Candidates for School Trustee, Ottawa Catholic School Board, Zone 9
My Vision Statement: Returning to high standards by promoting academic achievement, improving mental health and strengthening communication between schools, parents, teachers, students and the community through public dialogue at meetings and advocacy.
I am Jenny Rivera, your candidate for OCSB Trustee for Zone 9, Wards 16 and 17.
I am very thrilled and honored to be running for the 2022 elections and be the voice and representative of the River and Capital community. I am running for the OCSB Trustee position because I am passionate about catholic education and it is my belief that our students, families and community as a whole, deserve a world class school system which is rooted in moral and religious principles.
Sadly in the wake of a pandemic, we have seen many challenges facing our schools, including teacher shortage, cuts to extracurricular activities, mental health issues among our students and increased violence. In addition, particularly in our catholic schools, we have seen a decline in communication between the schools, parents and the parishes. Like many of you, I value education and it is for this reason that I feel that by working collaboratively and in a transparent culture of excellence, we as a community will be better able to address these issues and find feasible solutions to overcome them.
I am dedicated to building a community that positively impacts how our kids grow up. I value cooperation, the opportunity to succeed for all our children, open communication between the schools, parents, students and the community, but most of all I value trust and integrity. As a community worker and mentor, I have made a difference and want the opportunity to continue my work as an advocate for education and to make a difference in our catholic school district. We are in the 21st Century and our educational system has to move forward to reflect the new changes. I want to ensure that all catholic students in Ottawa get the support, resources, guidance and care that they need to be outstanding catholic members of society and ready for the world of tomorrow and as such, my top priorities for this campaign are:
- Academic success among all our students.
- Support the mental health and social/emotional wellness of our students and teachers in the OCSB district.
- Create a long-term plan that addresses the needs of our schools and teachers prioritizing quality of education, moral and religious values. Together we can make a great difference in the educational success of our children.
Educational Priorities My educational priorities align with the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Strategic Commitments – Be Community, Be Well, Be Innovative. I am proud to advocate for funding that promotes academic excellence, well-being and innovative faith-filled programming every year.
Equity and Inclusion
I advocated for equity, inclusion and purposeful change throughout my education career. I supported hiring an additional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Support Officer and increased our budget by $20,000 for student-centered initiatives for Black Student Forum and GSA Day. I also approved hiring an additional Indigenous and Family Support Worker and an Indigenous Consultant. I aim to ensure students feel listened to and respected in OCSB classrooms.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
There is a strong correlation between mental health and student and staff well-being. With that in mind, I supported the hiring of four Mental Health Workers and a Wellness Officer, a $50,000 increase to the Wellness Fund Initiative (doubling the previous allocation) and a $108,000 Resource budget for wellness resources. As we prepare to return to a more traditional school year, I support continuing working with Ottawa Public Health to ensure the health and safety of all school community members.
Committed to Communicating With Our Students and Families
Communicating is key to ensuring a collaborative relationship between home and school. I supported hiring an additional English Second Language (ESL) teacher and one Early Years Consultant and committed $17,000 for language translation services.
Our educators and educational assistants collaborate to provide students with safe, caring learning environments. I supported hiring 25 Permanent Educational Assistants (EAs) and $1.4 M in Temporary and Casual EA Support.
Not Everyone Learns the Same Way
Not everyone learns the same way, nor should they. I supported hiring an additional Consultant for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and an additional $185,000 for technological program equipment and maintenance. Both these programs allow students to investigate or jump-start their careers in technology and the skilled trades.
I supported a $7.5M multi-year investment in Outdoor Learning Spaces and Wifi to allow school communities to incorporate innovative ideas into their outdoor learning spaces.
Some students learn best online. For this reason, I supported two permanent virtual schools – St. Carlo Elementary Virtual School and St. Josephine Virtual High School. Providing student options promotes well-being, academic success and mental health.
So, in conclusion, my educational priorities are practical, faith-based and student-focused, embracing Be Community, Be Well, and Be Innovative.
My election platform and policies seek to give parents, teachers and the Church a bridge that will facilitate in bringing about a generation of productive individuals that observe adherence to God’s teachings and commandments. I want to bring about a learning environment that teaches Catholic values, a learning environment that is based on Truth and Faith. A safe environment wherein communication is free flowing, an environment that will help all stakeholders gain an integrated understanding of the histories of the world, Canada and of the Church. I want to help students succeed in their academic learnings by helping them to have resources that will develop and strengthen their math and technical skills, scientific knowledge and personal financial education. An improved physical education program that will aim to impart learnings on how to take care of their bodies, mental health, that must be aligned to Christian values and character education. Moreover, I want to promote our schools to be an environment of tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and disinterested service.
I am envisioning a learning environment wherein there will be more collaborative activities among parents, teachers and the Church.
I want to bring back prayer and Catechisms in schools. I seek to promote a way of making students know and understand Jesus and His teachings. I want the students to gain self-mastery and develop sound judgement.
I believe that by adopting policies that promote such environment, will benefit, and help everyone involve in living their lives in accordance with God’s will. By having such an environment, we will be able to achieve and maintain a society, a nation that is glorious and truly free because we heeded God’s voice in how we should help ourselves and the future generation live a purpose-driven life. May God’s blessings and guidance be with us all.
Yours in Christ,
Guillermo Fernandez, Jr.