Brockville – Grade 6 students from Linklater Public School visited the Upper Canada District School Board’s Brockville Board office Monday to learn more about the Board’s CREW Strategic Plan and how the Board works.
Principal Kim Melvin-Long said the school was invited by Director Stephen Sliwa for a discussion to learn about the role of trustees, the Director, and how the CREW Strategic Plan sets a direction for the Board and keeps its work focused. Connecting schools, Board departments, and communities to CREW is a key goal of the Director’s Work Plan to increase understanding of the Board’s strategic direction.
CREW is a long-term strategic plan that will guide the Board to improve the education and well-being of students and staff by implementing projects in four specific areas: Collaboration, Resources, Educational programs, and Wellness. It is the foundation on which every system leader can build the capacity in his or her school or department to meet the needs of students, staff, parents, communities, and other stakeholders.
The students began with the chance to ask Sliwa, Chair Jeff McMillan, and Trustee John McAllister a variety of questions in the board room. They inquired about what Trustees do, how they are elected, what is the most difficult part of being a Trustee and Director, how a Director is selected, and the role antibullying programs will play in the Board.
When asked about the role of CREW in the system, Sliwa likened it to a playbook a quarterback uses to guide his team on the field.
“When he is out on the field, a quarterback can read the plays off his sleeve and direct his team,” said Sliwa. “With CREW, we have a playbook for our Board so we all know what we have to do to succeed.”
One student asked about the toughest things a trustee must do. Chair Jeff McMillan said it was having to make decisions for the benefit of the whole board, or a school community, and realizing that while the majority will be pleased, there will always be some in the community who are disappointed.
Students said the experience was valuable.
“It helped me to understand how the school system works and why programs are the way they are,” said Linklater student Kaia McGuire. The students finished the exercise by decorating a CREW wall at the office with art and writing, displaying how the school is meeting the objectives of the strategic plan.