Monday, March 22, 2010

EPSB staff encouraged to give feedback on recommended closures

As anyone who attended the public meetings on possible school closure would know- staff from the schools were present. However, most were seated along the walls in the gymnasiums, not at tables with the parents and community members.

Prior to these public meetings, staff were consulted as one of the valued stakeholders, through our independent contractor, Dialogue Partners. Their feedback was compiled in a report under the "Reports" section of the Bang The Table website. I have reviewed the report.

As you can imagine, staff are in a delicate spot- if have concerns about the closure, they may be worried about "speaking against their employer, even thought our Superintendent of Schools, Edgar Schmidt has stated on several occasions that "Disagreement does not equal disloyalty."  On the other hand, if staff feel closure is the right choice, they may feel concerned about how parents and the community would react to this opinion. Either way, it is tricky.  That is why their feedback is collected anonymously and separately from the public consultations.

At this point in the process, staff have been invited to submit anonymous letters directly to trustees or to fill out the feedback forms provided by Dialogue Partners at all the public meetings and tick off the "staff" box. Normally, the board does not consider anonymous letters or submissions, however, we are prepared to make an exception in this case.

Staff are valued members of our school community and essential to our work in the District. I encourage all staff who work in the schools being considered for closure, or being proposed as potential receiving schools, to voice their opinions prior to April 6th. I, for one, will be very interested to hear their perspective.

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