Get involved, trustee Li Preti says
By Sean Delaney
Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Ida Li Preti spent the last week visiting all of her schools and speaking to the principals.
“I do it annually to understand what the priorities are of all the local school principals,” she said. “I want to make sure they align with what I am hearing from the parents. I’m really excited about the 2023-2024 school year.”
Li Preti’s office gets contacted by parents daily, and the busy trustee took time to sit down with the Emery Village Voice and discuss what it is she is hearing.
“The one that resonates the most is student achievement,” she said. “Parents want to make sure we are getting all the proper supports in place to ensure students have everything they need to succeed academically.”
The board started addressing issues last year during 2022-2023 and will roll over on what was built last year in terms of support, Li Preti said.
“We put coaching into some of our schools. And we do constant assessment work. Staff went in and assessed students to see where we’re at and what supports are needed in the classroom. We expect the data by early October, and then we will move forward to address more issues. We will get the data, analyze it and see what resources different schools need. Could be math coaches, literacy coaches, etc.”
Li Preti said one particular goal is to have the Empower Program in every school.
It is a volunteer program for students to do in-school tutoring.
“The students that need the support will get support in small groups within the school,” she said.
Recently she is also hearing from the community about a bus driver shortage, a need for EA’s and mental health resources for students. All things her office is preparing work on.
And so, she encouraged parents to get involved.
“There are statistics out there that show, an engaged community of parents makes a positive difference. It can help get things done for students. And so, I encourage all parents to find their own way to get involved.”
Fundraising is another one of them, but as the public trustee stressed, Li Preti said fundraising has been difficult for schools during the hard economic times. But the Catholic board is prepared for some.
“Schools that don’t have the resources to raise funds themselves, we have resources that come from the Board and the principal in partnership with the parent council. The school can use that money for things like books in the library anything the parent community says they need. There are strict guidelines on what can use funds for, but as long as its for students, they can use it well.”