Wolf Creek Public School board notes
Code of ethics policy
In a four to two vote, Wolf Creek Public School (WCPS) board trustees passed an amendment to their policy regarding code of ethics, during their recent monthly meeting (Jan. 20).
The amendment addresses, in an unambiguous fashion, how concerns, voiced directly to trustees by educational stakeholders or community members, should be directed. The key factors for determination are whether the concerns are administrative in nature or whether they involve policies.
Administrative includes concerns relating to classroom functioning or interaction between a student and teacher, the general functioning of a school, and the functioning of the school division as a whole. In these cases, the amendment states, the trustee is to direct the concern to the individual or group involved such as the teacher, the administration of the school or the division staff of the school division.
Policy concerns are to be directed to the board chair, Lorrie Jess, who will then submit it to the agenda of the appropriate committee.
During the discussion prior to the vote, trustee Bob Huff questioned whether the policy took too much power out of the hands of trustees and whether that might discourage potential trustees from running.
Trustee Karin Engen spoke in support of the amendment, which she said, added "clarity" and noted that because 95 % of the concerns come from the school level, that's where they should be addressed.
Trustees Engen, Jess, Trudy Bratland and Donna Peterson voted in favour of the amendment while Huff and fellow Ward 5 (Lacombe) trustee Paula Lamoureux voted against.
WCPS Superintendent Larry Jacobs presented trustees with a thorough report entitled Horizons Concerns.
Amongst the more contentious, and discussion inducing, components of the report was the request from Jacobs that the board support the adoption of a new software system called PowerSchool.
Trustees' concerns came from the fact the current system, CISS, was proving to have so many shortcomings despite the fact it was sold to them as being a solid and reliable system. Following some assurances by board personnel testing the new system, trustees voted unanimously to move forward on PowerSchool using money from the division's 2008-09 surplus.
The continuation of the School Resource Leader (SRL) position was a second aspect of the report which led to some debate. Jacobs explained that the position, created for this year to track services provided to schools and to pass along valuable information between schools, was originally budgeted for two years and that, because it has been such a success, it's return was supported by principals.
Huff asked whether the money spent on the position would be better served in another capacity since the original goals have been met.
Jess and Engen expressed support for its continuation with Jess noting the principals' support as being a key for her, and Engen pointing to the fact that the role furthers the goals of the board and benefits everyone from students, to teachers to school administration.
"It leaves no one behind," she said.
The vote for its continuation into next school year went five to one in favour, with Huff opposing.
Trustees will be rounding up local individuals to attend a Summit on Public Involvement in Public Schools which will take place in Edmonton on March 13 and 14.
Four individuals are needed to join two WCPS trustees (the board was looking in to the possibility of more being able to attend) at the event, which is being put on by the Alberta School Boards Association. Persons selected must not have a child currently in the system.
Huff stressed those selected should show a special interest in public education. Lamoureux added that the individuals should also be engaged with their communities. After some debate and one defeated motion, the board decided on a selection system that would see the five Wards represented as best as possible.