The Freedom to Innovate

Education, Frontier Centre, Speech (historic), Uncategorized

I am very pleased to be here today as a participant at this conference dealing with the future of public schools and I want to thank the Frontier Centre for Public Policy for organizing it.

With regards to my background in education, I taught for seven years and then moved into a principalship at age 29. I am now beginning my 24th year as a high school principal in the public education system.

I realized very early in my career that true educational leadership occurs at the school level, not at the school division level. The school principal is the educational leader within the system; the Superintendent’s position is very bureaucratic and political by nature.

I have also been very fortunate to work in a school division which is small and not heavily bureaucratic and consequently, empowered its school principals to be educational leaders. When I moved from the classroom into administration I left a large urban school division to move to the Morris-Macdonald School Division, which is rural based, but also adjacent to the City of Winnipeg. It was sort of like leaving Eaton’s to work for a smaller company; and we all know what is currently happening to Eaton’s.

I have always preferred to work for an organization which allows the people within the organization to be stronger than the organization rather than for an organization which is so much stronger than the people in it.

I feel that my background in education has positioned me well in the face of current educational reform. I’m not convinced that "traditional thinking educators" i.e. pedagogues, who occupy the majority of educational administrative positions within the public education system and government departments of education, are able to adjust to the changing paradigm. I am firmly convinced that unless you de-bureaucratize and understand and accept the business approach to education which is rapidly becoming essential in administering educational program delivery today, you are going to fall behind and the organization you are working for, whether it be a school division or Manitoba Education and Training, will become increasingly ineffective. I want to say, at the outset, that I am very comfortable in exercising my responsibilities as a leader, as a marketer, as a deal maker, as a partner and as a site based manager.

Let me also say that I have not always been as positive about the future of public education as I am today. Indeed, during the late seventies and through the eighties public schools seemed to be going in many different directions trying to be all things to all people and attempting to solve all the social problems within our society. This became very dangerous as we moved away from doing what we are supposed to do; that is to educate students. Indeed it became difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of schools at this time in part because we could not clearly define the purpose of public education. Today we are moving forward with educational reform initiatives which are clearly focused on standards and accountability. It is much easier to define the purpose of education and evaluate school effectiveness today than it was in 1985.

I also want to emphasize that I stand before you today as a practitioner. I do not teach at the Faculty of Education and thereby dealing primarily with theory; I do not work for government where I would invariably become part of the bureaucracy; I am not a politician who is constantly being pulled by public opinion on one side and pushed by government bureaucrats on the other side. Rather I am a school administrator who has, from day one, worked very closely with and in full support of the current provincial government’s initiatives to implement educational reform within the Province of Manitoba. At our school and in our school division we have been first out of the gate with many of the pilot programs that are part of New Directions; my staff, my school division, my Superintendent and myself have implemented educational reform to the greatest extent possible; I stand before you today as a practitioner.

New Directions, although it is the Manitoba blue print for educational reform, is the result of the larger educational reform movement which is occurring throughout North America. This reform movement is being driven by forces which are outside the educational system. Today, I would like to begin by referencing the so called "big picture", then focus briefly on the Manitoba scene, and then move specifically to the initiatives we have undertaken in the Morris-Macdonald School Division and in Sanford Collegiate.

I’m sure many of you have seen some of Joel Barker’s series of videos on discovering the future. He talks a lot about changing paradigms and the ability to recognize these paradigms and take advantage of them. I believe it is in his first video, called The Business of Paradigms or in his second one entitled The Power of Vision, he has now produced four videos, where he talks about the shift from the mechanical age to the technology age and illustrates this specifically by referencing the watch industry and the automobile industry. He talks about the Swiss watch industry which no doubt until the 1980’s, built the finest watches in the world; however, they were watches built with minute gears and wheels. They were mechanical watches. The Swiss had built the finest watches in the world for a hundred years. Someone came along with a quartz chip and offered to sell it to the Swiss watch makers; they rejected it; they were successful, they didn’t have to change. Consequently the quartz chip was offered to the Japanese; they didn’t reject it; they bought it and began to build watches with it. Within a few short years Seiko became the top selling watch in the world; the Swiss watch industry has never recovered.

And how about the automobile industry. We all know what happened there, don’t we. The U.S. automakers were very successful; they were the leading automakers in the world since Henry Ford built his first Model T. However, the U.S. automotive industry built cars on an assembly line approach, which was linear based with cars put together piece by piece as they rolled down the line. This was a mechanical approach to industry – line and staff; person "A" put the wheel on the car and person "B" checked it; daily over and over routine. What accountability did person "A" have; person "B" checked the wheel after person"A" had put it on the car. Well, the Japanese decided to take a different approach. They decided to form a team of eight to ten people who were charged with the responsibility of building the entire car. The entire Toyota or the entire Honda. They built it as a team and the company put $1500.00 in the team’s account when the car was built and if that car came back to the dealer for repair work during the warranty time the team which built the car forfeited the $1500.00 which was used to pay for the warranty work; if the car did not require repairs through the warranty period the team which built the car shared the $1500.00 profit. It is a system of incentive and accountability and it has been very successful.

Meanwhile the U.S. automakers continued to build cars in their time proven, old fashioned way on the assembly line and they failed to notice that the freeways in California were filling up with Hondas and Toyotas. Ultimately they were forced to adjust but we are well aware of the tremendous impact the Japanese automakers have had on the North American automotive industry in the past fifteen years.

William Easum, in his book Dancing with Dinosaurs, identifies changing paradigms. He specifically identifies sixteen paradigm shifts; some of these are very relevant to the future of public schools in my opinion. There are three of his paradigm shifts which I would like to reference.

Firstly he states that more knowledge, appropriated faster than ever before, will make for more unpredictability in the crack of history.

Speed will rival quality. Fluctuations in everything are becoming greater than ever before. Red tape is being reduced to a minimum. Organizations are streamlining everything for faster response to the customer. Therefore, bureaucracies will have a hard time in the intermediate future; but entrepreneurs will do well. In the emerging society, leaders will be those willing to risk leaving the safety of the "good-ole-boy" system. Those who remain tied to a bureaucracy will be lost. Institutions that cling to their bureaucracies will vanish.

Amoeba-like organizations will fill the Twenty-First Century landscape. These organizations will be adaptive and flexible, able to change overnight. The organizations will be geared toward learning as much as producing. Those who learn the most will produce the most in the emerging world.

Secondly he indicates that decentralization is required in the crack of history. A return to grass roots participation will cause the re-structuring of every aspect of organizational life. Corporations will give employees more authority. Team work, diversity, and an emphasis on creativity will become the primary method of profitability. Giant monoliths will be replaced with webs of smaller enterprises that are encapsuled inside larger businesses for accounting purposes. Corporate executives will have to be comfortable in a vast array of different corporate structures that span the globe. In the emerging new society, villages, edge cities, provinces, counties, regions, and states will again gain more power than the federal government and this miniaturization will actually speed up the drive for a world economy.

Thirdly, he writes that in the crack of history, the transmission and reception of knowledge and information are experiencing a series of quantum leaps. Computers are totally changing the way we treat knowledge. Presently, a productive person knows how to get, use, develop, and share knowledge. In the emerging world, knowing how to process knowledge, rather than collecting, storing and retrieving knowledge, will be the primary skill. People will have less need of memory or writing skills. Knowledge will be processed purely from a global perspective. Sequential, linear, rational, deductive thinking will continue to disappear. Many affluent people will begin to rely too much on artificial intelligence and many people on the economic fringes will think less.

Home schooling and private schools will continue to grow in the emerging world until they comprise the majority of the thinking population. In time, public schools will be replaced by the private sector, funded by the government and businesses. Many of these will be religious schools.

Very interesting.

I attended the Manitoba and the World at the Millennium Conference in March, 1999 which was organized by the Economic Innovation and Technology Council. This conference brought together participants representing a variety of different sectors, including business, education, government, not-for-profit, and health care and focused on mapping the province’s future in a global environment. The forum featured keynote speakers such as Peter C. Newman, Nuala Beck, Hugh Segal and George Gilder in addition to many panelists. This forum identified a number of key trends facing Manitoba as the province heads into the next Millennium; they include globalization, changes in the nature of work, movement towards a knowledge based economy and the increased pace of technological change. Among others, the forum identified a strong education system as being key to Manitoba’s future. I quote from the final report on this conference: "A strong educational system will provide all children with a quality education to ensure their development into productive and fulfilled citizens. Through business-education partnerships, increased technology usage and a concentration on learning skills, the elementary and secondary systems will support the demands of the workforce. The post secondary education system should be accessible, affordable and retain a balance between skill development and acquiring knowledge. Through partnerships with the private sector, post-secondary institutions will ensure they are more market driven." Specific strategies indicated relating to education were clear. Secondary and post-secondary institutions should ensure that the educational system is relevant and will meet the demands of all stakeholders by establishing partnerships with the private sector, diversifying the delivery of courses, developing co-op programs and promoting life-long learning. Educational reform is a priority.

Additional points made during the conference which relate specifically were as follows:

     

  • Prepare for the emergence of knowledge as Manitoba’s most strategic asset (Nuala Beck)

     

  • Develop new policies and programs that target the combined objective of economic development and education simultaneously (Nuala Beck)

     

  • Public institutions (government and not-for-profit organizations) must be effective and efficient. They must have a bright and professional public service and the organizations must be equipped to serve the public well and to facilitate the development of opportunities (Hugh Segal)

     

  • There are three factors of globalization which contribute to Canadians’ views on globalization. First, there is move away from counting on governments to manage economies and towards a much greater confidence in the ability of markets to function fairly and deliver the goods. Second, borders are eroding as individual national economies are integrated and third, the force of technology is relentless, which provides the working foundation for globality (John Wright, the Angus Reid Group)

     

  • A survey of Manitoba’s showed that people believe that businesses should be encouraged to play a greater role in our education system (John Wright, the Angus Reid Group)

Today, the same economic and cultural forces that are transforming Canada are impacting our education system. Much of the education reform which is currently occurring is appropriate in any large enterprise seeking to remain relevant and healthy in an age which is being propelled by rapid and endless change. There are major factors creating change, which are:

     

  • Globalization of economic activities, primarily as a result of technology and trade.

     

  • Major scientific advances.

     

  • Development of new partnerships between governments and non-government parties for the delivery of services.

Schools are beginning to look outwardly beyond their imaginary and defined boundaries of the past. This has resulted in greater community involvement (e.g. Advisory Councils for school leadership) and schools offering collaborative programs with local businesses and community service agencies.

Progressive thinking educators are beginning to examine partnership possibilities to enhance student transition from school to work and post secondary programming (e.g. co-operative education programs). We are looking at the ongoing continuum of education and work rather than high school simply being an ending to early, middle and senior years education.

The rapid development of technology has also become a catalyst for schools to form alliances with business. Schools cannot easily afford to purchase, service and replace technology and the answer lies in forming partnerships with the business sector.

Restructured government funding for education has opened the door for proactive schools to examine alternative methods of generating financial support. The reality of this shift has created opportunities for increased community and business partnerships with public educational institutions.

Major demographic, economic and social forces are shaping the next quarter century on a global basis. There is widespread belief that economic development is closely linked with quality education. To meet these challenges, our educational/training system will need to develop and deliver programs that will produce enterprising and self-reliant individuals who will ensure the generation of an innovative culture necessary to attain a competitive advantage in a world where knowledge and information are the new source of capital and where time is the scarcity. This emerging scenario creates a mandate for government, specifically education and training, and business to create partnerships in order to provide students with the skills that will generate national prosperity.

In analyzing the evolution of educational partnerships, the resource guide Partnerships in Education, published by the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton-Wentworth in 1996, indicates that the following trends are evident.

  • "Feel Good" partnerships based on public relations are disappearing.
  • Unevaluated programs are disappearing .
  • Separation of technological and academic education is disappearing.
  • Traditional government funding is disappearing.
  • School support from business is established.
  • Equipment gifts to schools is established.
  • School to work transition programs are established.
  • Incentives for learning is established.
  • Joint fund raising is established.
  • School receptivity to traditional partnerships is established.
  • Site-based Management is emerging.
  • Promoting apprenticeships through partnerships is emerging.
  • Charter schools are emerging.
  • Magnet schools are emerging.
  • Increased use of technology is emerging.
  • Corporate sponsorships in schools is emerging.
  • Home school is emerging.
  • Standards and standardized testing for students is emerging.
  • Authentic assessment of students is emerging.
  • Partnerships with social service agencies is on the horizon.
  • Private sector take-over of public education (educational management organizations) is on the horizon.
  • Entrepreneurial education is on the horizon.
  • Corporations collaborating with schools/school divisions is on the horizon.
  • Mandatory work experience is on the horizon.
  • Improving the status of the trades is on the horizon.

Correspondingly, as Wayne Hulley, Educational Consultant with the North Star Centre in Toronto indicates, we are witnessing a change with organizational structure as we move from Twentieth to Twenty-first Century organizations. In structure we are moving from bureaucratic to non-bureaucratic (fewer rules and employees); from multi-leveled to flat; from heavy policy based to minimal policies and procedures which are designed to serve customers (and I believe that students are customers); from inwardly focused to externally oriented; from centralized to decentralized and empowering; from slow to make decisions to quick to make decisions; from political to open, candid and pragmatic; and from risk adverse to risk tolerant.

The need to diversify the way education is provided has not gone unnoticed in other countries that face many of the same challenges as does the Canadian educational system. The centre for education reform in the United States noted in its publication "A Nation at Risk – An Education Manifesto" the following:

We urge two main renewal strategies, working in tandem:

  • Standards, assessments and accountability. Every student, school and district must be expected to meet high standards of learning.
  • Pluralism, competition and choice. We must be as open to alternatives in the delivery of education as we are firm about the knowledge and skills being delivered. Families and communities have different tastes and priorities, and educators have different strengths and passions It is madness to continue acting as if one school model fits every situation.

As I continue to provide you with background information before I move specifically to our initiatives, let me comment briefly on Site-based Management and New Directions.

What is site based or school based management? School based management is a process that involves the individuals responsible for implementing decisions actually making those decisions. In general, under school-based management, decisions are made at the level closest to the issue being addressed.

The design is to create a structure whereby more decisions flow up through the system than down from the top. That means custodians are involved in solving custodial problems, teachers in solving classroom problems, principals in solving building-wise problems and superintendents in making division wide decisions.

Site based management is about the empowerment of teachers and principals to make decisions related to program delivery; however, along with the increased authority for making decisions comes increased accountability. Schools have to develop a clear set of educational objectives and then have their performance in meeting those objectives monitored. Principals whose schools are consistently unable to meet their educational objectives may be removed.

The role of the principal is changed significantly under site based management. The principal moves from a front and center director to a leader who pushes from behind rather than leading from the front. The principal evaluates the effectiveness of the whole school; the principal deals with the "what", not the "how". He/she becomes concerned primarily with end product whereas the teachers operate primarily in the process area or the "how".

With regards to the role of the principal, the National Association of Secondary School Principals identified the following characteristics which twenty-first century principals must possess. Twenty-first century principals must:

  • provide overall direction and alignment within the new educational paradigm.
  • encourage a culture of visionaries, risk-takers and experimenters.
  • set the pace and lead by example.
  • discuss, translate and disseminate new knowledge.
  • create the spark that motivates an individual or group of individuals to make a difference.
  • increase the number of people who believe in, advocate, and practice new, successful approaches.
  • display, demonstrate, report, promote, and applaud success.

The NASSP indicates that the new educational paradigm necessitates a shift from curriculum-centered to learner-centered schooling; from assigning individuals tasks to collaborative work; from promoting passive learning to active learning; from print to electronic media; from a grade focus to an achievement focus; from a national to a global perspective; from independent to collaborative efforts; and from abstract learning to authentic learning. The authoritarianism and aloofness that marked the leadership style of some High School principals in years past has fading appeal in the collaborative and collegial climate associated with today’s educational reform.

On August 19, less than one month ago, I attended a one day mini-workshop for Trustees and Educational Administrators which was hosted by the Fort Garry School Division No. 5. The Fort Garry School Division extended an invitation to the Morris-Macdonald School Division Trustees and Administrators to join them at this conference.

Alan November, noted technology consultant from Wilmete, Illinois, conducted the workshop. He has successfully guided schools to use technology to improve student learning. I’m not going to take this down the road of Technology; however, he talked about the information age and how it is impacting. I want to briefly mention two points which he made because I think they are relevant to what I am talking about here today. Firstly, he indicated that technology has allowed us to access information as it happens; Alan November calls this a move to real time; secondly, he indicated that this has created a transfer of responsibility to the point of the problem. To illustrate these two points he talked about Desert Storm as being the first war fought in history in real time. In this war the soldiers in the high tech tanks had instant information – this real information was created by digital maps which were created and altered instantaneously as the tank moved across the terrain- the tanks computer accessed the information and it was changing constantly. The troops had the real information before the Generals had it. In all previous wars the Generals had the information before it was passed onto the soldiers. Reconnaissance provided information and it was used to produce maps which were printed on paper and then used by Generals to create battle plans and troops were deployed accordingly. What was the effect of Technology in Desert Storm – Technology restructured the decision making process within the management structure within the Army. Once you grant access of information to the point of the problem the decision making has to move to that point. The Generals still prepared the overall battle plan; however, the soldiers made the decisions in the process area. Technology, which creates access to information, changes the roles within the organizational structure with regards to decision making. As I said earlier, there are forces impacting on the educational system which are originating form outside the system. The information age is having very significant influence on the Educational System; it is a factor in redefining and restructuring the roles within the system; teachers can access information at the point of the classroom; it only follows that they must be empowered to make decisions in the process area.

The Morris-Macdonald School Division realized very early when the Province of Manitoba introduced Reviewing Education: New Directions – A Blueprint for Action in July, 1994 that many of the areas of reform lend themselves to Site-based Management. Consequently, in 1996, the School Division launched initiatives to begin to implement Site-based Management. We worked with Dr. Don Covey from Phoenix, Arizona; Dr. Ray Golarz from Indiana; and Wayne Hulley from Toronto through the South East Interlake Principals Professional Development Initiative to train our administrators in this concept.

The purpose of implementing school based management at Sanford Collegiate is to increase student achievement and success. The Province of Manitoba’s Educational Reform package is in line with reform throughout Canada and the United States. This reform, New Directions, specifically addresses Essential Learning, Standards and Evaluation, School Effectiveness, Parental and Community Involvement, Distance Education and Technology, and Teacher Education.

Many of these areas of reform lend themselves to site based management. Advisory councils for school leadership regulations address parental and community involvement; the publication of individual schools results on Provincial Standards Tests by Manitoba Education and Training addresses accountability; the development of provincial mandatory outcome based curriculum in the core area subjects coupled with Provincial Standards Tests at the grade 3, grade 6, Senior 1 and Senior 4 levels addresses essential learning and accountability; mandatory school plan development addresses accountability; the provincial requirement to state marks as percent scores for grade 6 to Senior 4 on student report cards and the requirement that Provincial Examination marks be displayed on student report cards addresses accountability; regulations allowing teachers to suspend disruptive students from their classroom for a maximum of two days addresses empowerment; and legislation allowing parental choice of schools with a transfer fee of school division local tax levy money flowing from the student’s home division to his school of choice division addresses the area of accountability.

The focus of this reform in Manitoba is primarily student achievement within outcome based education and accountability at the school level. This reform has injected competition between schools into the public system and, in many ways, is requiring schools to function in a businesslike manner in order to be competitive. If a school loses students, it loses funding and consequently loses programs. It only follows that, if this is the changing paradigm, schools should attempt to emulate successful business management techniques which lead to high productivity. "High-involvement Management" has proven to be very successful in the private sector where work is complex; is best done collegially or in teams; involves uncertainty in its day-to-day tasks; and exists in a rapidly changing environment. Schools are such places.

The process of Site-based Management allows those closest to a problem to have input into its solution. It provides empowerment, governance, and ownership to the school site. Most important, it demands improvement in student progress and achievement. Site-based Management gives teachers, principals and communities a method to directly affect and improve their school. It provides the latitude and means for the school to determine its needs and solutions to its problems. These features result in greater accountability for student learning and this accountability fosters confidence to expand the scope of decisions that affect educational activity. This also increases opportunity for involvement in education by parents, teachers, students and business.

Site-based Management can bring about positive changes in attitude, commitment, confidence, cohesiveness, trust, professionalism and respect. This results in improved job satisfaction, cooperation, and well being which in turn translates into higher levels of student achievement, which is the end product of education.

The Province of Manitoba is clearly establishing the "what" and standards regarding student achievement. School-based Management has allowed the Sanford Collegiate School site to develop its own "How-To’s" to most effectively meet and exceed these standards of achievement. The implementation of SBM at Sanford Collegiate has allowed the school to become fully accountable by ensuring that the learning environment, curriculum, instructional methods and materials, facilities, and financial resources are aligned with the school vision, mission, goals, objectives, standards of achievement, and plans of action for increasing student achievement and success.

In March, 1997 the Morris-Macdonald School Division Board of Trustees established a Site-based Management Divisional Standing Committee which consisted of Trustee, School Administration, Teacher, parent, and central office representation. This committee held a number of meetings and thoroughly examined the implementation of Site-based Management in the School Division. In January, 1999 the Board of Trustees accepted the recommendations of this committee and established the following policy:

Site-based Management in Morris-Macdonald School Division No. 19 is implemented to improve student achievement and school performance by increasing authority and responsibility at local sites in the following areas: school budgets, staffing, evaluations, professional development, program development, school yearly calendar and partnerships.

All site-based Management decisions in the above areas should be included in individual "School Plans" approved by the Board.

This is the management framework that we work with in Morris-Macdonald. This framework translates into each school operating to the fullest extent possible as an individual entity; as a business.

What does this mean in terms of dollars. Every dime is downloaded from the School Division to the individual school in the areas of budgets, staffing, professional development and partnerships. Some examples:

  • In staffing schools work of a base salary of $42,000 in hiring first year teachers in the School Division. If we hire a teacher with little or no experience the school budget receives the difference between actual salary and the $42,000.00; if we hire a teacher with extensive experience the school budget pays the difference to the School Division.
  • The School Division will act as a banker to individual schools; if we decide to purchase $100,000.00 worth of technology and wish to float a loan with the School Division at very low interest rates we may do so.
  • All deficits and surpluses from school budgets are carried forward to the following year.
  • Each school and in turn each teacher has full control over all Professional Development monies.
  • Foreign Student Tuition. A tuition fee of $6800.00 is charged to the student; the school receives $5000.00; the School Division receives $1800.00.
  • All staffing and budgeting is done on formula; if a school is in a declining enrollment situation staff is reduced accordingly; if the school wishes to maintain staffing beyond formula the school can pay for it; either through re-allocating school budget funds or raising the required funding through other means ie. fund raising within the community or entering into a partnership.

I am now to the point in this presentation where I would like to specifically talk about various initiatives which the School Division and Sanford Collegiate have undertaken in the last few years and which are directly attributable to the changing paradigm, the philosophy of Morris-Macdonald people, the management structure in place, educational reform, demographics and the ability of people. Keep in mind that there are basically two ingredients which are absolutely essential and must work simultaneously for these initiatives to occur; the system of management must be in place and the people working in the system must be committed and possess the skills required to undertake new initiatives.

In terms of demographics, let me indicate that the Morris-Macdonald School Division is strategically placed to take advantage of certain opportunities such as "Schools of Choice" initiatives. The School Division consists primarily of the Morris and the Macdonald Municipalities. It is a rural division; however the demographics of the north end of the division have changed dramatically over the last ten years. Smaller farms are becoming larger and the population is increasing dramatically. Sanford Collegiate is located in the quiet village, bedroom community of Sanford which is located approximately twenty kilometers west of the City of Winnipeg on Highway No. 3. Our catchment area borders the city on the east (we extend to Fort Whyte, which borders Fort Garry School Division, Assiniboine South School Division to the northeast, St James-Assiniboia School Division to the north; Whitehorse Plain School Division to the northwest; Midland School Division to the west and Seine River School Division to the southeast.) The north end of the Morris-Macdonald School Division, and consequently Sanford Collegiate, is fully located in the capital region, the area immediately adjacent to the City of Winnipeg which is growing rapidly with the establishment of bedroom communities.

The enrollment at Sanford Collegiate is approximately 313 on site, Senior 1 to Senior 4 and 2310 off site in our Satellite Educational Site Programs for a total enrollment of approximately 2600, which certainly positions this High School as one of the largest, if not the largest in the Province; in 1998-99 we had a School-based enrollment of 297 and 607 in our Satellite Site Programs for a total enrollment of 904. Within our satellite site enrollment are approximately 1000 urban Aboriginal adults this year.

In 1995 we recognized that there was growing dissatisfaction with large urban High Schools, primarily related to issues of safety and standards. We began to market our school to Foreign Students, from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who were living in South Winnipeg and wanted to attend a smaller safer school. We were able to enroll several of these students and we provided transportation to them by simply extending the route of one of our school buses which was picking up students in the Fort Whyte area, just west of Waverley Street in Fort Garry.

It didn’t take me long to realize that if we could attract Foreign students who were living in south Winnipeg we could also attract regular students who were looking for, or more precisely, whose parents were looking for, a smaller, safer school than was available in the City. Consequently, prior to Schools of Choice Legislation coming into effect, but certainly knowing that it was coming as a New Directions initiative, I began to place advertisements for students in local area and regional newspapers. This was in 1996. Needless to say we encountered the wrath of some of our neighboring school divisions; one of these divisions went so far as to complain to the Minister of Education and Training and the Manitoba Association of School Trustees regarding our advertising for students, claiming that this constituted raiding of students and was unethical. Needless to say, today, three years later some of those same school divisions who voiced strong criticism of our initiatives are now doing exactly the same thing. We simply decided in 1995 to begin marketing our school and we designed strategies and budgeting to do this successfully. What began as an extended bus route into the south end of the city has today resulted in a joint venture between the Morris-Macdonald School Division, Sanford collegiate and two of its feeder schools whereby a Morris-Macdonald school bus goes directly into the City of Winnipeg each day and picks up a total of approximately fifty students throughout South Winnipeg and returns these students to their homes after school; we have another bus doing exactly the same thing into the west end of the city. In 1998-99 the Morris-Macdonald School Division had a net gain of approximately 200 students on Schools of Choice, second only to St. James-Assiniboia School Division in schools of choice not gains and, in addition to the Provincial Student Grant, we receive approximately $1000.00 per student on the transfer fee from the student’s home school division. This resulted in approximately $200,000.00 Schools of Choice revenue to the school division. Needless to say we have refined and developed our marketing strategies well beyond where we started four years ago.

In a spin off advertising area, we contract advertising on the front cover of our Student Handbook with three local financial institutions; Starbuck Credit Union, La Caisse Populaire De La Salle Ltée and Sanford Credit Union. For a fee, these financial institutions put their names and logos on the front cover of the Student Handbook. Each student in the school receives a handbook and uses it as a daily planner throughout the year.

Technology is very important. It was absolutely essential that Sanford Collegiate be extremely well equipped on the Technology side. We are very cognizant that our proximity to the City of Winnipeg can work to our advantage in attracting students from the city; also it can work to our disadvantage in that we can lose our students to city high schools which are larger and therefore able to offer more programs; market driven education and competition forces you to be better.

The Allen Academy of Multimedia is a dynamic program for High Schools, Technical Centres, Universities and Community Colleges. Sanford Collegiate entered into a partnership with Allen Communications, a computer software company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to offer this program beginning in 1998-1999. In so doing, Sanford Collegiate became one of the three high schools in Canada to offer this program; the other two high schools are in Calgary and Edmonton.

The Allen Academy of Multimedia Program offers state-of-the art multimedia software tools as well as a detailed curriculum. As students complete the program they learn valuable, real world skills, such as project management, teamwork, and effective communication. They learn about the whole process of multimedia development, from front end design to the delivery of finished courses. Their experience in this program will help them develop the marketable skills they need to move from school to work, or to specialized programs at colleges and universities.

The program equates to approximately 400 hours of software which has been designed as four high school courses. This program is offered in high schools, community colleges and universities in the United States. The acquisition of the required software and the training of the instructor totalled approximately $20,000.00, entirely funded through the Sanford Collegiate Budget. What has this done for our school. Obviously, with the strength of the program, which is really comparable to post secondary multi-media programs offered at community colleges and private vocational schools, we are able to enroll high school graduates who are eligible for provincial funding to a total of four credits beyond high school graduation. It is much less costly for these students to take this program at Sanford collegiate than to pay in the neighborhood of $10,000 tuition to take a post secondary program at Red river Community College or Robertson Career College. In addition, we obviously attract students from outside our School Division who wish to take this course and again, we gain revenue on the Schools of Choice basis. Again, keep in mind that Sanford Collegiate is the only high school in Manitoba which offers this program. Finally, we have positioned our school to be the training site for Allen Communications for other schools who wish to establish this multi-media program. The decision by Sanford Collegiate to invest in Allen Communications Multi-media program was primarily a business decision which has created positive educational spinoffs.

Further with regards to technology, we have partnered with our feeder schools to bring direct internet access to our schools. This is a partnership between schools with absolutely no involvement from the school division.

We do not employ a technology co-ordinator at the school division level. Rather, funds designated for technology by the School Division are downloaded on a per student formula basis to each school, which in turn, spend the money on the basis of school based decision. This has allowed Sanford Collegiate to create a partnership with Tronica, a computer management company in Winnipeg. Tronica, in essence, has become the Technology Co-ordinator for Sanford Collegiate through technology planning, maintenance and operation. This service provides technical evaluations and validations of computer equipment, advice on the selection of technical equipment, support for installation and upkeep of computer labs and systems, advice on tele-communications options and services available, research and development of new equipment alternatives, network systems management, conducting needs analysis, advice on the licensing of software and assistance and consultation with the development of technology plans. We just recently completed a new 8000 square foot addition to the school – four classrooms, two computer labs and new administration offices. This building addition is state of the art networked and equipped; Tronica did our planning and co-ordination with the architect and the contractors; we didn’t have the time for this. In March, 1999, we received a $40,000 Community Interest Access Program Grant from Industry Canada to establish a CAP site in our school. Tronica did our planning and co-ordination for this site; we didn’t have time. Why hire technology co-ordinators at the school division level; this only leads to additional bureaucracy and inefficiency. It only makes sense to partner with business in the technology area; why not fully utilize their expertise and also link through this partnership to other businesses which are Tronica’s clients. This is called networking.

It is important to understand that the Morris-Macdonald School Division, in addition to being strategically located adjacent to the City of Winnipeg, is not large in terms of Administrative Staffing. Our central office consists of one Superintendent, one Secretary-Treasurer, one Student Services co-ordinator who we share with two other School Divisions, one Maintenance Transportation Supervisor and four support staff. Again, by design through Site-based Management, it is important that the central office staff not become overly large and bureaucratic. Due to our lack of bureaucratic structure and the system of management whereby decision making is downloaded to the School Site Level, coupled with the fact that we are essentially a small school division with a school board which numbers a total of only six trustees, we are able to move quickly when opportunities are available. In this sense we have a distinct advantage over larger school divisions which are usually centralized in their decision making and consequently are slower to make decisions simply because their decision making process is mired in levels of bureaucracy. It has been said that as we approach the millennium we are moving certainly within the corporate sector, from an age where large consumed small to an age where fast is consuming slow.

There is one additional ingredient in the mix which is extremely important. Three or four years ago the School Division and the Local Teachers’ Association agreed to establish team bargaining. In essence, the adversarial position was eliminated. A Team Bargaining Committee was established which consists of two Board Members, two Teacher Representatives and the Secretary-Treasurer. This committee is charged with the responsibility of solving problems within the School Division. There is recognition that if the School Division is successful in its endeavors, then everyone associated with the School Division will benefit. The School Division, through the establishment of this approach, has completely streamlined the process of collective bargaining. Our teachers do not sit across the table from our Board and bargain; our Team Bargaining Committee deals with this issue and any other issues which arise. This committee solves problems and expedites the efficiency and effectiveness of the Morris-Macdonald School Division. Needless to say, the teachers in this School Division have never been without a contract since the committee was established; their salaries rank at the top end of School Divisions in the province; and decision making is facilitated. Needless to say, the Manitoba Teachers Union and the Manitoba Association of School Trustees are not necessarily supporting the Morris-Macdonald initiatives in this area; after all, if all School Divisions took this approach both of these organizations would be faced with considerable downsizing of their own staffing numbers who work within the collective bargaining process which perpetuates itself through most School Divisions in the province, year after year.

The Morris-Macdonald School Division, through Sanford Collegiate and the Morris School, provides Administrative Support Services to Satellite Educational Sites. These services translate into registration of students, mark reporting to Manitoba Education and Training, monitoring program delivery and staff to ensure compliance with provincial regulations, graduating the students, employing the teaching and support staff and provision of administration consulting services. In turn for these services the satellite programs pay a fee which provides revenue for the administering school and the School Division.

The Satellite Education Sites which are currently under the administration of Sanford Collegiate are as follows:

(1) St. Norbert Foundation, K-8 Program – St. Norbert Treatment Centre
(2) St. Norbert Foundation, S1-S4 Program – St. Norbert Treatment Centre
(3) St. Norbert Foundation, S1-S4 Program – Selkirk Healing Centre
(4) St. Norbert Foundation Learning Centre Adult Student Program (this consist of a Mature Student Education Program, an Adult Literacy Program and a Job Search Skills Training Program)
(5) Upward Bound, Inc. Mature Student Senior Years Program – we administer storefront educational sites in partnership with Upward Bound, Inc. within the City of Winnipeg
(6) Job Works Employment Education Programs. This is a partnership between Morris-Macdonald School Division No. 19 and Fort Garry School Division No. 5 which is administered through Sanford Collegiate. This program offers an alternative High School Program, a Mature Student Senior Years Academic Program and three Co-operative Vocational Technology Education Programs – Building Construction, Autobody Repair and Hotel and Hospitality. These programs utilize rented space on Pembina Highway in Winnipeg. The Co-operative Education Programs are very much based on partnerships with Business; obviously Business provides huge support – in the area of work experience, which composes approximately eighty percent of the program. However, let me illustrate how partnerships can produce extremely positive results. Al Hrytsak, the Jobworks Employment Education Program Co-ordinator and our Building Construction Program Teacher, Robert Loiselle, in the fall of 1998, approached the Home Depot to supply tools for the Building Construction Program – Home Depot provided $10,000 worth of tools in exchange for some advertising showing their support for the program; The Festival Du Voyageur provided Fort Gibraltor, a replica fort for a training area during the month of September; the City of Winnipeg provided lumber for the training program which had been salvaged from elm trees which had to be destroyed from Dutch Elm Disease; the Lions Club of Winnipeg has a program in the west Broadway area of the city whereby the service club purchases old homes; hires a site co-ordinator who contracts gutting and renovation of the homes; our Building Construction students worked in these homes under the direction of our teacher and the journeymen tradesmen and through the school year approximately eight homes were completely renovated and sold by the Lions Club on a cost recovery basis. The west Broadway area was being renovated by Sanford Collegiate students. This partnership arrangement was so successful that it lead to requests by other neighborhood housing projects, such as the Westminister and the Spence Street neighborhood revitalization organizations to partner in our Building Construction Program.
(7) the Academy of Learning is a franchised private vocational school which, through affiliation with Jobworks Employment Education Programs, is offering the Senior Years Mature Student Academic Program. This program is administered through Sanford Collegiate. The Academy of Learning has four centres in Manitoba; Winnipeg North, Winnipeg South, Dauphin and Brandon.
(8) The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Youth Initiatives Program in Winnipeg is also offering the Senior Years Mature Program through affiliation with Jobworks Employment Education Programs. This program is administered through Sanford Collegiate.
(9) Anokiiwin Training Institute is a full service, Aboriginal owned and operated training company which operates training centres in both Winnipeg and Thompson and Anokiiwin Employment Solutions, a fully licensed private employment placement agency which has entered into a private – public partnership with the Morris-Macdonald School Division as a government endorsed pilot project to offer the Senior Years Mature Student Academic Program. Anokiiwin’s enrollment is comprised largely of individuals of First Nation, Metis and Inuit students and this pilot public – private partnership program is being administered through Sanford Collegiate.

An emerging concept which the Morris-Macdonald School Division is actively pursuing is the private – public partnership. This, I believe, is going to become more prevalent in many areas of government. Why expand government when government can partner with private sector? We are utilizing this concept for Adult Education Program Delivery, not only with Anokiiwin Training Institute, but also with Upward Bound, Inc. and the Academy of Learning. However, why confine it to program delivery? Why does government build and own school buildings at huge public capital expense? Why not have the private sector build schools and lease them to School Divisions? Private – public partnerships have tremendous potential for the educational sector.

(x) The Morris-Macdonald School Division has formed a partnership with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to offer educational programming. These programs are not currently up and running; however, planning and discussion is underway.
(xi) The Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development, which is located in the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg, the former CPR train station at 181 Higgins Avenue, is partnering with the Morris-Macdonald School Division for Adult Education Programming. This centre offers the Senior Years Mature Student Academic Program. This program is also administered through Sanford Collegiate.

I would like to indicate that when we are partnering with the Assembly of Chiefs and the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development we are not only dealing with the provincial government, but also the federal government. Also, I might mention that another one of our initiatives, which is not administered though Sanford Collegiate, was originally established through Federal Capital funding, specifically the Western Economic Diversification Initiative. This is the ETEC Program (Education Technology and Entrepreneurial Centres). In 1998 the School Division opened the first ETEC Centre in Morris, which was followed by additional ETEC Centres in Sanford, Vita, Ste. Anne and South Junction, near Sprague, in 1999. These centres, located, if possible in the business area of the community, offer Technology program support to business people in the form of short courses and internet access; also these centres offer the Mature Senior Years Academic Program. This program is administered through the local high school for each ETEC Centre in partnership with the School Divisions where the ETEC Centres are located. (Morris-Macdonald, Seine River, Boundary and Sprague Consolidated School District.)

(xii) The United Food and Commercial Workers have partnered with the Morris-Macdonald School Division to offer the Senior Years Mature Student Academic Program through the UFCW Training Centre in Winnipeg, Thompson and Brandon. This program is available to UFCW members who wish to complete their High School Education and it is administered through Sanford Collegiate.

It is interesting that our satellite sites deliver educational programming to very diverse segments of our adult society and with varying differences in instructional methodology. For example, Anokiiwin is serving primarily aboriginal people and utilize a technology based instructional system whereas Upward Bound serves primarily urban inner city and fringe inner city residents, many of whom are on social assistance and delivers instruction programming in a more traditional classroom setting. In essence, we have established a number of different partnerships; none of which operate in a traditional school setting; all of which serve distinct clientele; none of which deliver programming in the same way; but if you put them all together and they work together through the common thread of the Morris-Macdonald School Division, we have created access to a variety of educational programs for people in Manitoba who might not otherwise receive this education. And indeed, we work on an independent basis with our Educational Satellite Sites; but at the same time we work interdependently with our sites and connect them to each other which in turn generates partnerships between sites. The possibilities are endless.

These satellite educational site partnerships are government approved as pilots based on submissions by the Morris-Macdonald School Division to the Government of Manitoba. Indeed, we regard the Provincial Government as a partner.

You might wonder exactly how can the principal of Sanford Collegiate find time to be involved with all of these sites and still maintain responsibility of Sanford Collegiate. Logistically, we set up in formula whereby a portion of the administrative fee which the sites pay to the School Division is directed to buying administration time for Sanford Collegiate i.e. we increase vice-principal and administrative support time at Sanford Collegiate. Also, keep in mind, it relates to what I said earlier; we are Site-based; my staff is empowered; I only look at end product; I don’t have to be front and centre at Sanford Collegiate; I stand on record that Sanford Collegiate has more programs both curricular and extra curricular today than in the past when we operated on the traditional line of authority management system. As I said earlier, this will not be successful, nor even possible, without a Site-based Management system in place; without teamwork; and without personnel who can function in this environment.

And the bottom line with regards to accountability at Sanford collegiate; our students continue to meet or exceed the provincial average on the Provincial Standards Tests as has been the case since the inception of these tests; we continue to increase in enrollment and expand program offerings; we continue to attract and employ strong teachers who want to work in this environment; and we continue to have strong community and parental support. And we continue to monitor these indicators very carefully and adjust accordingly.

Briefly, let me also mention some other initiatives which the Morris-Macdonald School Division has undertaken when are of interest.

  • CREATECH (Creative Technology Centre – Fine Arts and Technology) This is a partnership initiative between the Morris-Macdonald, Fort Garry and Assiniboine South School Divisions to build a Fine Arts and Technology Centre for program offering to students in all three divisions. I am not involved in this partnership; however, I believe that the University of Manitoba has now joined the partnership.
  • RRTVA (Red River Technical Vocational Association) This is a long standing partnership to offer vocational education – Morris-Macdonald, Rhineland, Red River and Boundary School Divisions with Garden Valley School Division recently joining the partnership.
  • The Morris-Macdonald School Division has launched a pilot project with support from Manitoba Education and Training to provide educational program support services to home schooling students. Teachers connect with the homes of the home school students who are registered as such through the Lowe Farm K-8 School and the Rosenort K-S4 School to provide instructional support to these students. This project is in its infancy stage; however, is expected to grow in the next few years.
  • InForMnet (Virtual High School) this is just up and running this year. This project is the result of a partnership formed by a consortium consisting of three School Divisions (Morris-Macdonald, Interlake and Fort Garry and Merlin) to create a Virtual High School which will offer High School courses on the internet; initially to schools in Manitoba and thereafter beyond the boundaries of Manitoba. This Virtual High School will be up and running this year with six courses. We believe the market has vast potential; not only for small rural schools which are in a declining enrollment situation and cannot afford to offer certain low enrollment courses, but also beyond to other provinces and who knows, perhaps world wide. Again, this is a consortium which is designed to create revenue for its partners.
  • Morris-Macdonald School Division, in partnership with Interlake School Division No. 2l, through the facilitation of Sanford Collegiate, is in the process of establishing a partnership with Teacher Source, a Manitoba based World Wide Teacher Placement Business, and MBA Search (Munhwa Bilingual Academy – H.D. Careers International) in Seoul, Korea for importing Korean students for Manitoba High School Education. In addition we are examining the possibility of having students attending Korean High Schools taking Manitoba Curriculum English courses prior to coming to Manitoba to take Senior 4 courses. These courses would be taught by Manitoba teachers, employed by Morris-Macdonald School Division, but working in our partner school in Seoul, or these students could take Manitoba Curriculum courses through our virtual High School. This partnership would create opportunities for Morris-Macdonald School Division Teachers to teach for a semester in Seoul if they wished to do so. These students would be registered in Sanford Collegiate and their marks would be reported to Manitoba Education and Training through Sanford Collegiate. This would not cost the Manitoba Government one cent as these are Foreign Students, non supportable on grants but revenue bearing.

One additional note I want to mention. The Oak Bluff Hutterite colony has just recently petitioned the Board of Reference to transfer it’s land from the Red River School Division to Morris Macdonald. This request was approved this summer and Morris-Macdonald is now administering the Albright School on the Oak Bluff Hutterite Colony.

Yes, the Morris-Macdonald School Division is open for business. We are currently offering Educational Program Delivery within the existing boundaries of approximately twelve other school divisions within this province, stretching from Sprague in the South Eastern corner of the Province, through the City of Winnipeg, and north to Thompson. And this is in the form of buildings and teachers; I am not referencing the capacity of the Virtual Classroom at this time.

What has this meant for the Morris-Macdonald School Division No. 19?

  • Four Years ago the School Division was in a deficit financing situation, having exhausted the surplus. Today, the School Division has a surplus with is closing in on one million dollars.
  • Five Years ago Morris -Macdonald teachers ranked low on the Provincial Teacher Salary Grid; today they are near the top of this grid.
  • The School Division has put a total of $300,000.00 into technology in its schools during the past two years at little or no cost to the local taxpayers.
  • This year the local tax levy increase in Morris-Macdonald School Division was 2%; I don’t believe there was a School Division in Manitoba, or certainly very few, which were under the 6% range in special levy increases.
  • The school tax mill rate in Morris-Macdonald is currently 15.42 mills, up from 15.1 the year before. One of our neighboring School Divisions, has a mill rate of the neighborhood of 18 or 19, a difference of 3 to 4 mills. Consequently there is currently a movement by the residents in this neighboring area to petition the Board of Reference to transfer their land from their existing School Division to the Morris-Macdonald School Division.
  • The Morris-Macdonald School Division No. 19 is within the five lowest mill rates of all school divisions within the province of Manitoba.
  • The per pupil expenditure in Morris-Macdonald in 1997-98 was $5,916.00 which ranked 21st out of 57 school divisions according to the Provincial Government Frame Report.
  • I want to tell you that for these initiatives to be successful, high energy and hard work is required. It is not uncommon for me to work 10 to 12 hour days; however, I believe in what I am doing and I enjoy my work; in addition, to it being personally rewarding and satisfying it is financially rewarding. These initiatives have been structured on an incentive basis and are win-win for the Morris-Macdonald School Division, its partners, Sanford Collegiate and the principal who is responsible for administering the program.

The bottom line is that the students in Morris-Macdonald are increasingly the benefactors from increased revenue flow into the School Division and little or no taxation increase to the residents of the School Division. Our students today have more program options available to them than ever before and they are achieving at a rate on the Provincial Standards Tests which is above the provincial average. Our clients, who are our students and their parents, are being well served by a School Division that has recognized the changing paradigm and is committed to operating the Public Education System as a business.

Let me also mention that, in essence, the Morris-Macdonald School Division has not sat in a still mode waiting for business to come to us; rather we took the initiative to approach business. School administrators simply have to be of the pro-active and opportunistic mind set and Manitoba Education and Training has an obligation to facilitate this climate.

Phillip Schlechty, in his book Schools for the 21st Century said this:

In a democracy, education cannot afford to be the handmaiden of business interests, anymore than education can afford to be the handmaiden of any other interest group. At the same time, business leaders and school leaders must come to understand that the emergence of the information-based economy is creating a condition where the need for alliances between business and education is even more compelling . . . as America’s businesses are being re-structured, business leaders are learning that Human Resource Development, Continuing Education and continuous growth and development are the keys to business survival. Thus, to stay in business, businesses must be in the school business as well. It is in defining the purpose of schooling and the business of schools that education leaders and business leaders are likely to find the basis for creating the kind of relationships that will be needed if business is to make a significant contribution to the improvement of education in America.

I have been talking today about restructuring public education, both at the Provincial and School Division levels. In the Morris-Macdonald School Division we have taken some risks in the last few years. David Osborne, a managing partner in the Public Strategies Group and a former advisor to Vice-President Al Gore and also the author of two books, Re-inventing Government, published in 1992 and Banishing Bureaucracy, published in 1997, made the following comment when he was addressing an international conference on the public sector in Winnipeg this past June, which was hosted by the Provincial Government and I would like to leave you with this comment as I conclude my address today.

"If Thomas Edison had been a government employee we wouldn’t have the light bulb today – it took him 75 tries before he created the light bulb – it is absolutely essential today that public sector employees be allowed to take risks".

Thank you.

William Bumstead is the Principal of Sanford Collegiate, a Senior Years School in the Morris-Macdonald School Division No. 19 in the province of Manitoba. He is an experienced school administrator and holds a M.E.D. in School Administration. He is extremely supportive of current reform in education which centres on student achievement, out come-based curriculum, standards and accountability.

He is a site-based school administrator who strongly believes in partnerships between school and business organizations, levels of government and institutions. He has conveyed this management style and belief system into the establishment of a variety of revenue generation programs for his school and his school division. He is a risk taker who accepts change as a constant and has the ability to recognize changing paradigms and create opportunities accordingly to improve the education system.