I would like to begin my report this month by recognizing the contributions of the former, outgoing members of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board. Darlene Morrison, former chair of the Board along with Charlie Keagan, Cathi Pierrard and Darren MacNeil, have all provided exemplary and dedicated service to the students, schools and staff of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board. Their terms of office ranged from one term to five terms. Each offered unique and valuable characteristics and abilities, yet all had one common goal, and that was to serve the students of their jurisdiction and the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board in general. I know I speak for other Board members, staff, students, parents and community when I express gratitude for their contributions. Personally, I want to thank Darlene, Charlie, Cathi and Darren for their support to me as Superintendent of Schools. I wish each of you all the best.
The Minister of Education announced on September 27th that the Province would provide more teachers to “ensure class sizes for the youngest students remain at the lowest level in a generation.” More teachers will mean smaller class sizes in grades primary to three. The class size cap for grades primary to three will be reduced from 29 to 25. For the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board, 13 schools including Brookland, Coxheath, Cusack, Glace Bay Elementary, Greenfield, Harbourside, J.B. Croak, Jubilee, Riverside, Seton, St. Joseph’s, St. Anne’s, and Sydney River have been given additional teachers to bring their classes to 25. The Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board provided four of these teachers and the remaining 11 came from the Province. We appreciate the support of Minister Jennex and the government in reducing these class size caps in these lower grade levels. Reducing class sizes will mean changes to class make-up and affects other schools because of the movement of teachers and contractual obligations. We will work with schools to make this transition to smaller classes as effective and seamless as possible. At the end of the day, 15 teachers have been added to our early elementary classes and these highly motivated and dedicated teachers will enhance to quality of education that we offer our students.
October is Mi’kmaq History Month and this year’s theme is Msit Nokmaq – “All My Relations”. Schools organize various activities, events, speakers and other initiatives and special performances to celebrate this wonderful heritage. I salute all our schools for their strong support and recognition of our Mi’kmaq students and their communities.
October 26th is Provincial Professional Development Day sponsored by the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union and their professional associations. Many of our teachers participate in these PD days that provide expertise in their specialized area. The Nova Scotia School Administrators’ Conference was held at the Holiday Inn in Sydney and was sponsored by the Cape Breton Local of the School Administrators’ Association. The theme was “Leadership: Opening the Door, Unlocking the Potential” and speakers included were Laurie Graham and Charles MacDonald. Many of our administrators and others from across the province attended this conference and kudos to all who helped organize this event.
I would like to recognize Ms. Cathy Viva, Coordinator of Programs (7-12), who was awarded the Dr. M.A. Mian Award this month at the “Living with Mental Illness Conference” in Sydney, sponsored by the Cape Breton District Health Authority. Cathy has been a long-time advocate and supporter of students with special needs including mental illness. The award was established in 2007 to honour the memory of Dr. M.A. Mian who was dedicated to improving the lives of people living with mental illness.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to direct your attention, and that of the board members and staff, to 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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