We have recognized that being involved and engaged with your child’s education is important and supports your child’s learning and achievement. We have also reviewed the importance of trusting your spidy sense and contacting the school early if you perceive a concern. Sometimes this is sufficient, there is a resolution, and all is good.
Other times, the issue is not resolved and you continue to feel uncomfortable with what is happening. In these cases, you want to know each person’s roles and responsibilities and the educational chain of command. This can help you escalate your concern towards resolution and avoid added frustration.
To learn more about the educational chain of command and diverse roles and responsibilities to effectively advocate, see the following:
Roles & Responsibilities
Child Advocate: This individual is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. Their office leads a team of professionals to advocate for the rights, interests, & well-being of children and youth in Saskatchewan.
Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA): Your government representative. These individuals have specific knowledge of services offered at various levels of government. They are uniquely qualified to help constituents solve problems.
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission: It's the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission's job to discourage and eliminate discrimination. It does this by: investigating complaints of discrimination; promoting and approving equity programs; and educating people about human rights law in Saskatchewan.
Inclusion Saskatchewan: This organization supports and advocates for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Ministry of Education: This are of the Saskatchewan government establishes the goals & responsibilities of school divisions, creates curriculum guides, recommends curriculum resources, and distributes funding to school divisions.
School Board: This group of elected representatives makes budget decisions for the funding that they receive & ensure accountability. This group determines policies for staffing & determines the size of classrooms.
School Community Council: The purpose of this group is to involve community members in school planning. They ensure responsibility for the success and well being of children and youth, and provide advice to the board of education, school staff, and other organizations about the needs of their school & community.
School Principal: This individual is responsible for the general organization, administration and supervision of the school and its program and professional staff.
Classroom Teachers: The role of this individual is to plan and organize the learning activities of the class with due regard for the individual needs of the pupils.
Parents/Caregivers: The role of these individuals is to take all steps that are necessary to ensure that any pupil who is of compulsory school age regularly attends school.
Students: The role of these individuals is to attend regularly and punctually, be diligent in his/her studies, and conform to the rules of the school.
Nobody begins fighting for his or her rights by going to the Supreme Court of Canada. Likewise, there is a chain of command in the school, at the division office, in the government and in the courts.
Most of the time, it isn’t a great idea to write or call a superior (e.g. The Director of Education, a Member of the Legislative Assembly, the Premier) before you have done everything you can to work with the person directly responsible for your child’s education (the classroom teacher or the Principal of your child’s school).
If you have done everything you can to work with the people most directly responsible for your child’s education, and you still feel that your child’s needs are still not being met, it is a good time to go up the ladder, and to write or call the next highest responsible person. If in doubt of the appropriate process, it may be a good idea to talk to someone at Inclusion Saskatchewan to help you figure out what you need to say, help you draft a letter, and/or help you to develop another strategy.
About Elaine Caswell
At Elaine’s core, she is a teacher. Throughout her diverse roles as a classroom teacher, school principal, guidance counselor, superintendent, Director of Education and Director of Children’s Services at the Ministry of Education, Elaine has taught, mentored, built strong relationships with families and facilitated individual, group and systemic change.
About Louise Burridge
Louise is an occupational therapist. As one of the first occupational therapists to work in Saskatchewan schools, Louise has worked with numerous families to foster growth and development, facilitate accessibility and support inclusive education. Louise has continued this work as a Student Services Coordinator, at the Ministry of Education, and Director of Professional Practice with the Saskatchewan Society of Occupational Therapists. She now owns and operates OuTcomes Therapy in Regina.