By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Oct. 20, 2012
Six school board trustees and the school superintendent would be leaving for San Diego next week to immerse themselves in the innovative education culture of High Tech High school.
Except trustee Laura Godfrey, six trustees, along with school superintendent, Lisa McCullough, will make the trip to San Diego for five days.
The trip will cost the tax payer $15,000, a cost that the teacher’s federation isn’t quite comfortable with.
“I don’t believe this modest expenditure is the best use of resources, given recent cuts,” said Carl Walker, the new president of the Sea to Sky Teachers Federation.
This trip comes almost five months after six school board administrators travelled to San Diego in June to learn ‘cutting edge’ theory and practice of education.
That trip cost $25,000.
SD 48 board chair Rick Price said High Tech High is a leader in educational and innovative school practices.
With the school board preparing to launch three strategic plans, it’s crucial the board is knowledgeable about innovative and cutting edge practices.
Price said the SD 48 is working on a new education, technology, and an aboriginal enhancement plan.
Price said High Tech High has implemented several new practices at the school level.
A study of those practices would enable SD 48 team to implement some of them at our schools.
“We hope to benefit from their experience, from their mistakes and successes,” he said.
In June, four unnamed administrators and two staff members spent a week engaged in project based learning at the High Tech High in San Diego.
They spent three days at the school that was launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators. Those three days were spent in a ‘Learning Residency’ which is intensive training on leadership.
Then, they moved to north of San Diego, where they mingled with educators all around the world at the World Conference for Project Based Learning.
Funding for the trip came from the SD 48 operating budget, which includes professional development money for senior staff and administrators.
Price said the $15,000 being spent on the present trip is a small expense compared to the valuable experience the board will receive in return.
With a budget of $40 million, an investment of $15,000 to learn innovation is reasonable, he said.
“Far from thinking that it would be a waste of money, it would be irresponsible not to do this,” he added.
Walker has a different view.
He said the teacher-librarian time has been slashed from three blocks to one in this semester at Howe Sound Secondary.
As elected officials, trustees should be spending their time and energy advocating on behalf of students for adequate funding.
“In my view, this is their primary responsibility,” Walker said.