Education Committee Report (October 3, 2017)

We had a delightful committee meeting last week. It started out with a presentation from Qayqayt Elementary School. 

2 of the teachers from Qayqayt used a relationship with Vancouver Biennale to use art to develop their relationship with a school in Brazil. It was an example of how art is able to connect both curricular and cultural differences.  It was incredibly inspiring and just one more example of why both the Fine and Performing Arts need to have a much more significant place in our school system.

After the Qayqayt presentation the Board resumed work on finalizing the Board values.

The Board has adopted both Mission and Vision statements,

Mission Statement “To enable each student to learn in a safe, engaging and inclusive environment.”

Vision Statement “A place where students love to learn.”

We discussed the list of potential values:

  • Inclusion
  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Engagement
  • Collaboration
  • Equity
  • Respect
  • Empathy

The discussion was an example of how School Boards and groups should work, thoughtful and reflective discussion. With Trustees and Staff building on others comments. In the end we concluded with a list of, 

  1. Curiosity
  2. Engagement
  3. Collaboration
  4. Inclusion
  5. Innovation
  6. Integrity
  7. Equity

Of course now that we have developed our District Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Values, what comes next.

We developed these as a Board, representing the public and the education system in New Westminster, but without much input or consultation. I would still have preferred, as I stated at the Board table many times, that we had engaged with both our public and our education partners to be sure that these fully reflected the Mission, Vision and Values of New Westminster as a whole. Engagement with our public and our education partners is a major concern of mine. Over the past few years this Board has seemed to become more isolated from our publics. With many seeming to believe, both on and off the Board,  that all is well if we (1) balance the budget and (2) don’t have angry people attending meetings. The area of Public Engagement is a major concern to me and I see that as an area to pursue over the next year.

So now that we have these I am unclear how these are used to help the system to move forward.  But we did have some great discussions at the Board table getting here.

Author: Michael Ewen

Husband, Parent, Grandparent, Dog Owner, Public School Teacher, Public School Trustee

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