Mother of two, Danielle Funk says, she knows she’s not the only one in the southeast, who believes they were thrown a Covid-curveball these past three years. And when it comes to her time as a Trustee for Ward 3 in the Hanover School Division, Funk says she feels like her time isn’t done.
Funk is finishing up her first team as Trustee and says her goal, when first elected, was to be a strong voice for students.
“Students are unique and individual and sometimes they need unique and individual ways to be taught. So, it was really my driving decision to run again, because education is very important and everyone should enjoy the process. I just also feel like my time isn't done. I've had four years, but there were a lot of times when the decisions just weren't available for us to make, because of the times we were in. We couldn't do our work, like how we couldn’t do 'normal' school, because students weren't in the building. But I'm hoping to have four years where we can really expand on what learning in our schools should look like.”
Thinking back to Covid and how it affected schools, students, teachers, admin and their board, Funk says “I was very proud at how our division could respond to it. The decisions previous boards had made were smart decisions to add internet access to the infrastructure of our schools. So, our teachers were able to provide the best teaching for students. Plus, with that technology, we gave our students the ability to learn from home by giving them devices to do their classwork on, because we already had the iPads in our schools and having Internet access on our school parking lots meant that students who needed to, could come to school and have Wi-Fi. This benefitted everyone.”
Funk says what she’s hoping the next HSD Board of Trustees will be able to do is “to really think ahead for the future. What kinds of things we could use or need that would benefit the students of the Hanover School Division in the years to come.”
Funk says she has really enjoyed her first term as a Trustee. “I've seen the board work really well. The board gets along, although I would say that we don't always agree. There's a lot of great discussion with Trustees having different points of view. It really allows for a good broad discussion on many issues. So we can really choose what is best for our students. You know, when you have a lot of voices and a lot of, you know, different ideas at the table, instead of everybody just being all the same and all on the same page, it's really good to an extent, because like I said, all students are different, so are all these communities, so it's really good to have all those voices at the table.”
If elected Funk says she is really hoping the HSD board will be able to work on a five-year plan. She believes it’s important to plan for the future.
“I think it's time to decide on what the vision of the division is. A couple of years ago, we weren't even sure school divisions would still exist come this election. So, you know, it's very exciting that we are still here, and know that we will get to plan for the future and I am really excited to potentially be a part of it.”
Funk continues, after the decision was made not to change anything when it came to provincial school boards, along came Covid. “And we're like, oh no, we still weren’t able to make any future plans, instead we had to make in-the-moment decisions. And now that we've had about half a school year where we've had a chance to look ahead instead of viewing what's right in front of us, we are able to imagine what schools could be like for our students. And I find that very exciting.”
Funk says it was because of the pandemic that they, as a school board, were able to come up with new ideas on how things could be done to give HSD students the best education possible. “There are a lot of positives coming out of that. Now we know where we don't necessarily have to do something a certain way, just because we were doing it before. We are capable of doing something a little different and it's ok, because the students are still coming out on top.”
Funk was the chair of the Planning Committee for the new Steinbach Elementary School.
“I would really like to stay on as Trustee and keep making decisions on that project. Just see it come to fruition. I've really enjoyed my time on the board and the decisions we got to make. I want to get back in there and discuss plans for the future. That's where I feel a little bit like I missed out on, my first term on the board. There are always new things to learn and explore. New ways to connect with our community and students.”
“One of my favourite parts about being on the board was when we got to do school tours and see the students in their classrooms and have them present to us or even participate in games or learning with them it. It really brings at all home to see what we're there for.”
Municipal council and school board election day is on Wednesday, October 23, 2022.