School Councils represent the entire school community: they have a moral and fiduciary duty to engage with their constituents to keep them informed and consult.
Sometimes, School Councils are also faced with matters of concern to the school that may require additional support, information, or advocacy.
Protocol for Problem Resolution on your School Council:
Step One: Contact the Principal. The school principal is the main point of contact for concerns. Most concerns can be resolved at the school level.
Remember: matters related to personnel or maintenance should not be discussed during a School Council meeting. We recommend that you speak with the Principal outside of the School Council setting.
Step Two: If the matter remains unresolved, the Principal will escalate the issue to the Senior Education Officer assigned to your school.
Step Three: If the matter still remains unresolved, consider contacting the NL Federation of School Councils main office at 1-877-739-4830 for advice on how to proceed.
Resources for Engaging Your School Community
Advice Regarding Political Action
There are times when it is necessary for School Council members to think politically and act politically on behalf of their school community.
School Council members are knowledgeable, credible spokespersons for our education system. We must use our knowledge and credibility to ensure decisions made regarding the education system are made with the entire school community in mind, for the best interest of our students.
Political action may take the form of influence or lobbying and employing positive public relations techniques, or it can take the form of a confrontation over specific issues.
Governments and their elected representatives accept that citizens and organized groups will advance their points of view on issues.
The NL Federation of School Councils is here to guide School Councils on political action matters. Issues facing education may involve many partners during advocacy efforts:
The Role of the School Board
There are two School Boards in Newfoundland and Labrador: one English, one French, that operate at arms length from the Department of Education.
Each Board is made up of Trustees that are elected by parents. Each School Board forms the governing body of their respective School District and is responsible for things such as policy, school closure, and accountability for management of the School District. School Boards hire a CEO/Director of Education to manage the day-to-day affairs of the School District.
The Role of the Department of Education
The Department of Education is the body responsible for the provision of K-12 education in Newfoundland and Labrador. Led by the Minister of Education, the Department designs and implements province-wide policies and curricular programs such as the Safe & Caring Schools policy, curriculum, graduation requirements, Criterion Reference Tests (CRTs), teacher certification, and much more. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is accountable for the performance of the province’s two School Districts and as such, School Boards serve at the pleasure of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council (Part IV, Schools Act, 1997).
The Role of Members of the House of Assembly
Policy or financial matters directed by the Department of Education often affect local schools. From teacher allocations to capital works projects, School Districts have only the capacity to implement what is approved by the Department of Education. Where the Department of Education is accountable to the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador, your MHA may be able to answer questions or influence matters that affect your school if the issue is outside the mandate/control of the School District.