The Public Section serves 16 Saskatchewan public school boards. The Public Section Executive is comprised of one representative from each of the member boards. Three of the representatives comprise a leadership team of Table Officers including the Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary-Treasurer.
The duties of the Executive are to oversee the activities of the Public Section, to provide direction to the Executive Director, to act as spokespersons for the Section and to liaise with other individuals and organizations.
The Public Section is the one educational organization in Saskatchewan made up of only public school divisions. Boards of education eligible to join the Public Section share a distinctive position in the education framework of Saskatchewan.
Our mandate is to open our schools to every child. Our schools accept all students regardless of race, religion, economic circumstance, political outlook, intellect and physical ability. Children of every description and interest are educated together in our schools in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Every adult in Saskatchewan is entitled and responsible to participate in the government of public school education. Saskatchewan public school trustees are your neighbours, friends and colleagues. Inclusion in our governance reflects inclusion in the classroom.
Public education has served our communities well. Members of the Public Section are joined in a central purpose – the sharing and deepening of knowledge and opportunity for the betterment of our students and citizens.
The Public Section is committed to education of the highest quality which is universally accessible, locally governed and enhanced by the strong support of students, parents, the public and educational partners in Saskatchewan. The Public Section envisions inclusive public school divisions that are valued for providing education that meets the challenges of a complex and changing world.
The Public Section will be a voice of advocacy for public school divisions in Saskatchewan. The Public Section will serve as a venue for the sharing of ideas and resources and will convey to the Saskatchewan School Boards Association issues, problems and interests identified by the Section as priorities. The Public Section will continue to pursue the mandate of public education to ensure that funding for public education reflects the fundamental values of an inclusive, democratic society.
Issues and Strategies
Member boards of education are strongly supportive of the Public Section and are at the same time supportive of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA). The Public Section considers the SSBA the primary voice of boards of education in Saskatchewan. The Public Section recognizes that the SSBA cannot always respond to the needs and issues of public school divisions. The SSBA is made up of a number of diverse constituencies which makes it a challenge to aggressively promote public education as the core provider of education in Saskatchewan.
It is imperative therefore that the Public Section and its constituent boards of education take the initiative to promote its status. The Public Section needs to connect and engage all stakeholders including students, parents, School Community Councils and the public to expand our reach and strengthen our position within the provincial community. Public school boards and the Public Section need to speak often and effectively in advocating for public education in Saskatchewan. As a Public Section, we want to ensure that our members can make a positive difference to the youth of our province, both in the classroom and beyond.
The Executive of the Public Section has identified the following priorities that reflect its Vision and Mission. The Executive recommends these priorities to the Public Section.
Four priority areas have been identified: advocacy, communication, protection of the rights of public education and leadership.
- to advocate on behalf of public education
- to communicate the fundamental worth of public education in a democratic society
- to protect the rights of public education
- to provide leadership for the good of public education
1. To advocate on behalf of public education
Be a voice on issues that affect public school divisions.
Communicate on a regular basis with the SSBA to remain informed on issues and matters that affect public school boards.
Bring to the attention of the SSBA issues, problems, and interests peculiar to the Public Section.
Meet with officials of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education on matters of interest or importance to Section members.
Meet regularly with the Minister of Education.
Strengthen relationships with MLA’s and local politicians.
Provide support to individual Public School Boards when needed.
Share information that contributes to dialogue and democratic decision making.
Encourage and support the ongoing development of a civil democratic society that is inclusive, respectful and diverse.
Extend and contribute to the education of all parents and community members to create and sustain a well educated citizenry.
Incorporate and support community development as part of the overall work of public education.
Practice governance on a day to day basis by a political process that is grounded in the local community
2. To communicate the fundamental worth of public education in a democratic society
Engage in regular and consistent communication among all Section member boards.
Celebrate and communicate successes of public school students, staffs, schools and school divisions.
Maintain a website, www.saskpublicschools.ca, linked to the SSBA website, and member websites to be utilized for communication and as a public reference point for information on the Section and for Section viewpoints and positions on educational issues.
Incorporate the public education branding into school division communications.
Encourage public school divisions to take advantage of the “Showcase” portion of the Public Section website to highlight the positives of public schools.
Encourage member boards of education to provide the “Public Schools of Saskatchewan – Where Everyone Can Grow” link to all public school teachers to acknowledge and underline the pride of being a public school teacher.
Organize professional development sessions on matters of specific interest to Public Section members. Utilize and connect the excellence of Section members and provide a needed venue to develop solutions to issues.
Utilize the Section as a clearinghouse for important issues to public school boards.
Communicate and emphasize with students, parents and the community, public education’s informal curriculum of modeling, coaching and mentoring to students, that reflects life in a democratic society.
Participate with the Catholic Section and the SSBA in meetings that are now outlined in the SSBA Bylaws to build relationships, develop understanding of points of view and to develop areas of agreement and solutions to issues.
Public Section Executive Director will meet with the Executive Directors of the SSBA and Catholic Section on a regular basis to discuss topics of mutual interest.
Chair, Table Officers and Executive Director to communicate on an on-going basis with the Section Executive and boards of education.
Engage Executive members as important conduits between the Section and individual boards of education.
Identify local communities and engage and practice the politics of relationships.
Communicate to students, parents and the community that public schools are the first community in which students experience a conscious commitment to democracy.
3. To protect the rights of public education
Move as quickly as possible toward clarification of the public/Catholic mandate issue by continuing to pursue litigation through the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench regarding this matter. The Section also will assert, as an option, a constitutional reference, with the Minister of Education and the government of Saskatchewan.
Keep informed on legal developments that occur elsewhere and that may impact on the Saskatchewan situation.
Be proactive in informing the SSBA Executive and other organizations of these issues, including LEADS, STF, SASBO, Ministry of Education and the provincial government MLA’s and Cabinet Ministers.
4. To provide leadership for the good of public education
Identify issues or topics of unique interest to public school divisions.Provide opportunities for presentation, discussion and debate of topics for the purpose of clarification, information and direction.
Formulate and articulate public education positions on matters of public policy, education legislation and regulation.
Proactively advance viewpoints on matters that affect public education.
Work together with Public Section members, SSBA, Catholic Section and the Ministry of Education for the enhancement of education in Saskatchewan.