“There is nothing in here we wouldn’t want to do.”
That’s how Carol-Lynne Oldale, director of education for the Northwest Catholic District School Board’s, described the fourth instalment of the Education Improvement Commission’s “Road Ahead” series during last night’s regular board meeting here.
“The decision of the EIC to issue this is a response to school boards coming under increasing scrutiny from parents and the public,” she told trustees.
“The major thrust of this document is greater accountability for school boards,” she added. “The purpose is to summarize the progress of school boards in that area.”
The report, distributed to 72 school boards across Ontario, contains 15 recommendations to define roles within a board, and contribute to overall student achievement.
Within this fourth report, several highlights Oldale pointed out include a strong suggestion for boards to have “seamless” means of collecting data, including a possible “student numbering” system used to track students throughout their careers.
“This would require a comprehensive technological scheme but it may be the way of the future,” she said.
Another idea is to improve board involvement with school councils.
“We want to develop school councils to give parents a strong voice. I know I’ve been to three out of five of these meetings, and every time my being there was really appreciated,” Oldale noted.
Other recommendations included:
•boards to shift focus from finance and administration to programs and services;
•revisions to report card formats to better reflect student achievement; and
•developing school profiles to act as “track records” for particular schools.
An organization independent of the Ministry of Education, the EIC has been evaluating school boards to advise where progress should be made.
Although the ministry often uses it to as a touchstone, said Oldale, sometimes is best for school boards to take early action on issues such as accountability.
“We are here for the students, to make the most of their education,” she stressed. “I don’t think we should wait for the ministry on this one.”