Advocacy Committee Representative: Rosa Fazio
President and executive team: Rosa Fazio, Shannon Burton, Sean Marlyn, Cathy Thomas, Ankie Carswell, Karen Noel-Bentley, Joel Levine, Mark Cormack, Lori Prodan, Elyssa Derban
# of members in your organization: 130
Usual locations where members work: Elementary Schools, Annex's and Adult Education
Key role of your organization in the District: The role of the Vancouver Elementary Principal and Vice Principal Association in the District is to facilitate and support leadership and learning, collaboration and communication, wellness and well-being, and professional interests and economic welfare of our members. Educational leadership and learning is an important facet, as school leaders influence teacher practice, which in turn effectively impacts student success and wellbeing. Vancouver Elementary Principals and Vice Principals are responsible for ensuring strong connections between the District and our schools, and for creating connections between our school communities, staff and students. The ultimate role of administrators is to ensure safe and thriving school communities which result in success for each student.
Specifically, why are “Vancouver” public schools a great place to teach, work, go to school and be a part of? Vancouver is consistently named one of the top cities in the world for livability and the quality of public schools adds to that desirability. Vancouver public schools are inclusive and diverse places where students and staff feel safe and a sense of belonging. We are proud to honour the land and Indigenous ways of knowing at each opportunity. Each school has its own culture that proudly reflects and embraces its community. Teaching and learning in the Vancouver School Board promotes excellence and engagement for each student regardless of ability. Unique and engaging programs, from music to robotics, promote student engagement with 21st century learning skills.
Why is Public education important? Widespread equitable access to knowledge is a key pillar of democracy. Public education is essential for equity of access to knowledge and opportunity. Public schools admit each and every student regardless of background or ability. This creates diversity in socio-economic background, culture, gender, language, race and ability, which provides a more reflective representation of society. Our schools then become institutions where students learn about each other, not only to be tolerant but to embrace, advocate for and celebrate differences on the path to create equity and excellence.
Why is your organization an integral part of the public education system? Principals and Vice Principals are the glue that connects all parts of our local public education system. We provide leadership, direction and co-ordination within the school ensuring district and ministry goals are integrated and actualized. The Vancouver Elementary Principal and Vice Principal Association works collaboratively with the Vancouver School Board supporting the mandates and plans, which help the board move forward to create success for all learners. VEPVPA helps assess and respond to needs within each of our school communities to ensure safety and well-being of all community members. As a group, we understand and advocate for the needs of all schools in order to support student success and well-being. All while doing this, administrators (VEPVPA members) spend time coaching, mentoring students, sponsoring clubs and keeping students connected and supported.
How has your organization connected positively with the local neighbourhood? Elementary Principals and Vice-Principals embrace the school community in which they serve. Our members work with Parent Advisory Councils and a multitude of community partners to support community initiatives, to streamline services for students, to support mental health and well-being and to advocate for out of school programming. Many schools organize community fairs and outreach events, offering touch points to build bridges between the school and the neighbourhood. VEPVPA provides a platform for administrators to share ideas, knowledge and initiatives and to support each other in making positive community-focused innovation and change.
What is one example of advancing student success that you’re proud about? Share one story of an important positive event that your organization has helped the community (could be as an individual member, as a group or as an association) that advances student success.
VEPVPA members make decisions for student success day in and day out – from the child at the playground who needs a friend and encouragement, to the child who needs extra care and attention with behaviour, anxiety or academics, to the child who simply needs to be heard -- we are always working to support and advocate for our students. Since Covid, much attention has been spent securing gift cards to distribute to families with food security issues. Some members have been delivering weekly bags of food to family homes since April. We have dedicated, hardworking members who have the best interest of their students and families in mind and in heart.