Organizational Review Report and Response

In January  2016, the Board of Trustees of Palliser Regional Schools agreed to seek an independent review of Palliser operations, in response to a request from the Superintendent.

Two individual consultants were contracted to conduct the review. Their work began in late May and concluded Oct. 31, 2016. The board received their report, an executive summary and 21 recommendations Nov. 3, 2016.

Here is some of the key background information about the reviewers, the process and the findings:

Executive Summary
Full report
Timeline of review process
Who conducted the review

Policy Review

As part of the Board of Trustees response to the Organizational Review, the board is undertaking a review of its policy handbook, starting with policies directly related to the review recommendations. As part of this review, the board invites stakeholders to offer their feedback and suggestions for potential changes to policy. Please visit our Policy Review page for information on policies under consideration.

How to use this page

The icon beside each article tells you at a glance whether a recommendation response is in progress (green), completed (blue) or not yet started (black).

To read the recommendation, hover your mouse over the Recommendation # in the title.

The report is organized in sections by recommendations in progress and completed. All recommendations have some action taken on them.

To quickly navigate sections, you can:

Go to In Progress

Go to Completed

Go to Submit a Comment

Last updated June 5, 2017

Recommendation 1

In response, the Board of Trustees has issued a request for proposals for the role of facilitator to help co-ordinate a response to organizational review. The facilitator will work in a collaboration with the Board and Administration of Palliser. The RFP closed Dec. 12. On Jan. 10, the Board of Trustees selected a proposal from Dr. Terence Weninger to provide facilitator services focused on governance issues raised in the review report.

At the April 11th workshop, related to culture concerns and policy review, a request for proposals was issued for an executive search consultant to assist the boardwith recruitment of a new superintendent. The RFP deadline was April 4. The board selected Boyden to provide search services.

A one-question anonymous survey of the most important quality stakeholders want to see in a new superintendent was conducted. There was a good response from stakeholders. The board received all results at its April 25 board meeting, and the verbatim comments have been shared with the search consultant.

A meeting was held Jan. 18, 2017 to work with school administrators on a Health Champions program. The goal was to establish a wellness baseline with our staff and students. 

The Acting Superintendent shares weekly correspondence with staff related to cultural wellness.

The Administrators' Association had further discussion on the topic at a Feb. 15 meeting.

Policy revisions discussed during the board's February and March workshops with Dr. Weninger closely relate to addressing culture concerns.

Policy discussions continued in May with additional policy drafts made public and avaiable for public input.

Boyden, the search consultants selected by the Board of Trustees, planned three open house meetings between May 29 and June 5in Calgary, Vulcan and Lethbridge to receive more feedback from the public regarding what they want in the new superintendent.

Recommendation 2

At the Dec. 20, 2016 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a professional development opportunity for 25 Palliser staff and trustee representatives to be trained on Canadian Standards Association's Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace standards. A workshop is scheduled for March 16 in Lethbridge.

The workshop March 16 was sucessful with 32 attendees. 

A reconciliation "circle" event is being considered before June 30, 2017 or early in the new school year.

Another meeting of the CSA workshop participants was held in Vulcan May 17. Participants identified key areas for improvement: Communication; equitable opportunity for all; growth versus fear; worklife balance; and central services (no more us versus them). 

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Recommendation 3

This will be addressed in a series of workshops with facilitator Dr. Terence Weninger. The first workshop February 13-14 reviewed and began to revise policies on: the role of the board and individual trustees; evaluation of the board and individual trustees; role of the superintendent and evaluation of the superintendent.

The board held a second set of workshops with Dr. Weninger on March 14 and 17. Ten draft policies have been reviewed and shared with stakeholders to invite feedback. The anticipated end date for final approval of all policies is June 20.

Public feedback is invited on a second series of draft policies. Please see our Policy Review page to see the drafts and offer feedback.

A third and final series of draft policies were made available to the public in mid-May. Feedback is being accepted at the Policy Review Page.

Recommendation 4

A workshop on Stephen R. Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was held for central office staff Jan. 11-12, 2017. Palliser is considering incorporating Stephen M.R. Covey’s “The Speed of Trust” in a program to help support developing trust among stakeholders in the jurisdiction. Workshop results from Feb. 13-14 were positive and indicate a commitment on the part of the board and acting superintendent to co-operatively resolve matters.

A meeting was scheduled for May 3 with Covey representatives regarding Speed of Trust workshops in Palliser in the fall. Trustee Craig Whitehead has been approved as a Covey facilitator.

At a May 16th policy workshop, trustees had an opportunity to discuss their differing views about several features of the organizational review report.

In May and June, evaluations of the two Associate Superintendents are taking place. Trustees were invited to provide feedback as part of that evaluation process. 

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Recommendation 5

The Feb. 13-14 workshop reviewed policy on the role of the superintendent and criteria for evaluation and revisions suggested. Dr. Weninger will follow up with a draft document which will then be shared by the board with the public for further feedback.

The March 14 and March 17 board policy workshops dealt with topics including the role of the superintendent. The draft policies remain open for public feedback.

Draft policies are expected to receive board approval by June 30. If more feedback is required for some policies, they will be approved in the fall.

Recommendation 6

The acting superintendent introduced this topic to the Adminstrators' Association on Feb. 15. No obvious objections were raised, but he did ask for further feedback if there were concerns or questions that later arose to adminstrators.

A request for proposals for an ombudsperson was issued by the board on March 22. The deadline for proposals is April 11 with the hope a suitable proposal will be entered and the new position can be in place as soon as possible.

In May, individuals who submitted requests for proposals to provide ombudsperson services were informed of a delay in appointing an ombudsperson, as more definition/discussion about the role occurs.

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Recommendation 7

The board saw this recommendation as related to Recommendation 6.


Recommendation 8

Palliser will review other jurisdictions’ approach to this process and where possible, undertake to replicate it. Palliser will ask for legal advice regarding staying within contractual obligations.

In May, some discussion occurred in Central Office rgarding how to proceed with this communication review.

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Recommendation 9

Administrators were given opportunity to guide the school goals meetings this fall. Meetings were completed in December 2016 and January 2017. Qn online evaluation survey was conducted with administrators regarding the process. The survey results were shared with trustees Jan. 17 and with administrators on Jan. 18. Results were positive.

Further alterations to the process are being considered for the spring school goals meetings.

Discussions regarding the new format occurred at the May Administrators' Association meeting. More possible changes to the school goals process are planned.

Recommendation 12

Human Resources has begun to develop procedures related to progressive discipline. The draft procedures will be shared with the Board of Trustees and Administration for feedback as development proceeds. A presentation was made by Human Resources staff to the Administrators' Association on Feb. 15 to familiarize them with the context and processes being formalized.

Discussion of a progressive discipline policy is planned for a board workshop April 11.

A draft of the progressive discipline policy was posted on the Policy Review page in May for public and stakeholder feedback.

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Recommendation 13

This will be addressed by the facilitator, Dr. Terence Weninger, in his work with the Board of Trustees. Palliser will ask for legal advice regarding the policy. Is there a need to consider whether a differentiation of roles/responsibilities is necessary or does “one size fit all”?

A draft policy on off-duty conduct was created at the March 14/17 board workshop. It's among 10 draft policies circulated after the March 21 board meeting.

Recommendation 14

A review of Palliser’s Administrative Procedure 140: Responsible Use of Electronic Information Resources and Access to Networked Information Services user agreement will be undertaken.
Data will be compiled regarding the frequency of email monitoring in the last three years.

As of March 20, data regarding electronic monitoring was being collated. A report was presented to the board at its April 25 meeting. It was shared publicly in the agenda package.

Human Resources will be sending a reminder to employees about the terms outlined in the technology use agreement employees sign when they joing Palliser. That form outlines terms of use including when monitoring may occur.

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Recommendation 15

There is currently an understanding that the purchase of alcohol through Palliser’s budget is not permitted.  Palliser will examine current documentation to determine if it requires further clarification and/or policy/administrative procedure development.  

This will be reviewed as part of facilitator Dr. Terence Weninger's work with the Board of Trustees.

A draft policy was created at the March 14/17 board policy workshops.  The draft is one of 10 policies circulated for feedback after the March 21 board meeting.

Recommendation 16

The audit committee discussed use of Palliser vehicles with a tax specialist. A draft policy reflecting this advice and a cost benefit analysis will be shared with the board to help inform a Board of Trustees’ decision on use of Palliser vehicles and the information will be made available to the public on the website.

This topic was discussed at the March 14 and 17 workshops.

A draft policy was created at those workshops. The draft is one of 10 policies circulated to stakeholders for feedback after the March 21 board meeting.

In May, decals of the Palliser logo have been added to the rear windows of Palliser-owned SUVs. Information about the savings related to purchasing vehicles versus paying mileage to employees will be made known through the website and/or other means.

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Recommendation 17

 A new format for board agendas was discussed by the Board of Trustees in August and September 2016, and a new format was approved in August. The new format took effect for the Nov. 24, 2016 regular board meeting. The agenda was distributed to trustees a week in advance.
Board Policy 7: Board Operations, which outlines the format of the agenda and how agenda items are set, will be reviewed and amended to reflect this new practice and format.

A draft policy outlining the new process is expected to be confirmed by the Board of Trustees by June 30.

Recommendation 18

Board of Trustees were offered 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Training in January.

Training sessions offered by the facilitator will be completed.

Leading at the Speed of Trust workshops. offered by Franklin Covey, are being scheduled in Palliser for Fall 2017. Trustees are invited to participate.

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Recommendation 19

This will be part of the work between the Board and facilitator Dr. Terry Weninger. Clerical support will be needed, at least temporarily, for the facilitator. Discussion among trustees, senior administration and support staff is required before a decision regarding deployment of existing staff is done.

Recommendation 20

Administrators will be given an option to phase-in implementation of a self-regulation program at their schools to support student behaviours. This is expected to begin early in 2017.

School leaders were also given the option of participation in the "Our School" survey which can be used instead of the Alberta Education Accountability Survey.

Another option is for schools with Grade 6 and 9 students to determine their own Provincial Achievement Test dates since Alberta Education recently announced it would no longer set dates for the province and would be offering a "window" of dates when tests could be completed, starting in 2017-2018.

High schools have been provided the option of participating in the high school redesign process. To date, five high schools have opted to participate.

This spring, Palliser is making arrangements to meet with our municipal partners to determine areas of mutual interest/co-operation.  These meetings will help inform the strategic planning process. Meetings have been set with Coaldale and Picture Butte town councils so far.

A strategic planning sessionn will take place in Fall 2017 with the new superintendent and new Board of Trustees.

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Recommendation 21

A working document has been created to facilitate a collaborative response.

A template for sharing regular updates has been created for discussion by the Board of Trustees Dec. 20, 2016.

A standing item has been added to the Board agenda to ensure regular updates on activities related to the report.

This webpage was created to encourage feedback and provide regular updates on Palliser's response to the review.

The webpage has been active, providing updated information, and receiving public feedback.

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Completed Recommendations

 The following recommendations are considered completed.

Recommendation 10

Palliser acknowledged a deficiency in its HR data and reporting software in 2013 and began implementation of new software in 2014. Once all modules of the software are implemented, Palliser will have the capacity to generate complete reports on turnover, absenteeism and other factors. That work is in progress.

Palliser has also been in contact with an independent organization which can work with the data to develop what HR needs in terms of required statistics. HR personnel are pursuing Chartered Professionals in Human Resources designations.

Teacher demographic reports from our software program have allowed for important data regarding future staffing decisions to be developed and used in staffing meetings with administrators. School administrators are able to use the reports generated by the software program to look into trends regarding staff absenteeism. This information is in real time and easy to access. 

Recommendation 11

Several policies and administrative procedures outlining hiring practices have been identified for priority review. These include:
Board Policy 16: Recruitment and Selection of Personnel
Administrative Procedure 401: Employment of Relatives
Administrative Procedure 435: School-Based Support Staff Hiring

New Adminnistrative Procedures have been revised to ensure consistency of employment and conduct for substitute teachers and casual support staff. 

Administrative Procedure 440: Substitute Teachers

Administrative Procedure 441: Casual Support Staff

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Offer your Feedback

As part of the process of making Palliser Regional Schools the best it can be for students, staff, parents and other stakeholders, the Board of Trustees invites input throughout the process of addressing organizational review recommendations. 

By mail to:

Board of Trustees
Organizational Review Response
#101 3305 18 Avenue North
Lethbridge, AB T1H 5S1

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