Practice standards coming for principals and superintendents

November 21, 2017
Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

School Act amendments introduced

Formal practice standards for principals and superintendents are coming to Alberta thanks to School Act amendments introduced Nov. 15 by the NDP government.

Included in Bill 28, the School Amendment Act, are new requirements that, in order to serve as principals or superintendents, teachers will have to hold leadership certificates that are specific to each of these roles. These certificates are to be prescribed by new regulations that will be developed to accompany the amended School Act. And under the proposed changes the minister would have the power to suspend or cancel the certificates.

“This will be an important step forward in ensuring that we have excellent teachers supported by excellent leaders in every school authority across Alberta,” said Education Minister David Eggen during a Nov. 15 news conference.

Eggen said that more details on the practice standards will be forthcoming in the following months.

If the bill is passed, Alberta would become the first jurisdiction in Canada with standards for principals and superintendents.

We eagerly await the approval of all three practice standards, which will serve to enhance public confidence in the quality of Alberta’s schools.
– Greg Jeffery, ATA president

ATA president Greg Jeffery spoke in favour of the changes.

“Our schools, classrooms and teaching practices have changed significantly over the past 20 years,” he said. “Updated practice standards will ensure that teachers have clear, consistent and modern benchmarks to guide their practice and inform their professional growth. We eagerly await the approval of all three practice standards, which will serve to enhance public confidence in the quality of Alberta’s schools.”

Michael Hauptman, vice-president of Alberta’s College of Alberta School Superintendents, agreed that the standards are a step forward.

“We’ve always said to our communities that our teachers are the best teachers out there in the world and we’ve had our teacher quality standards that represent that,” he said, “but now having standards for principals and system leaders, we’re all teachers at the end of the day, and it just provides that public assurance to people that we’ve got the best people doing the best job possible.”

Notable amendments
  • Other significant changes in the act include
  • establishing five years old as the common age of entry to kindergarten,
  • empowering the education minister to require budgets and audited financial statements from private schools,
  • empowering the minister to direct two or more school boards to co-operate with respect to student transportation,
  • a requirement for school boards to develop and implement codes of conduct for trustees,
  • authorizing the minister to establish standards for education service agreements between school boards and First Nations and
  • revising the process for establishing a separate school district.