One of the most valuable experiences a trustee can have is connecting with other boards of education. The professional development opportunities and conversations give us an opportunity to learn how districts are meeting the challenges of educating students in the 21st century and encouraging the citizens of tomorrow to excel and shape the world they live in. Meeting with fellow trustees also gives us a chance to share the amazing things happening on the Sunshine Coast with a larger audience.
Last month, trustees and senior staff attended the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Academy. The program was educational and provocative, with topics ranging from the Auditor General’s report on Aboriginal Learners in BC schools to Dr. Yong Zhao’s message of inspiring students to be creative and entrepreneurial (or “how to get your children out of your basement”).
Board Chair Betty Baxter and Superintendent Patrick Bocking delivered a plenary session on the strategic planning process used in our district this past year and how we used this data to form a Strategic Plan truly shaped by the community. Trustees and senior staff from around the province heard how our board, senior staff and schools refer to the Strategic Plan through the Board’s decision-making processes and structures. The plan is reflected in reports from staff and individual school growth plans, and is the basis for the board’s Communication Plan.
Late February, 2016 our district will host Sea-to-Sky and Powell River trustees and staff for our annual Branch meeting. Over two days we will tour school sites and programs, highlighting Gibsons Elementary, community partnerships, Aboriginal Education and Support, Early Learning, and innovative programming at NEST, ACE-It and Pender Harbour Secondary. Showcasing our district gives not only our students and staff the opportunity to shine, but also for other districts to share in the excellence in public education on the Sunshine Coast.