May 15, 2020 Message to Members
The Ministerial Committee
Since March, BC educators have been Apollo 13-ing the system. While I can’t take credit for this striking description, it has resonated for me and I’ve thought about it again and again in recent weeks. It’s hard to completely fathom the innovation, responsiveness and effort that has been dedicated to the continuity of learning in our province over the course of two months (albeit two months that seem like two years). Our BCPVPA members have tirelessly led and listened, and together we have all brought remote learning to an entire province of learners. When you had to step out of your schools, you took that extra step outside the box and we salute you.
I also know that – in varying degrees – you find those revolutionary accommodations, tweaks and corrections in your work each day: it’s what you do as leaders. Right now, we have an opportunity to bring your work to light in a very specific way, through the efforts of a special Ministerial Committee that is working under Ministerial Order M057. This committee has been struck by the Honourable Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, to inspect and evaluate the work experience of public school Principals and Vice-Principals in all of BC’s School Districts. Their work includes reviewing and gathering data on the terms and conditions of employment, identifying anomalies between Districts, and examining the statutory and actual responsibilities of the role.
It’s an exceptional opportunity. The committee – comprised of former Principals and Superintendents Tom Hierck and Jim Cambridge, and human resources leader, Lisa Castle – has been very welcoming of our support and very generous with their time as we have included them in several recent meetings with our Board of Directors, Contract Advisory Committee, Chapter Presidents and staff Directors. We have introduced the committee to our colleagues at both the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC), and the Public School Administrators Association of Nova Scotia (PSAANS), and to many other knowledgeable sector contacts who can help to more fully inform their work. The committee has met with representatives from all 60 School Districts, and has reached out at random to school leaders across the province for candid conversations that offer them a current picture of the experience of school leaders in BC. BCPVPA has provided the committee with significant support documentation and research that we hope will support them in crafting their final report for the Minister on June 1, 2020.
We thank the Minister for his commitment to ensuring that the contemporary responsibilities, experiences and challenges of BC’s Principals and Vice-Principals are represented and documented, so that government can find the best path to support school leaders in the months and years ahead. As you work each day – in your schools or remotely from your homes – supporting your staff and safeguarding continuity of learning for all students, it’s important to know that you are recognized and appreciated as leaders. While you’re not returning a lunar craft safely to earth, you are Mission Control for your teachers, learners, families and school communities and we respect the work that you do.