ATHABASCA — Amber Schmidt is hoping to be a fresh face on the Aspen View Public Schools (AVPS) board of trustees after the election Oct. 18.
Schmidt has been living in the Athabasca area since she was 12 years old after her father moved the family here from Saskatchewan to work in Fort McMurray and while she was home schooled, her two children attend school in Athabasca giving her experience on both fronts and now has chosen to run for one of two seats against incumbents Anne Karczmarczyk and Dennis MacNeil. It is also the only election AVPS has to run as all other wards were acclaimed.
“I felt like it was time to get involved,” Schmidt said in a Sept. 24 interview. “The development of the curriculum is kind of a big thing for me; my kids are in Grades 4 and 6 and so, coming into these next few years it's crucial what they're being taught."
It’s the proposed curriculum Schmidt really has her eye on and wants to take a deep dive into it ensure its meeting the needs of AVPS students.
“I believe that a strong relevant curriculum inspires students to learn; this is valuable not only for students but for the community as a whole,” Schmidt said. “I want to dive deeper into those curriculum scenarios and then approach it with how I see things; with integrity and with focus on community, and inspiring children to learn.”
She admits she is new to the thought of running for an elected position but is open-minded and likes to figure out how things are done and contemplate other options. She also believes in a strong link between the trustees and parents they represent.
“Making sure that we have a strong connection with parents and caregivers, whoever is responsible for that child, I believe that the board should not be out of touch with those people and their needs,” she said. “So, that's a big one for me – to make sure that the board has a strong connection with what the needs of the community are.”
Whether it’s meeting face-to-face or leveraging social media Schmidt wants to find ways to connect with the community and have a pulse on what’s going on.
“Finding ways to be connected to the community and finding ways to listen to what parents are saying, so I don't know if that's through networking at different events or being connected to social media so you kind of get a feel for what's happening around you and your community and obviously if there's groups of people reaching out to the board, if there's strong opinions coming in, those have to be considered.”
Schmidt said she believes it’s the trustee's responsibility to guide policies that allow parents and caregivers to govern their children’s mental and physical health and their well-being as well as guiding curriculum.
“I believe in ongoing emphasis of core subjects such as language arts, mathematics, social studies and science,” she said. “This is the basis for the ability to flourish in fine art, additional languages, health and activity and other emerging careers and trades programs.”