PROGRAMS & STUDENT SERVICES UPDATE - September 2004
Archie MacEachern, Acting Superintendent
We extend a special welcome to Mr. Ambrose White who joins Programs & Student Services as Acting Coordinator of School Services. Our current Coordinator, Mr. Marvin Harvey, made a recent visit to our office and we were very pleased to see that he is doing well and in great spirits.
Ambrose White, Acting Coordinator of School Services
Schools have begun the 2004/2005 school year in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and things are operating quite smoothly. Our declining enrolments continue to create some concerns, and it appears overall Board declines will be very close to projections and Department of Education figures.
The list below outlines some priorities and points of information for the 2004/2005 school year from our Department.
n Continuation of “School Codes of Conduct and Positive Learning Environment”. All information is on the School Services CD and new Administrators are being encouraged to become familiar with the Code and adopt or adapt the Code to their school.
n Brookland Elementary will open Wednesday, September 8, 2004. Staff will have the extra day to move and set-up. The opening of the gymnasium will be delayed for some six weeks and school officials will use the cafeteria and outdoors to begin delivery of the Physical Education program.
n This year’s Principal Package was done on a CD format similar to last year and was generally well received by all.
n Most schools have been updated to help deliver “School Based Funds”. Charmaine Sampson has been hired to assist schools in this area and positive feedback is being reported from the schools.
n Attendance continued to be a focus and a committee will be struck to promote attendance for the entire year. Representatives from the various grade levels will be asked to be part of this committee.
n Finally, we hope to foster the established cooperation among School Services, Student Services, and Program Services as well as other departments within our system. The end result will hopefully be a more efficient and effective management of information and a positive learning environment for our students.
PROGRAM SERVICES P-6
Annette Currie, Coordinator
Fine Arts Department (Cathy MacNeil)
September has begun with much enthusiasm by teachers in the Cape Breton- Victoria Regional School Board who are delivering Fine Arts courses. On September 2, meetings of the various disciplines took place at the Staff Development Centre. New staff were welcomed and encouraged to establish connections with experienced staff in order to support their teaching throughout the year. The Fine Arts web site is an excellent venue for information sharing, displays a personnel directory, and offers a calendar where teachers may post presentations/performances.
Teachers were asked to look at their programs in light of the day-to-day learnings and also the larger learning continuum that occurs when teaching music, art, drama, and dance. Attention to the various curriculum guides was stressed along with authentic assessment strategies. This year, the grade 11 Visual Art curriculum will be piloted by Hardy Kalberlah and Music 11 by Sean McLennon at Sydney Academy.
Staff were encouraged to continue in presenting student art work and performances by music and drama groups. Such presentation/performance opportunities within the school community and the community at large offer valuable learning experiences as students can reflect on and critique their performances with the goal of improvement. Collaboration among the arts disciplines was recommended especially at the senior high level where large productions require all disciplines.
Of special note is the tremendous work being conducted by the music teachers in the CBVRSB who are planning NSMEA Conference ‘04, “Beyond the Beat”, to be held at Sherwood Park Education Centre. Having such a conference locally will be an excellent professional development opportunity for staff. A number of performing groups from around the Board will be entertaining during the “Evening of Music” concert during the conference; much practice in a relatively short period of time.
In general, the CBVRSB offers a strong Fine Arts program to students which is delivered by qualified fine arts personnel. To quote Eric Jensen, author of “Arts with the Brain in Mind”, not only can the arts be a powerful solution for helping educators reach a wide range of learners, they also “enhance the process of learning” by developing a student’s “integrated sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capacities.” These goals are first and foremost in the teaching by the Fine Arts staff.
Library Services (Carmelita Cousins)
Selection guides have been distributed to the schools for the consolidated ordering; their deadline for orders is October 8. Other schools who do their own selection have a deadline of November 8. Many schools have begun their spending/purchasing but are waiting for final enrollment figures to calculate the total.
A package is being created to be used in the grade six classroom languages arts units on the school library. The package consists of a cd-rom power point presentation for classroom viewing and a student booklet for each child. This is to develop the student’s familiarity with libraries prior to their secondary education. It will be distributed to all elementary principals at their meeting in October. The slide presentation will also be included as a link on the Board’s Library web page.
Web pages are near completed. As school library technicians complete their pages, their school library will be linked to the main page. Also, web pages for the Staff Resource Centre have been started. We are in the process of converting the Word Perfect and Word files into Adobe format; these files will enable staff to access information related to resource holdings directly from the web.
Mathematics (Ron MacLean)
Much of the planning is underway for this school year. Provincial Math Leaders attended a one-day meeting in Halifax where planning for the session for principals and lead teachers took place. A follow-up meeting for further refinement and continued work on the math strategy will be on September 14 and 15. Lead math teachers and principals for all elementary and junior high schools will attend a one-day session at the North Star Inn between September 22 and 24. At this session, principals and lead math teachers will be presented with an outline of the math strategy, a selection of 45 minute workshop to present to their respective staffs, and be provided with time to plan math professional development for their site.
Planning is underway for math workshops for grades primary and one teachers on November 5. A committee of teachers will be formed to assist with the delivery of the sessions. A committee of teachers will assist in planning and delivering math workshops for teachers of grades primary and one. These sessions are scheduled to take place on November 5.
The new math resource for grade three will be distributed this school year following provincial inservicing for grade three teachers.
Discussions were held with Jim MacNeil on the development of a math page for the Board web site. This is still in the planning stages with plans to have links that teachers and students could use for mathematics. An elementary level math question bank has been prepared and will hopefully be accessible to teachers via the web site.
Math mentors will meet on Monday, September 20, to discuss ways to improve the mentoring process and involve more teachers. Mentors will have a training session in Halifax on October 15 and 16, after which they will be prepared to move forward under the guidance of Ron MacLean, Math Facilitator.
Language Arts (Brenda MacIsaac)
On September 2 and 3, professional development sessions were held at the Coast Guard College to inform teachers of the grade 6 Elementary Literacy Assessment. The sessions were facilitated by Tom Henderson from the Department of Education. Grades 4, 5, 6 (new), 7 (English Language Arts and Social Studies) and junior high school resource teachers attended the sessions. Tom will also be facilitating a session for principals on the
assessment on October 1st. Grade 6 students will write the Elementary Assessment from October 18 - 21.
Teachers newly hired (P-6) by our Board will be invited to attend an orientation session in September at the Staff Development Centre. At that time, the literacy consultant, math consultant, and technology consultants will provide teachers with an overview of their programs.
Plans are being made for the November 9 Professional Development Day. Grade 2 teachers will attend sessions on assessing student reading. Grades 4 -6 teachers’ session will be on writing fiction and non-fiction.
Brenda MacIsaac, Donna Robson, and Donna Neville are planning 10 after-school workshops for teachers new to grades P-2. These sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 3:45 -5:00 p.m., beginning September 28. They will be held at Ashby and Shipyard Schools. A memo has been sent out to the schools inviting teachers to sign up for these workshops.
A one day literacy in-service is being planned for teachers new to teaching grades 4-6 for sometime in October.
Program Services (7-12)
David Crane, Co-ordinator
Breakfast for Learning Program
The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board continues to have thirty-six schools in our Breakfast for Learning Program. Kevin Deveaux is requesting a breakfast program for Ashby Elementary School. He feels that because they are a complex, that all 3 sites should be the same. Debbie Madore, Breakfast Program Coordinator, will look into the feasibility of a program at Ashby.
A report, which provided details on what is recommended for the menu and supplies, was sent to all sites that have Breakfast Programs. All schools will be contacted as soon as possible to review the recommendations for the breakfast program menu and supplies. It will be strongly recommended to all schools to stay with a simple, healthy menu.
Donations should be in this month from Sunrise Rotary who adopted Holy Angels and Kiwanis who adopted Brookland. Sydney Canadian Tire will be contacted to see if they will recommit their adoption of Harbourside. All adoptions give a donation of $3500.
The first installment of $7,000.00 from Breakfast for Learning was granted to the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board’s Breakfast for Learning Program. Royal Bank will be donating $2,500.00 in September.
Canadian History 11
A Professional Development opportunity for Canadian History 11 teachers will take place on September 22, 2004, at the Northside Staff Development Centre. This in-service will be conducted by Reg Johnston, Technology Professional Development Consultant, and assisted by teachers in the technological component of this course.
Newspapers In Education
The Newspapers In Education project continues to expand. The Cape Breton Post is developing a Yuletide Publication and the students of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board are invited to create a cover page for this endeavor.
Nova Scotia International Student Program
There are 50 Nova Scotia International Students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. An information session was held on September 1, 2004, for new homestay parents. An orientation weekend will be held on September 18, 19, 2004, for the 50 students.
The following Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board schools host these students:
· Sydney Academy: 22
· Holy Angels High: 5
· Riverview Rural High: 8
· Breton Education Centre: 9
· Glace Bay High: 1
· Memorial High: 2
· Sherwood Park Education Centre: 3
Also, there are a number of “Exchange Students” and “Walk In Students” in the regional board.
Healthy / Active Living Committee
This committee has made a number of recommendations for nutritious meals, snacks, and refreshments at our schools (P-12). Most have been favorably received. This committee will continue to meet and move forward with recommendations.
Drug Awareness Committee
All Secondary Schools have been asked to have a comprehensive “Drug Awareness Committee”. Fact sheets on Oxycontin have been distributed to the secondary schools. Work will continue to develop a policy on drug education, support, and enforcement.
Science / Technology Fair
The Science / Technology Fair initiative will continue. A number of lead teachers have been identified and many schools have expressed interest in this project. Information and in-service sessions will occur in the early fall to implement this initiative.
Plans are already underway for the November 5th Regional In-service. Provincial and Regional Board initiatives will be addressed.
Mathematics (Ron MacLean)
Much of the planning is underway for this school year. Provincial Math Leaders attended a one day meeting in Halifax where planning for the session for principals and lead teachers took place. A follow up meeting for further refinement and continued work on the math strategy will be on September 14 and 15. Lead math teachers and principals for all elementary and junior high schools will attend a one-day session at the North Star Inn between September 22 and 24. At this session, principals and lead math teachers will be presented with an outline of the math strategy, a selection of 45 minute workshop to present to their respective staffs, and be provided with time to plan math PD for their site.
On November 5, there will be workshops for high school math teachers. The senior high math committee has been called to a meeting on September 17th to begin planning.
Discussions were held with Jim MacNeil on the development of a math page for the board web site. This is still in the planning stages with plans to have links that teachers and students could use for mathematics.
The math mentors will meet on Monday, September 20, to discuss ways to improve the mentoring process and involve more teachers. Mentors will have a training session in Halifax on October 15 and 16. The senior high math committee continues to discuss areas of concern in mathematics at the high school level. Much of the concern last year centered on the grade 12 exams. This year, grade 12 teachers will not be able to eliminate questions from the exam as they did last year. Teachers have been promised that the final versions of the high school mathematics curriculum documents will be available early this fall for Math 10, Math 11 and Math 12 academic and advanced. All grade tens were given a diagnostic math test to assist teachers in showing students their strengths and areas for improvement in mathematics last year and are continuing with the diagnostic assessment this year.
Math 10 Extended is continuing at Sydney Academy this year and a new grade 10 course will be in the developmental stages at Glace Bay High School (pilot). Math 10 Essentials is being designed as a high school leaving course and will only have two levels, grade 10 and 11. This course is designed for students who are struggling with mathematics and will not be taking a math course beyond high school. The teacher teaching this course has committed to attending provincial meetings on the design and implementation of the course.
The new high school calculus course is ready to go for next semester and books will be arriving at the schools within the next month.
Literacy (Brenda MacIsaac)
Brenda MacIsaac will work with teachers from Morrison Junior High in September. These teachers have requested information on comprehension strategies which they can use with their students across the curriculum. Hopefully, more schools will look for on-site literacy workshops.
Plans are in place to begin providing support for students for whom support plans were developed in grade 6 and who are now entering junior high. Support will be offered on many levels: Schools - Junior high principals will attend a workshop on September 20th. The focus is on helping principals developing a school-wide literacy plan. Teachers - Plans are being made to do intensive literacy PD with grade 7 teachers: English, social studies, and science in 2004-2005 ( moving to grade 8 in 2005-2006 and grade 9 in 2006-2007)
Lead Teachers - A teacher will be identified in each junior and senior high school. These teachers will meet regularly throughout the year to share ideas, collaborate, and receive Professional Development which they can share with their colleagues. At the September 20th junior high principals' session, options, suggestions, and proposals for how the $139,000 funding for supporting students will be spent will be discussed and schools will come up with a plan for spending their allocated funds.
A literacy newsletter will be published four times a year and sent out to the schools. It will focus on a literacy event or strategy (i.e. book week, literature circles)and include ideas, suggestions, and web-sites. It will also include student work and highlight literacy events taking place in the schools such as poetry coffee houses.
The Writers in Action Team, the Active Young Readers Teams and the Active Readers 9 Team will be working together to plan the Board's November 9 Professional Development Day. This will take up a lot of October. The Grade 2 teachers will attend sessions on assessing student reading. The Grades 4 -6 teachers session will be on writing fiction and non-fiction. The Grades 7-9 content teachers and resource teachers will attend workshops on classroom-based assessment. The focus for the high school English teachers' workshop has yet to be decided.
The Active Readers 9 Team will be attending a four day session in Halifax from October 5 - 8. The focus is on assessment in the classroom. Anne Davies is the guest facilitator for the first two days of this session. Ms. Davies will be in Sydney on October 7 and our other literacy teams are invited to her session on the 7th.
Physical Education (Mary Lou Andrea)
Physical Education Interviews - Ms. Mary Lou Andrea, Physical Education Consultant, conducted two days of interviewing in August.
Sexual Health Network - Ms. Andrea has been appointed Co-Chair of the network and she is arranging to meet with the Network in early October.
Staffing Requirements - Ms. Andrea dealt with scheduling problems at various schools.
November 5th Professional Development Day - The agenda is being worked on for the upcoming in-service.
Brookland Elementary School - Ms. Andrea worked with staff on safety issues and programs with using the cafeteria for gym.
Seton Elementary School - Ms. Andrea visited the school to see their new gym floor.
Ms. Andrea will be moving into a new office at the Northside Staff Development Centre.
French Second Language (Laurie MacIntosh)
The first French inservice of the 2004-2005 school year will take place on Friday, September 24, 2004, at Greenfield Elementary School. Helen Lockerby (P.E.I.) will present a workshop to grade nine Core and Extended Core French Teachers on the new Oxford University Press unit entitled “Rétro-Monde”. Plans are also underway in organizing workshops for the November 5th Professional Development Day.
The grade six “Intensive Core French” pilot is progressing well at Riverside Elementary School with 24 students enrolled. The second pilot is being implemented at Harbourside Elementary School where 20 students are enrolled. Laurie MacIntosh, French Consultant, Celeste Foisy, Riverside, and Janet Sullivan-MacIntyre, Harbourside, participated in training sessions at the Université de Québec à Montréal in August to prepare for this exciting initiative. Intensive Core French is an alternate means of delivery of the grade six curriculum and an alternate method of teaching French as a second language. Pre-testing of the students will take place the last week of September.
The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is once again participating in the Council of Ministers of Education sponsored “French Second Language Monitor Program”. Nancy Fraser has been assigned to Harbourside Elementary School and Riverside Elementary School for the first semester. The French Language Monitors work in cooperation with French Teachers preparing activities while enhancing linguistic and cultural aspects of the French Language.
A workshop will be held the last week of September for grade seven and eight French Language Arts Teachers and English Language Arts Teachers. The goal of the workshop is to examine the bridging document, “English Language Arts Supplement - Late French Immersion, Grades 7 and 8", to support changes in instructional time allotted for the English and French Language Arts curriculum.
John Astephen, Coordinator
David Brennick, Coordinator
Student Services Staffing
The Student Services Division is pleased with the learning centers added for the school year. We welcome our new staff working in speech, educational psychology, resource, and the learning centers.
Each year, at this time, Student Services Division encounters numerous student transfers and transitions to new schools. We would like to thank Operational Services personnel for the efficient and professional manner in which they deal with the many requests for transportation, equipment, and facilities.
Workshop on Autism Spectrum Disorder
A joint workshop is being planned by the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and Early Identification and Intervention Services (EIIS) for Monday, September 27, and Tuesday, September 28, at the Northside Professional Development Center. Participants in the workshop include teachers and teacher assistants of grade primary students with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are currently being followed by EIIS.
Atlantic Canada Conference on Learning Disabilities
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Professor of Education, Provast and Executive Vice President of Cambridge College in Massachusetts and Director of the Center for Teaching/Learning Mathematics of Framington and Wellesley, Massachusetts, is a speaker at the Atlantic Canada Conference on Learning Disabilities. Dr. Sharma is the author and editor of Focus on Learning Problems in Mathematics and Writers Math Notebook. Student Services Division of the Department of Education has arranged to have Professor Sharma stay on after the conference and speak to 165 teachers from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 16, 2004. Six seats have been reserved for resource teachers from our board and one seat for board staff. We will consider offering seats to resource teachers who attended the spring professional development sessions related to mathematics.
Assessment and Evaluation
Planning is underway to address the needs of struggling readers and writers identified in last year’s Elementary Literacy Assessment. Programs and Student Services staff will be meeting with Junior High Principals on Monday, September 30, to discuss implementation of the student support plans developed last spring.
There was a recent two-day session held at the Coast Guard College with Tom Henderson, Literacy Assessment Coordinator with the Department of Education. Approximately 200 educators from Elementary and Junior High participated in this event. This year’s Elementary Language Arts Assessment will take place from October 18-21.
Plans are also underway to have Debra Abbott, English Language Arts Evaluation Consultant with the Department of Education spend a professional development day in November with English 12 / Communications Teachers. The day will focus on what is new in the English 12 / Communications examinations, the new marking guide and future direction of the examination.
The roster of Crisis Intervention Team for the school year 2004 – 2005 has been distributed to Administrators and Guidance personnel. Plans are underway to continue supporting students who find themselves in a crisis situation due to the loss of a loved one.
The first meeting of Guidance personnel will be held at UCCB on September 30, with the afternoon agenda being devoted to a sharing of information by and with UCCB personnel. Approximately 70-75% of the first year students at UCCB come from schools within the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.
We are exploring funding possibilities, which will benefit our students within the Service Delivery Partnership Committee (SDPC) an initiative of the Canada-Nova Scotia skills and Learning Framework.
There will be a meeting with the Network for Children and Youth, Eastern Nova Scotia, and personnel from the Cape Breton District Health Authority on Friday, September 17. The purpose is to discuss Youth Health Centers relative to their inclusion within the CBDA’s Business Plan, the implications for school systems, and the development of a communication strategy.
The Active Cape Breton Communities initiative will be hosting a regional forum entitled “New Pathways to Increase Physical Activity” at the Gaelic College on Tuesday, October 26. We enjoy representation on the Steering Committee and expect to see increased activity within school communities supportive of initiative of the Office of Health Promotions.
PROGRAM SERVICES (INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT)
Rick Simm, Coordinator
The “Information Technology Team”, consisting of Liz Mahoney, Reg Johnson, Peter MacKinnon and Rick Simm, meets on a weekly basis for discussion and planning of technology initiatives. The IT-Team report follows:
Much time was spent in September following up on students who had moved from Elementary to Junior High or Junior to Senior High. Arrangements were made for the transportation of hardware. Training of the receiving teachers and teacher assistants ha begun or is in the planning stages.
An assessment was done in order to determine needs for the “Steps for Success” program in Breton Education Centre. They will receive two computer systems and appropriate software. They teachers will be trained on October 4th.
IEI Extension (Peter MacKinnon)
Through resources of the Cape Breton- Victoria Regional School Board and the provincial IEIE Project, technology will be provided to grade 7 classrooms in the upcoming school year. Each grade 7 classroom will receive clusters of new or high-quality refurbished computers along with the necessary infrastructure, tech support, software and professional development. The school principal must submit a school technology plan that clearly illustrates how the infusion of new computers will facilitate the plan. The technology plan will indicate the curriculum and technology outcomes that will be reached by students. The rollout of technology to schools is expected to happen by the end of October.
The Board is committed to helping teachers and students to integrate technology with the curriculum. As outlined in the Strategic Plan of the Board, the goal is the appropriate use of technology to support curriculum outcomes.
Funding through the federal Youth Employment Initiative has been approved for the amount of $37,400. This funding, matched by the Technology Department, will allow us to provide 19 mentors at 25 days per school.
After meetings with school administration and the school’s technology committee a technology plan for the new school is in place and a plan for professional development. The plan for professional development reflects our teaching strategies model for the four-computer classroom.
There is a plan to do a pilot project of the new web-based product from Dadavan. The pilot will start in seven CBVRSB schools by the end of September. We will also pilot the electronic version of the provincial report card .
Technology PD (Reg Johnston)
Web mail accounts are being created for all students enrolled in Canadian History 11. This process is a necessary first step in registering them with the Chinook site - the online resource that forms an integral component of the course. Accounts must also be created for any new teacher to the course.
On Friday, September 24 all Canadian History 11 teachers will attend a workshop at the Staff Development Centre where they will complete the registration of their students and review the unique features of the Chinook resource.
A major focus this year will be assisting teachers in Grade 7 with the integration of technology into their courses. This will be particularly true for those teachers who will be acquiring clusters of the newest technology. Emphasis will be placed on developing effective teaching strategies to utilize the new hardware. Of course, I will also be continuing my support for teachers throughout the secondary level who require assistance.
The newest technology initiative from the Department of Education – Online Course Delivery - has met with a very positive response from several of our principals in the smaller high schools. The initiative is designed to provide greater course selection for students by utilizing distance education programs being offered by the Strait Regional School Board and Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. As a member of the provincial Online Committee, I will be attending a meeting in Halifax on September 27 to get an update on the progress of the initiative.
I was present when Lisa MacInnis, a Core French 12 student at Glace Bay High, registered for the online version of the course and was quite impressed by its friendly interface.
Efforts to create web mail accounts for all administrators and teachers continue. Anyone who does not have an account as yet may contact me at the Staff Development Centre and I will have one created for you.