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335: Protocols for Opening Exercises, Flags and Recognition of Dignitaries

Responsible Administrator: Superintendent


Public education is a critical institution for preparing students to be responsible global citizens and contributors to the community. Public school Trustees, as locally elected stewards of public education, should be recognized at public events for the important public office they hold and the role they play in developing tomorrow's citizens. Recognition of public school Trustees at public events not only raises the profile of public education but also emphasizes its importance to the community at large. 

Protocol for recognizing public officials varies from situation to situation, depending on the people involved and the specific event. As elected public officials, Trustees should be introduced at events when they are present. School Division staff and organizers of community functions shall be made aware of the proper protocols.

The Board believes in the promotion of a sense of pride in our country, province and community. The Board believes that students should be provided with opportunities in school to participate in patriotic exercises in order to acquire knowledge and develop skills and attitudes that will prepare them to be responsible and productive citizens. 

The Superintendent has the responsibility to ensure positive internal and external communications and processes are developed and maintained. It is expected that all staff follow consistent and appropriate protocol, involving etiquette based on hospitality and citizenship, with respect to events and visiting dignitaries.


Visiting Royal Dignitaries:

1. While rare, school boards or schools occasionally may be included in royal visits (including those of Canada’s Governor-General and/or Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor); visits by the Prime Minister or Premier; senior cabinet ministers; ambassadors; or other prominent dignitaries.

1.1 In such circumstances, the formal protocol of either the Government of Canada or Province of Alberta takes precedent.

1.2 Information on proper protocol in these special circumstances shall be obtained from the Government of Alberta.

1.3 The Superintendent must be contacted in these instances.

1.4 Local event organizers shall ensure Trustees are properly recognized and included in the event whenever possible.

Special Visitors and Notable Dignitaries:

2. The Division, in recognizing its responsibilities to share educational experiences, welcomes visitors to the school system; staff shall adhere to the following:

2.1 Clarity in communication is essential for a successful visit; schools and senior administration shall receive as much notification as is possible with respect to any event.

2.2 Visits to schools by persons from outside the school system shall be arranged by such officials as the Superintendent may appoint, and in consultation with the Principals and teachers concerned.

2.3 Invitations to Trustees are to be issued by school administration and will include a carbon copy to the Superintendent.

2.3.1 The Superintendent shall be contacted if a speaker is required at the Board or Division level.

2.3.2 The role and expectation of Trustees shall be defined in the invitation;

2.3.3 Trustees shall be notified, when possible, at least two (2) weeks prior to the event.

2.4 Provision shall be made for Trustees and other important guests to be greeted by staff or students.

General Visitors:

3. All visitors to a school are expected to make their presence known to the Principal or designate.

4. Signs indicating this expectation, and the direction to the school office, shall be posted at each unlocked entrance, and at other visible points in the school.

5. All guests shall be afforded hospitality and warm regard by staff and students.

Event Protocol - Introductions

6. Public events shall respect an order of introductions that honours the most significant dignitaries first, as defined by the Government of Canada’s Table of Precedence for Canada.

7. Notwithstanding the primary use of the Table of Precedence for Canada, the following order of introductions shall be implemented:

7.1 The Board Chair,

7.2 The Board Vice Chair, and

7.3 Other Sturgeon Public Board Trustees in attendance:

7.3.1 Trustees are to be introduced at all times;

7.3.2 When a Trustee is not able to attend, the MC shall express regrets on behalf of the Board.

8. Following the introduction of Trustees, the following order of introductions shall be implemented:

8.1 Superintendent and/or Division Senior Administration,

8.2 School Administration (as prudent to do so),

8.3 Mayors,

8.4 Reeves,

8.5 First Nations’ Chiefs,

8.6 First Nations’ Elders and/or notable dignitaries,

8.7 Councilors,

8.8 Other Dignitaries, notably:

8.8.1 Individuals who have received a special invitation to attend an event due to their role or responsibility

8.9 Heads of other organizations (as prudent to do so),

8.10 Prominent community members (as prudent to do so), and

8.11 Event MCs and organizers (as prudent to do so)

Event Planning and Organization Considerations

9. Consideration of Location:

9.1 Seating shall be sufficient for the number of guests expected;

9.2 Passageways to an event location shall be clean, well-represented in appearance, and feature student examples of learning as prudent to do so;

9.3 Proper protocols for fire and safety shall be observed.

10. Consideration of Invitations:

10.1 Invitations shall be intentional with respect to the invited individual’s role and  reason for attending an event;

10.2 Invitations to event guests shall be distributed in a timely manner; and

10.3  All Trustees should be invited to all events. 

11. Consideration of Hosts:

11.1 School administration shall consider the value of student hosts as prudent to do so; and

11.2 Hosts shall be selected as representative ambassadors to their school and shall be appropriately trained to provide relevant information to guests.

12. Consideration of Signage:

12.1 Signage for parking, seating and relevant directions shall be clearly visible; and

12.2 Additional signs that direct guests to washrooms may be required.

13. Consideration of Photographs and Media:

13.1 Opportunities for photographs of or with guests shall be considered in advance of the event with a predetermined location that contributes to the presentation of the photo; and

13.2 Guests shall be notified in advance that a photo opportunity is desired.

13.3  The school shall communicate and coordinate with the Division Communications Manager.

14. Flags:

14.1 The Canadian flag, the Alberta flag and the Sturgeon Public Schools flag shall be displayed at each Division site as per established protocol and maintained in good condition. (Reference: Canada Heritage Website

14.2  A Canadian flag of proportionate size and quality shall be appropriately displayed in all classrooms. 

14.3 The Superintendent will provide direction to the Division regarding the lowering of flags to half-mast.

14.4 When flags are lowered, the Superintendent will communicate with Trustees.

14.5 Display of flags at assemblies and the lowering of flags (e.g. half-masting) shall follow the protocol established on the Canadian Heritage Website. Where there is no established protocol, such as for the death of a Sturgeon Public student or staff member, the principal shall consult with the Superintendent to determine appropriate procedures.

15. Consideration of the National Anthem:

15.1 In accordance with the Education Act, the Board may prescribe the conducting of patriotic exercises for students. Schools are expected to provide education to students regarding the appropriate protocol and conduct during patriotic exercises or events. 

15.2 Protocol for Remembrance Day Ceremonies shall follow Appendix A: Remembrance Day Protocol. 

15.3 The playing of O Canada should be conducted at all schools (K-12) at the commencement of each day and shall be conducted at the commencement of all patriotic activities.

15.4 As per the Education Act, Section 58, a student may be excused from any patriotic exercise upon written request of the student’s parent or guardian. 

16. Consideration of Treaty Acknowledgment:

16.1 The Board of Trustees, administrators and school staff shall acknowledge Treaty No. 6 Territory with appropriate Treaty Acknowledgment Statements at all board meetings and hosted public and/or community events, celebrations and gatherings as deemed prudent to do so; specifically, at those events where the National Anthem is played. 

16.2 The acknowledgment shall be made at any appropriate time during the Opening Remarks. 

17. Consideration of Seating:

17.1 Dignitaries that require introduction (above) shall have predetermined seating at or near the front of the presentation; and

17.1.1 Dignitary seating areas shall be clearly marked and assigned.

18. Consideration of Parking:

18.1 Dignitaries may require an established parking location that is clearly marked.

19. Consideration of Resource Stewardship:

19.1 Event planning shall consider an effective use of resources as prudent to do so.

20. Consideration of Review Process:

20.1 A process may be established at the completion of an event to determine improvements that may be made prior to the next, similar event.


Appendix A - Remembrance Day Protocol


Remembrance Day Act
Education Act: Sections 16, 58, 61
Alberta Act, 1905: Section 17
School Ordinance of the Northwest Territories, 1901; Sections 137 and 138
Constitution Act, 1867: Section 93
Alberta Human Rights Act: Sections 11.1(1) and (2)
Canadian Heritage:
Royal Canadian Legion:
A Guide to Commemorative Ceremonies:


2024 Jan 24 Initial Approval