AISCA works to provide support to independent schools, ECS operators and associate member schools with alternative programs in 3 key areas: advocating for school choice and parental rights in education, participating as a stakeholder in working with Alberta Education, and providing support services to independent schools, ECS operators and associate member schools with alternative programs.
AISCA’s advocacy work is multifaceted. The association has had the opportunity in the past couple of months to meet with the Education Minister, as well as the Opposition Education critic, to discuss the role of independent schools. We also sent out an information package on private schools to all MLAs and are arranging follow up visits. Behind the visible advocacy work there is also a lot of important groundwork that occurs. Our association has submitted briefs on a range of educational topics; in the past few months this has included submitting to the Education Minister a background brief articulating the history, current status, and proposed direction for private schools in Alberta, as well as a brief which articulates the importance of keeping the teacher certification process under the auspices of the government. We also interact with various media outlets in regards to the ‘private school perspective’ on a range of educational topics and we work to equip our member schools to successfully engage in political advocacy.
The second key pillar of our association’s vision is our work with Alberta Education. Some aspects of this work include an advocacy component; this is particularly true of opportunities we have to serve as stakeholders on committee items. In the past year AISCA has provided input on the Education Act Regulations, Bill 10, the Taskforce for Teaching Excellence, and the Deputy Minister’s Advisory Committee on Teaching and Leadership Excellence. AISCA also receives a grant from the ministry to facilitate certification for teachers in independent schools. As part of this work, AISCA also provides new teacher workshops, a conference for new administrators and mentorship to new administrators. When new initiatives are introduced by Alberta Education, AISCA often fills a role providing implementation support.
The final area of focus for our association is to provide support services to independent schools. This includes providing input regarding local school issues, creating policy templates, running leadership conferences, creating networking opportunities, and managing an energy program that gives cost security for power and natural gas to participating schools.
Navigating the educational landscape in Alberta can be challenging, and AISCA seeks to provide support to independent schools as they each set out on their individual and unique courses. There are also those who would see the landscape altered in a way that would deprive independent schools of room to flourish, and AISCA actively works to prevent this from occurring.
Our association serves as a voice for all independent schools in the province, regardless of whether they are members in our organization or not; however our political and financial capital are dependent on the support of our schools.
All of us benefit from working together. I invite and encourage your organization to apply to be a member of AISCA. Should you have any questions, concerns or issues, please contact me to discuss them.