Calling on the whole village to raise a child

Do you see education as a fundamental value in our society?  boardDo you believe it takes a whole village to raise a child? Unless you answered a resounding “yes” to both questions,our Board has a lot of work to do. As outlined by the direction of our 2011-2014 Three Year Plan, success for students of the 21st Century requires a community approach. Student success extends far beyond learners achieving our educational outcomes; rather society as a whole needs to work together to ensure today’s digital natives know the importance of caring for self and others, are responsible stewards of our planet earth, and possess the aptitude, knowledge, and skills to build economically strong, global communities.             

Our Trustees recognize Rocky View Schools plays a key role in shaping the future of youth, but we also acknowledge our pursuit will never be successful if we attempt it alone. Following the release of Inspiring Education in 2010, the Minister of Education outlined the need for a new board governance model to emerge to support greater community involvement in the development of youth.  Loosely defined and coined ‘generative governance’, this model challenges boards to rise above their fiduciary role of approving budgets and capital plans or attending appeals, to bring together representatives from all walks of the community to ‘frame problematic situations, make sense of experiences, and engage the collective mind’.

To a large degree, our Board already has worked diligently to provide opportunities for the public to give input into our strategic directions and/or to enrich our students’ learning experiences. This very document, our 2011-2014 Three Year Plan, is testament to the groundswell of community feedback gathered and used to shape our direction over the next three years. But we believe we can do better; we need to do better.


Over the next year, our Board plans to define a process for generative governance in Rocky View Schools. Given that ‘generative’ implies ‘a new way of doing things’, we plan to roll up our sleeves to hammer out a new framework that provides students, parents, municipalities, non-government agencies, businesses and community organizations with a hand in student success. While the tools or vehicles to be used are not yet known, we do know such engagement needs to happen on a regular basis, involve numerous stakeholders, and most importantly, allow for discussions where we can break down silos to understand and gain an appreciation of each others’ needs, share information, and identify strategies that will ensure our youth and communities succeed.


Not the only example, but a good example of how generative governance can take shape lies with the Town of Crossfield. Through a process involving the Town, our two Crossfield schools, and various community organizations, a Crossfield Youth Committee has been established. An arm of the Town of Crossfield, this groups of Grade 6 to 12 students will manage a budget, donated by various Crossfield Boards, and make recommendations to Town Council on how the town can best foster community spirit.


Without doubt, defining how generative governance will operate in Rocky View Schools will be an arduous process, as it will fundamentally challenge us to ‘reform’ how we govern education, to ‘redefine’ our focus, and to ‘reinforce’ the value of education as the foundation of a healthy society. Backed by a new Education Act that supports generative governance, we believe we are up for the job.


In the interim of this work, we challenge you to ask yourself, your spouse, your families, and your neighbour “do you believe it takes a whole village to raise a child?” If the response is yes, ask “what is your contribution?”.  If the answer is no, “what could your contribution be?” We’d love to hear what you discover. Contact us at



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