The Education Leader

The Education Leader exists to provide members, as well as the public, with education news and features that reflect the increased leadership role that boards of education play in public education. You will find the most recent editions below.

Please note that the Education Leader is on hiatus for the summer. The publication will resume at the start of the school year. 

Issue #27

A Summary of BCSTA’s 115th AGM

On April 25-28, close to 500 trustees, senior district staff, and others attended the 115th Annual General Meeting of the British Columbia School Trustees Association at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond, BC.

Get to Know the Finance and Audit Committee

The governance structure of the BCSTA includes several standing committees established to consider the organization’s business in specific areas and to provide recommendations to the BCSTA Board of Directors. 

Spotlight on Students – Indigenous Students and Hip Hop

A group of Indigenous students from Burnaby spent five days together to create and record an original song.  In a project created by the Burnaby School District’s Indigenous Education Department, the students found their voice and shared a powerful experience. 

Issue #26

Challenges in French Education Teacher Supply and Demand

In February of this year, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages released a study it had commissioned on supply and demand of French Second Language (FSL) teachers in Canada.  The study was led by the Canadian Parents for French and conducted by researchers from across Canada, including Mimi Masson, Elizabeth Larson, Paule Desgroseilliers,

Get to Know the Indigenous Education Committee

The governance structure of the BCSTA includes several standing committees established to consider the organization’s business in specific areas and to provide recommendations to the Board of Directors.  The committees also provide members with opportunities to engage directly in BCSTA work and to provide perspectives from the membership.

Spotlight on Students… in Kelowna

Keneisha Charles is a grade 12 student from Rutland Secondary School in the Central Okanagan (SD 23). After learning about a battalion of black Canadian soldiers in the First World War, she decided to write a poem and essay about Pte. Aubrey Mitchell.

Issue 25

BCSTA Working Groups: Progress Report

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).”

Student Success: Boards of Education Can Make a Difference

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. 

A Children’s Health Hub in Gold River

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).

Spotlight on Students: School Student Experiment Going Into Space

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

Issue #24

BCSTA Leadership Series

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

Focus on Mental Health – A Story of Hope and Hard Work

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.

Get to Know: the Legislative Committee

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.

Spotlight on Students and Technology

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. 

Issue #23

BCSTA – BCPSEA Trustee Orientation Recap

Following the trusteee elections in October 2018, close to half of the trustees elected were new to the role. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge to the BC School Trustees Association.

Issue #22

Renewed BC Tripartite Education Agreement Signed

This summer a renewed BC Tripartite Education Agreement: Supporting First Nation Student Success (BCTEA) was signed between the Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia and First Nations Education Steering Committee.

Academy 2018 Summary

As November drew to a close, the BC School Trustees Association held their annual Academy. This year’s Academy moved back to downtown Vancouver, taking place at the Hyatt Regency hotel in the heart of the city.

Issue # 21

National Fiscal Sustainability Report Highlights Provincial Concerns

The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) recently released their Fiscal Sustainability Report for 2018 at the end of September. This report outlines the PBO’s current “assessment of the sustainability of government finances over the long term for the federal government, subnational governments and public pension plans.”

Matt Carruthers, BC’s SOGI Education Lead, on Progress and the Future

The 2017-2018 school year has seen learning communities engage in SOGI-inclusive education like never before. In just its second year, the BC SOGI Educator Network now consists of 54 out of 60 school districts and continues to grow. While many educators have been engaged in SOGI work for years, the Network has centralized resources, fostered

Elected School Boards are Vital to English-Speaking Quebecers

English public education has a long and storied history in Quebec. Today the system has roughly 100,000 students in schools located throughout the province. We strongly believe that quality English public education essential to our future, and that maintaining control and management of that education by means of elected school boards is vital to the

Issue #20

Was it an Unadvertised Meeting?

A few years ago, a British Columbia Ombudsperson’s report expressed concerns about a somewhat common practice of municipal councils and boards.

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Getting to Know BC’s Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Earlier this year, former British Columbia ombudsperson Howard Kushner was appointed as the new commissioner for teacher regulation. Howard Kushner’s bio, available on, provides us with the following regarding his background and qualifications:

Trustee Academy Preview

Staff at the BC School Trustees Association have been keeping busy with only 62 days to go before the upcoming BCSTA Academy, taking place November 29 – December 1, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver. Taking place in the final week of November, both newly elected and seasoned trustees will find plenty of topics

Trustees at AGM 2018


As a way to increase the profile of school trustees as the election approaches, BCSTA launched the #ProudToBeASchoolTrustee social media campaign at our 2018 AGM. Members have been encouraged to share messages on social media about why they are #ProudToBeASchoolTrustee, including why they decided to run as a trustee, the work they are most proud to be involved in

Issue #19

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Successes and Challenges in SOGI Education

“Statistically we know there are LGBTQ2S students in every school, but the degree to which these students are visible is dependent on the level of safety and inclusiveness fostered within the building. When students aren’t free to be themselves, their learning is deeply impacted.”

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New Website:
What’s Changed?

Our new website has been streamlined to better match the services offered on the BCSTA HUB, and some existing platforms, such as DocuShare, have been retired. The focus of is now on the public.

Issue #18

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New Trustee Learning Guide Launched

Attendees at this year’s Trustee Academy were provided an overview of BCSTA’s great new learning resource for boards, individual trustees, senior district staff and partners – The Learning Guide.  This very extensive on-line learning resource covers a myriad of topics that are of interest and/or applicability to trustees, boards and senior staff in their roles governing, leading

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BCSTA HUB Now Open for Business

BCSTA’s new members-only area of our website, the BCSTA HUB, is now open for business.  The HUB will provide a number of new features and services aimed at providing improved services and communications for all members. Included within the HUB will be: The BCSTA Events Calendar Member notifications and information updates Discussion Groups (i.e. Listservs)

Issue #17

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Our Journey of Awareness and Understanding of Aboriginal Culture

On September 18, 2015, the culture of the Squamish People came to life at Eastview Elementary School in North Vancouver. Our year long journey of awareness and understanding of Aboriginal ways was witnessed and celebrated through a presentation ceremony of our Welcome Figure. Over the year, every Eastview student contributed to the pole under the

Issue #16

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Message of Support for SOGI Policies and Initiatives

[Vancouver, B.C, – September 22, 2017] – The British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) would like to express its full support for boards of education, the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Government in their work towards fostering safer and more inclusive communities for all British Columbians, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In

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Surrey School District Takes Their Data to a New Digital Level

Surrey Schools has designed a creative, innovative and interactive online tool called Our Data Story as part of the Our Learning Story webpage established to share facts and stories with parents and the public about student success in the district. “Over the past few years, the district has been supporting teachers to explore the use of digital portfolios as

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Student-Centred Governance Takes the Spot at This Year’s Trustee Academy

BCSTA’s Winter Trustee Academy is set to inspire trustees as they assemble under the theme of “Education Evolution: Student-Centred Governance” this November. This year’s winter academy will serve to highlight the important role students play in the governance of our public education system along with the value their unique perspective brings to decision-making. The keynote