[Received April 12, 2019] “I am pleased to bring your attention to the Ministry of Education’s new approach to long-term capital planning for boards of education. The Ministry’s guidelines for the development of Long-Range Facilities Plans (LRFP) for school districts have undergone a significant revision from the initial version that was produced in March 2017 under the previous administration.”
Following the BCSTA AGM in 2018, the Board of Directors approved a Strategic Plan, an element of which under the Advocacy goal is to: “Create specific working groups in support of achieving our advocacy goals and addressing the major identified themes (including consideration of involvement with partner groups and external organizations).”
If you ask one hundred people “what is the purpose of public schooling?” you will likely get a range of responses. But, if you boil all those responses down, you will arrive at something to do with intellectual development, social-emotional development, and career development, the stated goals of education in British Columbia.
Over the years 2013 to 2016, the Early Development Instrument (EDI) results in School District 84 (Vancouver Island West) showed that 53% of children in the community were vulnerable on one or more of the five scales (physical health and well-being, language and cognitive development, social competence, emotional maturity, and communication skills and general knowledge).
School District 69 was invited to participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program — and students from Ballenas Secondary responded. In fact, their experiment was judged to be worthy of being sent into space this summer! Their project, called Investigating the Growth Patterns of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) Sprouts in Microgravity: A Potential Nourishment for Future Manned Spaceflight is intended to inform further space flights about feeding astronauts.
[Sent March 19, 2019] “With Boards of Education providing their reviews of the independent review panel recommendations, and the working group review processes now underway, I wanted to reiterate BCSTA’s support for the review and redevelopment of the funding distribution model for K-12 public education.”
In the book “Vanishing School Boards: Where School Boards Have Gone, Why We Need Them, and How We Can Bring Them Back” Patrick Rice asserts “school boards keep the public in public schools, have a positive effect on student achievement, function as trustees over district resources, and serve as advocates for public schools.” He backs up these claims with research and experience. Fortunately, in British Columbia, there is significant buy-in to this assertion, and the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the BCSTA and the Ministry of Education is concrete acknowledgement of the value of boards in our province.
Although reported numbers vary somewhat, it is safe to say that one in seven young people in BC, or at least 84,000 school-aged students, experience one or more mental health disorders at some point in their young lives. And, of these, only approximately one third receive the treatment they need.
The governance structure of the BCSTA includes several standing committees established to consider the organization’s business in a specific area and provide recommendations to the Association’s Board of Directors. The committees also provide members with opportunities to engage directly in BCSTA work and to provide perspectives from the membership.
In this edition of BCSTA’s Education Leader we profile a pair of stories focused on students and technology in the classroom with a pair of intriguing stories from North Vancouver and North Okanagan-Shuswap.