During the election on October 15, Francophone voters are invited to elect school trustees who take French education to heart.

The 2022 general local elections including school board elections will take place on October 15 in British Columbia. And on the eve of this election, it is important to remember that school counselors are part of the social fabric; they bring a local perspective to their work on public education boards. Their contribution to discussions with school boards and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Services is essential.

My name is Patrick Gatien and I am the president of the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF). The CSF ensures that the Francophone community of British Columbia has an equal right to public education. As a school trustee, I want French-speaking children in British Columbia to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. This is my main motivation. It is imperative that Francophones in British Columbia be well informed about the CSF elections, not only so that they vote, but also so that they consider running as councillors.

If you want to run for a school trustee, you have to do it for the right reasons. I understand that there may be a lot of political issues on the table, but that shouldn’t be your main focus. Indeed, you should rather show up because you want the children to have the best possible education. As an advisor, you must ensure that we put in place programs that will ensure the success of the next generation. Counselors should always strive to provide equity among BC schools. A term as a school trustee should not simply be a stepping stone to another political role. It is hard work that requires a lot of effort. In addition, counselors are responsible for a very valuable resource: children. Each candidate should always bear this responsibility in mind.

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In my role as chair of the CSF, I ensure that board discussions and decisions have a positive impact on learners. Admittedly, this is a mandate that involves a lot of administrative work that is necessary, but I want to make sure that the council actively discusses issues that will directly help the children.

The CSF plays an important role in representing the Francophone community in all conversations about public education. I want to ensure that the francophone community has a seat at every table and that it is always taken into consideration. We don’t always need the same things as English school boards. It is up to us to advocate for the needs of
French-speaking students.

When the pandemic started, we feared that students would have to interrupt their learning journey. However, we have been able to keep their experience at the heart of the priorities. We made sure that the students were safe and always surrounded by their peers, that they could continue to enjoy the important social aspect of the school and that they always received a quality education. We have worked hard to ensure that our students continue to make progress rather than stagnate. I think we can be proud of how far we have come and say that through their work, school counselors have helped to lessen the impact of the pandemic on students in British Columbia.

Photo by Patrick Gatien

On October 15, when voting to elect school trustees, you will be able to choose from candidates who embody many of your values ​​and who understand the unique issues facing your local school board. Francophone voters must appreciate the unique and important character of our CSF’s board of directors and vote for councilors who take French education to heart. Without the participation of the Francophone community of British Columbia, the CSF will not have adequate representation to continue moving forward. To learn more about the CSF election process, please visit our website.

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It is very rewarding to serve as a school counselor. It’s great to see the impact of our work on children and all that we can do to improve their education. However, we can always do more. If you want to put your shoulder to the wheel, consider showing up.

Source: British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA)

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