I’ve had a few people over the last couple of years make comments about Board members attending BC School Trustees Association conferences like the upcoming Trustee Academy. Mostly people have made “jokes” about it, which is fine, but they usually have only a vague idea about what these things are all about.
I’ve certainly raised an eyebrow or two regarding trips and delegations politicians have been a part of, so it’s fair for people to scrutinize. It’s our right–nay, duty–to pay attention to these things, so by all means judge away, but base your judgements on the facts.
The Trustee academy is over three days, which means I’ll spend two nights in a hotel. Those three days are jam packed with panel discussions and training sessions on things like Early Childhood Success, Secondary education Success, and, Technology and Personalized Learning, to name a few. Full program here. These are relevant things that you want your Trustees to be on top of.
So, the taxpayer pays for me to attend such events, but it truly helps me to be a better representative and advocate for children. Attending these sessions for hours and hours is not a holiday by any stretch of the imagination.
This is work. How hard of work is it? Well, I worked for many years in a residential treatment home for violent, at-risk youth, and attending an academy is not as hard as that. But neither are most other things. I’ve also manned a shovel and/or pick axe in the rain for 8-10 hours a day, and this isn’t that either.
Attending these events means I’m away from my family for a few days, and it helps me do a better job as a Trustee. I don’t get paid any more for attending, and I have to book time off from other things. I’m not complaining–it’s my choice and I wouldn’t go if I didn’t think it was worthwhile. Just giving my perspective and hopefully getting some facts out there.
Now go forth and judge.