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SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

Memo to School Administrators

We would like to inform administrators of some recent activity regarding the new School Development surveys that were administered this past spring. The surveys were piloted by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) in five schools prior to being released for use by all schools in April 2017. Shortly after the new surveys were sent to schools, the Provincial School Administrator’s Council (SAC) and several individual school administrators contacted the Association to express concerns with the surveys, in particular as it relates to the questions on school leadership. These issues were also raised with then NLTA President Jim Dinn and subsequently with President Dean Ingram, and have been discussed by the 2015-2017 and current NLTA Provincial Executive Council. In response to this, NLTA staff have engaged in discussions with DEECD officials to try to address the concerns with the new surveys. NLTA Executive Director Steve Brooks has also brought this matter to the Executive levels of both the DEECD and school district.

While not all the identified issues with the surveys were related to administrators, administrator concerns were central to all the discussions that have occurred to date. Although varied, points were raised regarding the lack of consultation, potential privacy legislation violations, the evaluative nature of the questions, and negative/leading language. We have also questioned the general value of these particular leadership questions and if/how they contribute positively to the collaborative working environment needed to engage in meaningful School Development.

DEECD officials have been very open to hearing our perspective and to working with the NLTA in addressing our concerns. As a result of our interventions so far, the data from the questions with which we took issue, including the leadership questions, has been deleted from the 2017 data and destroyed. The DEECD has committed to continue working with the NLTA on this matter. Our discussions to date have been meaningful and we have plans for further meetings during the fall of this year. That being said, we have made it clear that the concerns we have raised are serious and that we will pursue other options if a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached.

DEECD officials have plans to administer a questionnaire to administrators to get feedback on the new School Development surveys, including the leadership questions. The NLTA will have an opportunity to provide input on this questionnaire before it goes out to administrators, which we understand will take place in the coming weeks. We have also engaged with the School Administrators Council (SAC) for input on the new surveys and will continue to provide support and advice as this matter moves forward. The Association will continue to work with the Provincial leadership of SAC to engage and inform regional SAC representatives and all administrators to ensure that the interests of administrators are fully represented in this process.

If you have any questions on this matter, please contact either:

Stefanie Tuff,
(709) 726-3223 or (800) 563-3599 ext. 231
Darrin Pike,
(709) 726-3223 or (800) 563-3599 ext. 226