Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board

SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT


BOARD MEETING

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH, 2003

This month we paused to remember those who were willing to put their lives on the line for their country. We remembered those who died in the service of their country. We are also reminded not only of those who paid the supreme sacrifice but those veterans who returned home from the conflicts of the First World War, Second World War and the Korean War. Our thanks goes out to all who took the time to salute their contributions. The schools, the staff and the students did an excellent job in presenting their Remembrance Day ceremonies to our honored veterans. Lastly, I would, on behalf of the entire Board, give special appreciativeness to our Canadian Legion veterans who made themselves available to our schools. These veterans have always blessed us with their presence and are responsible for the success of our dedication programs.

The ALearning For Life@ document which is the bluepoint for the focused Department of Education's mandate, gives a high priority for professional development. In order to assist teachers to fulfill their obligation to effectively implement curriculum changes, new teaching methodologies and technology, we have provided our staff with opportunities to maintain high quality instruction for our students. Teachers and support staff are always encouraged to not only participate in board sponsored professional development but to actively engage in personal growth opportunities in differing degrees and in differing subject areas. The principals are responsible for monitoring and evaluating teacher growth plans throughout the year and to lend their support for qualified instruction.

Our recently scheduled staff development day, November 19th, is a true example of our commitment to professional development for our teachers and support staff. The ability for administrators from central office to work collaboratively with school site administrators' and teachers' committees have a profound effect upon teacher improvement and student outcomes.

Tonight I wish to honor the work and dedication of our secretaries and administrative assistants. It is not a tribute that we bestow lightly. It is an appreciation that these individuals earned through years and years of service to our regional board. These individuals work in many different sites throughout our board. You will encounter them at central office in the: (Finance Department, Purchasing Department & the Education Department), in every school site, in the Transportation Department, the Maintenance Department, Support Services, Special Services and in Acasual@ positions. These individuals are inundated with work and pressures that only these individuals can fully appreciate. Secretaries and administrative assistants are busy recording daily events, scheduling the work day, endless correspondence that has to be communicated on a priority basis to a myriad of stakeholders. Even more important than the endless tasks that have to be performed, a more important role of these individuals is working with people. The first contact for all of our sites, the schools, the central services and the school board itself is a secretary or administrative assistant. It is of paramount importance that those contacts are treated with respect, with sympathy and understanding. Many problems and concerns are halted at that very first contact. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board salutes these individuals and are very appreciative of their dedication, good judgement and their interpersonal skills.

Next month, I will highlight the very important sector of our board's operation and that is the financial sector under the capable guidance of our Chief Finance Officer, Doug Peach.

So often parents and community people ask me about student activities that are not perceived to be part of the curriculum. I am not making reference to extra-curricular activities but curricular related field trips. The education of young people is not limited to what they learn within the classroom walls during the elementary and secondary school years. Teachers usually find it beneficial to supplement Abook learning@ and in-class demonstrations, with other, out -of-class experiences which allows a child to see and do. In education, we usually refer to these experiences as field trips. For younger students, a field trip may mean a visit to the fire station, a newspaper plant, the hospital, or the post office. For older students, it may be a trip to a museum, a courtroom, environment site, biological site, or the many activities associated with Personal Development & Relationship courses at junior high along with the Physical Active Lifestyles and Career Life Management courses at high school. When carefully planned, these trips provide important experiences to help students to understand the world, learn new facts and ideas, observe the skills and vocations of other people, and become familiar with various options to enrich their lives.

Our schools are limited in the number of such trips they can sponsor because of expense and time involved. The school is devoted to this kind of learning and works best when it is able to explain and extend those experiences the child has already had with his or her family. The richer we make these activities, the more we call our children's attention to the fascinating learning experiences in the world around us. The child will not only succeed in putting all the pieces together....he or she will also be an inquisitive learner throughout his or her life and this is one of the objectives of education - to allow students to reach that stage.

Madame Chair, there is an extensive appendix to my report that gives a detailed account of what is going on within the school sites. I ask that you take the time to read these reports and contact the schools with your comments.