Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 22, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why St. George's School was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
- St. George's School offers new mothers and fathers (including adoptive parents) maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 80% of salary for 15 weeks)
- St. George's School employees are also welcome to utilize the school's extensive fitness facilities, which feature a full range of exercise equipment, instructor-led classes and even a 25-metre six-lane swimming pool
- St. George's School helps employees plan for the longer term with retirement planning assistance, along with contributions to a defined contribution pension plan -- and supports employees with the transition through phased-in retirement work options
Building employee engagement at St. George's - one employee at a time
Because of lack of time, resources or support, teachers aren't always able or encouraged to bring new ideas into a classroom. But for Grade 1 teacher Jill DeLancey, the support from St. George's School is part of the appeal of working at the independent boys' school in Vancouver.
Since joining the school six years ago, DeLancey has been able to implement mindfulness in her classroom -- important training for young people. And she has been able to complete her master's degree with financial help from St. George's. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to do it," says DeLancey. "I feel they support best-practice teaching."
Support is a word that is used often when people speak about St. George's -- support for the boys who go there and for the people who work there. "In our mission statement we talk about 'Building Fine Young Men. One Boy at a Time' and ensuring that every student is known and loved," says Karen Potter, Director of Human Resources. "Our whole HR plan is built on the same foundation -- we are building employee engagement one employee at a time."
That engagement is what keeps so many of the 240 faculty and staff at St. George's -- the longest-serving teacher has worked there 42 years; among the non-teaching staff, it's 30+ years. This year, St. George's is celebrating nine people who have reached the 25-year mark. "Employees have a voice here," adds Potter. "They're liberal with suggestions, they're liberal with ideas about what we could do differently and things they feel they need."
There is also a strong sense of community at the school. "There are connections between employees, connections between employees and the boys and the broader school community," says Headmaster Tom Matthews. "Some of that happens by chance and some of that is deliberate."
Staff have many opportunities to gather together -- including tennis, yoga, swimming and fitness classes, which are open to all teaching and non-teaching staff. In addition, St. George's hosts onsite health practitioners and organized wellness activities on professional development days.
And there are opportunities for change and advancement, which is particularly important as the school works to grow its leadership from within. There are middle-management positions -- curriculum heads, grade coordinators, global stewardship and more -- as well as teacher exchange possibilities. "Just knowing there are other positions coming available that can help expand the work I'm already doing is exciting," says DeLancey. "It keeps you fresh."