June 27, 2019 Message to Members
As Principals and Vice-Principals around the province say goodbye to their students and staff members for the Summer, this is our final opportunity as an Association to wish you well as you wrap up your school year and look ahead to Fall.
This school year has presented some interesting challenges for school leaders across the province, and that theme is very likely to continue in the Fall. While we remain hopeful that the BCTF and government will reach a negotiated settlement over the Summer, it is quite likely that the bargaining will continue through the Fall. The BCPVPA will issue reports to our members if we are made aware of any significant bargaining updates through the Summer.
For that reason and many others, we encourage all of our members to take the time that you need this Summer to rest, recover and reenergize both physically and mentally. The challenges faced by school leaders are many, varied and on the rise. Dr. Philip Riley of the Australian University is the leading authority on school leader wellbeing: his 2017 report indicates that Principals and Vice-Principals are suffering from burnout (1.6 times the population); stress (1.7 times); sleeping troubles (2.2 times); depressive symptoms (1.3 times); somatic stress symptoms (1.3 times); and cognitive stress symptoms (1.6 times). Reports such as this have added to the Association’s ongoing concern about the wellbeing of Principals and Vice-Principals in BC.
In the Fall, we will continue the conversation with our members about how the BCPVPA can proactively support the wellbeing of all of our members. In advance of that dialogue, I am pleased to let you know that our Early Intervention Program provided by humanworks will be expanding from our 22 pilot school districts to all 60 school districts in the province, and beginning in September, all BCPVPA members will be able to access the supports and services of humanworks.
As this school year comes to a close and you continue preparing for the Fall, I want to thank of all of our members for everything you do to ensure positive learning conditions for students and maintain the high standard of public education in this province. Have a happy and healthy holiday when it finally arrives: you deserve it!
June 21, 2019 Message to Members
Funding Model Implementation Progress Report
In my December 14 2018 column, I shared my perspective on the Funding Model Review. At that time, the Ministry had announced that additional work would be completed during the 2019-20 school year so that the Ministry and partner groups could review the recommendations and determine the best path forward for 2020-21. The work of assessing the recommendations has been extensive, and we are proud to have BCPVPA members on each of the working committees representing the interests of their fellow members across the province. In the busy final weeks of your school year, I’ll share with you the link to the June 2019 Funding Model Implementation Progress Report so that you can find out more when you have the time.
June 14, 2019 Message to Members
Upcoming Director Election
As the June days roll along, we start to transition our thinking from coordinating year-end activities and checklists and look farther down the road to tweaking the systems that we hope will ease
Last week, BCPVPA members voted for the Association’s President-Elect. Congratulations again to Darren Danyluk (SD6, Rocky Mountain), who will serve as our President-Elect for the next year, as I complete my second term as President. I look forward to supporting Darren over this coming year as he prepares to transition into the role of President when my term ends on June 30, 2020.
Although Darren has served as a Director on the Board, for his year ahead as President-Elect he will dive even more deeply into both the work of the Association and the BC education sector. And, once he moves into the role of President in July 2020, he will be as fortunate as I have been in receiving the support and commitment of an excellent Board of Directors.
The BCPVPA Directors serve terms that overlap, so that there is always a consistency of experience and knowledge on the Board. Six of the current Directors have one year remaining in their terms, and from June 18-20, members will vote for five Directors who will start their two-year terms on July 1. Seven candidates have put their names forward for consideration, and you can read the Candidate Statements to find out more about each candidate’s experience and priorities. Your Directors help to guide the direction of the BCPVPA, and they mindfully represent the diversity of the membership. They serve on committees, are part of professional development initiatives and work together to serve the needs and interests of the members in countless ways.
I am familiar with all of the candidates, and that’s why I can say that both myself and Darren who will follow as the next President will be able to continue the Association’s work with the support of a welcoming, congenial and committed Board of Directors. You, as members, get to decide which of the seven candidates will best represent you when you fill out your ballot next week. You can vote for up to five candidates. I hope you’ll take the time to read their Candidate Statements, to think about the BCPVPA’s road ahead and to cast your vote June 18-20.
June 7, 2019 Message to Members
As the June days roll along, we start to transition our thinking from coordinating year-end activities and checklists and look farther down the road to tweaking the systems that we hope will ease our Fall 2019 start-up. A huge component of this process is interaction with our many professional cohorts: have you given thought to different ways that you can seek feedback, share resources and connect with colleagues?
Your BCPVPA membership provides you with access to a powerful networking platform that supports the diverse needs of new-to-the-role leaders, veteran educators and everyone in between. More than 1800 of our members are part of BetterEducate, some engaging daily and others still dipping their toes in the water. One of the great things about this platform is that you can manage your participation, and when you’re ready to learn more you can take that next step.
The platform is perfect for sharing resources like Worksafe BC information, emergency preparedness documents and start-up checklists, information that can help newer colleagues to build their capacity, connect with new colleagues and strengthen our sense of community.
BetterEducate can also play a role in your staff meetings, or Chapter gatherings. At recent BCPVPA events, some of you have experienced the power of using one of the newer features, a BackBEat Channel. This tool is a quick, effective and visual way to seek community or staff feedback, to gauge perspectives and to determine needs. Themes in the responses develop naturally as responses are entered, through a colourful burgeoning word cloud tagged with direct links to relevant resources.
Using a feature such as the BackBEat Channel is a conversation-starter in more ways than one. In responding to a question or contributing to a discussion, colleagues experience an immediacy of thoughts and opinions even amongst teams that are geographically separated, and you as the leader can gain an understanding of your key issues with the opportunity to bounce ideas and follow-up in real time.
You’ve heard me say it before – and this may be the last time for this school year, but certainly not the ‘last time’; dive in, and embrace the technology that will smooth your path, inform your practice and ultimately provide you with a deeper and richer connection to your colleagues and your teams. It’s literally right at your finger tips.
May 31, 2019 Message to Members
Why Your Vote Counts
We’ve asked for a lot from our members lately – your comprehensive feedback via our 2019 survey, your commitment to the journey towards negotiation representation, your engagement in learning and development opportunities, and your participation in committee work – and we are mindful that the month of June is a crucial point in the school year for Principals and Vice-Principals. But I’m going to do it: I have one more ask.
Next week, our Association will elect an individual who will fulfill the role of President-Elect from July 2019 to June 2020, and who will then lead the BCPVPA as President from July 2020 through June 2022. I believe that this span of years will be a critical period for progress and advancement for both the Association and our profession. This Fall, we join with BCPSEA to engage in discussions that will identify key terms and conditions of employment, and we will work towards developing common employment contract language. We will also launch the Early Intervention Program in all 60 school districts, offering support to members to remain healthy at work as a pre-emptive measure, and we will continue to engage with our sector on addressing the health-related challenges of school leaders, teachers and students. We will build our next-stage Strategic Plan, identifying the goals and objectives that will take the Association forward to 2023.
Why is it important for all members to vote June 4 – 6 for their candidate of choice for President-Elect? Because this individual will represent you as a Principal or Vice-Principal, help to fulfill your needs in the role and be your public advocate. This individual will represent the Association when working with our education sector partners, government and the community. It is your right as a member to cast your vote and to choose the person who you feel can best represent you. When we have high voter participation, we can all be confident that the voice of the membership has been represented in the outcome.
Take a moment to review information about the two President-Elect candidates on our website, and make your decision. Voting is simple: you’ll receive a secure unique electronic ballot by email on Tuesday June 4 to signify that voting is open. Click the link and select your candidate. The election result will be issued to members on Friday June 7. Thank you in advance for having your say and for contributing to the strength of the BCPVPA through your participation.
Darren Danyluk (School District 6, Rocky Mountain) will serve as President-Elect for a one-year term beginning July 1 2019, after which he will assume the role of President when current President David DeRosa completes his two-year term.
Five members were elected as Directors of the Board for two-year terms:
Susan Clough (School District 36, Surrey)
Carmen Eberle (School District 35, Langley)
Bev Forster (School District 54, Bulkley Valley)
Read Jorgensen (School District 61, Victoria)
Sally Zryd (School District 73, Kamloops-Thompson)
These members join the current Directors who will complete their current terms on June 30, 2020:
Tom Aerts (School District 61, Victoria)
Heidi Grant (School District 91, Nechako Lakes)
Brett Johnson (School District 61, Victoria)
Lee Karpenko (School District 57, Prince George)
Brian Leonard (School District 43, Coquitlam)
Des Sjoquist (School District 23, Central Okanagan)
May 24, 2019 Message to Members
Education in BC
I was proud to represent the BCPVPA at a landmark event this week. The conference title was lengthy – the OECD Education 2030 9th IWG (Informal Working Group) and BC Education Conference – but the essence was pure: to bring together educators and education stakeholders from around the world to talk about best practices in achieving student success.
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) is an international organization that works to build policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for everyone. Since 2015, they have been engaged in the OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project that examines how we prepare the students of the future for as-yet unimagined careers, challenges and technology. A goal of this project is to build a common understanding of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that students will need in the future, and here in Vancouver on May 22, the working group held the international launch of phase one of their conceptual framework, the OECD Learning Compass 2030.
The conference was an opportunity for BC’s education sector to feature our own practices and the principles that we respect in our ongoing work. With 400 delegates from nearly 40 countries in attendance, there was a fantastic opportunity for dialogue, relationship-building and for holding ideas up to the light as different practices and insights were offered.
BC’s commitment to inclusion and forward-thinking new curriculum were woven into many discussions. One international delegate we met was particularly struck by the Indigenization of education in BC and was already sending notes home to her team with the hope of creating momentum. It makes us appreciate how far we have come, but also how far we still need to travel.
BC was well-represented at the conference with many of our most respected luminaries participating in presentations and panels, and with attendees from virtually every school district. It was a chance for us to not only share our practices for the international community, but for us to spend time together acknowledging the work that we have done while situating it in a global context. The OECD Learning Compass 2030 reflects our values with the ultimate goal of well-being at the ‘end’ of the journey, and it will be another tool for us to use in ensuring that we are preparing our students to become their best selves as they grow and learn.
May 17, 2019 Message to Members
This week’s column is dedicated to something very important to me: your time.
This week’s message is 75 words. The time you would ordinarily take to read this column can instead be used to complete the 2019 Member Survey, at the member link in my May 16 email.
The survey has been extended to May 24: my heartfelt thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope that you all have a wonderful Victoria Day weekend.