Happy New Year! I sincerely hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas Break – Welcome Back!
This month, January 17th actually, represents the completion of my first year as full-time Superintendent of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. It’s been an adventure, a challenge and indeed an honour and thrill to be Superintendent of this wonderful School Board. I must express my gratitude to the elected school board members for their support over the past year and certainly their patience and indulgence with me as I progressed throughout the year. I would also like to acknowledge senior staff and staff in general at our offices and at the school level for their response to my leadership. They have been very receptive and supportive and focused on the needs of our students. All of our discussions and deliberations have been based on respect, collaboration and responsiveness to the goals entrenched in our Business Plan.
These are tumultuous economic times we are in, and I firmly believe we are committed to the students of our board who will keep us moving in the right direction as we forge ahead in the coming year.
I would like to concentrate this month on the vital role of our School Advisory Councils. The SAC is a legally recognized body comprised of the principal and representatives of parents, teachers, students, support staff and community members who work together to enhance the quality of education provided at a school (Education Act, S-20).
The fundamental purpose of the Council is to advise the school principal using a collaborative process of shared decision making that will improve student learning and student achievement. The SAC operates under a letter of agreement negotiated with the School Board and the Department of Education which outlines its composition and respective responsibilities. It also establishes a set of bylaws to govern the operation of the council.
Responsibilities of an SAC:
In fulfilling its responsibilities, it is important that members, or Council as a whole, do not:
You can become a member of the SAC by being elected by your peers. The SAC by-laws usually set the length of terms and timing of elections. Please notify your school if you are interested in becoming a member of your School Advisory Council.
Primary Registration was held this month during the week of January 16th – 20th. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has seen a usual decline in enrolments in the area of 500 – 600 for the past ten years. We hope to get our numbers sooner this year to begin planning for next year. I expect the decline to continue for the next year; however, hopefully not as drastic as the past number of years. The government of Nova Scotia is supposed to announce our budget numbers for 2012-2013. They still plan to maintain their ‘Back To Balance’ strategy for the upcoming year. This will mean budget reductions which we must grapple with for the second year in a row. This coupled with our reduced primary registration causes much stress on our budget and thus a significant challenge to continue to offer the same level of programming for our students. Our continued goal is to provide optimal programming for all students within the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.
We await the actual numbers before decisions can be made. We expect to receive our numbers no later than February 8, 2012. We also expect to hear the ‘Education Plan’ of this government the week prior to the budget numbers. This plan will respond to the ‘Levin Report’ and other issues as we move forward in this twenty-first century.
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 placed on individual school websites. 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 these important communications are kept up-to-date.
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