Areas of Interest

VALUE AND SATISFACTION FOR THE MONEY
Our biggest expense within education is salaries, and within that, teachers. They are our most valuable resource, and we need to do all we can to ensure that teachers are doing what they're trained and hired to do: teach! They are our richness.
Much of what goes on in the classroom is beyond the board's reach; both the Province and the union have a greater say in that matter. But the board can still be the voice of what is required. As a parent I feel that the amount of time teachers have to spend on testing, data collection, and reporting is excessive. The Province needs to continue to hear this message and adjust its emphasis on accountability accordingly. In a 2012 study by the  Canadian Education Association an overwhelming number of teachers reported that teaching was something they'd wanted to do their entire lives, they are a uniquely motivated group of professionals, and that their motivation for teaching was to make a difference in the lives of kids. It's hard for them to do this or remain inspired when weighed down by paperwork. The board needs to advocate on behalf of teachers as teachers.
It's not a question of looking for more from our teachers but of engaging them for the purpose for which they were trained. As teachers!

DEVELOPMENT: CAPITAL EXPENDITURES
If I had unused space in one part of my house and a shortage of space in another, I'd probably look at
moving things around before deciding to build more space. But building more space seems to be what the board and Province are focused on doing: building new capacity and new schools in outlying areas while the availability of unused space continues on the peninsula. Why not look at using that space? Instead of shutting off rooms within the house and adding to the periphery, why not actively promote the availability of that space? Why not encourage migration from areas of high density to low? This has the potential of alleviating space pressures in outlying schools, breathing new life into peninsular schools, and reducing the Province's need to spend money building schools wherever developers choose to build subdivisions. There are those who would like the chance to bring their kids from a home that is a distance from work to a school that's closer to where they spend their work day. The board could look at how it might accommodate this. More thorough use of the physical facilities we have already is important before building more.

LEADERSHIP WITHIN SCHOOLS
Principals are central to the motivation, morale, and inspiration of staff, kids, and the school community. The process by which these appointments happen needs to be looked at with a view to generating wider interest in the role of leader and ensuring that the best leader gets the job.  A principal is like the manager of a company. They are the centre around which all else turns. If something's off with the principal, it's off for everyone. It's a uniquely affecting position. The role calls for a solid administrative generalist with an intimate understanding of the teaching experience and educational requirements ~ but above all, it requires someone who understands and embodies the principles of effective leadership.
Not every aspiring principal possesses this quality and the current board-sponsored leadership training does not appear to be enough to engender it.
The board needs to look at the process that invites, prepares, and appoints principals to make sure schools are given every advantage when assigned a leader.
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