Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board


PROGRAMS & STUDENT SERVICES UPDATE – April 2005

Archie MacEachern, Director of Programs & Student Services

SCHOOL SERVICES

 

Ambrose White, Acting Coordinator                    

 

  • Transfer Requests – Re:  Grade Primary

We hope to make decisions on all Primary transfer requests by the end of April.  Schools will be notified of the decisions.

 

  • Code of Conduct/PEBS Workshop – March 31, April 1 - Halifax

Twenty-eight principals and teachers, Archie MacEachern and myself attended this 2-day workshop in Halifax.  This workshop was designed to assist School Boards in implementing Positive and Effective Behavioral Support (PEBS) in their schools.  The sessions focused on tracking and reporting behaviors, setting up behavioural support teams, and developing a school wide approach to positive behaviour reinforcement and interventions.

 

Training for other schools will occur next year and a CB-VRSB team will be created to help implement this system and schools would then develop their site based teams.

 

  • School Budgets

School-based funds will be allocated based on last year’s data.  Further information will be forthcoming.

 

  • School Services is completing a Strategic Plan Update for the Program & Student Services Department.

 

 

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 February report follows:

 

Secondary Professional Development

 

A number of workshops were held in March dealing with the integration of technology strategies in the curriculum areas of English, Social Studies and Science. Lead teachers in each of the subject areas spent four days creating lesson plans for their colleagues and these were posted on the Board web site in the Teachers’ Resource section. The main focus area for April is mathematics.

 

Online Course Delivery

 

Students taking online courses have been interviewed and for the most part, there is general satisfaction with the programs being offered. In fact, interest among other students in the high schools involved (Baddeck, Cabot and Rankin) has been heightened considerably. Online students are impressed with the level of delivery and the support being offered. A provincial meeting to discuss these interviews as well as other related topics will be held in Halifax on April 27 and 28.

 

Canadian History 11

 

On March 29, all second semester Can His 11 teachers attended a workshop at the Staff Development Centre. The workshop was devoted to utilizing the “Test/Exam” Module on the Chinook site to build a bank of assessment questions. This resource was then posted on the Board web site to be utilized by all Canadian History 11 teachers.

 

Assistive Technology / PD  (Liz Mahoney)                          

 

The Kurzweil project is ongoing.   Two more texts have been scanned and are in the process of being edited.

 

We have received an order of  “The Writer”. It combines powerful portable word processing features along with a most complete and comprehensive portable keyboard instruction program.                                             This month the resource teacher and a student at Thompson Junior High have received training in its usage.

 

Writer’s Companion

 

The Writers Companion software has arrived and is ready for distribution to the schools.  Professional development is being planned for lead teachers in each school.  Writing across the curriculum will be the focus of these workshops.

 

Several PD sessions have already been held with teachers (Grades 4-6 and Grade 7 Science) on Writer’s Companion. It is a fabulous piece of software designed to enhance student-writing skills. The teachers who have been in-serviced are impressed by the application and look forward to having it installed on their classroom computers.

 

IEIE-7  (Peter MacKinnon)

 

The grade seven projects for 2004-05 were complete as of March 31st. Mr. MacKinnon is working on a final report that is due April 30th. Through IEIE-7 this year, we conducted 367 FTE professional development days. Reg Johnston and Brenda MacIsaac planned and delivered most of these days. We were able to cover teaching strategies in a four-computer classroom, multimedia, and lesson unit building. The lessons the grade seven developed this year along with the grade four lessons from last year have been posted to the Board website under teacher resources. A comprehensive report covering IEIE –7 (April-04 to Mar.31-05) will be posted to the website the first week of May.

 

Data Management

 

Boards are currently looking for web-based solutions to our data problems. There are five products under review and hopefully a direction will be set by the first week of May for our Board.

 

Mentorship

 

The mentorship program has been completed. We are currently working on the report for Ottawa that will be finished by April 20th. This report will also be posted to the Board website after the 20th of April.

 

Electronic Report Card

 

Conference call meetings are taking place weekly as we iron out any problems that still exist with the electronic version of the provincial report card. The final scripts will be tested province wide on April 19th. Most teachers at Jubilee will take part in this test. If this is a success our next decision will be to determine how many schools want to use the electronic version next year.

 

 

STUDENT SERVICES

 

John Astephen, Coordinator

David Brennick, Coordinator

 

Professional Development

 

The co-teaching team working with Don Glover, Special Education Consultant with Student Services Division of the Department of Education, was informed by Mr. Glover that due to a backlog at the Department, we are facing a delay in the filming of our co-teaching video.  Earlier, it had been anticipated that filming would begin in late April.  We are now booked for the week of October 17, 2005.

 

On a positive note, Don Glover and Roy Whitley from Learning Resources and Technology Division of DOE are very impressed with the document to date.  Mr. Glover has asked Lina Vickers and Heather Nauss-Vickers from Jubilee Elementary to make a presentation on their experiences co-teaching at the elementary level at the Deputy Minister’s Elementary Principals’ meeting on May 10, 2005, at the Westin Hotel in Halifax.

 

Resources from Department of Education

 

Resources for AR8 (Active Reading 8) kits arrived at the N.S. Government Book Bureau and a kit will be shipped directly to each school with a grade 8 class.  Principals will find an explanatory letter in each kit asking that the kits be forwarded to the resource teacher.  These resources have been most helpful to classroom/subject area teachers and resource teachers are very thankful that they have been included in the distribution plans for the resources.  Our Board will be asked to recommend resource teachers to assist the Department of Education develop the AR9 kits.

 

Guidance

 

Approximately 18 senior high students from our schools actively participated in the recent Youth Destination 2010 conference at the Coast Guard College.  Positive comments were heard from the organizers about the quality of positive thoughtful input they provided to the event which focused discussion around the themes of education, health, arts & culture, and employment.  An appreciation is also extended to the Guidance Counsellors in attendance, especially to Sharon Preeper (Glace Bay High) and Wendy King (BEC) who facilitated sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROGRAM SERVICES P-6

 

Annette Currie, Coordinator

 

Elementary Programs

 

On Wednesday, March 30, in conjunction with a P-12 Principals’ meeting, a Publishers’ Display was held at Brookland Elementary.  Principals and teachers were presented with an opportunity to view newly listed additions to the Authorized Learning Resources for Nova Scotia prior to placing their book order for the 2005-06 term.  Feedback from both principals and teachers was a clear indicator of the interest shown by staff in having such a display prior to schools placing their initial order for the following year.

 

Education Week 2005

 

Education Week 2005 is scheduled from April 17-23 this year.  The theme, “History:  Look in Your Own Back Yard” is being celebrated in all schools across the Board.  Many students are using this theme as a vehicle to plan and present a project prior to the Board’s annual Heritage Fair, scheduled for May 12-13 at Cape Breton University.

 

Friends Forever XIV

 

Friends Forever XIV, an anthology of children’s writing provides the reader with the opportunity to read and enjoy a range of writing genres from informational to personal and poetic text.  Students from grades primary to six write for different purposes and different audiences and are encouraged to share, publish or display their thoughts and ideas.  Friends Forever gives students the opportunity to share their writing with a wider audience.  The annual evening of recognition for our young authors will take place at Centre 200 in June – the date to be finalized.

 

Heritage Fair

 

Plans are in place for the annual Cape Breton-Victoria Heritage Fair scheduled to take place May 12-13 at Cape Breton University.  During this celebration of living history, students from grades 4-9 present their projects, meet students from across the Board, participate in workshops planned for them in keeping with the theme, and share in closing ceremonies where, midst a multi-cultural celebration, awards are presented to outstanding projects.

 

Centre for Leadership Development

 

The Centre for Leadership Development, a cooperative project of Cape Breton-Victoria, Eskasoni and Strait Regional School Board, held its 17th Annual Conference April 7-8 at Membertou Trade & Convention Centre.  Dr. Blye Frank, Director of the Division of Medical Education, Dalhousie University and Vince MacDonald, Educator, Facilitator, and Grief Counselor, were keynote speakers.

 

Bell ringer sessions and workshops focused on balancing and integrating cognitive, affective, physical and social needs as we live our daily lives.

 

During the presentation of awards on Thursday evening, Mrs. Ruth Arsenault, currently principal of Mira Road School, and Liz Mahoney, Facilitator for IT/Assistive Technology, were recognized for their educational leadership and were presented with Centre for Leadership Development Excellence in Teaching plaques by Annette Currie, Coordinator of Programs P-6.

 

Following the recognition of those recipients of this year’s Centre for Leadership Development Awards, Russell MacDonald, a retired educator and former member of the Centre for Leadership Development Board presented Annette Currie with a special and unexpected CLD Award in recognition of her many years of professional commitment to advancing the work of the Centre for Leadership Development.

 

Fine Arts (Cathy MacNeil)

 

Dr. Joseph M. Calahan, Vice President, Xerox Foundation, has said that “Arts Education aids students in skills needed in the workplace:  flexibility, the ability to solve problems and communicate; the ability to learn new skills, to be creative and innovative, and to strive for excellence”.  Certainly, these are the goals that the arts educators in the CB-VRSB embrace in their everyday teaching.

 

Presentation of student work, whether it be visual or performing arts, is an important aspect of arts education.  April through June is a time when these presentations are featured throughout the Board to very appreciative audiences.  One such event in planning is the Annual Art Exhibit to be held in May at Gallery 11, Cape Breton University.  This year’s theme is Visual Reflections.  Opening ceremony for this fine display of student artwork, Grades 4-12, will take place on Tuesday, May 3, 2005, 7:00 p.m.  Art teacher, Kim Ferguson, is this year’s event Chair.

 

Six elementary school choirs have been busy rehearsing “Get in the Game” to be presented at various community and school locations, May 6-13, in conjunction with the Phys Ed Department and National Active Healthy Living Week.  These choirs are from Coxheath, Sydney River, Robin Foote, Mountainview, Harbourside, Ashby/Shipyard.

 

St. Mary’s School Choir and the Northside Honor Choir, under the direction of Paula Jane Francis and Mary Jane Ross, recently provided thirty minutes of impressive singing prior to the Celebration on Ice Show held at Centre 200.  An added plus was that the students were then able to view the show featuring some of Canada’s best figure skaters.

 

Unfortunately, the performances by 25 local school bands and choirs had to be cancelled due to the CUPE strike.  It is hoped that these fine performances will be displayed at other concert opportunities in the future.

 

Literacy P-12 (Brenda MacIsaac)

 

§                     The Literacy Newsletter has been distributed to all schools in the Board.  It includes suggestions to help teachers celebrate World Theatre Day; literacy initiatives and events happening in classrooms and schools throughout the Board; and accounts of events which took place during National Book Week.  The newsletter is a communication tool.  It is meant to be a valuable source of information with respect to what is happening at the Board, school, and classroom levels in the area of literacy learning.  The hope is that teachers will get ideas from their colleagues via the newletter and incorporate some of these ideas/activities into their teaching practice at the elementary, junior, and senior high levels.

 

§                     On April 1, grade seven science teachers attended the last in a series of inservices on Literacy Integration into the Science Curriculum for 2004/2005.  The focus of this inservice was “Teaching for Meaning.” All other inservices planned for April, including the April 22nd Board-wide PD day, have been postponed pending resolution of the CUPE job action.

 

§                     The Board-wide Public Speaking event has also been postponed.  This year, a record number of participants/schools have registered.  The event is planned over seven evenings and will go ahead, hopefully in May.

 

§                     Annette Currie, Jeannie Stone, Lynn Crawford, Donna Robson, and Brenda MacIsaac are planning an event focusing on the Wonderful World of Words, for Saturday, April 23.  This event will take place at Shipyard Elementary and is sponsored by the Cape Breton Post in conjunction with the Newspapers in Education program.  Each grade six class is invited to send a representative who will join other students from across the Board.  These students will form teams of four and will engage, as teams, in eight word-based activities such as word spash and boggle.  At least two of the activities will incorporate technology.  Awards and prizes will be presented to students by the Cape Breton Post during the closing ceremony.

 

§                     Three high school teachers, Marlene MacLean (Baddeck Academy), Brenda MacNeil (Memorial High), and Jacqueline Poirier (Breton Education Centre) spent three days in Halifax at a Department of Education sponsored Writing Workshop.  All three teachers felt the workshop was excellent and are now looking forward to facilitating writing workshops at the Board level.  Also, Susan Martin-O’Brien (Literacy Consultant for the DOE) and Barry Wilson (Language Arts Consultant for the DOE), were so pleased with the enthusiasm of the high school teachers in the CB-VRSB during the March 4th inservice which they facilitated, that they expressed interest in working closely with this group of teachers as they begin implementation of the Active Readers initiative at the high school level.

 

PROGRAM SERVICES 7-12

 

David Crane, Coordinator

 

Mathematics P-12 (Ron MacLean)

 

Workshops were held during the last week of March for all math lead teachers at the elementary level.  These teachers provide mathematics PD for their respective schools.

 

During the provincial math consultants’ meetings, planning occurred for the implementation of the new grade 4 core resource.  This is a continuation of the “Math Makes Sense” series by Pearson Education and the books should be ready for release to the teachers in May of this year.  The release will include a one-day workshop for all grade four teachers.  This provides

the opportunity to supply teachers with pertinent information about the resource.  Feedback from the grade three teachers has been positive concerning their new textbook which was implemented in January of 2005.  Parents have commented that they find it a much better resource for working with their children.  Current plans are to implement grade five during the fiscal year 2006 and grade six in fiscal 2007.

 

A new grade nine math core resource has been selected and is under development by McGraw-Hill Publishing.  It will be ready for the spring of 2006 with grades 7 and 8 to follow.

 

The mentorship program in mathematics is continuing with teachers taking advantage of this opportunity to receive personalized PD in math.

 

Keith Jordan, Strait Board, and Ron MacLean have been working on the Mathematics Summer Institute for this summer.  The event will take place August 9 and 10 in Antigonish.  Many teachers from the CB-VRSB took advantage of this event last year, and it is expected that there will be even larger numbers this year.  Keynote speaker will be noted math author, John Van de Walle.

 

Mr. MacLean attended the NCSM and NCTM conferences in Anaheim during the week of April 3-10.  Two teachers from the CB-VRSB also attended – Donna Peach and Sheila LeBlanc from Glace Bay Elementary.  These events provide some of the best PD with top people in mathematics education from around the world.

 

The final event in the CB-VRSB Math league was held on April 2nd.  Fifteen teams of high school students participated in the event.  The Riverview A Team won for the third time this year.  At this event, all students were eligible for random draws for graphing calculators.  Twelve calculators were awarded courtesy of CASIO Canada.  Riverview, Sydney Academy, and Glace Bay will compete in the provincial math league to be held in Cape Breton at CBU on April 30th.  The math league has proven to be a very successful event enjoyed by the students who participate.  CBU has hosted the events with rooms, draws, and mid-morning nutrition breaks for the students and teachers in attendance.  SMU and CBU have begun a mathematics certificate program in the Sydney area for teachers in the CB-VRSB.  This is a certificate program for teachers to provide them with a concentration in mathematics and math education.  This certificate program is for teachers interested in teaching mathematics at junior and senior high.  Next step will be to look into a program to promote mathematics education at the elementary and middle school levels.

 

Two high school teachers, Bob Crane, Sydney Academy, and Jamie Gillis, Rankin Memorial, are piloting Casio graphing calculators to see how these calculators compare to the TI calculators.  The calculators are on loan from Casio Canada.

 

French Second Language (Laurie MacIntosh)

 

§                     The 2005 Annual French Public Speaking Contest proved very successful.  This event, sponsored by the CB-VRSB and Canadian Parents for French, witnessed 32 students participate in 10 categories at our local competition on March 22 and 23.  Our local winners will now go on to compete at the provincial competition in Halifax on April 30, 2005.

 

§                     Students from Glace Bay High, Breton Education Centre, Sydney Mines Jr. High and Whitney Pier Memorial Jr. High enjoyed a performance by the francophone singer/composer, Gilles LaPierre at the Savoy Theatre.

 

§                     A training session took place on April 8 in Halifax for pilot teachers of new, much needed resource material for Jr. High Core French.  New pilot teachers include Leah Hopkins (St. Michael’s), Tina White (St. Michael’s), and Donna Roper Rogers (Malcolm Munroe).

 

§                     Janet Mallet-MacInnis (Malcolm Munroe) and Bernice Bugden (Whitney Pier Memorial Jr. High) will represent Jr. High Late French Immersion teachers of CB-VRSB in Halifax on April 21-22 for the launching of the new grade seven social studies program.

 

 

 

§                     The French professional development inservice will take place on April 22 at the Miner’s Museum.  Facilitators for the day will be Nancy MacLeod (French Consultant, Annapolis Valley Regional School Board) and Laurie MacIntosh (French Consultant, CB-VRSB).

 

§                     The next meeting of the Extended Core French Committee will take place in Halifax on April 28/29.  The goal of this committee is to develop a new curriculum guide for grade seven extended core French.  Participants will include Laurie MacIntosh and Jeanette Kennedy (BEC).

 

§                     A training session will be held at the Department of Education, Halifax, on May 2/3 for the Junior High Late French Immersion Leadership Team.  The focus of the workshop will be literacy initiatives (Active Readers 9 – Lecteurs Actifs 9).  Particpants from CB-VRSB will include Laurie MacIntosh, Suzanne AuCoin (Malcolm Munroe) and Alysha Roach (Whitney Pier Memorial Jr. High).

 

Physical/Health Education (Mary Lou Andrea)

 

Quality Physical Education Program Advisory Committee

 

This national committee met in Calgary from March 3-6.  Two elementary schools were visited that partake in daily physical activity.  One of the schools has a part time specialist while the other has a full time specialist.  The economical status of the schools was very much contrasted; however, both boasted a quality daily physical education program.  Administration support in both schools was evident.  Other visits included the Olympic Oval, University of Calgary and the Olympic Hall of Fame at Olympic Park.

 

Sexual Health Network

 

The group is continuing to meet to discuss plans for the upcoming inservice on April 22.

 

Active Healthy Living Committee

 

On March 31, the committee met with the Obesity Committee from the Cape Breton District Health Authority.  After updates on what both committees have done so far, discussion took place on how the two committees could work together. 

 

Dr. R. Bird asked the School Board what could the Obesity Committee offer the schools that would help with their initiative to improve the lifestyle of the students.  This question will be brought back to the Committee, along with the background information that has been provided.  Later in the meeting, it was suggested to Dr. Michael Gallivan that a letter be drafted that could address the present funding formula that is being used by the provincial government to establish the budget for the CB-VRSB.  Presently, schools are not receiving enough funding to support day-to-day activities at the school and sport teams.  Therefore, cafeterias and canteens are being relied on for revenue via the sale of less healthy food.   Advocacy is needed for policy change.  A recommendation from health would be positive.  A great deal of discussion occurred surrounding the topic of prevention.  It seems that both committees have the same goals to improve the lifestyle of the children, the family and eventually the community at large.  The following are some of the suggestions that came out of the group discussions:

 

 

 

 

§                     With respect to increasing the activity level of the youth, we may have to focus on recess and after school activities, as the school day is busy meeting curriculum targets.

 

§                     Intramurals could be an excellent avenue to increase the activity level of schools.

 

§                     Sport events could have a less competitive focus, but rather have a focus on participation.

 

§                     A draft of a “no cut policy” for elementary students where all students who want to play a sport are allowed to play.  Once again, the focus is not on competition but participation.

 

§                     Programs should focus on getting the inactive youth more active.  The elite athletes will always be active.

 

§                     Together, both committees could work on a particular project that would affect the community as a whole.  For example, we could focus on promoting National Walk to School/Work day, which is scheduled for the fall.  It is a project that can be repeated each year, and schools can work towards increasing the participants each year.  Workplaces can join in as well.

 

§                     There needs to be an increase in the variety of programs available to the students.  In particular, the adolescent female needs to be a focus as they are at high risk of reduced activity by grade seven.  A possibility would be to make dance and aerobics available to this age group.

 

§                     Students need to be asked what programs they are interested in.

 

§                     Participation needs to be fun.  To peak a student’s interest in participation, they could be able to log their exercise time on a computer.  Also, the school could log the minutes of each student’s activity and correlate it with a walk across Canada.  The students themselves may have some great ideas.

 

Pilot Project

 

A great deal of discussion was held around this topic.  It was suggested to focus on one school to pilot a project that improves the lifestyle of the students.  This would include changes in the food/vending choices and the activities available at the school.  Cusack Elementary is part of a provincial pilot project, “Active School Community”.  They have eliminated junk food and have provided increased activities for the students.  Brookland Elementary has also adopted the philosophy and are joining Cusack in some of the after-school programming.  We could look at what happened at Cusack and repeat it at another school.

 

For a school that has adopted changes that promote a healthy lifestyle, they could be recognized by the District Health Authority for attaining an assigned level of physical activity and for making available to the students healthy food choices.  As a joint venture, the two committees can make a “checklist” for schools to work towards, and the DHA can offer recognition with a “gold seal” of approval for the healthy lifestyles the school is now promoting.  This may require input from parents.  However, once a school achieves such recognition, it may promote a positive awareness in the community and a desire by more parents and students to be a part of a “Healthy School”.  Once the project is implemented at one school, it should be easy to repeat for other schools.  Mary Lou Andrea has some information on this which she will look at and fine tune to meet the criteria of a “Healthy School”.

 

Conclusion

 

It seemed that both groups are working towards the same goal of a healthy community.  Providing our youth with a positive environment of healthy food choices and physical activity is essential for the development of a healthy lifestyle.  The changes will be slow, but both the Obesity Committee of the District Health Authority and the CB-VRSB are willing and eager to work towards making the community healthier.

 

Active Cape Breton Communities

 

This group met in Baddeck on March 10 to discuss plans for a regional forum on physical activity for youth.   The forum would take place some time in May at the Gaelic College.  Community Agencies involved in youth would be invited to attend.

 

Active, Healthy Lifestyle Week

 

Planning for this week is still underway.  It will take place from May 6-14.

 

School Visits

 

School visits included Bras d’Or, Sydney River Elementary, Ball’s Creek, Coxheath, and Brookland.

 

P-12 Principals’ Meeting March 31st

 

Principals were reminded of Active Healthy Lifestyles Week taking place in May as well as the importance of being role models regarding this issue.  All schools should now have an Active Healthy Lifestyle Committee established in their school.  Mrs. Andrea also presented a variety of Brain Gym activities.

 

Provincial PE Teacher of the Year Award Recipient for Nova Scotia

 

Paula MacRae from Seton Elementary was the winner for the Province.  This is the first year for the award.  She will receive the award at the National Physical Education Conference in Regina.  Mrs. Andrea will also be attendance for this conference.