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Volunteers commit to developing leadership knowledge, skills

Written on March 5th, 2008

Volunteer board members from Christian schools across Ontario have committed to developing their leadership knowledge and skills.

Over the past four years more than 260 volunteers have registered for the Board Leadership Diploma (BLD) offered by the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS). Within that same timeframe, 56 have received the diploma.

Pam Joosse, board member for Laurentian Hills Christian School in Kitchener is one of those who has completed the program.

“I think this is a great opportunity to learn about board governance and become better equipped to be an effective board member,” says Joosse.

The information and tools provided through the program have helped her feel “much more confident and able to contribute to the board and the school.”

Learning from the experiences of other school groups has been very beneficial as well, she says.

Joosse strongly encourages first time or even potential board members to take the program “so they have a better understanding of how the school is led and to foster new leaders.”

The OACS board and staff developed the program with the hope that it would “strengthen the Christian school movement in Ontario so that God may be glorified by the excellent manner in which Christian schools are managed.”

In a pamphlet on the program, the OACS points out that world of education is changing rapidly and gone are the days of “local autonomy, fuzzy standards and feel-good conferences.

“All over North America questions of performance, results, accountability, and efficiency are the central issues for schools.”

The BLD is intended to help member schools respond responsibly in this new environment.

The program covers topics like making sound policies, evaluating the effectiveness of the board, board planning and school budgeting, among others.

The topics are dealt with in nine separate workshops, which are offered on a rotating basis throughout the year at each of the three annual OACS conferences.

John Vanasselt, director of communications, notes the program is for new board members, to orient them to Christian school management, as well as for the professional development of experienced board members.

The OACS points out that well-run boards create an environment for positive attitudes to Christian schools. Knowledgeable boards also are better able to meet that demands that are rising through legal and parental operations.