Red Deer Public School District

Chris Woods

 

 

 

* Candidate profiles are published as submitted by the candidate.

Phone  403-318-0503
Email christopherblakewoods@gmail.com
Website and Social Media Pages Facebook
Background

My wife and I moved to Red Deer in 2007 and shortly after we began our family. We have three wonderful boys that we enjoy watching grow and learn each day. Our boys are currently in grade 3, grade 1 and pre-kindergarten. I am a Certified Professional Accountant and received my designation in 2007. I worked in public practice where I gained experience providing financial, tax and auditing services to schools, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and private companies. I left private practice in 2014 and I am currently the Chief Financial Officer for Laebon Homes. I also currently sit on the board of directors as the treasurer for Aspire Special Needs Resource Center which provides EASE preschool, early intervention services and diagnostic clinics for children with special needs.

Why are you running for Trustee?

I decided to run for school board trustee to be a voice and advocate for students with special needs at the board level. I have a son with special needs and we have experienced firsthand the challenges that not only he but the schools face in implementing inclusion. As a team my wife and I decided the only way to make changes and support inclusion based learning was to be more involved. It is with this passion and purpose that I believe I would be a good fit on the board to ensure resources are being allocated and utilized appropriately, as well as to advocate for more resources to support all children reach their full potential in school. I believe my financial background and experience will allow me to ensure these objectives are met.

What are your priorities for Red Deer Public Schools?

My priorities are to make inclusion more successful to ensure all students and teachers have a successful experience. My focus would be making sure services are accessible and provided in an efficient and effective manner, to advocate the government and school district for more resources to be allocated to inclusion based learning and to track successful completion for those students. I would also like to see better communication between families, schools and administrative supports of children with special needs so that all parties feel supported and have positive experience.

Question Week 1 - September 26

How would you ensure that parents are informed and meaningfully engaged in their child's education?

I believe we should be providing information to parents through the many technologic methods available. We should be looking at apps or web portals for parents to login and see their child’s individual progress and outstanding assignments. We should be utilizing social media and text messages for school activities, events and notices (bus cancelations, closures, etc.). We should put together community events for parents, student and teacher to be able to interact with one another. In order to get parents engaged we need to provide as many opportunities as possible for parents to connect with administration and teachers. Any of the tools we use to inform the parents need to have the ability for the parents to communicate back and we must promote the awareness of these tools.

What changes should be made to the curriculum to best meet the needs of students?

I think the curriculum should be continually updated and redesigned to facilitate education that is meaningful, engaging and supports the students learning needs. We should shift from traditional teaching methods and look to support the professional development of more modern teaching techniques that can captivate the student’s attention. With a new generation of students that can get the answers to everything at their fingertips we need to show them in the real world how it is they will use their education. We need to encourage and support our educators to be flexible in their learning plans and let them choose a delivery method that best fits the classroom. The more they can tailor the learning environment for the students and provide real life examples of education being used in society than hopefully the more accepting the students will be to stay engaged.

Question Week 2 - October 3

How would you ensure that resources are most effectively and efficiently allocated across the District to meet the diverse needs of all learners?

A lot of funding is currently allocated based on a per student basis and this remains the most fair and equitable way to allocate them. However, there are many grants that are to be used for specific purposes and these funds need to be fully utilized to the benefit the students’ needs and teachers supports. I think it is important to continually review administrative overhead to ensure that we are not overlooking more cost effective options. Aside from the actual funding, I think it is just as important that we make sure that the specialized services and supports for students are delivered in a timely manner; that the providers are engaged as well as meeting expectations; and that there is a monitoring process for success and accountability. As well we need to be very focused with our spending on professional development making sure that it is serving the needs and important issues of teachers and parents. Finally, I believe we need to have a plan in place to use the current accumulation of surpluses of over $12,000,000 whether it is for capital or operating purposes.

What is your position on policies related to sexual orientation and gender identity?

I understand and support the need for policies that create a safe and inclusive learning environment where students are supported and teachers are properly trained to support the students through what can be a difficult part of life. There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding what the parents vs. student’s rights are surrounding sexual orientation, gender identity and participating in a Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or Queer-Straight Alliances (QSAs). As a parent I want to know what my child is going through and what extra circular activities they are involved in but I believe the responsibility to know what is going on in the student’s life is the parents and not the onus of the school to share. I would never want to see the schools be required to share information that can be personal, private and confidential such as sexual orientation, gender identity and participating in a Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or Queer-Straight Alliances (QSAs) which could put a student in an unsafe environment if they do not have the support of family which is the main reason for these policies and not to keep information from involved parents.

Question Week 3 - October 10

Are you in favour of one publicly funded education system?

I think having a variety of publicly funded education systems allows the parents to choose the right fit for their family. If we moved to one publicly funded system my concern would be that we eliminate the ideas of other systems that can fit certain family’s needs and requests for their child’s education. As well I think having multiple education systems creates an environment where everyone is continually improving and a basis for comparison of success. Without these other education systems I would be concerned that one publicly funded education system would begin to rest on their laurels and not always see the weaknesses that need to be addressed. Also I think if we created on publicly funded system that we would end up centralizing a lot of the decisions that would benefit the larger centers and not necessarily represent all of the smaller communities and districts that face unique challenges. Although we may be able to share some resources I don’t feel we would see a significant amount of increased funding at the school level as more responsibility and oversight would also require increased compensation in a single funded education system.