School District 8 trustees heard concerns about a lack of board transparency regarding the quality of education in the district during its first public engagement session at L.V. Rogers Secondary school in Nelson.
Randolf Seibold, the parent of children ages 12 and 17, expressed his gratitude for being able to voice his concerns about his children’s education, but feels some changes need to be made to facilitate a more conducive learning environment for students.
Seibold says in order to build a more robust education system students need to be able to question what they’re being taught.
“I feel like the last few years should be a big learning/teaching moment and reflect by asking what we can do better,” he said in an interview afterward. “We need to make sure students are fostering critical thinking skills, and not vilifying asking questions. This will build a better society.”
Seibold says he would like to see the district implement more transparency in its new strategic plan by allowing students to question authority.
“Students should be free to question authority, and the assumptions they make should be included within the educational institution,” he says. “Students need to hear both sides of an argument and not just one for them to be successful.”
Retired Saanich and Surrey schools superintendent Mike McKay, who was in attendance to facilitate the community sessions with each board around governance education.
Mike McKay told the board taking feedback from the public is at the heart of every strategic plan.
“The board has a formal and very sober responsibility for creating this plan,” McKay says. “We have a desire to be transparent, respectful, inclusive and optimistic.
“Are there issues and challenges? Of course there are, but this is the time to address them.”
McKay says one of the big challenges facing the board is how to make school more relevant for students in a world where information is accessible at the touch of a button.
“We’ve got kids who are graduating now who are being pulled further into the world of technology and other distractors,” he says. “This makes school even less relevant unless we can make students grow.”
He says the consultation phase of building the strategic plan is to bring these issues into the open and improve transparency by fostering new resolutions.
More public meetings are scheduled for Wednesday in Slocan and Thursday in Creston.