The British Columbia School Trustee Association (BCSTA) supports public boards of education throughout BC. This month, the association will be holding the 114th BCSTA annual general meeting. This year’s meeting will have a different feel from the previous three I’ve been to, as it will be the last AGM for many trustees across the province. October 20 is the next municipal election and marks the end of the four-year term for trustees. While the tone and content may be different, the goal will be the same: to advocate and to educate.
This year’s theme is “working together for successful student transition” and brings with it many heavy-hitter presenters such as Santo Ono, the president of UBC, “working together for successful student transition”; Eric Termuende, co-founder of NoW Innovations, “preparing our students for the future of our workforce”; and Mike Downie, (brother of the late Gord Downie), documentary filmmaker/ co-creator of “Secret Path”, “focusing on the successful transitions for our aboriginal students”.
Other workshops on this year’s theme include “ReconciliACTION: creating a new way forward”, “student mental health and well-being: ways school districts can support student and staff well-being through policy and practice”, and “youth leadership project (YLP): a reconciliation initiative”. There will also be an election workshop to help those wishing to prepare for the fall election, and a policy and procedure program for those wanting to up their board table game.
With the AGM also comes the advocacy side of BCSTA. All 60 districts come together as a whole to champion for change. This year, at last count, there are 44 motions (and more expected at the time of voting) to bring to the floor, four of which are from SD46, Sunshine Coast. Our motions are to have the BCSTA advocate for adding student voice to the BCSTA foundational statements; to develop a framework and support for student voice and to ask for student trustees and student advisory councils to be embedded in the “School Act”. Finally, SD46 trustees have put forward a motion to have the BCSTA advocate to the ministry of education for additional funding to mitigate the risk of wired glass in schools.