Prairie South talks SCC professional development

Nathan Liewicki
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Plan for division-wide workshop scheduled for September

A School Community Council (SCC) encourages and facilitates parent and community engagement via school planning and improvement processes.

Lew Young, a trustee for the Prairie South School Division, makes a point during Tuesday's PSSD board meeting. Young was involved in a discussion regarding the use of professional development funding by the 33 School Community Councils in the division. 

One of the ways SCCs do this is through professional development.

The Prairie South School Division (PSSD) affords its 33 SCCs money to use toward professional development; however, not all of them are using all of the money afforded to them.

Discussion over this issue arose at Tuesday’s PSSD board meeting after Barbara Compton, superintendent of operations delivered the 2012-13 School Community Councils Accountability Report.

“They are given $1,000 for professional development,” said Compton. “So, they can use that toward professional development opportunities, bring in people in to speak, or they can collaborate with other SCCs.”

Over the years, funding allocated to SCCs for the use of professional development has built up. As the report states, nearly $83,000 of unused money sits in local budgets.

“I would say out of 33 schools, maybe five are close to using their (allotted) money,” Compton told board members.

Trustee Lew Young suggested the SCCs that use their professional development money might assist other SCCs who are not using thier money find productive use for it.

Fellow trustee Giselle Wilson proposed another reason for why the funds are being used by so few SCCs comes down to confussion.

“I find that they don’t know what they can spend their money on,” she said. “It has to come out of their pocket and then they have to be reimbursed for it. Not everybody is always comfortable doing that for big purchases.”

Despite the large amount of unused professional development dollars, there are no plans to take that money back – even though, as Young said, “sometimes something like that makes them see an incentive to use it.”

As a way to bring more SCCs under the umbrella of professional development, PSSD has scheduled a host chairperson workshop this September for SCCs to engage with board members and form networking groups amongst themselves.

“Most (SCC representative) have full-time work, so for them to go away for professional development is really a challenge,” explained Compton. “That’s why I thought if we bring it to them it should work.

“We will organize it. We will book professional development opportunities that are relevant for them and are of interest.”

Trustee Brian Swanson believes some very good things will arise from the September workshop.

“Speaking to some of the SCCs, I think they are excited about the possibility of organizing and assisting in the organization of professional development locally in prairie south,” he said. “It also provides an opportunity for those SCCs to strengthen their organizational skills and learn things that are relevant to them.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Prairie South School Division, PSSD board

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