PROGRAMS & STUDENT SERVICES
Program Services – P-6
The third and final session of the Primary Professional Learning Workshops presented by the Department of Education took place on January 27 and 28 with primary teachers and principals in attendance.
The implementation team for Spelling P-9 presented a full-day inservice for representatives of each elementary school site on January 9. The inservice focused on the document itself as well as how to incorporate spelling/word study into reading and writing. Teachers were reminded of the developmental nature of spelling and were encouraged to teach spelling strategies rather than random lists of words. An overwhelming number of classroom teachers identified spelling/word study as an area of interest for the February 3rd system inservice day, and so the team prepared sessions to support teachers in this important aspect of literacy teaching.
The LIFT (Literacy Initiative for Teachers) program, introduced to Year One and Two schools in September, saw three additional Year Two schools resuming the program In February. The LIFT team will begin to consider changes and revisions to the program, to ensure it is still meeting the needs of schools. A set of evaluation surveys for LIFT participants has been developed to direct this process.
Family Violence Prevention Week
The opening ceremonies for Family Violence Prevention Week took place at Cape Breton University on February 6 with Brookland Elementary School Band performing. On February 13, schools were asked to support Purple Friday by wearing something purple to support victims of Family Violence. Any donations from schools will go to support Cape Breton Transition House. Elementary principals received a packet of suggested Family Violence Prevention Week activities at their January meeting for distribution to teachers.
There has been a significant increase in requests for math mentoring at the elementary and junior high levels. Mentors are visiting schools and talking to teachers about the mentoring program and teachers who have been mentored are discussing their positive experiences.
Parent workshops focusing on mathematics have been held at Mira Road Elementary and Shipyard Elementary. Parents who attended find the sessions informative and helpful as they support their children’s learning.
The February 3rd Regional Professional Development Day for elementary teachers was held at Harbourside Elementary. The day’s theme was ‘Promoting Powerful Practice’ and began with a very enjoyable and thought provoking plenary session lead by retired educator, Sandra Kelly. Teachers then had the opportunity to attend two sessions from a selection of fifteen topic areas.
Regional meetings took place for instrumental teachers within the CBVRSB. These meetings were held at Breton Education Centre, Glace Bay High, Memorial High, Riverview and Sydney Academy. Discussions included programming, standards, transitioning for students, retention, instrument selection, and opportunities for teachers to share concerns and ideas. These meetings were held in a very positive light with hopeful plans for a beginner band workshop to take place in September 2009, where all beginner band students would receive initial instruction from teachers with specific expertise on each instrument.
The Historica Fair 2009 committee met on January 12 to discuss and make plans for the 10th annual Historica Fair to be held at Cape Breton University on April 30 and May 1. Schools are currently submitting their “Intent to Participate” forms.
A group of arts education teachers met to discuss ideas and plans for Education Week 2009 with the theme of “Bringing Arts to Life.” A list of ideas for planning that week will be distributed to all schools after the provincial packages arrive in February.
Students in grades 9-12 were treated to free tickets to the Canadian Chamber Choir concert held at the Savoy on Saturday, January 24, as part of the Cape Breton Post concert series. Four $250 scholarships are also available to students with this initiative. The application deadline was January 30, 2009, with scholarships being awarded during the final two concerts in the series. Two Northside Honour Choir students introduced the choir and another student wrote a review of the concert for the Cape Breton Post.
The St. Anne’s Elementary Choir was a guest performer at the African Canadian Gala that took place at Membertou Trade & Convention Centre on January 31.
Many of our arts educators facilitated sessions in their various areas of expertise during the February 3rd PD Day which was held at Sydney Academy. Three sessions were offered in each area of dance, drama, classroom music, instrumental music and visual art.
Reading Recovery® teachers met in January and February for ongoing professional development (OPD). The emphasis of these sessions was “Working Actively to Achieve Shifts in Learning.”
Plans are being finalized to have a “Junior High Challenge” in conjunction with the “Adopt-A-Library” program. This will run for approximately six to eight weeks and schools will be treated with prizes in addition to the overall winning award.
Library staff prepared for “Diversity Day” on Friday, February 13. Activities include book displays, challenges, story readings, etc.
The grand opening of the newly renovated library at St. Anne’s Elementary occurred on the evening of February 18. This very child-centered setting is a space to be enjoyed by all the students at the school as they delve into their favourite stories.
On the February 3rd professional development day consultants, lead teachers and the coordinator of Student Services offered sessions to principals, resource teachers, learning disabilities teachers and learning centre teachers.
The principals were engaged in an exploration of strengths and challenges related to teacher assistants, Resource Services and IPP development. Follow up to the session will include the IPP modules which will be given to principals in a two day session.
Resource teachers received modules 1, 2 and 3 of the four IPP modules. Learning centre teachers were engaged in strategies for communication and behavior improvement. Evaluations for the day were very positive and questions from the evaluations will be answered in a mail out to principals.
Program Services 7-9
The February 3rd system-wide in-service day provided an opportunity for social studies and science teachers at the secondary level to access a series of professional development activities in their respective fields. Social studies teachers learned about incorporating a Mi’kmaq perspective in their work from Mi’kmaq Elders, Murdena and Albert Marshall; explored how to pedagogically use Cape Breton Magazine and Breton Books via their website with Ron Caplan; and finally, engaged in a discussion with Dr. Graham Reynolds on the nature of social studies and its goals.
Secondary science teachers gathered at Marconi Campus and were engaged in activities around the role of science within the Nova Scotia Community College; learned about lab safety; and experienced Al Gore’s, “Inconvenient Truth”. A group of eight chemistry teachers were able to spend the day at Cape Breton University with Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel and his colleagues in an exploration of modern spectroscopic methods.
Student Services (Educational Quality and Accountability)
The Active Healthy Living Team is working on a project to promote self-esteem and active healthy living principles on school playgrounds. This project, called PowerPlay will be piloted this spring on several of our elementary school playgrounds. It is our goal to have all schools in the board involved by the end of next year. The theme/logo is Walk It, Talk It, Play It and encourages students to learn to deal with issues by walking away, talking it out or using a simple game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to come to agreement and includes grade 6 students as Positive Activity Leaders or PALS. Using the tenets of PEBS and Active Healthy Living, the focus will be to encourage safe and active interaction while teaching students how to work out minor peer conflicts. Consultants are working on a kit bag that will include instructions on playground games and activities; simple equipment to use with the games; information for parents; suggestions for healthy recess snacks and lunches; and T-Shirts for our grade 6 PALS.
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