New Wesminster School Board’s New Policy Manual

I believe that the work between Senior Administration and the School Board should be a collaborative approach with the School Board providing overall guidance through policy and then the School Board regularly reviewing with Administration their implementation of those policies. I do not believe that the currently proposed new Policy Manual provides the balance necessary for proper governance and oversight of administration or the ability to work collaboratively with our senior administration.

This Policy Manual is to be reviewed for final adoption at this Tuesday’s committee meeting and I do not think that it is ready for adoption. I think that we need more discussion on the implications of the implementation of the Policy Manual.

I have included the Policy Manual here since it was not uploaded to the School District website for Tuesday’s meeting.

ops-committee-backgrounder-170117

I have also included my proposed amendments since they were also not included.

Supplement to: OPERATIONS POLICY & PLANNING COMMITTEE

Item: Requiring Action   For Information    

Background

I believe that some of our new policy ignores, and even abrogates, our duty of oversight of  New Westminster Schools.  While we can delegate responsibility for achieving our policy objectives the ultimate responsibility, under the School Act, rests with the Board of Education, and we exercise that responsibility through oversight of our administration.

I am proposing some significant changes to our proposed policy.  In instances where I am taking policy directly from the West Vancouver Board of Education I have indicated that, otherwise the wording is all mine. as I am sure you will all figure our my changes, whether to include West Vancouver wording or my own, the changes are highlighted in yellow (on this website they are underlined).

I look forward to finally discussing our new Board Policy at an open Committee meeting, where I intend to move each of the changes.

Policy 2

ROLE OF THE BOARD

Boards of Education have been established by provincial legislation and given authority by the School Act and attendant Regulations and elected by the citizens of New Westminster, to, as a corporate body, provide Democratic Oversight, overall direction and leadership to the District that is reflective of local values and a local context, to, within the local context, provide overall direction and leadership to the District.

2. Accountability to and Engagement of Community

2.3 Provide for two-way communication between the Board and stakeholder groups. (West Vancouver)

4. Policy

4.2 Delegate authority to the Superintendent with appropriate and timely information and reporting to the Board before significant decisions are made.

5. Board/Superintendent Relations

The Board shall:

5.2 Work in collaboration with the Superintendent to provide clear corporate direction to improve appropriate educational programs and services and managerial practices for the students and community in New Westminster.

5.4 Annually evaluate the Superintendent in accordance with a pre-established performance appraisal mechanism and create a performance management framework for the Superintendent, that: has clearly articulated and appropriate timelines for achievement; is developed collaboratively between the Board and Superintendent to promote transparency and open, two-way communication; and is reviewed two to four times per year. (Milburn Report R18)

R#18)

1 Annual evaluation of Superintendent 17 months (November 2016)

2 Evaluation of Secretary-Treasurer (January 2015)

6. 1. Political Advocacy

The Board shall:

1.2 Advance District positions and priorities either directly or through relevant provincial organizations and associations.

8. Fiscal Accountability

The Board shall:

8.13 Monitor the fiscal management of the District through receipt of quarterly financials and quarterly accountability reports including variance analyses and year-end projections through Reports from the Board’s Audit Committee.

Selected Responsibilities

9. Approval of, alteration to and cessation of Board established academies and programs of choice.

**************************

Policy 3

ROLE OF THE TRUSTEE

A trustee who is given corporate authority, by the Board, to act on behalf of the Board may carry out duties individually but only as an agent of the Board. In such cases, the actions of the trustee are those of the Board, which is then responsible for them. A trustee acting individually has only the authority and status of any other citizen of the District.

Orientation

2. The District will provide financial support for trustees to attend British Columbia School Trustees Association seminars and the BCSTA Annual General Meeting.

3. The Board Chair, Vice-Chair and Superintendent ……

**************************

Policy 5

ROLE OF THE BOARD CHAIR

1. Act as the official spokesperson for the Board, except for those instances where the Board has delegated this role to another individual.

3. Prior to each Board meeting consult with the trustees and confer with the Superintendent, Vice Chair and Secretary Treasurer on the items to be included on the agenda, the order of these items and become thoroughly familiar with them.

4. The Board Chair and Vice-Chair are responsible for ensuring that all the proper documentation is attached to Board meeting agendas before they are distributed.

8 Be in regular contact with all trustees and with the Superintendent ….

**************************

Policy 6

ROLE OF THE VICE-CHAIR

Vice-Chair and Chair are equal and the Vice-Chair shall be included in all meetings that include the Chair of the Board.

Specific Responsibilities

The Vice-Chair shall take primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining a District/Community engagement process.

**************************

Policy 7

BOARD OPERATIONS

The Board operates and governs itself in a manner that models respect for individuals and strengthens relationships within the education community.Within this framework decisions will be made that serve to ensure quality learning opportunities and maximize learning outcomes for all students of all ages. (West Vancouver)

1. Board Composition and Elections

As indicated in Trustee Elections By-law No. 1-93 attached as Appendix A seven trustees are elected at large to the Board of Education for a four year term. The one electoral area for the district is the Municipality of New Westminster. Therefore all trustees are elected at large.

6. Notice and Agendas

6.3 (1) Duty to Document and Inform

All items on the Board agenda must be accompanied by a Backgrounder

(1) outlining what the purpose of the agenda item is,

(2) outlining options for the Board consideration, and

(3) making a recommendation for the Board

All presentations must be attached to the Board agenda when it is distributed. If presentations are not attached, the presentation will be postponed.

No decisions can be made by the Board without proper and full written documentation. The Board Chair and Vice-Chair are responsible for ensuring that the proper documentation is attached to Board meeting agendas when they are distributed.

No verbal reports, material or items may be added to Board meeting agendas without the unanimous consent of the Board.

6.9 Where material or motions are introduced at a Board meeting, not related to a matter that is on the agenda and which has not been made available to Trustees in accordance with section 6.6 and 6.8, a Trustee may call notice on any motion arising from such material and that motion accordingly shall be considered on the agenda of the next Board meeting.

7. Minutes

The Board has a Duty to Document how and why decisions were made to preserve the institutional memory of the reasons for decision making therefore the Board shall maintain and preserve by means of minutes a record of its proceedings and resolutions.

7.1 The minutes shall record:

7.1.10 Duty to Document

All materials from the Board agenda that led to a Board decision reflecting the decision making process of the Board and must be kept securely to properly document Board decision making.

All presentations must be attached to the Board minutes, if those presentations led to a decisions of the Board.

9. Public Participation

The Board welcomes and provides for a variety of forms of public participation by members of the community. Public participation may be through presentations by a delegation, through formal question/comment periods in regular Board meetings or in the form of written communications. Such opportunities shall not be used to address matters which must be dealt with in in-camera meetings as noted elsewhere in this policy. For example, individual student matters must not be dealt with in a public setting.  In addition, structures have been defined in legislation and collective agreements to deal with labour management issues. The public participation opportunities noted below are not to be used to deal with such matters. The Board respects and honors employee groups’ contracts and official representatives and will therefore deal with labour management issues through defined legislated and collective agreement processes

9.4 The Board shall not formally respond by motion to a Presentation or Delegation without the unanimous consent of the Board. Such responses, if desired by the Board, shall be at a subsequent board meeting.

10. Trustee Remuneration and Expenses

10.1 Annual Remuneration

10.1.3 Trustees shall be allocated with a Board Business Expense budget of $2,000.

Expenses

Conference and Travel Expenses

10.2.6 Trustees will inform the Board, in advance, of their intention to attend a conference/seminar or travel on Board business. and shall obtain prior approval of the Board for such attendance. Trustees shall book registrations, travel and accommodations in consultation with the Superintendent’s office. Trustees must seek Board approval to exceed their Board Business Expense budget.

**************************

Policy 8

BOARD COMMITTEES

Standing Committees

Standing Committees are established to assist the Board with work of an on-going or recurring nature.

There shall be three standing committees of the whole: the Education Policy and Planning Committee of the Whole,  the Operations Policy and Planning Committee of the Whole and the Board of Education Audit Committee.

11. Board of Education Audit Committee

11.1 Purpose

11.1.1 To provide the Board of Education recommendations on various strategies, financial situations, risk management scenarios, and other complex issues.

10.1 Powers and duties

10.2 Membership

A committee of committee external experts, chaired by a Trustee.

10.3 Meetings

**************************

Policy 9

BOARD REPRESENTATIVES

Civic and Community Committee Representatives

The Board seeks to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the New Westminster Municipal Council and to that end welcomes invitations from the council to have District representation on civic committees.

1. Normally such committees deal with administrative matters and therefore shall be represented by administrative staff selected by and reporting to the Superintendent.

2. When an invitation is received for District membership on a civic or community committee, the Board shall determine if the terms of reference for the committee requires Board representation. Normally if there is such a need the Board corporate will seek a meeting with the Municipal Council to determine the issues to be addressed and the most appropriate means of addressing these issues of mutual interest to the two governing bodies. Major facility construction, for example has resulted in a Task Force being established.

School Liaison Trustee Role

School liaison responsibilities shall not:

• Inhibit or circumvent administrative authority or responsibility

• Include any decision making authority

Parent Advisory Councils as per section 8 of the School Act may advise the Board and the principal and staff of a school. Therefore, the role of school liaison trustee does not include attendance at Parent Advisory Council meetings. If the Council wishes to advise the Board corporate, that advice is to be sent to the Board.

The role of liaison trustee is to provide information to the school community on district and Board of Education information and to provide visual support for school activities including but not limited to athletic competitions, fine arts performances and displays, school celebrations, and recognition events. The role allows trustees to become knowledgeable of public school events while keeping manageable the time demands should there not be some limiting of expectations for Board or Trustee attendance at such public events.

**************************

Policy 11

BOARD DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY

In the absence of Board policy in cases where an immediate administrative response is

required the Superintendent will:

1. If time permits, consult with the Board Chair and ViceChair.

2. Inform the Board as soon as is practicable and at the next regular meeting of the action taken and the nature of the emergent issue and where warranted, the need for policy in the event of future occurrences.

3. The action must be taken with regard for the tenor of the Board’s foundational statements. (West Vancouver)

**************************

Policy 12

ROLE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

The Superintendent shall:

Specific Areas of Responsibility

1. Student Learning

1.2 Support instructional strategies, assessment and resources that reflect sensitivity to diversity and incorporate themes such as inclusion, respect and acceptance. (West Vancouver)

4. Personnel Management

4.2 Monitor and improve the performance of all staff. (West Vancouver)

8.Organizational Leadership and Management

8.1 Promote at all times a high standard of collaborative professional leadership, effective human relationships, and a spirit of educational innovation and advancement throughout the District. (West Vancouver)

10. Leadership Practices

10.2 Model appropriate value systems, ethics and moral leadership. (West Vancouver)

**************************

Policy 15

RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION OF PERSONNEL

The Board believes that the recruitment and selection of District personnel is a shared responsibility between the Board and the Superintendent. (West Vancouver)

The Board is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all individuals in every aspect of personnel practice including recruitment, selection and promotion, and to establishing an educational work force (administrative, professional and support) that is reflective of both the ethnic and gender make-up of the New Westminster community. To this end, the recruitment, selection and hiring of professional staff will occur through a multi-step process.

Recruitment

All professional staff vacancies will be advertised in appropriate professional publications, internally and externally. Advertisements will include statements of essential and desirable qualifications. A minimum of two weeks must be allowed for advertising vacancies, except in exceptional circumstances for unanticipated vacancies, which may require shortening advertisement times to no less than one week.

Screening

The intent of the screening process is to identify all candidates with the necessary and sufficient

qualifications for all Administrative positions.

A Screening  Committee will operate to screen candidates for interviewing and will be composed of up to two representatives from each of the stakeholder groups and the other of members of the senior management team. The Screening Committee must recommend more candidates then positions available. The Screening Committee recommendations are consultative and do not bind the Superintendent or the Board.The Screening Committee will make it’s recommendations to the Superintendent. 

The Board reserves the sole authority to recruit and select an individual for the position of Superintendent. Further the Board has designated the Superintendent of Schools as Chief Executive Officer for the District. The Superintendent of Schools/CEO has sole authority for recruiting and selecting all other staff within existing legislation, budget allocations and collective agreements.

Specifically

1. The following process will be followed for Assistant Superintendent and Secretary-Treasurer

positions:

1.1 The Superintendent will use a screening committee to conduct initial interviews composed of .

1.2 The screening committee will recommend candidates to be interviewed by the selection committee.

1.3 The Board and Superintendent shall constitute the selection committee.

1.4 The selection committee will attempt to achieve consensus. In the event this is not possible, the successful candidate must be supported by a majority vote of the trustees.

1.5 These positions shall have a role description and the person occupying each of the positions shall have a written contract of employment.

1.6 The compensation grid will be determined by the Board and placement on the grid by the Superintendent. (West Vancouver)

2. The Superintendent is delegated full authority to recruit and select staff for all other

positions. (West Vancouver)

**************************

Policy 19

RESTRICTED AND NON-RESTRICTED SURPLUS FUNDS

These non-restricted funds can therefore be used to mitigate any negative impact unforeseen circumstances might otherwise cause, at the discretion of the Board.

2. Restricted Surplus Funds

2.5 The Board shall maintain within the restricted surplus funds an allocation for contingencies equal to $1,000,000.

NWSS Site Stories

The power of the arts to inspire

Site Stories was an incredible multi-media presentation by Grade 10 students from NWSS. They took the sights and sounds of NWSS and have preserved them for all time. It is a wonderful example of creative collaboration between teachers and classes to create a memorable exhibit. It is a fantastic example of the power of the Arts in inspiring students to be creative and descriptive. My thanks go out to Dragana Sacco  and Jenny Simpson for an exciting example of professional collaboration.

The following is the ArtStart  Press Release on the Exhibit. Followed by my pictures from todays Exhibition.

Site Stories Exhibition at NW Secondary School:

10th graders to share new art works inspired by stories of their school

NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – January 4, 2017

After 14 weeks of exploring the sites and stories of their school, sixty 10th graders from NWSS will share their original art works in a three day exhibition. The opening reception will take place on Wednesday, January 11 from 5:30-7:00pm, and the exhibition will be open during school hours on January 12 and 13. The show features new 2-D, 3-D, site-specific and time-based works conceived and completed by the students.

Since September 2016, artists Mark Cunningham and Julie Hammond have collaborated with classroom teachers Dragana Sacco, English, and Jenny Simpson, Art, to implement a program that paired expanded ideas of art making with explorations of the school building and location. Each week students learned about and used contemporary art practices—from scores to readymades to text and street art—as jumping-off points for making drawings, temporary sculptures, audio recordings, and carrying out a stencil bomb of the school hallways (sanctioned by school administration, of course). In-school activities were supplemented by research at the New Westminster Archives, a visit from Qayqayt Chief Rhonda Larabee, and field trip to Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery.

“As the NWSS community wraps up our time in the current building, we were thrilled to dive deeply into exploring what this space is and has been,” said English teacher Jenny Simpson. “It’s been remarkable to see students use and develop art tools to question and investigate places they have previously taken for granted.”

“As artists, we can illuminate the past and imagine the future in unexpected ways,” adds artist Julie Hammond. “Through this project students have been given the freedom to explore what matters to them and how they want to share their ideas with the community.”

MORE INFO: www.nwsssitestories.blogspot.ca

The Site Stories project was made possible in part by an ArtStarts Artist in the Classroom Grant and the NWSS PAC, and takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Qayqayt First Nation.

Posted by Mark Cunningham and Art Starts

img_2648img_2651img_2646

img_2649img_2650

img_2647

Mission Statement (Round 2)

The New Westminster School Board met in an open public meeting last night (with no public in attendance) and decided to continue developing the Mission Statement. After working for almost 90 minutes the Board and Senior Staff pared it down to 4 statements:

  1. To engage each student in personal, meaningful and relevant learning.
  2. To engage and enable each student to learn in a caring environment.
  3. To inspire each student with relevant and safe learning experiences.
  4. To engage and enable each student to learning in a safe, caring and inclusive environment.

Thoughts? Comments?

School District Mission Statement and Policy Development

Over the next month the New Westminster School District will be developing a new Mission Statement, and adopting a new Policy Manual (indeed a new approach to governing the School District).

The New Westminster School Board is working to update the Mission Statement for the school district in light of the changes in educational direction. The Mission Statement and School District values are the drivers of decision making in the District.

In the past former Superintendent John Woudzia would challenge us with his question of who was the decision serving, and if the answer was not the students then Dr Woudzia would always suggest that the decision be revisited. While that was not actually included in either our District Mission Statement it drove decision making for years, although it was not always successful in meeting student needs over adult preferences. A Mission Statement should be short and memorable, it should reflect who we are and and what we want and expect the District to be.

Currently the School District Mission Statement says:

The New Westminster School District is committed to ensuring that learners become self-assured, self-sufficient, caring, wise, flexible, and able to live successfully in an ever-changing environment.

At a recent public Board meeting (that no member of the public attended) the Board spent some time coming up with wording around a new Mission Statement asked Superintendent Pat Duncan to wordsmith create a new Mission Statement. His report to the Board for (Tuesday, Jan 10) is as follows,

Strategic Planning & Direction: January 3, 2017

Creating our Mission Statement

At the Special Open Board Meeting held on January 3, 2017, the the Board of Education continued the process of establishing a Strategic Direction for the New Westminster School District.   In the second of a series of meetings, the Trustees continued work on establishing a mission statement to guide our District in strategic planning and direction.

To establish a meaningful mission statement the Trustees were tasked with answering the following question: “Why do we exist as an organization?” The intent of this question is to help reach agreement regarding the fundamental purpose of our School District (and more specifically, what is the fundamental purpose of school?).  This clarity of purpose will assist to establish priorities and will become an important factor in guiding decisions.

Trustees were asked to be mindful of needless clutter, buzz words and jargon. Ideally, mission statements for school districts should be 8-10 words. The goal is to clearly articulate and clarify for the community our District’s fundamental purpose.

Below are the statements created by Trustees. The highlighted phrases are concepts that Trustees agreed were essential.  It was also agreed that the phrase “all students” was preferable to the word “learners”.

  • Nurture curiosity, creativity and joy in learning
  • Enable learners to reach full potential in meeting challenges in an ever-changing world.
  • To provide a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  • To love learning.
  • To nurture learners to reach their potential and contribute to an ever-changing world
  • To allow (prepare?) all to flourish in an ever-changing world
  • To fully support each student
  • To create a rich & diverse environment with engaging programs to inspire each student to successfully live in our ever-changing community (or world, culture)
  • To create conditions for every student to learn, grow & engage in an ever-changing world

 

At the conclusion of the January 3, 2017 Special Open Board Meeting, the Board of Education requested that the Superintendent of Schools take the statements created by the Trustees and attempt to synthesize and capture the sentiments in a number of draft statements.  Below, please find the draft statements:

  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning environment.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning environment so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community so that they may reach their full potential.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community so that they may reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning environment so that they may reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning environment so that they may reach their full potential and meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, nurturing, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community.
  1. To support each student in a safe, nurturing, engaging & inclusive learning community.

 

  1. To enable each student to reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for every student.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student in a safe, caring & inclusive learning community.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student so that they may reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student so that they may reach their full potential.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To instill the love of learning in each student.
  1. To nurture the love of learning in each student.
  1. To nurture curiosity and the love of learning in each student so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture curiosity and the love of learning in each student so that they may reach their full potential.
  1. To nurture each student to reach their full potential and contribute to an ever-changing world.
  1. To enable each student to reach their full potential and contribute to an ever-changing world.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & engage in an ever-changing world.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & contribute to an ever-changing world.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & reach their full potential.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & reach their full potential in an ever-changing world.

Out of the Box Thinking

  1. To inspire.
  2. To inspire each student.
  3. To inspire and support each student.
  4. To inspire in a dynamic world.
  5. To inspire each student in a dynamic world.
  6. To inspire and support each student in a dynamic world
  7. To nurture and support all students.
  8. To nurture and support each student.
  9. To support each student in their pursuit of learning.
  10. To support each student in their pursuit of knowledge.
  11. To enhance each students’ life chances through education.
  12. To engage each student in personal, meaningful and relevant learning.
  13. To serve our students.
  14. To serve our students in a safe, caring and engaging environment.
  15. To serve each student.
  16. To serve each student in a safe, caring and engaging environment.
  17. To serve each student in a transforming world.
  18. To prepare each student for a transforming world.
  19. To assist each student to prosper in a transforming world.
  20. To improve the life chances of each student.
  21. To improve the life chances of every student.
  22. To foster and inspire.
  23. To foster and inspire each student.
  24. To foster and inspire each student in a safe, caring and engaging community.

 

Returning

I have decided to turn to the Blogsphere in an attempt to engage people in New Westminster about School Board and School District issues. It has been an enormous frustration of mine that over the years few people engage with the School District unless there is a problem or an issue.  Typically we have 2 or fewer people attend our public meetings and we have not been successful in finding a way to engage people. My goal here is to post before, and hopefully after, Board meetings to let people know about what issues are coming up, or about what is happening. I will, of course, also add my opinion to the mix.

Over the years the New Westminster School Board had 5 Community based committees (Education, Social Responsibility, Finance, Operations and a District Advisory Committee) when those committees struggled with quorum issues they were amalgamated into Education and Social Responsibility and Finance and Operations.  Once again they struggled with quorum and were eventually dropped, to be replaced by different variations of our current structures, Board public Committees, with flexible rules to allow and encourage public participation.

I am hoping that by starting an online communication tool with our community it will allow us to get some further level of engagement and community involvement.

So here we go.