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SECTION 5 Governance

April 21, 2021
Education Review main art Web

Executive Summary
SECTION 1: Long Term Vision
SECTION 2: Student Learning
SECTION 3: Teaching
SECTION 4: Accountability for Student Learning

SECTION 5: Governance
SECTION 6: Funding
Winnipeg School Division’s Recommendations

References
Appendix A
Appendix B

School Boards within Manitoba’s K to 12 education system allow the community a voice in the current state and future of educational programming. School Boards in Manitoba serve a variety of different sizes of school divisions and diverse needs.

This section will respond to the following areas of focus:


  • The role of government in K to 12 education.
  • The role of schoolboards in K to 12 education.
  • The role of student, parent and community engagement in the education system.
  • How to better encourage and facilitate local input and engagement in the education system.

THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN K TO 12 EDUCATION

The role of the Manitoba Government in Kindergarten to Grade 12 education includes providing educational, administrative, financial management and school support functions, and policy and legislative frameworks for school boards and divisions to follow. Currently, the province has clearly defined learning outcomes, standardized assessments and reporting expectations for school divisions.

Some questions WSD is left with when responding to the role of government in K to 12 education:

  • What does the role of the provincial government look like moving forward?
  • Is there a role at the national level to address, consistently, the following:
    • Reciprocity between provinces for teachers to ensure easy mobility.
    • Federal certification versus provincial certification.
    • As people are more mobile and no longer remain in their community to work, how can the provincial and federal governments remove barriers for work? How can mobility of families be encouraged?


THE ROLE OF SCHOOL BOARDS IN K TO 12 EDUCATION

The primary role of a School Board is the determination of policy and following legislation including the Public Schools Act and Education Act. The Board works as a third party to ensure appropriate education is delivered, that the division is accountable and transparent and represents community voice.

The decisions made by the School Board at its meetings set the overall direction and policy for the school division. It employs administrators to see that the direction and policy for the school division is implemented in an effective and efficient manner and for the day to day operations of the school division.

The School Board is also responsible for determining an annual budget to address the unique needs and programming initiatives for the local community.

Winnipeg School Division Board Committees meet regularly to discuss items that come under their specific terms of reference. Committees make recommendations to the Board for consideration. They cannot make decisions without the approval of the Board.

Winnipeg School Division has established a strong network of District Advisory Committees in four areas of the division, as well as a French Immersion Advisory Committee, an Advisory Council of Indigenous Education and a Student Advisory Committee. These Committees enhance communication between the Board of Trustees and parent councils, providing input on programs, budget and policy changes.

Recommendation 25: That the Province of Manitoba observe other Canadian provinces and review research for insight on governing school systems before making any major changes.

THE ROLE OF STUDENT, PARENT/GUARDIAN AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM – AT SCHOOL AND SCHOOL DIVISION LEVEL

Role of student: Students play a very small role in governing the school system that educates them. Students are responsible for their learning and understanding of the objectives in the area of study. They are required to actively participate and should be involved in interactions with other students and teachers in class. Maintaining motivation is the primary responsibility of a student, however, the teacher and school must ensure students are being continually challenged.

Role of Parent/Guardian/Community: Community engagement is a two-way street where the school, families and the community actively work together, creating networks of shared responsibility for student success. It is a tool that promotes civic well-being and that strengthens the capacity of schools, families, and communities to support young peoples’ full development.49

Parental involvement is an integral part of a successful educational framework. Numerous studies have identified parent engagement as a critical factor affecting the success of individual students, the school and the school division. Some barriers of engaging families include: negative experiences, language and cultural differences and intersectional issues such as race, class, mental health, gender and more.

WSD provides funding for positions to support students and their families. Community Support Workers and Intercultural Support Workers reflect our population, including the Indigenous community and those that are new to the country and require assistance in understanding the various systems in schools and in the community. These positions are required as a prerequisite for students and families to settle in their new surroundings and will help the family become familiar with the school system. These roles often advance student and community success.

Winnipeg School Division values community input and has the community assist in developing school plans and budget with the ability to fundraise to draw more revenue. The community also provides feedback to the school accessibility plan which aids to inform Winnipeg School Division’s Accessibility Plan as requirements under the Accessibility Act for Manitobans (AMA) legislation.

WSD communities are uniquely positioned in having a large role in Principal selection for their schools (Policy GCCB). WSD schools operate with the support of many active parent volunteers who help facilitate day-to-day functions, special events, family rooms, collaborations with daycares and more.

WSD is a prime example of how schools can work in partnership with families and the local community. Aimed at reducing poverty, their integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement have led to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become pillars of the community.

HOW TO BETTER ENCOURAGE AND FACILITATE LOCAL INPUT AND ENGAGEMENT IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

In the past, WSD has made many attempts at facilitating local input and engagement in the education system, including but not limited to budget consultations, open feedback forums, panels, various forms of surveys, public forums, open houses, social media, town hall meetings, open lines of communication for the community to connect with trustees and more.

One of WSD’s most successful forms of community consultation is in the selection process for a principal or vice-principal for a specific school. In WSD, this process begins with consultation with parent councils, school staff and students. These consultations help WSD Senior Administration identify the characteristics used in the selection of personnel for appointments to these school leadership positions.

In order to better encourage and facilitate local input and engagement in the education system, it is imperative that open lines of communication remain. Decisions regarding curriculum and assessment must be made with input from educators with inclusive voices, parents, employers, current and recently graduated students.

Regardless of any provincial restructuring that may occur, parents and the community need to feel safe and welcome to bring comments, questions or concerns forward. With the current board structure, the community can express their voice/concerns to a trustee, and it provides a level of democratic legitimacy. With any reform, WSD questions what policies and practices the province will put in place to ensure the voice of the local community is heard?

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