As the month of October comes to a close and the leaves begin to fall, we have witnessed many exciting events throughout our schools celebrating organizations that use this month to annually promote their theme or story. I would like to concentrate my report on some of the celebrations that took place in October.
October 1st was ‘Treaty Day’ and commenced with activities associated with Mi’kmaq History month. Many schools held special events to honor and applaud the ancestry, culture and contributions of the Mi’kmaq community. The theme this year was ‘A Culture to Celebrate, A Time To Share – Miwiwatmik Ta’n Tele’ltimk, I’kag Mawi-apognmatultink’. Many teachers used various instructional strategies this month, and do indeed throughout the entire year, to promote this rich history and culture and show how it helps to shape our present society and the values we cherish.
The week of October 4th – 8th was designated to promote ‘Walk To School Week’. Again, several schools planned various events to promote this theme. This coincides nicely with the ‘Active, Healthy Living’ curriculum we teach in our schools. Wednesday, October 6th, was ‘International Walk To School Day’ and several schools organized their own school walks in conjunction with this event. This is an annual event of the ‘Active & Safe Routes To School’ program. Active transportation is an effort supported by the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and other partners such as: the Heart & Stroke Foundation and the Office of Health Promotion & Protection to cite a few.
‘Fire Prevention Week’ was held during the week of October 3rd – 8th. Schools have a wonderful relationship with their local fire departments. During Fire Prevention Week, firemen visited schools, went to classes delivering fire prevention messages and distributed pencils and other gifts to the students. Students do learn to ‘stop, drop and roll’ and other fundamental messages from our fire services departments. They often do a fire drill and work with school administrators to time the drill. Firemen help out during the year at luncheons, dinners and concerts to help with traffic or are guests at these events. There certainly is a strong connection between schools and their local fire departments.
‘World Teachers’ Day’ was celebrated on Wednesday, October 5th, and we expressed our gratitude and support to all of our teachers who go beyond their day to offer the best teaching and learning environment for the students of our board.
‘School Bus Safety & Awareness Week’ was held during October 18th – 22nd. Our transportation division uses this week to highlight the safety of our students and to supply activities and presentations that support this important cause. Again, we partner with the Cape Breton Regional Police services and the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Transportation services of the municipality to co-ordinate this week. Safety information cards were distributed to schools and to the general public at police check points. Our transportation division is promoting an ‘Anti-Idling’ campaign which was launched last year at Sydney River Elementary and St. Michael’s Jr. High schools and now has expanded to other schools. New G.P.S. systems and black boxes on our buses help in this anti-idling campaign.
‘Autism Awareness’ month was also part of October. Resources and links were provided to educate people on this very important topic. An ASD fact sheet as well as a question & answer sheet were also distributed and provided valuable information on Autism Spectrum Disorder. October was also ‘Learning Disabilities Awareness’ month and workshops, resources and links were provided on their website.
The annual ‘Celtic Colors Festival’ was also part of the month of October. Concerts, workshops, kitchen parties, etc., were held which attracted thousands of visitors to our island. Some of our schools have been used to host several of these events and many performers have entertained and spoke to our students throughout this fantastic festival.
The above illustrates the monthly life of a school when it comes to dealing with various groups, agencies and partners. Our schools do a great job connecting with these groups and getting their messages to our students. Some are part of the curriculum while others are integrated into the curriculum. Individual schools often showcase a particular group while spreading the message of all groups throughout the month.
Of course, we cannot talk about October without mentioning ‘Thanksgiving’, turkey and all the trimmings. Many schools had special harvest breakfasts, luncheons or dinners. Several schools use this month as a time to collect goods and non-perishables for those in need. Staff, students, parents and school communities often make generous donations to others during this bountiful harvest season. The theme of ‘Thanksgiving’ is certainly a wonderful way to conclude this report. It is a time for schools, staff and communities to gather together and express gratitude for all we have including our freedom and our loved ones.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to direct your attention and that of the board members and staff, to read the comments from our school principals that are forwarded to you as Board Chair and are placed on our Board’s Website (www.cbv.ns.ca). These items represent the awards, achievements and successes of our students and staff within the boundaries of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. Again, I ask the principals to ensure that the Board Chair is kept abreast of these important communications.
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