Board meeting highlights - January 21, 2021

Board meeting highlights - January 21, 2021

Board prepares for 2021 School Trustee Elections
The board of trustees reviewed a draft election communication plan and discussed the importance of school trusteeship and communicating the upcoming school trustee elections to the public. “School board trustees are elected to serve and advocate for children and to be the voice of their local communities” says PRSD Board Chair Darren Kuester. “This is a very important role, and we want to get the word out there now so people can start thinking about whether they would like to run. You don’t need to have a background in education to be a school trustee – you just need to be passionate about serving students, community and have a willingness to learn.” As per changes to the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA), this year, nominations are being accepted between January 1, 2021 up to and including 12:00 pm noon on September 20, 2021.  Nomination forms can be picked up at PRSD Central Operations in Grimshaw or found at under “Board of Trustees.” Election day is October 18, 2021.

Board approves motion to form anti-racism committee
During the regular board meeting Superintendent Paul Bennett provided follow-up information regarding steps moving forward for PRSD to develop an anti-racism culture and policy. After considerable discussion, it was that decided the division would form an anti-racism committee. The board approved a motion to appoint Vice-Chair Crystal Owens, Trustee Robyn Robertson, and Trustee Delainah Velichka to the committee. The committee will be facilitated by Superintendent Bennett and will also include student and staff representation. 

Board plans for upcoming meeting between PRSD students and trustees
Trustees discussed their upcoming meeting with PRSD students through the Upper Elementary/Junior High and Senior High Student Engagement Committees. PRSD has two student engagement committees; an Upper Elementary/Junior High committee and a High School committee. The goal of the Student Engagement Committees is to ensure that students and their schools are represented and have their concerns heard as well as to allow the board to understand the student perspective on issues and decisions that impact them. "It is empowering for students to have a voice in their educational experience and the educational experience of students for years to come" says Board Chair Darren Kuester. "The board is always eager and excited to meet, listen, share and brainstorm with students. Their voice informs decision making in the division and we are grateful for their ideas, input and enthusiastic participation." Superintendent Bennett will meet with the students, who each represent upper elementary, junior high, and high schools throughout the division, to find out which topics they would like to discuss at the Student Engagement Meeting with the board of trustees.

Trustees look forward to meeting with municipal representatives
During the regular board meeting, trustees reviewed agenda items put forth by municipalities for the February 3, 2021 virtual meeting with municipal representatives from PRSD school communities. Agenda topics put forth include COVID-19 related topics, School Social Worker capacity, the board of trustees’ mental health advocacy efforts, drug prevention in schools, school bus safety and procedures and a junior councillor program. “We are very grateful for the support and partnership of our municipalities” says Kuester. “Sharing information and hearing the voice of our municipalities fosters collaboration and increased opportunities for our students, provides us with increased knowledge, and helps to support community partnerships.

Board plans for meetings with PRSD staff committees  
Trustees discussed topics to discuss at their meeting with the Teacher Board Advisory Committee on January 28, 2021 and their meeting with the Support Staff Bus Driver Liaison Committee on February 16, 2021. Agenda topics include PRSD board advocating for divisional staff to have priority for the COVID-19 vaccine (if they desire), Superintendent Search progress, a summary of the boards’ February 3, 2021 meeting with municipalities, the boards’ Wrap-around services advocacy plan, and an update on construction progress of transportation services at Central Operations in Grimshaw.

PRSD trustees to attend First Nations Metis and Inuit Education virtual gathering hosted by CASS
Trustees reviewed the agenda for the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) “Listening, Understanding and Moving Forward Together: CASS First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education Gathering to be held virtually from March 15-17, 2021. Keynote presentations, a speaker’s panel, and various breakout sessions focused on Indigenous education, truth, and reconciliation are learning opportunities on the agenda for the virtual gathering. All PRSD board members have registered to attend.

PRSD to begin the process to sell the PRSD Bus Garage facilities in Peace River and Fairview
Trustees approved a recommendation from Secretary-Treasurer Rhonda Freeman to apply for Ministerial approval to sell the Peace River and Fairview Bus Garage facilities in Peace River and Fairview. The construction of the Transportation facility at Central Operations in Grimshaw is well underway and it is anticipated that all staff and Transportation services will be moved to Central Operations by September 1, 2021.