At the New Westminster School Board Education Committee meeting in November the Committee discussed the public consultation process that the Board had approved at the last Board meeting on October 24.
At that Board meeting in October the Board directed the Superintendent to follow our usual consultative process sending out the recommendations from the May Day Task Force to the public for feedback.
The May Day Task Force was tasked with first consulting our staff “to review the nature and scope of the New Westminster School District’s participation in the annual May Day celebration.” The focus was to be on the pedagogical impact of May Day in the schools. After much discussion as a first step the Task Force surveyed district staff on the pedagogical impact of May Day in the schools. Of the 166 elementary and middle school teachers in New Westminster Schools in 2016‐2017, 124 participated in the survey – a teacher response rate of 75%. From those responses the Task Force developed 3 recommendations to the Board for public consultation.
The May Day Task Force Committee respectfully submits the following recommendations to the Board of Education:
1 For the 2018 and 2019 May Day, celebrations be school‐based celebrations and further recommend that on the 150th anniversary of May Day in 2020, the School District support the May Day Celebration Ceremony at Queen’s Park.
2 The District should discontinue the practice of selecting a Royal Suite. The Board should support the transferring of responsibility for the Royal Suite to a community organization.
3 The Board should endeavour to transfer responsibility for organizing the May Day celebrations in Queen’s Park outside of school hours to a community organization who could then decide how best to continue the tradition. In this way, for example, those community members who are particularly keen to keep alive the institutions of the May Queen and Royal Suite could formulate their own selection methods, costume requirements and ceremonial “duties”.
The Superintendent was directed by the Board to follow our usual consultative process and developed this survey for public reaction.
As it currently stands unless the School Board directs otherwise May Day 2018 will follow the same process as in previous years. The School Board does not usually get involved in how it’s directions are carried out, in this case having May Day, so it would be up to the Superintendent to establish the May Day committee from District (and perhaps community) volunteers, as has been the past practice, and move forward with May Day.
The Superintendent has also been tasked with contacting community groups who might be interested in taking responsibility for the Royal Suite and “organizing the May Day celebrations in Queen’s Park outside of school hours.” This will also help inform the School Board of possible options moving forward.
Lastly at the Education Committee the following motion was passed and will be going forward to the Board meeting at the end of November,
That the school board invite the city to partner in the public consultation to determine the future observation of May Day and the recommendation from the school board May Day task force be forwarded to this process.
This would be a great opportunity for the City and the School District to move forward with the community and look at al the possible ways to support and continue our May Day traditions.