Home Education Westshore - SD62 Passive public input process on three years of SD62 calendars

Passive public input process on three years of SD62 calendars

Thursday March 17, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends

Calendars for the next three school years (2022-23, 2023-24, 2024-25) were approved by the Sooke School District SD62 board at their March 15, 2022 public (livestreamed) board meeting.

During the meeting, it was stated by one of the associate superintendents that the public had been consulted.

Here is the public feedback link about SD62 Calendars, as was posted February 2. The deadline to submit feedback by email was March 7, 2022. Seems like not too many people knew about the input opportunity, though apparently 18 emails were received by SD62 ahead of the deadline.

SD62, feedback
The deadline for public feedback on SD62 Calendars for 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25 was March 7, 2022.

Range of consultation:

SD62 administration has clarified to Island Social Trends that proactive consultation was taken with administrators, schools, parent PAC, and other direct stakeholders like CUPE and the Sooke Teachers Association (STA) and that a “public opportunity” was posted on the SD62 website. Public feedback would be welcomed by email.

But there was no promotional or advertising campaign to the public. Local online and print media could have easily carried a lightweight ad campaign.

During the SD62 livestreamed March 15 board meeting, one member of the public lasted to the end of the long (2.5-hour) meeting to take part in the public Q&A; the participant asked about the process of public communication, in that he didn’t recall one.

SD62 statement:

“All of our partner groups were consulted and given an opportunity to share feedback. An email went to all of our families and staff to share the proposed calendars and invite them to share their feedback,” it was stated by SD62 the next day in a response to Island Social Trends.

“Neighboring school districts were also consulted as part of the process.”

As for public input, SD62 says: “The public input opportunity was also posted on the SD62 website for anyone else who may be interested in reviewing and sharing feedback outside of those major stakeholder groups.”

sd62, board
Livestream of March 156, 2022 SD62 board meeting. [MS Teams]

Why calendars matter:

It could be argued that academic-year calendars are internal to the school system, i.e. that only immediate players in the system are impacted. But the school calendar also has an impact on communities and businesses in those communities.

Again, it could be argued that it’s beyond the responsibility of the school board to be concerned about impacts on external entities.

As well, things change in the lives of families and communities (such as a pandemic), sometimes even requiring changes in the best-laid plans for a functional calendar.

sd62. calendar, 2022-23
SD62 school-year calendar for 2022-23 (as posted Feb 2, 2022). Click above to see all three calendars for 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25.

Communications approach:

But for the fast-growing SD62 school district (driven by the availability of housing in the Langford and Sooke areas in particular) that boasts about being the largest employer in the west shore and also prides itself in taking part in region-wide developments such as a university in the works within the west shore, it does seem like a shortfall in communications strategy to take a passive approach to public input.

As the district rapidly grows, administration and trustees tend to focus on facility expansion and management of budgets around that. SD62 has not yet activated a fuller appreciation for the role of the broader community that is impacted by their work, though it seems they are aware of it.

The broader community includes parents of graduated children (relevant to scholarships and other continuing interests), businesses who employ students and graduates (planning and opportunities for employers), and the broader community at large within which activities do ebb and flow with the patterns of the school year (winter break interruptions, summer vacation activities).

Passive approach:

In fact, calling the link about calendars ‘public feedback’ implies that the information had first been communicated to the public, in that feedback would then be expected. With outreach to the public absent, feedback could be expected to be minimal at best.

A conceptual discussion about their broader role in the community would probably benefit SD62 on many levels of decision-making.

Broader vision:

Again, calendars may not be a high profile concern for entities operating outside the purview of the school district.

But an interface about calendars might have been a good opportunity for the public to become acquainted with the public input process that the SD62 school district is clearly aiming to expand.

A wide-scale opportunity upcoming for input from the broader community — including a wide advertising campaign — was mentioned at the March 15 board meeting. Perhaps on something considered more impactful than calendars.


Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR, has been covering the news of SD62 at the board and committee level since 2014.

As editor of Island Social Trends she explores how education is adapting to socioeconomic influences, both at the K-12 level and post-secondary. She has also followed the community development trends in Langford, Colwood and Sooke since 2008 through her various publications (MapleLine Magazine, Sooke Voice News, West Shore Voice News, and now Island Social Trends).

Island Social Trends offers a scholarship in journalism to graduates of the high schools in SD62. For more information contact your school career office or inquire to news@islandsocialtrends.com .