Posted by: kbater | June 20, 2012

Telling Stories to Education Minister Johnson

Education Minister Jeff Johnson – taking notes

New CRPS superintendent Chris MacPhee, myself and board chairs and superintendents from 9 other boards met in Calgary today with Education  Minister Jeff Johnson.  Minister Johnson wanted a chance to hear from school boards so he is meeting with all the boards in this format. 






The Minister re-stated that his three short-term priorities are:

  1. Capital Planning – 50 new schools and 70 renovations in the next 4 years
  2. Passing the Education Act
  3. Bringing the Alberta Teachers Association and the Alberta School Board Association together to negotiate a labour agreement for the provinces teachers

The Minister heard about the success and challenges of each board (we had 5 minutes each to share our information) and then asked MLA’s Sandra Jansen (head of Calgary caucus) and Ron Casey (head of rural caucus) to respond to what they heard. (3 other MLA’s where in attendance)

The Minister also shared some of his thinking:

  • He wants to meet with key stakeholders including school boards and continue relationship building
  • We need to focus on students – not the system – ask ” How does this decision or action affect students?”
  • He saw diversity in the group and believes this gives us strength
  • He supports local autonomy for boards
  • He recently attended APEC meetings and he heard two key things to focus on:  1. equitable access for all kids  2. quality of instruction
  • Partnerships are very important as we create schools as community hubs
  • He has heard that reporting requirements for school divisions are onerous and he wants to address that
  • He intends to utilize the knowledge and expertise of Superintendents more and he wants to work closely with CASS their professional organization
  • School Principals are key to schools success and they have a difficult job and we need to consider their development
  • He wants people to review the Inspiring Education report as he will be drawing on it for direction in education

    Minister Johnson talking with School Districts










When you only have 5 minutes you have to find a way to make an impression and a story is always helpful. Luckily on the way to Calgary I stopped and chatted with Assistant Superintendent Kate Belford and she told me a story from that morning about helping a young special needs student who wouldn’t get out of the taxi that brought him to school, but Kate went into the school got the students aide and then it all worked.  Thanks Kate for the story that allowed the Minister to see why small is beautiful!

The CRPS presentation focused on:

  • Our unique nature having 6 small schools in smaller communities – size does matter!
  • I told a story of how our Assistant Superintendent came to the aid of a young student this morning
  • The story illustrates how being small gives us the opportunity to address individual needs because we really know each other
  • Our Inspiring Hearts and Minds work  and our Community Education Network approach to generative governance
  • The Right From the Start Mental Health initiative that we have in our schools
  • The SAGE program at CCHS that serves students from the Stoney 1st Nation
  • Our challenges of declining enrolment which leads to diminishing resources
  • The demographics of the Bow Valley
  • Our Partnership approach to address challenges – with other school boards, with community organizations, with staff

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