Your school needs you on its board

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Ste­wart Rus­sell, PKF Fran­cis Aickin

Those of us with school-aged chil­dren should have re­ceived a form seek­ing nom­i­na­tions for their school board of trustees. Schools call for nom­i­na­tions to elect a new board ev­ery three years. This is the per­fect opportunit­y to get in­volved with your child’s ed­u­ca­tion.

Many par­ents will have ig­nored the trustee

nom­i­na­tion re­quest, thinking that they have noth­ing to of­fer to their board, but ev­ery parent, care­giver or fam­ily mem­ber has some­thing to of­fer. The key role of a board mem­ber is to en­sure ev­ery child suc­ceeds, so if you can extend that to all chil­dren in the school com­mu­nity you will make a great trustee. Pas­sion for your com­mu­nity and a de­sire to see the next gen­er­a­tion flour­ish will guide you well.

We all have dif­fer­ent views, and by work­ing with a va­ri­ety of peo­ple we get an in­sight into a broad range of ideas, which ben­e­fits our chil­dren.

A child’s ed­u­ca­tion is not just about aca­demic mas­tery. Read­ing, writ­ing and arith­metic are im­por­tant, but ar­guably learn­ing so­cial skills and ways to in­ter­act with peo­ple is a more valu­able life les­son.

The board, work­ing with the prin­ci­pal, will help guide the school’s strate­gic plan and pro­grammes that con­trib­ute to stu­dents achiev­ing their best.

There is noth­ing to fear about be­ing a school trustee. Your prin­ci­pal will guide you, point you in the right di­rec­tion. Re­sources and advice are also avail­able at the New Zealand School Trustee As­so­ci­a­tion’s web­site (www.nzsta.co.nz).

A com­mon con­cern is, I don’t have enough spare time to do the job prop­erly. How­ever, the time commitment on av­er­age would be less than four hours a month. Typ­i­cally you will have one monthly meet­ing, which may last a cou­ple of hours. Add some time for prepa­ra­tion and thinking, and that is you done for the month.

I have been a board mem­ber at my chil­dren’s pri­mary school for five years. I can hon­estly say that I have loved ev­ery mo­ment. I cer­tainly have a much bet­ter in­sight in the dif­fi­cult job teach­ers have — ev­ery child learns dif­fer­ently and at a dif­fer­ent pace. But be­cause of my in­volve­ment on the board, I feel much more en­gaged in my chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and have a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the ever-chang­ing ideas schools need to de­velop to move for­ward.

A school board needs to rep­re­sent the school com­mu­nity’s di­ver­sity to en­sure a bright fu­ture for all stu­dents. It is im­por­tant that a di­verse range of in­di­vid­u­als put them­selves for­ward for elec­tion. So please, if you re­ally want to be in­volved in your child’s ed­u­ca­tion, com­plete the nom­i­na­tion form to­day, or contact your school if you have lost it.

For most schools, nom­i­na­tions close at noon to­mor­row. Don’t miss this an opportunit­y to help guide the strate­gic di­rec­tion of your school and your com­mu­nity.

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