MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009
Black History month was founded in 1926 by a Harvard educated black historian, Carter G. Woodson. It started as a ‘week’ in February to celebrate the history, contributions and culture of African-Americans. In 1976, as part of the American bi-centennial, the week was expanded to a month, becoming ‘National Black History Month’.
In Nova Scotia, the celebration of Black History Month was initiated in the early 1980’s through the efforts of the Black History Month Association. It is now known as ‘African Heritage Month’ (African Nova Scotia Affairs).
The Premier of this Province, Hon. Rodney J. MacDonald, has summed up the very essence of African Heritage Month through his resolve founded in the following provincial Proclamation for African Heritage Month .........‘Be it resolved that I, Rodney J. MacDonald, Premier of Nova Scotia, do hereby proclaim the month of February as African Heritage Month in the Province of Nova Scotia. I encourage all Nova Scotians to recognize and celebrate now and throughout the year the many achievements and contributions of African Nova Scotians to our Province and look toward to a future of strong participation by African Nova Scotians in all facets of the economic, social, legal and political life of the Province’.
Through the Division of Programs and Student Services, our Co-ordinator of Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding & Human Rights, Lynn Crawford, took the leadership in ensuring that we had a successful venture in African Heritage Month this year. All schools had planned activities and our website was busy with items particular to the month’s celebrations. Ms. Crawford gave particular credit to our principals, staff and student support workers for their assistance to the schools with their preparations for African Heritage month.
There is an old fashion equation in most regional boards which says that expenditures may not exceed income. Regional boards find themselves in different positions with regards to this equation. For a few systems, the sum of the approved expenditures determines what they will spend. Some boards even have a surplus that enables them to fund their expenditures and create a reserve fund to assist them during times of restraint. For the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, a limited income will determine which of the many tasks the local board wishes to accomplish and may indeed be undertaken. Virtually all school systems are required to make decisions that will serve the purpose of educating students best within the reality of the income-expenditure equation.
We have had meetings with the representatives of the partnerships whose voices are very clear and distinct in respect to our wishes for the funding necessary for regional boards to achieve the mandates stated by the Department of Education. We have basically agreed on a minimum percentage increase in funding for 2009-2010 in order to create a status quo budget. In addition, it must be clearly understood that any negotiated expenses agreed upon by the Department of Education and staff must be in addition to that percentage funding figure.
Again, we have had the opportunity to meet our local representatives. The multi-partied M.L.A.’s had an opportunity to hear our projection for the budget year, 2009-2010. Our anticipated funding impact, on our program services, transportation, staff and facilities, is difficult to articulate without the information on what we are going to receive in funding.
There was a consensus by the group that they would be vigilant to the needs of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and that they would keep in touch with the Board Chair and Superintendent to ensure that details of our budget would enable them to react. One must keep in mind that a timely presentation of our budget profile by the Department of Education will be most important in the whole area of developing the equation of income and outcomes for students.
One item of concern that was voiced by the M.L.A.’s was the fact that the leaders of all three parties have agreed that there will be no deficit financing in the provincial budget. One would only hope that the essential services for the education of our children would not be diminished in this budget year.
I now turn my attention to our parents, guardians and students.........
Educators and parents are looking at four relationships that children experience in the developing years as a means of better understanding the problems that students have in school. These four interrelated and interdependent relationships form a framework significant to helping students solve their problems and make appropriate adjustments during their formative years. Adults are looking carefully at these four relationships: Student and Self, Student and Peers, Student and Teachers, and Student and School Activities.
Teachers, parents and other adults who work with students are aware of the importance of self-concept to students’ ability to find success and satisfaction in school. Self-esteem, self-identity, and self-respect have received deserved emphasis and attention in recent years. The
way a student views himself or herself and the extent to which the student is able to assess accurately his or her role become factors in learning, in risk taking, and in his or her willingness to be a participant in learning. Both teachers and parents want to see a student’s experiences enhance the relationship the student has with self.
A student’s abilities to play and work with peers, to build friendships, and to cooperate with others are being given increased opportunity to flourish in the classroom as well as in other environments in which the student develops. Satisfying peer relationships, taking on responsibility, and developing trust and respect for self and others are encouraged as means of strengthening emotional health and eliminating problems.
The relationship a student has with teachers is a facet of child development that can be a cause of some problems as well as a solution for others. Students who go into a class that they are sure they will not like are often fascinated with the subject because of a positive relationship with the teacher.
The relationship that a student has with class and school activities is often a key to problems that he or she may have. The student, who feels left out, feels unaccepted, feels that he or she does not belong, is the student who soon has a problem. A positive attitude toward acceptance in the classroom or in school activities signals the absence of significant problems.
As educators, as well as parents, look at students’ problems within the framework of these four relationships, they begin to see that all four are interrelated and cannot be separated. It is by looking at the totality of the problem and the relationships that adults can begin to see ways to help students solve some of their problems.
Every effort is made to see the problem from the student’s point of view. To the student, the problem takes on a different magnitude than it does when only the adult frame of reference is applied.
Anyone interested in learning more about diagnosing students’ problems from the frame of reference of these four relationships is invited to contact the school for further dialogue on the subject. Call your school for more information. They will be happy to hear from you!
Lastly, I would direct your attention to the reports from school sites. We can share in the celebrations of our students’ achievements and the professional activities of our staff.
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