In 1905, 20 school trustees from around British Columbia met at the Vancouver School Board office. These trustees, from eight boards – Grand Forks, Kamloops, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Nelson, New Westminster, Vancouver and Victoria – discussed common problems and ways to improve public education. Agreeing to continue working together on matters of shared concern, they formed British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA), the first school trustees association in Canada.
BC grew, and so did the number of school boards, now called boards of education. By 1956, the BC government formally incorporated BCSTA by an Act of the Legislature. In 1998, BCSTA’s members approved the concept of boards’ key work – improving student achievement through community engagement. This was followed by the signing of the Co-Governance Relationship Memorandum of Understanding with the BC Ministry of Education on December 5, 2014. The MOU was subsequently updated and signed on November 30, 2018 at the trustee academy. The document serves to define the working relationship between the Ministry of Education and the BCSTA as the representative voice of its member Boards of Education. 2016 saw the signing of a Protocol on Consultation and Cooperation involving the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and the British Columbia School Trustees Association. In 2017, BCSTA’s membership returned to full representation, once again including all 60 of BC’s boards of education and the school districts they serve.
For an in-depth account of BCSTA’s history, check out Dr. James B. London’s Public Education, Public Pride: The Centennial History of the BC School Trustees Association.