Bluewater District School Board ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE AP 1603-D Board Page 1. Communications Trustee/Administration

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1 Board Page 1 Policy Title Communications Trustee/Administration Date of Issue May 17, 2011 Related Policy BP 1604-D, BP 1603-D Revision Dates May 2, 2012; June 10, 2015 Related Forms Review Date Originator Administrative Council References AP 1604-D Communications Parent/Community ; York Catholic District School Board Policy #110 Communication Protocol: Trustee/Administration ; Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; Education Act; Good Governance: A Guide for Trustees, School Boards, Directors of Education and Communities, OESC; BP/AP 1606-D Consultation. Procedure: Bluewater District School Board recognizes that providing open, timely and appropriate communication among trustees, senior administration, and school administrators regarding important matters or issues relating to or impacting on staff, schools and the community is an integral component of collaboration within our learning community. The board believes that miscommunication and/or lack of awareness will be avoided by providing direction to trustees and administration regarding fair, reasonable and effective communication. 1.0 SYSTEM EXPECTATIONS: 1.1 Bluewater District School Board endeavours to participate in proactive communication and consultation and therefore expects that all staff will incorporate the themes outlined within BP and AP 1606-D Consultation to facilitate these processes. 1.2 Director of Education i. Will act as the official spokesperson for the board s operational items; ii. Will establish administrative measures necessary for compliance with this policy; iii. Will advise the Board Chair, Vice-Chair and Area Trustee on matters requiring the attention, understanding and sensitivity of the board; iv. Will develop and maintain effective and consistent channels of communication with all stakeholders in the educational system and the community at large; and v. Will ensure that Trustees are consulted with and are kept informed of key messaging when necessary. vi. Will inform trustees of all new system initiatives and/or programs for information in advance of implementation, unless legislated deadlines or legal requirements dictate immediate action. In cases such as these, correspondence will be utilized to provide trustees with initial details of the initiative(s)/program(s). 1.3 Trustees i. The Board Chair will act as the official spokesperson for all external communications regarding matters under consideration by the board, as well as explaining board decisions and positions; ii. Will seek information from the director of education or area superintendent on matters related to a school or school community; iii. Will communicate with Superintendents on a regular basis including the resolution of complaints; iv. Will respond to invitations from a school to special events;

2 Board Page 2 v. Will uphold the implementation of any board resolution after it is passed by the board. Trustees may speak as Trustee for their area on issues which have been publicly before the board; however, Trustees shall not present an opinion as the position of the board unless the opinion is supported by a board resolution or they have been authorized to speak on the subject on behalf of the board; and vi. Will direct parents/members of their local community to AP 1604-D Communications Parents/Community, when/where appropriate. vii. Individual Trustees are legally bound by the majority decisions of the Board of Trustees once they have voted, regardless of whether they supported it during debate or voted in opposition. Trustees should be able to explain the rationale for the policy and ensure that it is understood, implemented and monitored. They may say that they are opposed to the decision, supported by their political opinion, but they must do so respectfully ( Good Governance: A Guide for Trustees, School Boards, Director s of Education and Communities, Ontario Education Services Corporation) 1.4 Communications Officer i. Will assist the chair, trustees and/or director of education as needed, consistent with their job description. 1.5 Superintendents i. Will maintain ongoing communication with trustees related to matters of mutual concern; ii. Will notify trustees of opportunities/activities that are of benefit to student achievement and well-being, including but not limited to, schools visits and dialogue. iii. Will notify the director of education and/or local trustee of: a) any unresolved school issue e. g. a parental concern; b) school-related incidents including: 1. Injuries requiring medical services 2. safety Issues, i.e. bomb threats, health issues, evacuations 3. bereavements of staff, students or parents 4. safe school concerns, e.g. bullying, violent acts, police involvement c) community concerns, e.g. busing, boundaries; and d) any other situation/incident that they believe the Director of Education and/or local Trustee should be aware of. 1.6 School Administrators i. Will maintain ongoing communication with their superintendent and school trustee on matters that impact the school and the community; ii. Will inform the applicable superintendent in a timely manner on issues (as noted above); iii. Will provide school Trustee with copies (preferably electronically) of newsletters, School Council minutes, community letters etc. on an ongoing and timely basis; iv. Will inform and invite the local Trustee to all events at the school which are open to parents/community; and v. Will act as the primary spokesperson, under normal circumstances, in the individual schools or departments, unless the situation warrants consultation with the appropriate Superintendent of Education to obtain further direction. 1.7 Specific Guidelines for School Administrator Trustee Communication i. It is important for Trustees to establish a relationship with principals in their jurisdiction and for trustees and principals to discuss expectations for the sharing of information. A trusting relationship is established when principals inform the local trustee of major initiatives, and of school events or decisions that may result in questions or concerns from the community. The Trustee should inform the principal immediately (either with permission or without permission due to risk to self and/or others) about any compliments, concerns or questions that he or she receives from parents, students, staff members or the broader community. To ensure consistent communication between Trustees and Principals in Bluewater District School Board the following guidelines have been established:

3 Board Page 3 a. Trustees will, where possible, attend School Council meetings based on arrangements established with individual trustees; e.g. regular attendance or attendance as requested; b. Trustees will make sure they meet all new administrators in their area within the term of the administrator s appointment; c. Trustees will call in advance to let the Principal know they plan to visit the school; d. Trustees will follow the same sign-in routines as all other visitors to the school; e. Trustees will attend events at the school by invitation or at the will of the trustee; f. Trustees will declare any conflict of interest in relation to the distinction between a professional or personal/family role versus their role as trustee; g. Principals will ensure that monthly newsletters are sent to the trustee in their area; and h. Trustees will wear their identification badge when visiting schools. ii. When any principal or member of senior staff receives a referral from the trustee, he or she will complete the communication loop as soon as possible by letting the trustee know the outcome, or what is being done to resolve the issue. 1.8 Media Relations i. Guidelines have been included in Appendix A to outline the protocol for issuing media releases, responding to media requests and contacting the media.

4 Board Page 4 APPENDIX A Media Relations The following guidelines outline Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) protocol for the issuing of media releases, responding to media requests and contacting the media. 1. Media Releases i. Media releases issued on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Director of Education and Administrative Council are generated and administered through the Communications Officer. Distribution includes a media contacts list customized for board wide purposes only, posting on the BWDSB website and via the BEAM intranet. Media releases of board wide interest generated by board administration staff are also distributed through the Communications Officer as per the above method. ii. All requests by trustees and board administration staff for the issuing of media releases are reviewed by the Communications Officer in consultation with the Director s Office. Where necessary, the Communications Officer may advise an alternate means of communication if a request is deemed to be unsuitable to the type of content that would normally constitute a media release. iii. Requests for the issuing of media releases by individual trustees must be done so through the Board Chair. Likewise, requests by board administration staff must include consultation with their department supervisor and the Director s Office. iv. The Communications Officer in consultation with the department or individual issuing the media release will determine the appropriate point of contact information for media. v. Where possible, the Communications Officer will strategically time the issuing of media releases in an effort to maximize effective receipt of the board s message and minimize the volume of information distributed to the media by BWDSB at any given time. vi. Media releases concerning school-specific news or events are issued at the school level at the discretion of the principal with approval by the area superintendent. Each school is responsible for developing its own list of appropriate media contacts for its given geographic area. The board s Communications Officer is available to school administrators in an advisory capacity upon request. 2. Media Requests i. Requests received through the Communications Officer for specific information and/or interviews by radio stations, newspapers, television channels and online media are directed to the appropriate staff or trustee for response. The Communications Officer does not act as spokesperson on behalf of BWDSB unless directed to by the Director of Education, or (as is the case with other departments) a request specifically pertains to the operation of board communications. ii. Whenever possible, media requests directly received by individual trustees/board administration staff are responded to following consultation with fellow trustees/supervising staff or the Communications Officer to ensure the message is reflective of the position of BWDSB. During a response, individual opinions that are not necessarily those of BWDSB must be stated as so. The Communications Officer is an available consultation resource for trustees and board administration staff and may assist in the development of key messages prior to responding to media requests. iii. Media requests received at the school level are responded to by a designated spokesperson as determined by and in consultation with the principal. The board s Communications Officer is an available consultation resource for schools and may assist in the development of key messages prior to responding to media requests.

5 Board Page 5 iv. Whether at the board or school level, it is critical that all media requests are responded to in a timely manner. The requesting media should always be asked for their deadline so that a follow-up response can be provided in advance of the deadline. If no deadline is given (as is often the case with media requests received via a phone or message), a follow-up response to the media should take place as promptly as possible and never more than one work day following when the request was made. If an answer to a request will require further time and research, it is strongly encouraged that immediate contact be made with the inquiring media to arrange a response deadline suitable to both parties. v. Whether at the board or school level, prompt internal communication is critical with any affected departments/staff/trustees prior to responding to media. This ensures that those affected are not receiving the message first through the media and, just as importantly, that they are well-informed should the media happen to contact them directly with questions. 3. Contacting the Media i. In accordance with guideline 2.v., it is critical that BWDSB continuously monitor and limit the volume of information submitted to the media so as not to jeopardize the board s media coverage in the long term, and ultimately, adversely affect credibility. Therefore, it is recommended that articles or content beyond the format of a standard media release not be shared with the media unless a specific request by media is made for such information. Event invitations to media and addendums to media releases may stand as justified exceptions to this guideline. ii. The Communications Officer will seek out and coordinate media opportunities for interviews, appearances or similar coverage on behalf of trustees and board administration staff as appropriate. In instances where a spokesperson has yet to be designated, the Communications Officer will consult with trustees and/or staff departments to determine an appropriate spokesperson. iii. Attempts by trustees or board administration staff to arbitrarily contact the media to share news tips or solicit coverage on an issue are discouraged without the appropriate consultation measures. Please refer to the above guideline 3.ii. for a suggested protocol. iv. It is recommended that school administrators also set out parameters similar to those above when it comes to contacting the media. Aside from media releases and event invitations, schools should limit and strategize their requests to media for coverage. To help achieve this goal, schools may want to consider designating one administrator to handle all aspects of media relations. The board s Communications Officer is available to assist school administrators in an advisory capacity upon request.

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