Budget priorities, parent engagement, and working together with Sask. Rivers Students for Change were a few of the topics discussed when the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board met with School Community Council representatives on Tuesday evening at the Education Centre.
The meeting was an opportunity for SCC’s to share their celebrations and concerns with the Board.
Superintendent Garette Tebay, who set up the meeting, said it was quite fruitful.
“One of our trustees, as he walked in the room, mentioned that there is really good energy in the room and it definitely felt uplifting,” Tebay said. “When I was looking they were having table conversations. There were a lot of smiles, there was laughter.”
In total, 34 parents attended the meeting, along with school administrators, seven board members, and four members of the senior executive team.
The biggest positive to come out of the meeting was support for Sask. Rivers Students for Change, the student led group responsible for electing two trustees to the school board.
“We got really strong feedback about ways that we can look at our budget and ways that we can engage more families,” Tebay explained. “Our SRSC asked for support in their advocacy efforts to eliminate departmental (exams) or at least eliminate the discrepancy between the learning of students who write departmental versus the learning of students who don’t.”
Tebay is the superintendent in charge of SRSC and has been involved in the advocacy for changes to departmental exams. Earlier this year, the SRSC wrote a letter about their concerns and received a response from Minister of Education Dustin Duncan. Duncan thanked them for raising the issue but did not promise any changes.
“When they got that response I asked them what they wanted to do next and they brainstormed some ideas,” Tebay explained. “One of the ideas they had was to look for other groups in our community that may have an interest in this and school SCCs were one of the groups that they decided to target.
“They wrote a letter that was part of our engagement session on Tuesday night. SCC members had a chance to review that letter and then as part of that letter the student group also included their original letter to the Minister and the response so the parents could understand the context.”
The Board and SCC’s also took part in a presentation on the effects of cell phone use in schools on learning.
Tebay explained that it was a great mix of all of the interested parties.
“(It’s) at the end of hockey season, absolutely, in the middle of progress conferences and things like that. We were thankful to have had that big of a group.”