My Passion for Education

“As a parent living in your community I naturally want the best for my child. I pledge to continue to improve on Guelph’s progressive education policies in a fiscally responsible manner. I passionately believe that fostering more involved partnerships between schools, families, and community resources is one key area we must work on. A better educated community helps everyone in Guelph, not just parents. Better educated students and lower high school drop-out rates result in healthier, more vibrant communities, and improve a region's economic outlook. This is why education is an important concern for everyone.”

Dear OPSBA Voting Delegate,

My name is Mark Bailey and I am proud to have served as a public trustee for 6 years now, having spent all of these years involved with OPSBA in some capacity. Please find below an introduction to what I have done with my at OPSBA, and what I wish to still accomplish.

Highlights of my time with OPSBA:

Current Regional Vice-President, Central West: I have three times been elected by trustees in Central West region to represent seven different school boards at OPSBA's executive council table. I have been a strong voice at the executive table, specifically around labour relations, 21st century learning, and student mental health. I have also chaired our regional meetings, and attempted to foster a welcoming environment and a shared vision. Working with my fellow regional vice-president form Western region, Peggy Sattler, we have organized a joint regional session on October 13 that will feature two OESC professional development modules for trustees in both regions.

Chairing the province's discussion on 21st century learning technologies: I worked with a hand-picked group of trustees from around the province to determine the appropriate role of technology in schools. We particularly studied the changing nature of communication and entertainment technologies, and whether such technologies can potentially be employed to engage student learning. The result of our work, 'What If?', was so well received that it led to speaking engagements around the province, including CBC and Global News interviews. The work of our committee prompted the Ministry of Education to set up a working table to continue the exploration that we started.

Chairing the Education Today editorial board: It was my privilege to be selected to guide the editorial board for the past three years in the publication of Education Today, our organizations provincial magazine dedicated to issues in public education. I am currently assisting the effort towards digitizing the magazine, to be made available online. I've also set the agenda of the magazine this year to focus mainly on issues involving preparing our students for the 21st century, on mental health, and on environmental issues relevant to our students.

Other Involvement: I've spent four years either as our board's Director or Alternate on OPSBA's Board of Directors. I spent two years on the Education Program committee, and in my time as a trustee I have not missed a PES or an AGM.

What I would like to accomplish as Vice-President:

Student Engagement: My top priority will continue to involve exploring strategies to further engage student learning in the classroom. Research has demonstrated that at around grade 6 or 7, a significant percentage of students become disengaged from classroom learning and begin to engage heavily in activities such as social networking and video game play. Given the difficulty in competing with such activities, how can we employ the technologies that students are using in their day-to-day lives to help re-engage them in classroom learning?

Learning Equity: I will continue to advocate and lobby for greater equity in our boards, so that every child regardless of socio-economic status, or racial background, has an equal opportunity to succeed. For me this is the heart of public education.

Environmental Issues: I will continue to advocate for environmental initiatives to play a more prominent role in school construction and classroom learning. It is becoming more apparent that we are leaving a signficantly changing climate to our children, and we must equip them to prevent further change and deal with the consequences.

Mental Health: I will continue to advocate and lobby for greater mental health resources in our boards, so that we invest the resources necessary to identify and assess potential problems early on in a child's life. Recent studies are reinforcing the link between student 'wellness' and academic achievement, and the earlier potential problems are diagnosed the greater the chances for successful treatment. Financial investments made in a child's life are a fraction of the potential costs for recovery as an adult. From a financial point of view, improving a child's mental health outcome can now be directly linked to their contribution as a taxpayer later in life. From an ethical point of view, addressing the mental health needs of our children is absolutely the right thing to do.

I'll end by stating that the greatest reason I wish to be a Vice-President with OPSBA is that I have both of my sons currently enrolled in the public education system, and I believe the changes I can help implement over the next few years will affect their education experience directly. I plan on standing up for them and their generation of students to see that they receive the best quality education possible in this country.

Thank you for taking the opportunity to visit this site. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or ideas concerning education or my candidacy, I would love to hear from you.

Sincerely Yours,

Mark Bailey


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