Becoming a Neighbourhood Learning Centre can, at times, seem overwhelming. The following guide provides some ideas to set you on a course for development of your NLC.
Bring Together a Working Team
In getting started, it is important to bring together key people as part of a team consisting of Board of Education, school and community members. Consider inviting superintendents, finance board members, the chairperson of the board, the principal, district Parent Advisory Council (PAC) members and Aboriginal leaders in addition to school staff including teachers, special student assistants, students (if in a high school setting) and community members and organizations. Look to individuals with strong networks and connections to be involved at the planning stage. The working team can serve as a clearing house for all ideas proposed by potential partners and community members, ensuring that the school holds to its mission and forms long-term partnerships to support the school’s vision for the NLC.
A working team may be comprised of:
- the board chair or designate
- superintendent or designate
- principal of the school where the NLC is being developed
- trustee liaison for the school and
- representatives from
- teacher at the school
- student at the school
- Aboriginal community
- local health authority
- Municipality/Town/Regional District
- Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Non-profit agencies and others as identified in that specific community
Boards of Education are key in starting up NLCs. They do this through engaging with their community partners and organizations to find unique and innovative ways to create schools with community use in mind and develop places where people have increased access to educational and community services. This can be done by assembling a school- or community-based team which then, through a series of community-based meetings or forums, participates in roundtable discussions on community and school needs. This allows boards and specific schools to garner a wide range of ideas and thoughts around the unified use of a school facility. Utilizing staff knowledge of the facility, short- and long-term student learning needs and other considerations, the board with input from school staff, community members, Aboriginal leaders and others would then review all options and determine the best ‘fit’ for a particular school.