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Mental health resources for students among Karpuk’s priorities

An ever-changing education system and her three kids is why Kathleen Karpuk is seeking a fourth term on the Kamloops-Thompson school board.
Karpuk
Kathleen Karpuk is seeking a seat on the Kamloops-Thompson board of education in the Oct. 20 civic election.

An ever-changing education system and her three kids is why Kathleen Karpuk is seeking a fourth term on the Kamloops-Thompson school board.

“Education’s a pretty rapidly shifting field right now, especially within our district,” Karpuk said, citing increasing enrolment, the use of technology and the new critical thinking-based curriculum as examples.

If elected in the Oct. 20 civic election, the incumbent school trustee from Brocklehurst hopes to encourage the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to have mental-health counsellors working directly within high schools.

She said this would ensure youth who develop issues have direct access to services in the same place they spend the majority of their day.

“Currently, the counsellors in our schools are guidance counsellors and, although they have some training to deal with that, they are not mental-health professionals,” Karpuk said.

She said there are psychologists on staff, but noted they are trained to deal with learning and behaviour disabilities and don’t focus on other areas, such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

Continued improvement of the Aboriginal graduation rate is something Karpuk said she wants to continue to grow.

She said the gap was once as low as 20 per cent of the overall rate, but the latest stats show it’s just six per cent behind.

Karpuk credits that improvement to the hiring of a completion co-ordinator who examines the reasons why high schoolers didn’t graduate and works with them to ensure they cross the stage in June.

“My hope and dream is by the time my kids graduate, that parity isn’t just something that we’ve accomplished once or twice, but that’s normal,” she said.

Karpuk, 46, works as the office manager for her husband’s chiropractic clinic in Aberdeen.

She earned a bachelor of science from Cariboo College and most recently has been training to become a certified accountant — part of the reason she chairs SD73’s finance committee.

Karpuk can be contacted by email at kkarpuk@gmail.com. She is on Facebook under Kathleen Karpuk, School Trustee, and is on Twitter under @kkarpuk.