Name and pronouns: Elliott Slinn (he/him/his)
Affiliation: Community First New West
Tell us about yourself
I am running for school board trustee because I’m passionate about students, education and engaging youth through the arts. As New Westminster’s current poet laureate, I know first-hand the positive impact arts programs can have on the lives of students. I also believe in creating safe and inclusive schools, which includes leading sexual consent training workshops during my time working at Douglas College. I want to strategize new ways to implement curriculum that enriches the lives of students in our district, and act as a champion for them, teachers and families in New Westminster.
Why are you running for school board?
I want to create more arts and after-school programs. Traditionally the arts are the first to lose funding, and I want to find more funding. I want to implement more classes where students can explore creative expression, which I believe will create more well-rounded students and a stronger community.
What do you think the current school board has done well? Where has it missed the mark?
Opening the new NWSS was a milestone moment. I was a student at New West Secondary and went through the old building. Having a new school with state-of-the-art facilities creates an environment condusive for learning. I want to continue to find ways to empower students through diverse course options.
What are the top three issues facing the next school board?
Support student mental health, providing affordable before and after school programs, and building more spaces for learning.
How do you plan to address those issues?
As a new candidate, I know the school board has been working on all of these issues, and I’m eager to understand how I can best move them forward. We know there is a strong connection between art and mental health, and I see that as an opportunity for me to dig in and really support our students.
New Westminster schools are facing a serious space crunch. What does the next board need to do to address it?
The next school board needs to annually update their long-range facilities plan to account for the growing population of New Westminster. We’ll do this by creating strong coordination with the City of New Westminster and frequently advocating for funding from the federal government. Every student in New Westminster should have space to flourish.
Health and safety has been a topic of discussion on multiple fronts over the past few years. What are your health and safety priorities for New Westminster schools, and how will you address them?
Here are just two areas I’m thinking about: At Douglas College I worked on the “Let’s DO Consent” campaign which taught sexual consent workshops to students. I know education and training is a big part of creating healthy and safe schools. During my time working at Lord Kelvin Elementary I saw how impactful the universal food program was. By expanding the district’s universal food program, we can affect the overall health and well-being of students – it’s hard to learn and focus on school when you’re wondering where your next meal is coming from.
And just for fun: If you got to spend one full day in school again, what grade would you return to and why?
I would return to Grade 9 with my English teacher, Barrie. He, was and still is, an inspiration. He’s why I am passionate about education.
Note: All candidates received the same questionnaire, including word limits. (If candidates ran over word limits, answers are cut off at the limit.) Contact information and social media details are presented as provided by candidates.