Ask-A-Candidate Question 22

Editor’s Note: As part of our ongoing coverage of Election 2010, is accepting question from our readers, which will be published anonymously for candidates to answer. Please note that only candidates will be able to respond to the questions asked by our readers. Links to questions asked will be archived in our Ask-A-Candidate section. See link in navigation bar above.


I would have chosen a non-faith based school if one was available in Morinville. The closest alternative is Sturgeon School Division. I researched attending a school out of my town. The Alberta School Choice Policy allows parents to register their children across districts. However, if a school has reached its maximum enrollment I am not permitted to register. Busing to Sturgeon Schools from Morinville is meant for students who have moved out of their district but wish to remain attending their old school. It is mainly secondary students on those buses and may be uncomfortable for younger children. Parents are encouraged to remain in their neighbourhood schools. The school system is unique in Morinville since even those who do not wish to participate in a Catholic school environment have an uncertain success enrolling elsewhere.

After reading through the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board website I see that the board welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. But it failed to provide me with reassurance that other belief systems are represented. The website stated that in Morinville and Legal, religious education is optional at all grade levels. But the next sentence stated prayer is an integral part of the school environment. The site also stated that the uniqueness of the Catholic tradition has been integrated into the curriculum. I do not see how parents can opt out of a religious education for their children if all students pray and Catholicism is integrated into the Alberta curriculum.

What would you consider an indication that a non-faith based school was needed and would you be willing to represent Morinville parents who are indicating a need for a secular school?

If you become or remain my School Trustee how do you mean to represent the secular families learning at Morinville Catholic Schools? I would like to know how the school board has tried to design programs to fit with all faiths and what resources and discussions you would provide teachers, administrators and students to represent the many faiths and secular belief systems in Canada.

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  1. Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools do invite open dialogue concerning the education of their children. That is a given. They also treat each child as the individual they are including both learning styles and rate of learning. Diversity of culture and faith is addressed within each school in Morinville. As a retired teacher, I know that students had the option of not participating in various activities because of the diversity of our community. This gives credance to the school division’s understanding of the needs of Morinville’s community. Mention is made on the website concerning the different strategies that Morinville and Legal use. Are there areas that may be improved upon, probably as with any large organization, but that is why I am running for trustee? I want to be your school trustee so that all needs are heard and brought to the board level. As your representative, I will also be concerned about fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers while still envisioning and advocating for the best quality in education.
    As stated in last night’s forum, I am available. I have great ideas to continue the momentum this school division has. If you have any suggestions or ways that you would like to be involved in our town to bring school and community, please contact me. Thank you
    Noreen Radford
    Candidate for School Trustee

  2. Hi I would just like to say that I am happy that you came forward and asked this question not only here on Morinville News but as well at the Forum held at Smith’s Music. I know that sometimes it can seem quite daunting to put yourself out there to ask these questions. I would just like to encourage you to keep the communications open and to express how we can make your child comfortable in their school. I am here to help you walk through the process to make any accomodations for your child that you feel is appropriate or necessary. I too have sent my children through the schools in Morinville with one still attending at the high school. I have always felt that they have been a nurturing and caring environment for my children and are always available to come to when I have a concern. As I stated that night of the forum please contact myself in person and I will do my best to make this process as pleasant as can be.

    Yours in Education
    Lauri-Ann Turnbull
    Trustee Morinville Ward

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