continuing to be your trustee for Zone 1 on the Ottawa Catholic School Board so that he can do his part to ensure that the Ottawa Catholic School Board is an educational organization that strives for excellence in all areas and that provides every student with the opportunity to reach his or her full potential in academics, social justice and faith.
John has some specific concerns about matters that are happening currently at the Board:
The most pressing is the need to improve the math scores of students in the EQAO provincial testing that happens in the schools.
The latest data shows that Ottawa Catholic School Board students are above the provincial average but are still part of the provincial trend towards lower scores.
Since lower math scores in EQAO testing are a province-wide trend, some may blame the provincial curriculum and/or the current teaching methods used for math. And while this may be a valid criticism, transferring the problem to the provincial level is not the answer. Actions have to be taken locally to rectify this situation. Administration has to be pressured to take every measure imaginable to turn this situation around and have the EQAO math scores for Ottawa Catholic School Board students start to go up. Students have to start flourishing in math and enjoy doing it. Whatever must be done to ensure that students have the math skills that they will require in later life must be done. There can be no delays; we are doing a disservice to the current generation of students if prompt and effective action is not taken to improve EQAO math scores. This has to be looked at immediately.
The Board is currently undertaking a review of its Special Education programs, not with a view to cutting back on any of them but with a view to ensuring that they are being delivered in the best and most effective and efficient way possible.
The report from this Special Education Review will be coming forward soon and John wants to ensure that its recommendations, if sensible, are implemented quickly and thoroughly. His experience as a member of the Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee will help him analyze the recommendations and be able to comment effectively on them on behalf of all students and ratepayers.
Another area where some changes are coming is in the Board’s transportation system and, more specifically, in regard to students who live within a school walk zone and whether they merit bussing based on hazards along the walk route. There are also some school bell time changes being proposed so that buses can be used more efficiently.
Student transportation is always a concern for parents and any changes around transportation must be made responsibly and with full parental involvement. John wants to make sure that changes to bussing, a service that is so important in Zone 1, are done with understanding and tenderness with the overriding principle being that each and every student must be able to get to school safely.
The year 2017, which is coming up so quickly, is going to be an important one for Canada as it will mark the country’s 150th anniversary.
John wants to ensure that the year 2017 is a year that Ottawa Catholic School Board students will not only enjoy but also will remember for the rest of their lives. This 150th anniversary is a great opportunity to allow students to learn about this great country of ours, what it stands for, what it has achieved, what it will achieve and how each and every person can contribute to its future.
This will require planning to ensure that the joy of this 150th anniversary for Canada reaches each and every student. John, with his historical background as an author and history enthusiast, will be pushing to ensure that 2017 is a memorable year for all those involved with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
And besides dealing with these specific concerns, John will continue to be the trustee for Zone 1 so that he can continue advocating for parents when they bring concerns and problem situations forward to him.
And, as is the responsibility of any Catholic school trustee, John wants to be there to defend the Catholic education system from those forces which would prefer to see the system eliminated from the Ontario landscape.