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.
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 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.
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 the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living to help you figure out what you need to say, help you draft a letter, and/or help you to develop another strategy.
Want to know more about becoming an advocate for your child? We encourage all of you to follow along and join us for our one of our workshops. Our next stop will be in Weyburn on May 15th, 2018. For further information on upcoming workshops, check out our News and Facebook page.
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.