My name is Jocelynn Vieira, I am running for Public School Board Trustee in Ward 3 because I want to help improve our schools for all of our children and families. I want to ensure that our children are receiving the same learning opportunities as their peers in other areas of Hamilton.
I am a mom of three, two of which are elementary aged and attend Adelaide Hoodless in grades 2 and 4. I became involved in parent-led initiatives to improve our school when I saw that the school was in terrible disrepair. Here is a list of things that were wrong with the school:
- Parts of the floor were covered in duct-tape as a long term fix.
- The gym walls were crumbling with mold and moisture damage.
- Children were passing out from extreme heat conditions on the top floor of the school due to a lack of air conditioning and air circulation.
- Bathrooms were only available in the basement for the majority of the student population and doors and locks in the bathroom were often broken.
- Due to a lack of bathrooms senior and junior elementary students use the same washroom in the basement with no supervision (Grades 3-8 share one washroom).
- The school was not accessible and needed to turn away students who required accommodation.
- And the playground was entirely covered in asphalt with no green space or shade.
The list was long and I was frustrated but I turned my frustration into action. I worked with other parents and formed a committee to improve the playground area. We were able to secure $150,000 in funding from the City of Hamilton through Matthew Green’s Office with a matching contribution from the Board. From there I contacted the not-for-profit organization Green Venture, and secured funding for the removal of a large section of asphalt from the playground and the construction of a teaching and learning garden in its place. I also wrote and submitted a grant application to the TD Friends of the Environment and won a grant to construct an outdoor classroom in our playground.
In our ward we have two new schools and two very old schools. While the new schools do not require the capital investments for repairs that are facing Adelaide Hoodless and Memorial City, all four schools are impacted by a lack of resources for our arts, science, music and phys-ed programs. In addition, I have heard from many caregivers that there are significant delays in our ward to accessing resources for children with speech delay, ASD, ADHD and other behavioural disorders.
I am frustrated that schools in other areas of Hamilton, such as Ancaster and Dundas, have received more funding than schools in lower Hamilton. Decades of neglect and shrinking budgets have very negatively impacted our children’s education. I want to see a fair distribution of funding and program implementation across the HWDSB. As your Trustee I would address these issues and work to improve our schools because our children deserve better!
Please join me!