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Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta

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					      AISCA NEWS
              Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta
                                                    June 2006 Newsletter

2005 - 2006 AISCA Activities
The 2005-2006 school year has been one of AISCA's busiest. Many schools carried
on celebrating Alberta's Centennial year with fall festivities. As Centennial year
initiatives AISCA's Board approved a series of regional workshops that focused on
risk management and safety related to off-site and outdoor activity field trips. Two
of these workshops were implementation workshops for licensing schools in the
YouthSafe Outdoors program. Five other workshops assisted crisis management
teams, boards and staffs to be better prepared for handling school emergencies
when they happen. We were very pleased that approximately 80 schools took
advantage of these special projects. Another ambitious project for the year was
creating the AISCA Energy Management Program. This June News highlights these
activities as well as reviews many of the consultations with the Ministry of Education
and updates members on the Spring General Meeting held on May 12, 2006.


Energy Management Program Launched
AISCA's new Energy Management Program is likely the first of its kind in Canada where a group of independent schools
have bought 5% green energy as part of an energy aggregation portfolio. The program so far is benefiting about 45
schools and four private not-for-profit university/colleges.
                                                           The goal of AISCA's Energy Management Program is to give
                                                           interested independent schools and private not-for-profit
                                                           university/colleges an opportunity to purchase large blocks of
                                                           natural gas and electricity at bulk wholesale group rates with
                                                           expanded management services. The forward market portfolio
                                                           management strategy will be managed on an ongoing basis to
                                                           continue to secure better market prices that will stabilize
                                                           budgeting processes and assist schools in avoiding future market
                                                           volatility.
                                                         AISCA used a wholesale forward market procurement strategy
      Dave Jackson, Dr. Anil Kapoor, Bob Duggan          with insights and expertise from Energy Associates International
                                                         and an Energy Management team from a half a dozen
educational institutions. This management strategy gave the Association advice and outlook to transact for natural gas
and electricity when market conditions were favourable to AISCA, and not only to the suppliers. AISCA transacted five-
year contracts on behalf of the individual schools with CEG for natural gas and ENMAX Energy for electricity.
The Energy Management Team worked with Energy Associates International to interview a number of energy suppliers
in order to broker the aggregated block of natural gas and electricity for the independent school sector. Initial transactions
are done and contracts are being finalized. Natural gas delivery begins November 1, 2006 and electricity delivery starts
on January 1, 2007. The five-year contracts for natural gas and electricity will ensure stable and predictable pricing and
will build in cost avoidance measures to help schools better manage volatile and escalating energy prices.
Code of Ethics                                                      process and many other consultations were coordinated
A draft Code of Ethics has been provided to AISCA's                 through the AISCA office on behalf of independent schools.
membership to review that will establish a common code              Highlights of some of these follow.
of expectations for the independent school sector
                                                                    Principal Quality Standard Development
represented in the Association. Members will be expected
to adhere to a signed code of ethics. Once AISCA's Board            AISCA participated in a Principal Quality Standard
reviews feedback from the schools, the Code of Ethics will          Advisory Committee coordinated by the Teacher
be approved at the fall general meeting of the Association.         Development and Certification branch. AISCA’s
                                                                    suggestions have been incorporated into the document that
Government Relations                                                Alberta Education recently sent to schools and stakeholders
AISCA has continued to serve as the voice for choice in             for final input. AISCA has been asked to respond to the
independent schools. Numerous meetings and consultations            final document by mid-July and encourages schools to
were held throughout the year with Ministry officials and           respond as well.
the Minister. Board representatives met with the
                                                                    Literacy and Numeracy Initiative
Honourable Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Education, in
February to review progress on issues discussed with the            Alberta Education asked stakeholders for input on early
Standing Policy Committee on Education and Employment               literacy and numeracy initiatives. AISCA sent questions out
last April and emerging issues of the year. A central concern       to K-6 independent schools for their input; the responses
raised relates to the direction of government responses to          were collated by Dr. Alyce Oosterhuis and sent to Alberta
independent schools.                                                Education in a Focus Group format.

"What government does or does not do has a significant              Locally Developed Courses Input
impact on how the shape of a society is engineered; that            Input was gathered from the independent schools about
includes the shaping of the education sector. Changes in            continuance of locally developed courses, criteria for
the School Act in 1988 to include alternative religious             existence, current relevance and determining the process
programs in public schools, and subsequent policy                   for quality maintenance. This was done as part of Alberta
enhancements in recent years, and the less than positive            Education's review of Policy 1.2.1 for Locally Developed
treatment by the Commission on Learning toward                      Junior and Senior High School Complementary Courses
independent schools as desirable schools of choice, all             (LDCs). Documentation and questions were sent to all
impact their future growth and viability." (Excerpt from the        AISCA member schools and a report was sent to Alberta
Standing Policy Committee on Education and Employment               Education.
brief of April, 2005)
                                                                    AISCA-DSA Services Report
Membership Strength
                                                                    The Designated Signing Authority program, an ongoing
AISCA's membership has remained strong and even grown               arrangement with the Teacher Development and
a bit this year. At last count AISCA had 102 schools in its         Certification branch, assists schools and teachers in
membership for a total of approximately 18,000 students.            ensuring that all teachers in accredited, independent schools
Membership includes 32 private ECS operators. There are             hold appropriate authority to teach. Teachers seeking an
approximately 135 accredited independent schools in                 Alberta Permanent Professional Certificate must be
Alberta that serve about 25,000 students.                           evaluated by their principal but also are required to have
                                                                    an external evaluation completed by assigned AISCA DSAs.
Policy and Program Consultations                                    Dr. Alyce Oosterhuis serves as the DSA program
AISCA again provided many responses this past year in               coordinator and Kristi Hummel is the administrative
significant policy areas and areas where Alberta Education          assistant for the program. They have done a fantastic job
is contemplating program changes. AISCA was invited to              coordinating the program for schools and in networking
participate in the Alberta Education Business Plan drafting         with the Teacher Development and Certification Branch.

                                                                2
Thanks also to the great work from the 20 DSAs and the
positive working relationship with staff at TDC.
On November 17, 2005, AISCA's Designated Signing
Authorities (DSA) met in Red Deer to discuss best
evaluation practices for permanent teacher certification in
Alberta. Alberta Senior Education Manager Dr. Peter
Prinsen represented the Teacher Development and
Certification Branch at this session.
This past year AISCA assigned evaluators to review
approximately 150 teachers who may be eligible for
permanent professional certificates. Any requests for
extensions, letters of authority, temporary letters of
authority, and re-issuance of expired certificates are also
processed through the AISCA office. For more information
visit the AISCA website at www.aisca.ab.ca

                                                                            Kristi Hummel and Dr. Alyce Oosterhuis


                                                                  AISCA - AISI Services
                                                                  The independent school sector is wrapping up its reports
                                                                  on 220 exciting Alberta Initiative for School Improvement
                                                                  (AISI) Projects and schools are busy launching into the next
                                                                  three-year cycle! Ary De Moor, Maureen Gough and Lori
                                                                  Oosterhof, called the AISCA-AISI team, have done an
                                                                  amazing job of administering the projects.
                                                                  Students in independent schools receive 60% per student of
                                                                  what public schools are allocated for AISI projects and all
                                                                  projects in the independent schools and private ECS centres
         Designated Signing Authority Orientation
                                                                  are coordinated through AISCA. Some are group projects
Faculty of Education Job Fairs                                    among clusters of schools but many are developed and
                                                                  managed at the local school level.
AISCA operated an information booth at Job Fairs at the
University of Calgary and the University of Alberta to make       The AISCA-AISI staff conducted numerous AISI Sharing
aspiring teachers more familiar with AISCA schools. Some          Conference workshops throughout the school year so that
school boards actively recruit teachers at these fairs. Dr.       schools could exchange innovative ideas and learn from
Alyce Oosterhuis and Kristi Hummel prepared an AISCA              one another. Schools are to be congratulated on the high
display that included Edmonton and Calgary maps showing           quality of their projects. In February, many independent
independent school locations and they provided a list of          schools also participated in the provincial AISI conference,
contact information for teachers seeking jobs. Information        "The Journey Continues". They entered projects and posters
on teacher certification requirements and hiring practices        in the showcase sessions and served as hosts at six sessions.
were shared and AISCA's Independent School Directory              To date, a number of promising practices from the past
was made available. These events allow future teachers to         years have been submitted to the School Improvement
be aware of opportunities to teach in independent schools         Branch for approval and will hopefully become available to
and assist in the promotion of the independent schools.           all schools via the provincial AISI web site.

                                                              3
2006 Spring General Meeting Highlights                                the public board. This arrangement may enable some
                                                                      private schools and public jurisdictions to compete more
The Legal Framework for Independence:
                                                                      evenly for students in a district as they are able to access
Where are Independent Schools Headed?                                 grants on a shared basis. The same is true for the public
                                                                      board. The permanence of such arrangements, however, is

L
        orena K. Harris of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
        addressed the Spring General Meeting on some of               questionable as either party may withdraw from the
        the historical roots of alternative educational               agreement with little notice and the Ministry may have
programs. She began by providing an historical context to             second thoughts on its application as well.
the School Act and explained how the 1988 School Act                  The historical overview generated some interesting
created when Nancy Betkowski was Minister shifted the                 questions that attempted to get at the complexity of
focus more toward students. The former School Act from                educational choice in Alberta. There have been many
1980 focused on the traditional administrative side of                changes in a short period of time and there is a great deal
schools. This signalled a fundamental shift in education              of flux in the arrangements among public and private
and stressed five fundamental principles: access, equity,             schools. Some felt that there was limited opportunity for
flexibility, responsiveness, and accountability.                      the hard questions to be answered but one of AISCA's board
The flexibility portion of the revised Act addressed the              members summed up the underlying motivation well in a
diversity of education: the public, separate, private, charter,       few words, "It's all about the generation of revenues!"
and home education sectors. Division 2 of the current School
                                                                      Spring General Meeting Elections
Act sets out the legislative provisions for schooling options
such as private schools, home education, and Early                    New Board Members Elected
Childhood Services Programs. Division 3 sets out the                  Jack Grant, Headmaster at West Island College (term 2),
provisions for Charter Schools. Francophone schools are               Dave Eifert, Principal of Concordia High School,
also granted legislative provision since their Constitutional         Edmonton, Darren Forrester, Headmaster of Calgary
challenge that gave them the right of self-governance.                French and International School, Liz Richards, Executive
One of the significant changes in the School Act makeover             Director of Edmonton Academy.
of 1988 was that Section 21 was introduced that brought in            Board Members Continuing
legislative alternative program provisions for language,
culture, and religion. Over the last decade, the application          Dr. Dave Thomas will continue to serve as past president.
of Section 21has created a phenomenon where a number                  The board elects its new executive at its next meeting. Other
of independent schools have become alternative programs               board members include:
in the public system. Since 2002 the Ministry of Education            Rainier Van Delft, Edmonton, Dale Backlin, Calgary, C-
has also produced a Handbook on Alternative Programs                  Anne Robertson, Edmonton, Bob Duggan, Ponoka, Jawdah
and the Ministry is advising jurisdictions on processes and           Jorf, Edmonton, Gwen Uittenbosch, Calgary, Les Visser,
procedures for creating contracts.                                    Lethbridge
Harris also touched on some of the basic differences between          Representative advisors to the board include Daryl Becker,
private and public legislative provisions and then went on            Dr. Wyzte Brouwer, Mark Losey, Anne Rauser, Elco
to expand on Section 62 of the current School Act. S. 62              Vandergrift, and Isaac Zayachkowski.
gives some room for public boards and independent schools
to form contractual agreements that allow both to access              Board Members Leaving
more government grants. S.62 is a delegation provision that           Retiring board members include Andrew Jackson, Dr. Anil
permits a Board, without the approval of the Minister, to             Kapoor, and Joanne Wiens. They were acknowledged and
enter into an agreement with a person, committee, other               thanked for their service to AISCA. Appreciation was
board, non-profit organization or municipality to provide             demonstrated with pottery gifts. We wish them all the best.
educational programs. The government views this
arrangement as an extension of the services provided by
                                                                  4
Polishing Teacher Evaluation Practices                             YouthSafe Outdoors: Field Trip Safety for
Fred Burghardt, the retired Registrar, and two of AISCA’s          Alberta Schools
Designated Signing Authorities, Dr. Claude Oppenheim               AISCA sponsored the YouthSafe Outdoors (YSO) program
and David Eifert examined the legislative and theoretical          for approximately 80 independent private schools and over
basis for teacher evaluation in a half-day workshop designed       100 participants. The YouthSafe Outdoors package is a
for principals and administrators. The workshop also offered       research-based, integrated risk management and safety
participants an opportunity to gain some practical                 instruction resource that was developed with "The purpose
experience in conducting teacher evaluation visits by              ... to help reduce the frequency and severity of preventable
working through sample scenarios. Regional workshops will          accidents/incidents involving youth engaged in school off-
be offered in the fall to further improve practice.                site activities and outdoor pursuits." The YSO resource
                                                                   makes safety a high priority for all off-site experiences and
Risk Management/Insurance Seminar
                                                                   models critical aspects of planning for leadership and offers
AISCA, in association with Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers            instructional components as well. The resource was adapted
Ltd. conducted an afternoon planning seminar at this year's        a few years ago for the Manitoba public and independent
Spring General Meeting                                                                                  schools and more
for board members and                                                                                   recently has been
business managers from                                                                                  revised for the BC
several schools who are                                                                                 public schools. The
interested in designing a                                                                               original YSO project
"picture perfect" risk                                                                                  was initiated in Alberta
management           and                                                                                in the 90's and is
insurance program.                                                                                      licensed in many
AISCA is interested in                                                                                  schools.
creating a member
driven program that has                                                                        Dr. Glenda Hanna, the
the flexibility to benefit                                                                     Principal of Quest
a wide variety of                                                                              Research             and
independent schools                                                                            Consulting          Inc.,
with different programs.                                                                       provided two major
Four of the schools                                                                            workshops to assist
involved will work on a                                                                        participating schools in
pilot project to tailor                                                                        implementing the YSO
                                        Vern Rand, Brian Hazeltine, Dale Backlin
their policies related to                                                                      program       that     is
program operations to fit with a strong risk management, available to all licensed Alberta schools, both public and
loss prevention and insurance program.                      independent. Dr. Hanna is recognized internationally for
                                                            her ability to effectively and accurately articulate the
AISCA Staff Attend Conferences                              industry and community standard of care for outdoor
Alberta Online Consortium symposium, Edmonton               education and recreation programs. She is passionate that
Performance Improvement Conference, Toronto,                schools need to continue providing youth with vital outdoor
Provincial AISI conference, Edmonton                        education experiences as part of their schooling so that
National CAPSLE conference on law and education,            healthy habits endure for life. For more background
Montreal                                                    information about YouthSafe Outdoors login to the website
National Canadian Education Conference, Calgary             at www.youthsafeoutdoors.ca.
Safe and Caring Schools recognition evening at NAIT
Reaching and Teaching Conference, Calgary
Principal and teacher conventions from many of our
schools

                                                               5
Responding to School Emergencies:                                 AISCA Shares AISI Insights at Toronto
Putting an Effective Plan in Place                                Conference on School Improvement
AISCA sponsored five regional workshops to the entire             One highlight of the year was AISCA's involvement at a
independent school sector in order to better equip them           national conference on innovation in Toronto. Dr. Wilf
with crisis management tools and resources for managing           Green, Acting Director of the School Improvement Branch,
emergencies when they happen. The training workshops              Ary De Moor, AISCA's AISI Program Coordinator, and
were a great success! Mr. Bill de Jager, a consultant from        Maureen Gough, the AISI Field Coordinator, traveled to
the Society of Christian Schools in BC, delivered the high-       Toronto to share with educational leaders from across the
energy, hands-on interactive workshops to approximately           nation the highlights of the AISI benefits unfolding in
80 teachers and administrators in Calgary, Edmonton,              Alberta. They presented a workshop at the Insight
Lethbridge and Lacombe.                                           Information conference in Toronto on November 29 and
                                                                  30. The theme of the conference was Performance
Dramatic scenarios forced participants to experience a bit
                                                                  Improvement in Education - Maximizing Resources for the
of what is it like to have to deal with emergencies when
                                                                  Best Results.
they happen whether they be accidents, fires, suicides,
intruders with weapons, lock-down situations, abuse and
the like. Responses to the workshops were overwhelmingly
enthusiastic. Participants were delighted with the humour,
the dynamic presentation style, and the practicality as
witnessed through such comments as:
All schools need this workshop... It should be mandatory...
The whole class was absolutely amazing...The media
presentation showed actual situations that need crisis
management. It showed that no matter how small our school
is, we can be impacted by the same types of situations...
The role playing and scenarios brought home the
importance of well established teams and plans...Practicing
was unnerving but very important in realizing the
seriousness of the issues. The binder is fantastic.
Organization is the key...Great information on the Crisis
Management Team. Eye opening... A definite asset for our
school and I appreciate AISCA giving us this opportunity.                Ary De Moor, Maureen Gough, Dr. Wilf Green

                                                                  AISCA
                                                                  # 201, 11830 – 111 Avenue NW,
                                                                  Edmonton, Alberta
                                                                  T5G 0E1

                                                                  Telephone: (780) 469-9868
                                                                  Fax: (780) 469-9880

                                                                  E-mail: office@aisca.ab.ca
                                                                  Web Site: www.aisca.ab.ca
                                                                  This association creates a positive social, fiscal and political
     Bill de Jager speaking with workshop participants            environment in which independent schools are free to maintain
                                                                  their identity as they serve the public interest.

                                                              6

				
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