Alberta School Board Association passes first ever sustainability policy
New policy will help guide board in decisions, as well as shaping curriculum
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The Alberta School Board Association is the first in Canada to pass a sustainability policy— what that means for the ABSA’s 61 school boards has yet to be determined.
Last week, the ABSA met and debated a number of new policies—11 of which were passed, including the new sustainability policy.
The Calgary Board of Education brought the motion forward for debate, and CBE trustee Julie Hrdlicka said they’re happy to see the environment as a priority for ABSA school boards.
“We were curious about how people would think about sustainability, especially when we’re in the midst of challenging economic times,” she said. “Often during challenging economic times, issues about the environment don’t become priority unfortunately, so we were really pleased that overwhelmingly boards supported the policy.”
Helen Clease, president of the ABSA, said 81 per cent of the school boards within the ABSA voted in favour of the new policy. She said it’s perfect timing.
“The curriculum is being redeveloped so it’s the perfect time to put a focus on the work we can do to make sure we provide the knowledge,” she said. “When we do that it empowers our students to be better prepared to be better global stewards.”
Hrdlicka said now that the policy has passed they will begin to look at how to support school boards' environmental education and initiatives. They'll also push the ASBA to act on the policy by advocating to the government on their behalf around renewable energy and environmental education.
“School boards have made it clear sustainability is important to them too as it decreases costs, reduces ecological footprint, and prepares Alberta students for the future. Now we have to find the best way to get that message to the government,” she said.
Clease said this policy, like many others, is aimed at improving environmental education for the “next generation of problem solvers.”