Serving as the Voice of Alberta’s Accredited Independent Schools
The Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta (AISCA) serves member accredited independent schools by acting as the collective voice for independent schools in the province. On behalf of member schools and their supporting communities, AISCA’s elected Board of Directors addresses provincial government as well as education partner policy issues that may impact the operation of independent schools, including provincial curriculum, funding, and teacher certification matters as well as issues relating to charitable tax status. AISCA works with government meets with government representatives on an ongoing basis to enable schools to better understand and meet the legislated requirements of the School Act, administer programs – for example, services provided in respect to permanent professional teacher certification and other teaching authority matters under the Designated Signing Authority program – and provides information to enquirers about school choice and independent schools in Alberta.
AISCA advocates for school choice in Alberta and the provision of more reasonable public funding to independent schools:
- by emphasizing the right of parents to make educational decisions on behalf of their children;
- encouraging government to at least maintain the current present funding formula (including grants for special needs)
- by advocating for greater sharing of public dollars, for example, by advocating for independent schools receiving technology grants.
AISCA works to maintain member schools’ independence while cooperating with government by:
- consulting on an ongoing basis on educational policy with Ministry officials;
- working with the Registrar to ensure that independent schools employ certificated persons as teachers;
- by naming individuals to serve on government consultative committees;
- by encouraging member schools’ teachers to participate in provincial examination marking activities; and,
- by serving on the provincial Excellence in Teaching Awards Selection Committee.
AISCA works to increase public acceptance of independent schools by:
- providing MLAs with information about independent schools and visiting with them;
- participating in media interviews and responding to media reports;
- providing political parties and leaders with information about the ways in which independent schools
- serve the public good within the continuum of Alberta’s educational system; and
- providing independent school communities with non-partisan information they may communicate to candidates for office during provincial elections.
AISCA provides an information service for schools by:
- supplying the web-based Directory of Alberta’s independent schools;
- supplying independent schools, MLAs and Alberta Education officials with information through periodic newsletters and memos;
- working with researchers and providing information to the media about independent schools; and,
- supplying information about Alberta independent school policy in response to inquiries.
Operational Advice to Independent Schools
AISCA provides member schools with:
- information about policies Alberta Education requires independent schools to have in place;
- templates of key policies and links to policies of other Alberta school authorities schools may consult when formulating their own policies;
- advice and the requirements of fundamental justice in respect to schools’ handling of student discipline matters;
- recommendations about when to seek legal advice about employment, labour relations and other matters;
- advice about how to communicate in instances of disputes with parents in respect to school-related incidents;
- linkages with government and other service providers that deliver workshops on effective board governance and effective collaboration between boards and senior school leaders
- sessions for new principals about their leadership roles;
- sessions for teachers new to independent schools related to Alberta’s Teaching Quality Standard, the expectations of teachers under the Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy, and teacher evaluation for purposes of Permanent Professional Certification;
- sessions on inclusive education and workshops on responding to the needs of students with special needs;
- New principal mentorship
- the AISCA Energy program that provides schools with opportunity to benefit energy bulk-buying at more predictable costs; and,
- sessions for school staffs in respect to emergent issues, for example, how to integrate a better understanding, respect and appreciation of the history and key place of First Nations, Metis and Inuit in Canadian society.
- Website access for job search postings