John Astephen, Director
On Thursday, January 21st, a professional learning opportunity, “Instructional Support”, was offered to principals. The session was intended to support principals in their role as educational leaders in their prospective schools. Topics covered included: the components of a professional relationship – ideas on how to make it work, interpersonal communication, challenges and obstacles, principals of adult learning, teacher resistance, professional lenses, facilitation vs. training, crucial conversations, and key skills for educational assistance personnel. There were 23 principals in attendance with a broad range of expertise, experience and responsibility, ranging from elementary to high school. The session was well received with principals asking for more opportunities to address issues specific to principals, including time to discuss what was pertinent to them. A second session was held on February 19 which included vice principals.
Cathy MacNeil, Coordinator
Literacy Consultant P-6, Audrey Kyte-Murphy
The mentoring program continues to be accessed by many teachers. With just two mentors, mentoring sessions have been held in nineteen of thirty-nine elementary sites thus far this academic year.
A team of teachers from our Board, selected by the Department of Education, has also been working to develop a new provincial document focused on writing strategies that would support the grades three to six teachers’ writing program.
A Literacy Liaison Group, represented by one teacher from each school, has been formed in our Board. The first meeting will be on March 29 at the Staff Development Centre. The session will focus on developing reading benchmarks and comprehension strategies.
Mathematics Consultant P-6, Sharon Boudreau
Requests for mentoring have now exceeded the capability of mentors to provide this support. Resource teachers are accessing math mentors as their caseloads include students with issues around math.
Parent Information Night
Ron Muller, math mentor, presented an information session to parents on Wednesday evening, February 24, at Tompkins School in Reserve. Marion Bridge School is planning to host after school parent sessions during which parents can participate in hands-on math strategies their children are experiencing in school. Ron will also facilitate those sessions.
A Math Day is being planned at Glace Bay Elementary. They have planned to do this during class time and invite family members to come in and watch/participate in some math activities. The projected date of this session is during Education Week in April.
Summer Math Academy
Preparations will begin to develop two, four-day Summer Math Academies. The first summer academy was held in August, 2007 and focused on the grade three curriculum. Activities were developed to accompany clustered grade three outcomes. Participants included not only grade three teachers, other grade levels, resource teachers, substitute teachers and university students. In August, 2008, two summer academies were held- grades two and four. There were approximately sixty participants in each four-day academy. Grades five and one outcomes were clustered and presented at summer academies in August 2009 and there were several teachers who had by now attended all five academies. There were approximately sixty participants in each session that year as well.
Math/Phys Ed Project
Math and Phys Ed teachers will continue working on developing a set of cross-curricular activities for elementary teachers of both disciplines using the curriculum outcomes. Pam Van Dommelen, Bras D’Or Elementary, and Maureen Wadden, Shipyard Elementary, worked with Physical Education teacher, Martha Hood. They have completed grades primary and one and have begun working on grade two. We will bring those teachers in again to complete grades two and three. Our goal is to have a package completed to present to teachers in the fall.
Arts Education Consultant, Lesley Ann Andrews
On February 12 at 11 a.m., all schools across the Board were asked to sing the “2010 Fever” Olympic song written by Deb Murray, arranged and recorded by Stephen Muise at Breton Education Centre, and featuring performers Jennifer Sheppard and students at Breton Education Centre. Students from Holy Angels handed the torch over to Central Office staff to complete the loop of the torch that travelled throughout the schools. This also signaled the day of the official Olympic opening ceremonies in Vancouver.
Penny Steele, visual arts teacher at Malcolm Munroe Junior High School, hosted a sharing session on book-making for visual arts teachers on February 16 at 3:30 p.m.
The Marconi Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College invited high school students and teachers to an evening preview of their newly renovated arts space on February 23. New programming in the fine arts for 2012 will be discussed.
The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) equipment has arrived in all five pilot schools. The project uses percussion instruments to enhance music programs and social skills with students of a variety of abilities/.
Laura Schneider, Cape Breton University Art Gallery Curator, has been working closely with advanced art students in grades eleven and twelve along with their teachers at four high schools in preparation for the Board’s annual Art Exhibit to open during Education Week which will occur the week of April 18-24.
With the dissolving of the Community Partnership on Drug Abuse by April 2010, the sub drama committee will finish its commitments, which will change slightly due to the time constraints.
Our Board will host its Eleventh Annual Heritage Fair on April 29 & 30 at Cape Breton University. The Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Fairs program will take place on May 28 in Halifax at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Four students chosen from the 2009 Historica Fair along with two students who will be chosen at the 2010 Regional Heritage Fair will represent our board at this event.
Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders, Susan MacDonald & Joy Cookson
The contact group met this month with an emphasis on extending phonemic awareness by developing ways of solving words when writing.
Both training groups met twice this month. The first meeting was on February 9 & 10, with an emphasis on teaching for change; the second meeting was on February 23 & 24, with an emphasis on using our lesson records effectively to inform our teaching.
The Fountas & Pinnell Assessment kits have arrived and have been distributed to all elementary schools in our Board. Our teachers, along with the help of the resource teachers, are currently monitoring the grade two and three students that have received Reading Recovery and have either been discontinued or referred. Running records are being taken using the books provided in the Fountas & Pinnell kits and the information is being recorded on a spreadsheet that will then be forwarded to us.
Susan and Joy continue to meet regularly with Cathy MacNeil, Audrey Kyte-Murphy and Sheila Kublek to discuss early literacy issues within our Board. This group met on February 25 and has scheduled the next meeting for March 24.
Looking ahead to March, our continuing contact group will meet on March 25. The training groups will meet on March 9 & 10 and again on March 30 and 31.
Susan MacDonald continues to work with two children at Rankin School of the Narrows and will be finishing up with them by March Break. She will then be working with three children at Marion Bridge. Joy Cookson continues to work with three children at Shipyard Elementary and has just finished a carry-over at Marion Bridge. She will work with two children at Robin Foote who are partially discontinued. Susan and Joy continue to make school visits with their training teachers.
Library Services Consultant, Carmelita Cousins
With less than two weeks left for reading and retelling, the World Junior High Reading Challenge has created much excitement and anticipation for the final results. With six schools involved and over 1500 students, the WALL OF READERS in each school is growing immensely. Reading will finish by March 5 and school celebrations are planned for the following week. The main Board celebration will take place after the March Break.
To date, there have been over 500,000 pages read by students and staff. Cst. John Kennedy, Provincial Adopt-A-Library Coordinator, completed rallies at each school and motivated all to discover reading as a new sport. Under the beginnings of the Cape Breton Chapter of Adopt-A-Library program, a boot drive was completed at Wal-Mart on February 13 and over $2300 was raised in support of the initiatives, with Wal-Mart matching $2000 for the cause.
Freedom to Read Week occurred across Canada on February 21 – 27. The Canadian Book & Periodical Council kits were distributed to all staff and graciously purchased for our Board by the President and CEO of Harper Collins Book.
David Brennick, Coordinator
English Language Arts (7-12), Diane Brennick, ConsultantA meeting was held with all 7-12 English department heads or designates to discuss next steps with English Language Arts curriculum and to look at the English Language Arts blotter and curriculum map, and the shift from content to outcomes. The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.
Mathematics (7-12), Arlene Andrecyk, Consultant
High school principals have provided Data Manager, Jim Mac Neil, with the provincial examination mark and the final mark for each student that took either Math 12 or Advanced Math 12 first semester. The data is being compiled and analyzed.
The math teachers at Morrison Junior High discussed topics such as mental math, assessment, and teacher collaboration, during a recent visit.
High school students took part in the CB-VRSB Math League Game 2 on February 6 at Cape Breton University. The game went well. CBU provided a nutritious refreshment break. A team from Sydney Academy High School placed first and received a plaque. There were two random draws for graphing calculators. Each participant received a t-shirt donated by the Engineers of Nova Scotia Society.
On February 4, math consultants, Sharon Boudreau and Arlene Andrecyk, met with Bob Crane, Numeracy Consultant, Mi'kmaw Kina'manewey (MK), to discuss the elementary and junior high math curriculum. Bob Crane expressed sincere appreciation for the support the CB-VRSB provides to the teachers in the MK schools, allowing teachers to participate in professional development with the teachers in the CB-VRSB.
On February 18, all grade 9 math teachers, French and English, attended the first day of a two day geometry workshop that focused on the revised geometry outcomes. Sharon McCready, Mathematics Strategy Consultant, Department of Education, facilitated the in-service. Teachers were engaged in hands on activities. The feedback was very positive. The second day is scheduled for April 14.
At the principals’ meeting on January 27, secondary principals examined ways to further support grade 9 students in the math course selection from grade 9 to grade 10. On February 12, Mr. Keith Jordan, Math and Science Coordinator and Keith Walker, Principal of Dalbrae Academy, both with the Strait Regional School Board, met with the secondary principals to share their board experiences on the topic.
This year junior high students from Sydney Mines Jr. High, Malcolm Munroe Jr. High, Sherwood Park Education Centre, Whitney Pier Memorial, Morrison Jr. High and Dr. T. L. Sullivan are participating in Math Olympiad. Currently each school is having school based competitions. A committee has been formed to plan a regional competition involving these six schools. A team is composed of twelve junior high school students, four students from each grade level, and two coaches.
Community-Based Education/Options & Opportunities (Rhonda Smith, Consultant)
The O2 information session for guidance counselors on February 24 was well attended and the counselors were pleased at the information provided and the opportunity to ask questions. The O2 schools are preparing their presentations for grade 9 students and with the help of the guidance counselors will hold sessions in the junior highs schools after March break.
The planning process for the Career Exploration program in partnership with NSCC Marconi campus will begin in the month of March. The proposal is to offer grade 8 students from various junior high schools a chance for hands-on exploration in the trades and exposure to the community college environment.
The Department of Education through its communication officer is planning a promotional campaign for Co-operative Education. Some things to watch for over the next month is a Co-op website, co-op posters, media activity and advertising (Empire Theatres) to generate profile and attention in the high schools and the community.
Vocational Education (Ken Collier, Consultant)
The “Career Awareness Day” for Grade 9 students from schools throughout our board took place on Tuesday, February 9/10. Fourteen schools participated. These students had the opportunity to experience the programs that are offered in our school, as well as view a number of competitions in the Skilled Trades. Overall, the day went very well, and the feedback from the students was very positive.
Interviews for the Construction Association of Nova Scotia “Building Futures for Youth” project, will take place on Wednesday, March 31/10. This project hires a number of students from our board for summer employment and is designed to provide Grade 11 students the opportunity to explore a career in the construction industry.
Renovations to the Radio room, as well as the building of the new TV studio for our school have started. These renovations will truly compliment our Radio and Television Broadcasting Program and students and staff are eagerly awaiting the completion of this project. Brilun Construction has been awarded the contract, and the renovations are moving along well.
The “Test Drives” for students are continuing. Students are able to come to our school and spend the day in a program and experience that trade or technical program. To date, six schools have participated with very positive feedback from the students. Other junior high schools have also booked days with a number of their students.
The Grade 12 Electrical Students and their Instructor Kent Brewer, visited Seton Elementary to participate in a joint electrical/science project with the Grade 6 students. February 25th is the day planned for their first meeting. Mr. Collier will provide an update in April’s report.
French Second Language (Laurie MacIntosh, Consultant)
The annual French Public Speaking Contest (Concours d’art oratoire) will take place on Tuesday, March 23rd (Core, Integrated Core, Intensive Core and Francophone categories) and on Wednesday, March 24th (Late French Immersion category). Both evenings’ events will be held at Malcolm Munroe Memorial Junior High School, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Laurie MacIntosh, French Second Language Consultant, participated in a two-day workshop hosted by CASLT (Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers) in Ottawa on February 3rd and 4th. Ms. MacIntosh participated in the design model of a mentoring/coaching program to support French Second Language teachers.
Post-interviews of grade six Intensive Core French students is near completion. Teachers of grade six Intensive Core French met at Harbourside Elementary for an inservice on February 19th. The next scheduled inservice will be on April 16th at Harbourside.
An expression of interest survey was distributed to grade six students in the Glace Bay area. The survey’s purpose is to determine if there is sufficient interest in establishing a Late French Immersion program at the new Glace Bay Junior High School.
A follow-up session for examiners/markers of DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) was held in Halifax on February 17-18th. A final session is scheduled for March 26th in Halifax. Trained French Second Language teachers from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board include: Jennifer Moss, Riverview Rural High; Brenda MacNeil, Memorial Composite High; Laura Dunlop, Riverview Rural High; Craig Buckland, Breton Education Centre; and William Sampson, Memorial Composite High.
Nova Scotia International Student Program
This semester 20 new students were welcomed to the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board from countries including Belgium, The Czech Republic, Colombia, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Mexico, and Germany. Arrivals and departures were not without some difficulties, delays, and cancelled flights this year due to weather related travel issues.
Students had fantastic introductions to winter in Nova Scotia! Students arrived to the excitement of Coal Bowl, Red Cup, Winter Carnivals, not to mention many other winter activities. The winter orientation for new students took place February 19th – 20th, 2010. Events included a get together for all students, a ski day for new students, and sessions about the Nova Scotia International Student Program.
Several first semester students also decided to extend. A total of 69 students are registered for second semester.
Ten students are planning to take part in the Nova Scotia International Student Program cultural trip to Ottawa and Montreal.
A teacher and principal from Colombia were welcomed in February. Trudy Martinez and Monica Perdomo from Gimnasio Femenino, Bogota had the opportunity to meet with their student, the host family, and program staff. They also had a fantastic tour of Breton Education Centre.
Rick Simm, Coordinator
Assistive Technology Consultant (Sheila Kublek)
Throughout the month of February eight assistive technology student assessments were performed throughout the school board.
The Support for Students database continues to grow with the addition of the individual student program adaptation form and the IPP year end recommendation form. There was a swift and positive response from the majority of schools at the availability of a consistent and easy to use program adaptation form.
Our school board was informed recently that the newly released Assistive Technology DVD has been nominated for a national award.
Preparations are underway to plan Handwriting without Tears professional development sessions for several learning centre teachers, grade primary and grade one teachers. There are 15 schools that will be piloting Handwriting without Tears in grades primary and one.
Community Education (Heather Patterson)
Adult High School Program
Another semester began on February 2nd with a large increase in new students. Sydney Adult took in 35 new students, New Waterford 8, Northside Adult 10 and Glace Bay Adult 23 for a total of 76 new students.
The challenges continue to grow as younger students are arriving with extensive needs. Program staff continues to try to find new ways to help students such as using a floating teacher two periods a day in larger sites that can pull students in to work on literacy and numeracy skills. This works in the two largest schools. The smaller schools do not have the capacity for this. Ms. Patterson is monitoring this very carefully and will report more statistical information in her next report.
Adult Evening Classes
Another session of adult evening classes began the first week of February. Registration was held in four communities, Sydney, Glace Bay, New Waterford and in Sydney Mines, and 302 students registered in 17 courses.
Medical Terminology was offered at Glace Bay High. Math 12 and Chemistry 12 classes are both running in Sydney and in Glace Bay. Biology 12 is being offered in Sydney. Some students were not accepted in Sydney because there was no room left in these academic classes and they were unable or unwilling to travel to another site. GED Preparation was also filled in Sydney and some students were not able to register.
On the Northside, GED Preparation class has registered 26 students, and an Introduction to Computer class is also being offered. Both are running at Memorial High. Many thanks to the high schools who hosted registrations and subsequent classes.
SIS/IT Professional Development Consultant (Kurt Kublek)
In the SIS (Student Information System) part of Mr. Kublek’s job, he continues to be very involved in the provincial talks concerning the new information system, Power School. This past month Mr. Kublek has attended many meetings in Halifax for discussion and training on the new information system. Also Mr. Kublek and Mr. Simm invited the principals and their Winschool representative to the Staff Development Center (SDC) for a Lunch and Learn meeting. The meeting was designed as an information session about the new system where the principals could voice their concerns and get some specific information about the system and the timelines associated with it.
Also with Mr. Kublek’s SIS duties he has been busy this month helping schools with their report cards. This responsibility involves fixing minor problems, adding and removing students from sections and running custom reports.
Although most of this month has been dedicated to SIS, Mr. Kublek has still had some IT responsibilities. Mr. Kublek has been working to organize various professional development meetings on-site and at the Staff Development Centre. Most of this work continues to involve Moodle; which continues to grow in popularity. Furthermore, Mr. Kublek has been involved with the Nova Scotia Virtual School (NSVS) enrolling students in courses, assisting them and evaluating new software for the school.
PROGRAM SERVICES (EDUCATIONAL QUALITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY)
Susan Kelley, Coordinator
Lead team representatives attended a two day workshop in Halifax with Tripod Consultants from Harvard University. This workshop included looking at data from the AGI survey results and discussion on analysis of the data and next steps. In CB-VRSB, lead team is working on a professional development plan for rolling out the information and follow-up steps.
A workshop was held with school representatives from schools in their 2nd and 3rd year of the Nova Scotia School Accreditation Program (NSSAP) on writing annual reports. This was very well received and all of our schools are using the online format provided by the Department of Education.
Work has begun with a lead team of physical education teachers which includes training on Moodle, a book study using Damien Cooper’s book, ‘Let’s Talk about Assessment and on applying the theory to assessment practices for the physical education classroom. Material from this project will be filmed and used for the new NSELC website.
Active Healthy Living – Mary Lou Andrea, Consultant
The very successful Health Promoting Schools Olympic torch relay came to an end on Friday February 12th with the passing of the torch from Holy Angels to Central Office at 11 am. The torch reached every school in the board since January 4th. As part of the ceremony every school across the board sang an original song, Olympic Fever, which was written for the relay by Debra Murray, a retired teacher from our board. It was arranged by Breton Education Centre music teacher Stephen Muise. The vocals were by Jennifer Sheppard, Stephen Muise and students from Breton Education Centre, and trumpet by Jordan Aucoin at Breton Education Centre.
A sexual health lead team was formed to create a sexual health promotion resource kit for Healthy Living teachers in grades 7, 8, and 9.
Sport Animator Report – Jim MacEachern
Breakfast for Learning/Nutrition Policy/Health Promoting Schools – Debbie Madore, CB-VRSB Dietician
Nutrition for Learning
Breakfast programs are up and running in 59/60 school sites. Golden K in North Sydney has given Jubilee $3500 again this year. They were going to reduce it to $2500 and give $1000 Haiti, but were able to do both!! They had volunteer students and school administration out to their meeting and a picture with the CB Post.
New school adoption of Shipyard Elementary for the Centre for Distance Education.
Schools continue to struggle with the fundraising piece of the food policy. Information expressing the present concerns was presented to Director John Astephen.
Meetings continue to be held around new funding formula and a new model for programs in Nova Scotia
A Golf Tournament in support of Breakfast for Learning will be held on June 25 at The Lakes Golf Course, Ben Eoin. Teams are now sold out, and there is a wait list.
Big Crunch Campaign.
All Elementary schools were invited to participate in the National Great Big Crunch Campaign that will be held on March 4 for Nutrition month. A total of 28 schools participated.
A Challenge calendar was sent out to all schools to encourage and promote ideas around healthy eating and physical activity throughout the month of March.
An interview was held with CBC radio. They are profiling various Dietitians in the area around their role in the community.
Health Promoting Schools:
Presently working on how to define schools as Health Promoting, and establishing criteria for what schools need to exemplify to be entitled “Health Promoting”. The plan is to have schools receive a HPS Banner for display at the school.
Literacy Support Report – Lyn McInnis, Literacy Support Consultant
The month of February has been very busy preparing for in-servicing with grades 3 and 6 teachers.
At the grade 3 level, in-servicing has been scheduled for March 11 to introduce new teachers to the Department of Education’s response requirements for the Early Language Literacy Assessment. Teachers will be asked to examine individual student data as well as whole class data to inform classroom instruction.
At the grade 6 level, teachers will be introduced to a new whole class plan approach as a response to the Elementary Literacy Assessment results. Teachers will focus on what the ELA data is telling them as well as ongoing classroom assessment data. Teachers will be supported in choosing a couple of strategies to strengthen reading comprehension skills/writing skills and will be encouraged to model and practice these strategies consistently with the whole class.
As a follow-up to the in-servicing on developing whole class instructional plans at the junior high level, “next steps” are being developed to continue to support students identified as “not yet having met “expectations on the ELA.
One approach utilizes the Active Readers Assessment Resource Package and emphasizes explicit modeling of comprehension strategies.
Feedback and suggestions from the junior high teachers will play an important role in determining the type of support desired at each school.
Site-based in-servicing will, once again, be offered at the high school level as teachers work on their whole class instructional plans.
PEBS -Trevor LeBlanc, Consultant
Cathy Viva, Coordinator
Throughout the month of February the focus in Student Services has remained on the development of Individual Program Plans. From February 8th to February 12 teams of teachers from each of the schools received workshops on modules 3 and 4 of the Nova Scotia Department of Education IPP modules. Follow- up and assistance from members of the IPP lead team was offered to all schools and team members were able to provide assistance to twelve schools to date. Feedback on the IPP sessions and the “at school” support has been very positive. We will continue to offer the support to schools at their request.
Emphasis for the support for students with ASD this month was on providing site based training / programming support to existing and expanded STAR sites at Boularderie Elementary, Riverside, Glace Bay Elementary, Bridgeport, Coxheath Elementary, St. Joseph Elementary (SM) and Sydney River Elementary.
Site based programming/support continues to be provided as requested by school Program Planning Team referrals at Holy Angels, St. Joseph Elementary (SM), Brookland Elementary, John Bernard Croak, Coxheath Elementary. Follow-up PPT meetings to foster site based support of students are ongoing.
Thirteen teachers and ASD lead team members attended an IWK “Psychology and You Session” titled “Reducing Challenging Behavior in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders”, presented via Telehealth at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital on Monday February 8th. This was an evening session and response to attend was excellent. Feedback from the session was very positive. Schools Represented were: Boularderie, Sydney River Elementary, Brookland Elementary, Glace Bay Elementary, John Bernard Croak, Glace Bay High, Mountainview, and Coxheath Elementary.
The ASD Consultant attended a Department of Education PEAAT (Provincial Education Autism Advisory Team) meeting on Friday, Feb 26th. As a result of that meeting a training opportunity for three members of our Autism team will be available in April and will add to the strategies promoted and used within our board with students with ASD.
Student Services consultants met with the Coordinator of Student Services to Update interview questions for teaching jobs in Student Services and are reviewing qualifications and job descriptions for those positions. Plans to update the website are set for next Month.
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