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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Communicating or Stirring

As part of our first Board meeting of every month a trustee does a Reflection (blurb) on part of our Strategic Plan. January was my month. Part of the background to the Reflection was this Ottawa Citizen article.

"Disclaimer. This is maybe a reflection not necessarily a strategic plan reflection. 

Some say what you are critical of in others is also the same fault in oneself. Therefore I am pointing a finger at myself as much as anyone else. At times the words advocating, consultating and communicating could be interchangeable here as can be trustee, board  and administration.

The relevance of school boards &/or trustees is becoming under more scrutiny these day.  What has help lead to this? What is being done to countervene this train of thought?

Maybe I am trying to simplify a complicated situation. Okay, yes I am. Does some of it come down to a current catch phrase, transparency? Communicating about what we are doing. Seeking input & consulting when necessary and even when it might not seem necessary. Advocating for the needs of our students. Sometimes the issue of policy over operations may come into play or trustee of constituents over trustee of board.

Not just communicating what we are doing but also why. The why should include background information and desired outcome. We expect that of our teachers with their students and parents, about what is happening in their classroom. The relevance. How good of job do we do in communicating new pedigogy or strategy or initiative to our communities? Whether it be face to face or Facebook, Twitter, websites  or blogging the tools are there. The communication department does an excellent job of getting the 'good news' out there.

Do we make effective use of parents, school councils, student senators, pic, community or even staff when envisioning or implementing? Director Doherty did just that in developing our current strategic plan. What of ministry consultations? Do we notify and provide the public with necessary information and in a timely fashion for them to participate? Who and how is the public informed, trustees or administration? Participation is beyond our control but we did our part if it is out there. ARCs are maybe a different story. Like parents, at times it seems we as trustees and a board we are left out of ministry consultations. 

Who drives the change? As trustees and as a board do we reply to ministry and OPSBA consultations? Take a look at the OPSBA eqao survey, 82 responses from all the boards and trustees within the province. Not very good. The new health curriculum and the PARG, how are they playing out? Do we use the various organizations to voice our concerns over issues being imposed that we view as not 'best for the student'? Do we do a good job at advocating on issues for our board and ultimately our students? Complaining is not advocating. Do we just 'Grin and bear it'?

An unattributed quote 'the biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply'. Questioning is part of understanding. 

If we do an effective job at communicating, consulting and advocating our relevance is obvious. A goal of mine."

Maybe this is what I am trying to accomplish. Stirring the Pot

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