CBE Trustees: A Year in Review

The Calgary Board of Education trustees had their organizational meeting on October 26, 2010 following an election in which all incumbents were re-elected (Lyn Ferguson – Wards 3 & 4, Pamela King – Wards 5 & 10, George Lane Wards 6 & 7, Pat Cochrane – Wards 8 & 9, and Carol Bazinet – Wards 12 & 14). They were joined by two newly elected trustees (Joy Bowen-Eyre – Wards 1 & 2 and Sheila Taylor – Wards 11 & 13). The CBE made a fantastic map if you are unsure as to which ward you live in or who is your trustee.

In the year since they have been elected, the trustees have come together for 95 hours in 30 board meetings. Of that time, they spent 53 hours or 56% of the time in public and 42 hours or 44% of the time in private. (This does not include the Sep 27, 2011 private meeting or the Oct 4, 2011 public meeting as those minutes have not yet been approved and posted online.)

What is done in these board meetings? Most of the time is spent monitoring policies, and approving things such school or program closures, transportation fees and budgets. In addition to this, trustees can also take the initiative and ask questions of administration in the form of trustee inquiries, bring forward their ideas in the form of motions, or add items to the agenda for board discussion. So, what has your trustee done?

√ – In Favour     X – Opposed     A – Absent     P – Declared Pecuniary Interest

One thought on “CBE Trustees: A Year in Review

  1. I think school trustees should be discussing
    -underfunding by the province for the entire year and then once the new money was announced, how to spend it with a priority list
    -overcrowding of classrooms and research studies of the effect on learning
    -books versus computers- research about what kids use, prefer and what results in actual more engagement with portable inquiry- I have a feeling we’ll discover that teachers and kids like books to page through and they like computers for quick facts and amusement. For leisure reading eg. novels they still massively prefer books
    -research about health of small children, grouping size and what parts of classrooms tend to carry germs
    -research about noise levels, not just group size but number of children in the room even if it has 3 groups there. The effect on learning is stunning
    -research about air quality and the effect on learning. I have a feeling we’ll discover that airless classrooms, ones with fresh construction dust or old mold are a big problem for health and for learning
    -caretaker concerns about attitude kids have to maintaining a clean area. I think you’ll find that many students have contempt for caretakers and are not really cooperative
    -school lighting- many schools are not identifiable on a winter morning in the dark. They need posted and lit signs
    -school clutter- a survey of classroom supplies, cupboards, filing cabinets and the difficulty of keeping an exciting but organized workspace for kids when there is nowhere to put stuff. I think you’ll find clutter breeds disrespect, sloth and frustration
    -parent reaction to reporting systems and whether they like, understand, feel served by or respected by the feedback process
    I think you’ll find that many feel the verbiage obfuscates- that teachers speak edubabble when they want the straight goods
    -teacher reaction to administrative workload. I think you’ll find that most teachers want more time to teach and mentor kids and less obligation to have meetings about meetings.
    -student alienation- a study of dropouts and why they left. A compulsory ‘exit interview’ should be held so the CBE gets feedback about what it is not doing right
    -counsellor feedback- a report about what the counsellors are seeing as new concerns kids have and what the schools can do about it. I think you’ll find that many kids are coming from homes where there is not enough time with the parent and the schools are being asked to become the parent, giving not just breakfast, lunch and babysitting before and after school but also moral lessons, lessons about drugs, alcohol, sex, values. I think the CBE should discuss whether it is possible, moral, affordable or even likely to generate class action lawsuits for the school to try to be everything. I think the CBE may want to take a societal stance to have tax policy enabling parents to spend more time with their kids and do some of the parenting themselves.
    -whether the IB and AP programs actually get post-secondary students any advantages. Look at research to see if these programs are leading to burnout, health problems, depression. I have a feeling we’ll see good but also negative sides to pushing kids and fast tracking
    -history of our schools. There should be a project funded by the CBE to create a history of each school, bios of all teachers ever there, bios of outstanding other staff, bios of outstanding students both famous and notorious through its history, outlines of awards and pride moments, odd developments, crises and funny anecdotes and a collection of alumni to contact for speeches to instil a sense of history would be advisable. Look at how private schools build pride and imitate.
    -do exit interviews of any families that pull kids from the public school to enter the private system to see what the appeal is. Do surveys of new registrants to the public system to see what the reasons for the switch are. Adapt programs so the CBE is meeting needs of parents and kids better.
    -how the backup systems work. Sub, supply teachers, bridging teachers and unfairness of pay scales.

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