PROGRAMS & STUDENT SERVICES
Program Services (Instructional Support)
A meeting of the Technology Committee took place on April 29 at the Staff Development Centre. This very important committee has representatives from all stake holders in the board including central office staff, school administrators, teachers at all grade levels and staff from the Operations Dept. The committee was brought up to date on what is happening within the CB-VRSB with regards to instructional support using technology. A highlight was the report on IEI, a major initiative for technology. The IEI (Grade 11 focus) initiative has ended for the budget year 2008-2009. Budgets for IEIE for the upcoming year have not been released by the Dept. of Education yet, but there is optimism that the project will continue with similar budgets as last year with the focus to be grade 12.
Program Services (Educational Quality & Accountability)
The Olympic Torch Relay starts on October 30, 2009, but in some Canadian schools, it has already begun. Since January 20, 2009, students at Cusack School have so far run 3,000 km and hope to complete the 45,000 km before the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “Beginning on April 27, 2009 we’ll get parents and teachers involved by counting their mileage outside of the school. Soon, all students will have pedometers to calculate their kilometers during each school day,” said physical education teacher Leroy Hodder.
At Cusack Elementary, a lap is 50-meters long in the gym so students will need to run over 900,000 laps to complete the total torch relay route. “We run a minimum number of laps and calculate the total for each class, and then those of the entire student body, “Hodder explained. “To include other groups and to increase the mileage covered, we also count the laps run by the basketball and cheerleading teams during their practice.” For more information please go to the following link:
PEBS Success Story
Josh is a grade two student in one of our CB-VRSB elementary schools. Josh is like any other grade two student. He is energetic, kind, responsible, funny and determined! The only difference between Josh and other students his age is that he has added responsibilities as a student. He also has a job, a very important job. He has been chosen as the student recycler and “band aid boy” for the school at recess and lunch. It was an obvious choice due to his strong work ethic and determination. As the PEBS facilitator and behaviour support lead teacher I have observed Josh on a number of occasions. I first observed Josh at the beginning of last year. There has been quite a contrast in behaviour and self- esteem from last year to now. I was not sure exactly who anointed him with the title but it has had amazing effects! I saw a totally different side to Josh. After talking to his mom she told me that he just started doing it one day and it grew from there. He now has such a respected position on the school grounds. The grounds on the school where the students play are immaculate and any child that may need the all important magic healer (the band-aid)go to get one from Josh. While I spoke with him today in the span of ten minutes he had passed out three band aids, picked up garbage, and was in the process of training two other students that he currently mentors. As I questioned him about the mentoring he replied, “They will need a little work but I think they will be okay.” In response to his job title he says I don’t know what you would call me I just know I help the kids.
Josh Mombourquette is a grade two student at Coxheath Elementary and is the first recipient of the CB-VRSB Positive Behaviour Support Student of the Month award for his continuing work in the Respect of himself, others, the school, and the environment. Way to go Josh!
Program Services P-6
Language Arts P-6 Consultant, Donna Robson
Department of Education
The Primary Advisory Group met in late April. Angela Graton MacLeod was our primary representative and grade one teacher, Stephanie Kennedy, was invited to attend the session. The Department plans to support the grade one year by providing two department days for 2009/2010. There was also discussion around the purchase of classroom resources.
A coaching workshop will be held at Mount Saint Vincent University this July and Donna Robson will attend.
Looping Professional Development (looping knowledge as we transition)
Professional development sessions were held in May at the Staff Development Centre. These sessions were created to support lower elementary teachers as they transition students from grade to grade. The focus of the sessions was to deepen capacity at the site level by focusing time around “next steps for instruction” and how this translates into planning. Grades primary, one and resource teachers took part with a plan in place to offer the sessions in June for grades one and two teachers. The feedback from the session was very positive and strong support was received around the yearly planning graphic that was created.
Primary Parent Fairs
Fairs were hosted in four elementary schools: Greenfield (New Waterford), St. Joseph’s (Sydney Mines), Brookland (Sydney) and St. Anne’s (Glace Bay). Participation has increased and we estimated two hundred of our new grade primaries attended one of the four fairs. Our support from community partners increased this year to include the YMCA and Dairymen of Canada.
Full sessions are being held this year for our new primaries and are being supported by parent sessions that will be facilitated by reading recovery teachers, mentors and consultants. They provide opportunity for parents to be informed about the primary experience and ask questions. The brochures that have been created will be given to parents to act as a home support.
LIFT(Literacy Initiative for Teachers)
Mentors continue to support the LIFT project in all of our sites. There will be a planning meeting to debrief later this month.
Spelling café’s at Harbourside and Riverside Schools continue to support the literacy piece and provide us with data to better plan for all of our sites in the coming year.
Feedback from those who have accessed the mentoring support has been one hundred percent positive.
A Board-wide summary sheet for records of oral reading is being developed by classroom teachers.
Mathematics P-6 Consultant, Sharon Boudreau
Mentoring is ongoing in the elementary and junior high schools. The more time a mentor is in a school, the stronger that mentoring culture becomes. During our professional development sessions, mentoring is promoted by the presenters. As a result, there have been several teachers self-identify.
Professional Development Plans
We are working with literacy to provide a workshop where grades primary and one teachers have the opportunity to meet to discuss the students who are leaving primary and entering grade one. Teachers were very appreciative of the tracking forms provided as they were clear, concise, and user friendly.
Parent Information Sessions
The staff at Boularderie School presented a parent session at their school on the evening of April 29. The staff provided grade level centres for the parents to experience what the students are now doing in math class. Parents indicated that they appreciated the information provided and interacted with each other in the centres.
After a conversation with LD teacher Gail McDougall concerning math and LD students, we have put together a group of very eager and enthusiastic LD teachers. Our focus will be to put together a math program using strategies suitable for LD students.
We are in the process of putting together the packets for the participants. There has been a strong interest this year as indicated by the number of applicants thus far. There are classroom teachers, resource teachers, substitutes and pre-service teachers as well as teachers from other boards who have expressed interest. We are focusing on the grades one and five curriculums this summer, and the venue is Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. The ad is on the board website.
We will continue to develop the two academies which will be presented this summer. The participants will receive a binder with the outcomes clustered, learning opportunities for each outcome, and the opportunity to experience various hands-on learning opportunities using the manipulatives for that grade level. We have many returning for their third and fourth academy. The feedback from previous years had been very positive. The opportunity for professional conversations with like-minded colleagues was invaluable.
Professional Development Plans
The looping workshop will continue with grades one and two teachers having the opportunity to share information about their programs and students.
Sharon Boudreau will continue with LD teachers to meet and develop a math program for LD students. The plan is to share this with all LD teachers when completed.
Grade three students will write the Early Elementary Mathematics Literacy Assessment on June 2, 3 & 4.
Arts Education Consultant, Lesley Ann Andrews
The CBVRSB’s 10th Annual Historica Fair was a tremendous success. It was held on April 30 and May 1 at Cape Breton University. A list of awards winners may be seen on our website at www.cbv.ns.ca/historica. Awards of Excellence winners were interviewed and four were chosen to represent us at the Provincial Historica Fair and one student project was chose for representation at the National Fair to be held in Ottawa in July 2009.
A Gaelic Language and Culture workshop, sponsored by the Department of Education, was held at Rankin School of the Narrows on May 7 and 8.
Marion Bridge Elementary School celebrated their 50th anniversary with a beautiful concert at the community hall on May 14. The concert included all the current students with many well-known guest performers. Congratulations to Melissa MacNeil and all the staff and students of Marion Bridge School. There are many other spring concerts taking place throughout our schools. Many are posted on our Arts Education website at www.cbv.ns.ca/finearts.
As staffing is now taking place, Lesley expresses her concern for the importance of the arts in education and how critical our programs are to the development of our students.
Music teachers, special education teachers and the general public are invited to an information workshop session on a unique percussion program for individuals with disabilities. The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) sessions will be held at Shipyard School on May 21 at 7 p.m. and again on May 22 at 10 a.m. It is hoped that this program which uses proven therapeutic techniques with drumming will be used in some of our schools next year.
A children’s African drumming group will be performing at Harbourside Elementary on May 22 as part of the Cape Breton International DrumFest.
Many of our students will also be performing in musical and dramatic presentations for the upcoming Social Justice Conference to be held at Membertou Trade and Convention Centre May 27 - 29.
Reading Recovery™ Teacher Leader / Early Literacy Consultant, Susan MacDonald
Heather Janes-Pedersen, our Atlantic Reading Recoveryâ Trainer, came to Sydney for her annual Teacher Leader visit on May 5. She spent the morning observing Susan teaching children and in the afternoon she observed Susan leading her continuing contact group. They had an opportunity to discuss our board’s implementation and any issues we had. Cathy MacNeil and Donna Robson were able to join in for this conversation.
Reading Recovery® continuing contact teachers met on May 5 and 6. The emphasis of the sessions was “Taking Words Apart in Reading”. The next continuing contact sessions will be held on June 2 & 3 when we will be preparing for year-end data collection.
Susan had the opportunity to attend the Eastern Canadian Institute of Reading Recovery® Teacher Leader Professional Development held in Cornwall, PEI, on May 11. She observed two teaching sessions and discussed the following topics: Strengthening Writing, Making Links to Reading, Strengthening Teacher Training, and Implementation of Reading Recovery®. It’s always a wonderful opportunity to meet with peers and we always learn so much from these sessions with Heather Janes-Pederson.
On May 15, Cathy MacNeil, Cathy Viva, Bernie MacKinnon and Susan met with principals and Reading Recovery® teachers regarding the changes that will be made to our program. Eliminating 100% Reading Recovery® positions, 50% teachers will now teach four students instead of three, reductions of Reading Recovery® coverage in some schools, and teachers returning to the classroom after five years were the highlights of the meeting.
Susan has volunteered to help with Primary Orientation at Robin Foote and Cornwallis this month, speaking with the parents at the end of the day regarding reading, writing and talking as well as things they can do at home to prepare their children for these activities when they come to school.
Susan continues with school visits this month at the following sites: Cape Smokey Elementary, Seton, Membertou, Bridgeport, Tompkins, and St. Agnes. It is recommended in the Standards and Guidelines that each teacher receive one visit per year (minimum) and more if needed. Visits can be requested by teachers when they are having difficulty with a particular student and would like some advice.
In May, we completed the Support for Students Website Training for all schools. Each school sent a team composed of Administrators and Program Planning Team members. Educational Psychologists and Speech-Language Pathologists were in attendance as well. Response to the website updates was positive and suggestions for future improvements were received.
An evening information session will be held on Monday May 25th in collaboration with the Cape Breton Autism Society. This information session will be able to answer questions and address concerns with regards to children starting school. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a journey of collaboration to best meet the needs of the children.
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