First, on behalf of the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Ignace, please know that we are all saddened by the recent loss of several teaching and administrative positions at the Ignace School, and we are well aware of the significance of the issue. As such, the Mayor arranged for a meeting with the most relevant and appropriate professional, Mr. Sean Monteith, Director of Education.
It is important for our residents to understand that whenever Council and Administration approach issues such as these, we endeavour to remain steadfast in our approach to invite constructive, meaningful and positive dialogue. As we can all agree, I am certain, no professional would wish to engage in a discussion when it is has been predetermined that they are being unjust and unfair in terms of their decision-making. There are many facts of this matter not known to the general public. As such, this Council and Administration stands firm in our approach to work respectfully with the relevant service providers towards understanding the rationale of this decision, and as important, how we can work together to improve the educational system in Ignace. The goal at this time cannot be to implement a decision that would offer a short-term, ‘band-aid’ solution.
Rather, we must engage in dialogue that focuses on two (2) primary objectives, that is:
• Will the quality of our high school students’ education suffer due to the loss of the teaching positions; and
• What must occur in Ignace to reinstate these important positions?
It is extremely important that we remember to remain active listeners during such times of exploring credible solutions and engaging in negotiations. It is not the time for us to do a lot of talking. Rather, it is time for us to ask smart questions and concentrate on the responses/answers being provided us. We need to take our time responding to what we have heard, as opposed to reacting in an un-necessarily adversarial fashion. The psychological benefit of employing good listening is that the person to whom we are listening tends to be more cooperative and understanding in reaching a solution to the problem. This more often than not results in improved evaluation and analyzing of the situation.
We are all aware that everyone wants to be heard and understood. Successful, professional negotiation and communication requires considering an issue from all sides and promoting understanding and interest in the other person without agreeing with his or her point of view. Council will be hearing from all stakeholders in the near future, following further communication efforts with the School Board.