Mr. Ambrose White, Superintendent began with his report. He recognized 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, who 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 six 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. He spoke for other Board members, staff, students, parents and community when he expressed gratitude for their contributions. Personally, he thanked Darlene, Charlie, Cathi and Darren for their support and wished each the best.
He further advised those in attendance, that 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. He noted that the Board appreciates 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. Administration 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. He saluted all our schools for their strong support and recognition of our Mi’kmaq students and their communities.
He recognized 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.
Board Chair Lorne Green rather than presenting a report this evening provided time for the four Board members who will no longer be on the Board a time to express their thoughts.
Commissioner Keagan spoke of the students and staff in our schools and the work and support which is required to ensure that our schools are running as smoothly as possible. He further thanked administration for their continued support to our schools.
Commissioner Morrison spoke of her twenty-four years on the Board. She noted that the best interest of all the students was always her first thought. She welcomed the new Board members onboard.
Commissioner MacNeil thanked all staff and fellow board members for their assistance over the years and respect he was shown. He wished the Board good luck in the future and noted it was an honor to be a part of the Board.
Commissioner Pierrard noted she took her role as a Board member very seriously and noted she was disappointed when she lost the election. She wished the Board the best of luck and asked the Board and staff to continue the fight with the Education department for more funding for the betterment of our Board.
Commissioner Mercer followed by providing the Education Committee report which included reports from the Human Resources Department and the Programs Department.
Commissioner Parsons provided the Management Committee report which included the acceptance of a three year tender for audited services received from MGM. The Finance Department, Human Resources and Operations had provided reports which were approved.
Commissioner Pierrard moved a motion at the Management Committee meeting that the Board develop a stand-alone bullying policy which the Board gladly approved.
Mrs. Leslie Sheppard, parent of Riverside Elementary wished to thank the Board for the additional teacher for the school.
Mrs. Colleen MacKenzie, parent of Riverside Elementary also wished to express her sincere thank you for the additional teacher for the school and for the Board using their voice in order to obtain these teachers providing some schools with some wonderful numbers.
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