The Education Leader

The Education Leader is a monthly publication that exists to provide our 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.

Issue #32

AGM Speaker Preview

BCSTA’s Professional Learning Committee has been hard at work curating a diverse and exciting professional development program as part of the association’s annual general meeting this April. Below we highlight just some of the speakers that will engage with our members.

Celebrating Pink Shirt Day

Our board of directors and staff are proud to wear pink today, February 26, to stand against all forms of bullying and discrimination. Pink Shirt Day originated in Nova Scotia when two grade 12 students defended a grade 9 student who was being bullied for wearing pink.

BCSTA Branch Profile: Northern Interior

BCSTA’s Northern Interior Branch (NIB) consists of eight school districts: Cariboo-Chilcotin, Quesnel, Central Coast, Prince George, Peace River South, Peace River North, Fort Nelson, and Nechako Lakes. We meet four times per year, twice in host member districts and twice during BCSTA’s annual general meeting (AGM) and the annual BCSTA Trustee Academy.

Artificial Intelligence in Schools

As technology continues to proliferate all around us, I have wondered about the impact artificial intelligence (AI) will have on education, especially on teaching and learning. You need not look very far to see its ubiquitous presence in our lives.

Past Editions

Issue #31

Supporting Indigenous Learning in SD47

Weaving Indigenous content into the everyday curriculum is important to all School District 47 educators, but many need support. The First People’s Curriculum is now mandatory everywhere in B.C., from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Pilot Girls in Trades Program a Success

A unique program at Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools (NLPS) encourages young women to consider a career path in the trades through hands-on learning. The Careers Technical Center (CTC) in School District 68 runs trades introduction programs starting with short programs in Grades 6 and 7 allowing students to build projects like planters or birdhouses.

BCSTA 2020 Scholarships

This year, BCSTA is offering up to three scholarships of $500 each to graduating public-school students who have shown exemplary citizenship in their school and community.

Our Sacred Children Mini-Documentary

Xe’ xe’ smun’eem: Our Sacred Children is a mini-documentary from the Cowichan Valley School District. A year in the making, the video focuses on the amazing work happening throughout the district to increase Indigenous ways of knowing for learners, staff, and the community.

Issue #30

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

Issue #29

Comox Valley Schools are Putting Reconciliation in Education District-Wide

School District 71 (Comox Valley) is the first district in Canada to sign-on with the Downie-Wenjack Legacy Schools Program. The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) Legacy School program is a national initiative to engage, empower and connect students and educators to further reconciliation through awareness, education and action (reconciliACTION).

Meetings, Motions and Shared Concerns on Vaping Dominate October

October is traditionally a busy month for the British Columbia School Trustees Association’s membership, with several events sprinkled throughout the month every year. The re-opening of schools after a short summer holiday are now memories as the real work begins, signaled by the arrival of autumn.

Meet Kelly Pollack, Executive Director of Focused Education Resources

What should districts know about Focused Education Resources? Focused Education Resources (FocusED) is a new not-for-profit organization created to support excellence in K-12 education in British Columbia. We provide support and build capacity for school districts, independent and First Nations schools, other stakeholders and partners, and ultimately students.

Issue #28

From the President’s Desk

Uy’skweyul. It is my pleasure to re-introduce our monthly newsletters for the 2019/20 school year. Each month through the school year, The Education Leader will highlight stories related to public education in BC.

Orange Shirt Day 2019

September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a day to recognize and remember the damage caused by Canada’s residential school system. Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake BC. The event is based on the story of Phyllis Jack Webstad, who attended the St. Joseph Mission Indian Residential School in 1973.

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