Q9 for Better Schools: PARENT/TEACHER

BETTER LANGLEY: How do you plan to foster positive relationships with parents & teachers? What do you feel are the top priorities for parents? For teachers? Are there any challenges you see in addressing potentially conflicting priorities?


A note about highlighted answers: Better Langley favourites are selected based on discussions with dozens of parents, teachers, local politicians. Each question had select criteria that the aforementioned stakeholders found to be of the greatest importance and I have done my best to represent these. Additionally, my own academic background in political science, philosophy, religious studies, and real estate all provide its own knowledge base, process of critical thought, and, yes, biases. In order to reduce personal bias toward any candidate or organization, however, answers were read anonymously, separate from the candidate before selecting a “favourite” to highlight.


RAI (Contract with Langley): Relationship are fostered when the parents and the teachers feel their concerns are being heard and being advocated to the board. In my opinion the top priorities for parents are:

  1. Recruitment and Retention. Hiring more educators and Special Education Assistant to support diverse learners and inclusive to all types of learners who have their individual unique challenges
  2. Parents of Diverse Learners getting a fair deal in the Prevalence model
  3. Having children’s achievements promoted by supporting programs that will develop their child’s confidence, leadership skills which will give them a skill set to succeed in this competitive world.
  4. Promotion of Mental Health and wellness
    4.Anti Bullying protocols to be in implemented that outline conflict resolutions and the correlating consequences.
  5. running programs like the ABTB.

The teachers are doing the best that they can with what is available to them. They feel overworked and underpaid. With the increase in the classroom sizes and with students who require more support they do get the support that they need.

No , I don’t see any challenges in addressing potentially conflicting priorities.
With my negotiation skills I am prepared to make Community Consensus into policy, ensuring that the policy is representative of the needs and priorities of the community.
My 22 years experience as a federal public servant has equipped me with sound knowledge of the legal system. I have the skills to mitigate high stress situations with tactful communication and facilitate conflict resolution.

LOCKHART (Independent): My campaign is all about accessibility and identity. One of the foundational reasons for my decision to run was based on the reality that most caregivers and parents do not know what a Trustee does, who they are, why they would contact them, or how to contact them.

My first goal is to be present and accessible. I would like to start with dedicated social media accounts that available for the general public to contact me. I think that this is a simple, modern way to put a face and name to a Trustee. Additionally, its important that Trustees bridge the gaps between PACs and Teachers by being a conduit to information. Having a relationship with both parties, based on an equality mindset is key to overcoming conflicting priorities. Trustees are stewards to staff, teachers, parents and students. With consistent and collaborative communication, we can ease potential conflict. While not all groups will be happy with decision making, it is important that a level of trust and respect has been established so that everyone understands that the ultimate goal is to ensure successful learning outcomes of all students in a vibrant and well funded education system built on equity and equality.

Beyond this, we need to co-develop an updated Strategic Plan with the Superintendent. This needs to be rooted in what the Board learns from DPAC and Teachers. It is vitally important that the major stakeholders have a seat at the table and are helping develop the strategies going forward.

PERREAULT (Independent): I will continue to advocate at the Board table and work as I do in community participating in various events, attending to on-line discussions, and making myself available for 1:1 as appropriate. Visiting schools and supporting our staff in their programs like the Focus Program at Langley Secondary School are important portals to support relationships and the vision “all students belong.” Mental health, communication and wellness is central for all parties, with EDI and Trauma Informed Practices wrapping around it is key. This is foundational despite understanding the great need for space, if our staff and student’ heart and mind are not supported, we lose the conversation and are operating at a crisis level. Ensuring advocacy ongoing for livable wages that translate to jobs will continue to be an ongoing conversation. Building intimate relationships, globally, is key.

DICKINSON (Contract with Langley): To foster relationships I will: listen, seek out meetings (small groups, staff, PAC, or otherwise), be accessible, and follow up on requests.
I will seek to build trust with our community, and I think that first step needs to be actually educating the public about what a trustee does and how/when you should contact one.

Top Priorities for Parents- From what I’ve heard, some of the top priorities are (in no particular order): inadequate staffing, too many portables, lack of access to sinks in portables, lack of programs to support struggling students, growing neighbourhoods do not have appropriate plans in place to build new schools, wait times for psych ed assessments, bullying in schools (failure for schools to take adequate action), bullying on social media, PACs being relied on to fund playgrounds and tech, poor or non-existent playing fields, concerns on travel to and from school, decline in student mental health, concerns about “catching up” on learning lost during COVID.

Top Priorities for Teachers – As I understand it, some of the top priorities are (in no particular order): inadequate staffing, lack of technology in classes, lack of support teachers, lack of classroom resources, breakfast/lunch programs that are inadequate to feed hungry students, lack of equity in the classrooms, addressing burnout and exhaustion.

Conflicting interests – Generally, teachers and parents share most of the same concerns. One of the biggest conflicting issues I can foresee is when more before/afterschool programming is added to schools, teachers may be upset if their room needs to be use to facilitate the program. Creative, outside of the box solutions will need to be used to ensure that everyone feels respected and heard during implementation of new programs.

TURNER (Independent): Due to the issues with your online account, I have chosen not to fill out the survey.

WAKELIN (Independent): Communication is always key to fostering productive and positive relationships. At the end of the day, both parents and teachers want the best for students.

DPAC is an extremely powerful bridge-building opportunity between parents and the district. The more parents that are either a part of our PAC’s or DPAC or have an awareness of their work/role–the stronger this District will be. Continuing to have District Staff and Trustees be represented at DPAC is beneficial.

Parents want their children to thrive at school, I challenge you to find a parent that does not. What it takes to get there will vary with every child and that is where the important work begins. Teachers strive to get our children to that place where our children are engaged and building strong foundations. Both the student and the educator or staff need support to strive for the best outcomes. There will always be differences of opinion on the best road to take and we must recognize that. As a District and as a Trustee, we must prioritize communication and transparency.

WILSON (Independent): When a person feels heard, they feel valued and respected, it builds positive relationships. Improving relationships with parents and staff is a goal I have been trying to achieve my entire time on the board, but I feel better equipped to address it now that I have some experience in the role and we are beginning to shift the focus off of COVID. “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected”. Parents and teachers both want what’s best for students and they both want to feel supported. There is nothing more terrifying/heartbreaking for a parent than seeing their child struggle, but when they feel that they have support and are part of a team and involved in decisions, they trust that their child is in good hands and a safe environment. Teaching staff are burning out at an alarming rate, the workloads are constantly increasing, and the shortage of teachers and special education assistants is making the burden that much greater. We need more funding to make sure adequate supports are in place to help them through whatever challenges they are facing. I will make it a priority to advocate for more funding and increase opportunities for engagement with both parents and staff.

ROSS (Independent): There will always be conflicts and challenges. Change is constant we are told. My priority is not to promise what I cannot deliver. I have supported parents and teachers and understand the key foundation of relationship building with teachers and parents. My promise to all is to bring calm to the storms that will buffet us, to encourage the system to pursue excellence all the while remembering the importance of every single student. Our Indigenous brothers and sisters have reminded us the “every child matters” and I applaud and support this and intend to make that the benchmark for success.

FOX (Independent): I believe that the best way to foster relationships with parents and teachers is to advocate for what is best for each of these partner groups and the system as a whole. The parents have an advocacy group in DPAC and the teachers through the LTA and relationship building starts by listening to their thoughts, input and concerns. I see the parents want to focus on safe learning environments, solid learning outcomes and the best preparation for after graduation opportunities for their children. The teachers are looking at issues of working conditions, hiring of a full complement of staff in all positions and classroom and learning supports for those who are most vulnerable and in need of academic support. The process of relationship building starts with listening and then taking those thoughts reaching, consensus, and putting the results of that in to action. It would be my hope that the needs of both these groups would be captured in the development of a robust Strategic Plan which would guide the District through the next four years.

Personally, I do not see the needs of parents and teachers as conflicting because I believe they both have the best interests of children and the system as a whole close to their hearts.

NEUFELD (Contract with Langley): I will always have an Open-Door Policy; I will always take a phone call and answer a text. I will use social media platforms to continually engage parents and teachers.

As a parent, I can say that an equitable education received in a safe environment is a top priority for my child. As a Trustee candidate with a forward-thinking mindset, the top priority for parents that will be moving into the district, over the next 5 to 10 years, is a school in their neighbourhood that is not at capacity.

As we advocate for the students and their mental health, we must not forget the teacher. I believe one of their top priorities are increased access to support services, such as counselling, to address stress and burnout. Most teachers are natural learners and want ongoing and continued opportunities to fill their toolbox to support students in the classroom. I believe there is no conflicting priorities, when we keep the child’s best interest, in all decisions we make. We must also remember that the Langley School District’s mission statement, “To Inspire All Learners to Reach Their Full Potential” is not just for the student.

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