The staff committee is the best mechanism we have under our Collective Agreement to have a real say in how the school runs. Yet some schools don’t have one at all, while at others, it may exist, but for various reasons (e.g., resistance from admin) it is not very active.
Staff committees have a very broad mandate:
A.34.4 AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
A staff committee’s role may include the following:
- The development and maintenance of effective communication and consultative processes throughout the school;
- The review of school policies and procedures and the development of recommendations forimprovement;
- Receiving and making recommendations on matters of concern presented by staff;
- Ensuring the development and maintenance of a professional development committee for theschool;
- Ensuring the establishment and maintenance of a health and safety committee for the school.
The staff committee must include one representative of admin (A.34.2.b). Otherwise, it is up to the staff to determine its size and composition. Those are established through the staff committee’s operational procedures (also known as their “constitution”).
For example, some might specify that there must be at least one STARA rep, or that there be representation from different parts of the staff (e.g., primary, intermediate, and non-enrolling in an elementary).
Note that membership in the staff committee is restricted to STA members, because it arises under our Collective Agreement. CUPE staff have their own mechanisms for conveying concerns to admin.
“The size, composition, tenure and operational procedures of the staff committee shall be determined by a majority vote of the school staff by September 30th of each school year” (A.34.3.a). If you need support in developing operational procedures, or advice about how to run the staff committee, please consult our Staff Committee Handbook, or contact the STA.
The staff committee is a mechanism for teachers to examine issues and make recommendations to administration. The goal is that this process is collegial and collaborative.
However, ultimately the staff committee’s recommendations can be enforceable. “The Principal shall not unreasonably refuse to implement the recommendations of the staff committee or the majority decisions of a staff meeting” (A.34.5.a).
And “…where a Principal rejects a recommendation of a staff committee or a majority decision of a staff meeting, the Principal will submit the reasons for rejection, in writing, to the staff committee.”
So please get your staff committee up and running, and remember that the STA office is here to help!Leave a reply