As you are well aware, we opened our doors on September 8th to more than eighteen thousand students. Hats off to the many staff members who were responsible for yet another successful new school year opening.
Additionally, training for all staff continues to be an ongoing focus of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. In fact, the end of August found a majority of our central office staff busy preparing the educational environment for a new school start. The orientation day activities began on September 6th for all schools. Schools were busy with a
myriad of tasks that prepare the principal and his/her staff to receive the students for another year. Wednesday, September 7th, was devoted to a planning session for teachers in order to schedule and outline the curriculum focus for the ensuing school year. We are looking forward to a very productive and successful year that provides many opportunities for our students to continue to learn and grow.
Crossing Guards play a vital role in the lives of the children. Aside from promoting traffic safety, they discourage risky behavior and report suspicious people lurking near schools. Crossing Guards are parental figures whom children can ask for help if they are lost or have missed their bus. They are part of a school experience and provide a valuable
education outside the classroom. Congratulations are extended to Gordie MacDougall of the Human Resources Department, Cape Breton Regional Municipality and his devoted Crossing Guards who number: sixty-four (64) full-time and twenty-six (26) part-time individuals.
In order to adhere to the policies and procedure guidelines associated with school review, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has begun the process. A number of schools will be selected for review and the Board will ensure that the initiative will be fair and democratic. The criteria, as before, will include many factors such as:
1) educational opportunities of students;
2) costs associated with operating the facility;
3) program service delivery;
4) instructional space utilization;
5) optimal use of staff;
6) health & safety; and,
7) the longevity of the facility
Note: (Attached to my report is the School Review Policy for easy reference).
Two new policy drafts have been circulated by the Department of Education. These policies have been articulated by the Department of Education but have their roots tied to the ‘Educational Partner Forum’ held in February 2005, who clearly stated they wanted to see the best use of existing instructional time before any steps are taken to add hours to the day or days to the year.
With respect to the other initiative, school fees, is the banning of mandatory fees for course materials and activities authorized and described in the Public School Programs and approved by the Department of Education as locally approved courses . It is the intent of the policy to prohibit fees which applies to the Public School Programs courses both compulsory or elective. We will have an opportunity for input before the Department of Education makes the final recommendation by December, 2005. In respect to time utilization, it is the wish of the Department of Education to collect all pertinent information in regards to best practices for quantity of time as well as the quality of time. An interim policy was implemented; however, because of misunderstanding and misinterpretation, we are asked by the Department of Education to adjust to school
concerns but, at the same time, to stay true to the mandate of quality instructional time for teachers to teach and children to learn.
Over the past month, many of you, parents and guardians, would have met with your child=s teacher in the classroom where your sons and daughters will spend a considerable amount of their day. Within a short time, you will get to know these teachers and learn what is going on in each class as well as what is expected of your children and what assistance is available to them. At the same time, the teacher will get to know you. We hope this will lead to the type of communication where parents, teachers and administration are not separate entities on whom the game of divide and conquer can be played. Rather, they will
become a functioning unit with one single purpose, to help your sons or daughters.
As parents and guardians, you care about your children. We care about your children. As you will learn, the teachers in our schools care about them as well. This is the first step toward a unity of three groups which allows communication and understanding to flow from school to home and from home to school. Because of this, there will be no losers at the game and only one winner - your child.
I have devoted my Superintendent=s Report for the past year on the theme of >parents=. I will be changing that theme to direct my attention to the >child=. I will focus on the items that will assist students to think of their role in the school environment and the related activities that
engage their time and effort.
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.