5 Things You Are Talking About

5

I am interested to connect with my American Superintendent colleagues and compare the work that I do as Superintendent in British Columbia, Canada with those south of the border.  And, there is a lot the same — we share the important role of working with elected Boards, we have a focus on 21st century learning, and we are always searching for balance in our work / personal lives.

There are a number of topics I have heard so far that point to some differences.  They include:

Football

OK, not just football, but school sports in general. For many this is very connected to the identity of the school district, something we don’t see with the same passion in Canada.

High Test Results

We spend little time focused particularly on test results. As I said in my session this morning, we seem to be moving to a post-standardized world. We have no high stakes tests, and while we use data, it is often teacher generated data.

Safety

Yes, we talk safety, but not with the same intensity it is being discussed here. It is interesting to hear from many of you regarding the issues of guards, for example, something that is not something that is discussed in our area. At our Board Meeting this past Tuesday, I reconfirmed that our District, under advice from local police continue to keep all school exterior doors unlocked — I hear many of you making different decisions.

Turnover

We have some turnover in Superintendents in Canada — but firings are very rare. From my conversations here so far, I can understand why the average length of service for Superintendents in a position is under three years. It does make me wonder how one can move an agenda forward with such regular turnover.

Money

Yes, we talk money too but funding is provincial not local — so a formula in British Columbia is used to fund all 60 districts. In speaking with many of you there can be wide gaps in funding in neighbouring committees; a particular challenge we don’t have to deal with. Of course, the larger topic of adequate and stable funding is universal.

It has been great to connect with so many of you so far — looking forward to more conversations!

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