Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bluewater update #10

Owen Sound Sun Times posted this Saturday on things that are coming to some conclusion at the Bluewater District School Board. The meetings have been held, now there is going to be a wider opportunity for more public input through phone surveys.

“I think if the (BWDSB) can work through some of the recommendations they will be well on the way to putting things right,” said (consultant Geoff) Williams.
“But my report is only one source of recommendations to them. They also have to be listening carefully to the material that comes to them in various other forms . . . and using everything to move forward effectively.”
Williams focused largely on practices and policies at the BWDSB that could be done differently, including holding bi-monthly evening meetings instead of monthly daytime meetings.
He also suggests the director of education’s performance review should be done on an ongoing basis and not as an annual event. Director Mary Anne Alton has yet to have her performance review for this year.
Readers here and over at MendEd will remember this story started almost at this point last year-- although didn't publicly erupt until the local MP's critical letter of the board was published in the Sun Times at the beginning of the year. So far, it's been revealed superintendents at the board plagiarized something they co-authored, parents felt left out of a decision to change intermediate instruction away from a rotary system and other similar complaints against the board of trustees and its most senior staff members. It's led to the resignation of one trustee who was chair at the turn of the year, along with the appointment of two "fix-it" consultants and the involvement of Peggy Sattler, a Thames Valley District School Board London trustee and past-chair who works for a communications consulting and research company.
With all the angst over the public-interest regulations in Bill 177 and the already royal-assented Bill 78, the thought occurred to me as I typed away here that there's nothing in those controversial measures permitting provincial takeover of a board where there are concerns such as the ones raised at BDSB.


Anonymous said...

You're right ER. What I did notice when reading through the draft of 177 was a sort of distancing of the gov't from things and a padding of more layers for boards and community to jump over to get action.

Re: Bluewater - I think a renewal from the top/down is in order. I read at Mended of the decision re: the issue and decision re: supers. and plagiarism. I must say that the whole system from the COT down through that director to the supers. and yes the trustees who seem to once again have been told where they stand on the issue(allegedly), should be ashamed.

Imagine ER if you were in the same boat? I'm pretty sure I know what will happen to you.

Re: the "fix-it" report. It's very commonsensical really. It makes me wonder how this board has been managing all along if they haven't move to invoke some of those common sense things Williams recommends?

Again, maybe a clean slate of trustees and a movement of supers. out of that board may need to happen at some point.

I have my doubts about public surveys, which can be set up to get exactly the answers the facilitators wish. A look at the questions will tell us.