Serving and Supporting BC’s Boards of Education

School Board Work is Not for the Faint of Heart

By Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director & CEO, National School Boards Association: 

If there is one thing to know as a school leader, it’s that there is more than one thing to know. Back in the 1800s, when public schools first were being formed in most places around the country, the local school board provided basic oversight of a fledgling operation. The work included building a school (often one room), and then making sure it was heated, books and other supplies were secured and, of course, teachers were hired. School board members typically also handled maintenance and other hands-on duties to keep the school running.

From Advocacy to Action

School trustees from all 60 boards of education in BC came together and made their concerns heard this past October at the BCSTA Provincial Council meeting in Vancouver. It was here that a motion regarding vaping cessation targeted at youth was discussed, and ultimately passed. The motion itself received strong support from attendees, highlighting the importance of the issue. Long considered a ‘healthier’ alternative to smoking, concerns around vaping have been on the rise as of late as more and more evidence comes forward regarding its negative impacts on health.

IEC Presents Groundbreaking Haida Film at Academy

BCSTA’s Indigenous Education Committee will present Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife) at this year’s Trustee Academy.

Edge of the Knife is inspired by Gaagiixit, a traditional Haida legend, and is the first film ever made in the Haida language. The film, directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown, is set on Vancouver Island in the 19th century and premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

SD44’s Drag Club Breaks Down Barriers

A new generation of Greasers are getting an adrenaline rush at Windsor Secondary – while breaking stereotypes.  Student Kaitlyn Clark grips the steering wheel of the white 1980 Camaro Z28, one hand on the shifter, anxiously anticipating the green light. At the first flash of green, it’s pedal to the metal for Clark as she takes off down the quarter-mile dragstrip at Mission Raceway Park.

Media Release: Trustees Celebrate New Regulations Targeting Teen Vaping

[Victoria, B.C. – November 14, 2019] New regulations and resources designed to take action against youth vaping are a positive step in the right direction say B.C.’s school trustees. “Vaping is a serious community health issue that has made its way into our schools. B.C.’s boards of education are pleased with this comprehensive plan from government to address the issue,” said Stephanie Higginson, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA).

Advocacy: Vape Awareness and Vape Cessation Resources for Youth

[Sent November 7, 2019]

President Higginson to Federal Minister of Health Petitpas Taylor, BC Minister of Health Dix and BC Minister of Education Fleming:

“The motion was passed unanimously by BCSTA’s membership and serves to highlight the overwhelming concerns our members have regarding the prevalence of vaping in BC’s public schools. While the true extent of the harms of vaping is currently unknown, research continues to signal that serious issues can develop as a result of continued use.”

Advocacy: Funding for Menstrual Product Dispensers – Response

[Received Oct 28, 2019]

Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier James to President Higginson: 

“As you may be aware, a ministerial order was issued in April 2019 by the Minister of Education that required public schools to provide free menstrual products for students in school washrooms by the end of 2019. At that time, $300,000 in provincial funding was provided to facilitate the implementation.”

Advocacy: Implementation of MSP Requirement for International Students

[Sent November 5, 2019]

President Higginson to Minister Dix:

“While most school trustees, and the school districts they represent, do not have a concern with fee paying international students being required to have and pay for medical services plan (MSP) coverage, the timing of the announcement of this policy change is highly problematic for the education sector.”

Advocacy: Funding Distribution Model Feedback

[Sent October 31, 2019]

President Higginson to Minister Fleming:

“While BCSTA remains fully committed to our position that the current funding model must be modernized, and to the jointly established guiding principles for change, we also recognize the need for individual boards to see and fully understand the impact of any changes that cabinet may authorize over the coming weeks.”