Register for Transportation

Have you registered for transportation for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year?
(In-town and New Rural Registrations Only)

Register here!

Board Advocacy

Board Advocacy

The Board of Trustees of Buffalo Trail Public Schools recognizes the importance of all stakeholders and values how they work together for the betterment of the students, staff and communities throughout our Division.

Our Board believes that engagement with our stakeholders must continue to be a priority and in doing so, allow for positive advocacy at the local, provincial and federal levels.

The Board also encourages students, parents and community members to use their voice to advocate for public education and changes that can benefit all students. 

Education is a partnership where responsibility for student growth and development is shared amongst students, schools, parents, families, school councils, communities and businesses as well as social agencies and the government.

The Board works closely with the Minister of Education to uphold our mission to 'Maximize Student Learning, in a Safe and Caring Environment, Supported by a Highly Effective Team'.

Advocacy is one of the key responsibilities of the Board. Trustees are responsible for the overall governance and development of goals and policies that guide BTPS schools. 101.02BP - Board Operations - Board Roles

The Board continues to utilize its partnerships with the Alberta School Board Association, Public School Boards' Association of Alberta, as well as the Rural Caucus of Alberta School Boards to continue advocacy efforts for our students.

Below is a link to the current Mandate Letter sent to the Minister of Education by the Honourable Premier Danielle Smith. 

Minister’s Mandate Letter

Wainwright Elementary Replacement School Advocacy

Writing Your Letter to Advocate on Behalf of Wainwright Elementary School;

Click here for tips/suggestions, a sample letter and information on where to send your letter.

Below you will find 3 advocacy points that the BTPS Board is enhancing advocacy efforts towards. These are 3 of many, and we encourage you to read through the information provided, the links set within, to add your own personal advocacy voice in supporting our Divisional efforts, and most importantly, support our students' success.

Professional Recruitment and Retention

To maximize student learning and have them be successful, we need educated, committed and supported staff across all of BTPS. 

Rural Alberta faces challenges in not only recruiting teachers, support staff and professionals to our areas, but also in retaining their professional services for our students.

The Board commits to continued advocacy to recruit, and retain these essential individuals.

Some current challenges our Division faces: 

  • Finding qualified substitute teachers during the school year.
  • Accessing professional services such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Pathologist, and Psychological Services.
  • Having families travel to access support for their students to different cities, towns or communities.
  • Families facing longer than optimal wait times to access supports needed.

Student Transportation

BTPS currently has 97 bus routes, and buses 2,914 students daily to 31 different school locations across our large geographic division. 

Transportation for students in Alberta is unique to each school board and division, BTPS is no different.

We are seeing farming operators expanding their operations to make sustainable profit, oftentimes this means increasing their land base. In turn, there are less pick up stops to make, and less students to pick up, yet the kilometers driven remain the same or increase. 

Success at school begins before students even arrives to learn. A student’s ride time can greatly impact their ability to focus and be a successful learner.

Some current challenges our Division faces:

  • Currently, the Ministry of Education does not have a policy regarding the maximum ride time for students. As a Board, we strive to have students' ride time less than 75 minutes. Due to distance and sparsity of students within the Division, our buses may run far under capacity. We would encourage Alberta Education to continue looking at ways to address the unique transportation rural Alberta faces.
  • Though there is no perfect solution for transportation of students with the current economy and geographical data, the Board continues to invest time to strategically assess all bus routes for efficiencies each year.

Alberta Education Funding Model

BTPS receives funding from the Alberta Government to serve the needs of all students and while all Alberta schools are publicly funded, all Alberta schools are NOT public schools. 

Funding is calculated by the Alberta Education Funding Manual given to school boards each year. Each year the manual may change as the budget is allocated year by year to the Ministry of Education.

Currently Provincial calculations are based on the Weighted Moving Average (WMA). This funding model unfortunately does not provide adequate funding for small rural schools. In fact, our funding for rural schools received from the Government has declined in recent years in this specific area. In turn, it makes it difficult for BTPS to provide programming that students in larger urban schools may be accessing. We would be encouraged to see Alberta Education reconsider the definition of small schools in the way of funding. 

The BTPS Board advocates for a funding formula model that ensures the long-term sustainability of all our rural schools. This in turn supports the viability of our rural communities. Funding needs to be predictable, sustainable and, in a framework that will meet our students' needs.

Availability of and access to mental health services in our rural communities is essential, and the Board will continue to advocate for funding to support wellness for our students and our staff not only in our schools, but greater communities as well.

Funding manual for school authorities 2023/2024 school year

There are many ways stakeholders can get involved in advocacy:

  • Write a letter or email to your Government officials. Include information about the impact the issue is having on your child and/or family and please cc your letter to our Board Chair at buffalotrail@btps.ca. If you need more information, contact us at buffalotrail@btps.ca and we will be happy to help. 

Contact information for Government Officials can be found here.

  • Join your school's School Council. You will have the opportunity to provide feedback to your child's school and the Board that will help us with our advocacy efforts. Additionally, through your school council, you can become part of the Alberta School Councils' Association, which advocates for education on behalf of parents.
  • Take part in Parent Engagement opportunities with your child's school, the Board, and the provincial government. There are numerous opportunities to complete surveys, provide feedback, and take part in online or in person engagement sessions.

Advocacy is your opportunity to influence change for our division and for school boards across Alberta. We invite you, our community, to support these advocacy efforts. 

Email: buffalotrail@btps.ca