No one wants to be in an environment where he or she feels harassed or discriminated against. Such behaviors interfere with performance. People perform their best when they feel supported, valued and respected. A respectful workplace and learning environment supports the physical, psychological and social well-being of all individuals.
The “Respectful Workplace’”policy is developed based on the various forms of harassment listed in Federal and Provincial Human Rights Legislation as the “prohibited grounds” upon which it is illegal to harass or discriminate. It provides information for recognizing, confronting and stopping harassment and discrimination to create
an environment that values mutual respect. This policy applies to all school community members. This includes: students, staff, board members, parents, volunteers, community groups and parent organizations. This policy was developed in 2004 and has been inserviced in our regional board on September 30th, 2005. I would like to acknowledge our Director of Human Resource Services, Beth MacIsaac and her staff: Bernie MacKinnon, Co-ordinator of Human Resource Services; Mary Passerini, Co-ordinator of Human Resource Services and Charles Sheppard, Co-ordinator of RCH/Human Resources (CUPE) for a well planned and excellent presentation to our central office staff. The individual principals were inserviced and were used as presenters in our school sites.
We are in the process of assessing our levels of achievement related to our ‘Business Plan’. Each Director will be asked to examine the intended outcomes and, at the same time, develop the new objectives for the ensuing year, 2006-2007. Doug Peach,
Director of Financial Services, has taken on this task as point person in this mandate.
The five schools selected for review are as follows: East Bay, Gowrie, Middle River, Marion Bridge and Ball’s Creek. It is our intention to begin the public meetings and the subsequent formation of the community committees. Don Matheson, Director of Operational Services, will take the lead in this activity which will culminate in a community report that will be due in mid February, 2006. The final determination of the reviews will be made by the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board in April, 2006, after the Board has ample time to peruse all of the community reports.
Sometimes, the public are at a loss to know why our teachers are mandated to have inservice days. Teachers are professionals who have the power to affect thousands of lives over the course of their
careers. Because their influence is so great, their training is vitally important. Many people question the time spent by teachers in pursuit of professional inservice opportunities. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has taken this responsibility very seriously. We have committed our resources, our time and our energy towards our inservice days over the school calendar year. We have strategically placed these selected days at the opening of school, at the mid-way mark and at the spring section of the school year. This minimizes the effect on instructional time over the ten months of the year. We also rely on the pre-service training which prepares teachers for their first assignments. The second phase of the process is on-the-job-training ....learning by doing. The third phase is the inservice education. We make a grave mistake if we assume that once teachers become certified, they will reach their full potential by simply standing in front of a class. We expect our teachers to be up-to-date and we take that responsibility very seriously.
In staying with our monthly theme on students, I want to talk about field trips with the focus on quality time for teaching. It is worthwhile to say a few words on the other side of the coin. Students have many opportunities that are not always associated with the classroom or even the school building itself. Learning occurs everywhere in our community and our community has a wealth of talent and resources to offer them.
Not everything that students learn takes place in the formal classroom. Most parents have signed permission slips to allow their children to go on special trips - class visits to the fire station, post office, or newspaper office. When carefully planned, these trips provide important and necessary experiences to help children understand the world, learn facts, practice skills and gain information about vocations and careers.
Naturally, the school is limited in the number of such trips it can
permit because of time and costs. Herein lies a great opportunity for parents. One of the most common queries that a teacher receives from parents is “What can I do to help my child learn?” While there are as many teachers’ responses as there are parents who inquire, educators agree that field trips are excellent learning experiences. With a little thought and planning, children from preschool through high school can gain much from a family field trip, whether it’s an everyday outing or a major vacation. After all, that which seems commonplace to us as adults is new and almost mystical to children.
A simple trip downtown to shop or a visit to a friend’s home can provide all kinds of surprises and interesting and worthwhile events - if the parent takes a little time to consider neighborhoods, buildings, parks, businesses and construction activities along the way. Trips to the library are worth repeating often.
Longer trips to new places may be planned for the purpose of seeing and doing educational things. This doesn’t mean that a parent needs to prepare lectures on geology or botany for the next trip. However, studying a guidebook, chamber of commerce publications, or the history of the area can make any trip more advantageous for adults and children alike. On long drives, drawing attention to the dashboard of the car can teach a child about distance and time. The fuel consumption gauge can even help with fractions.
The dividends of a well-prepared family field trip benefit the whole family. When children begin to see and understand the things around them on such a trip, they’re less likely to be restless during what they consider to be merely an adult activity. Yet, the lasting value is that children become more observant and able to relate different events, names and places to each trip. They begin to notice and to ask questions about things that an adult may well
take for granted.
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. Most of us are aware of this process when it comes to language and speech patterns. We should be aware that it also holds true for observations that the child makes outside the home.
The richer we make these activities, the more we call our children’s attention to the fascinating learning experiences in the world around us. Then, 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. No one can be considered educated until reaching that stage.
Madame Chair, as well as all board members, I direct your attention to the attached materials that highlight the successes of our schools and to celebrate the achievements of our children within the academic as well as the related activities in their lives.