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Sections > Programs and Student Services Report > PSS Report: November, 2012
PSS Report: November, 2012
Published by Marjorie Sawchuk [Marjorie Sawchuk] on 11/14/2012 (2218 reads)
PSS Report: November, 2012

Cathy MacNeil, Coordinator

Early Literacy
Language Arts Consultant P-12 Audrey Kyte-Murphy

Teachers new to Elementary are continuing to receive support during after school meetings, peer visitation arrangements, and mentoring support days.

Site teams are receiving professional development as teachers continue with the implementation of the Writing Continuum developed in 2011-2012. Working with the English Language Arts Consultant, John Bernard Croak and Glace Bay Elementary completed their continuum this month using their students’ writing samples in the continuum. Several more schools will be involved in November.

Key messages regarding Writing P-6 were distributed to all teachers in the CBVRSB. The messages focus on end-of-year grade level goals for writing, a P-6 conventions framework for all schools, and a writing map focused on the various genres of writing to be focused on at each grade level.

The Early Literacy Intervention, Succeeding in Reading, is moving into a second block. This block will once again involve grade one students who will be assessed and daily reading intervention will begin with the students needing this support for an extended period of time (up to 18 weeks based on their needs). Early Literacy Teachers attended a half day of professional development on October 19.

The Department of Education continues to send a number of resources to teachers at all grade levels to support programming in English Language Arts.

Grade eight teachers who teach English will attend a professional development session November 2, 2012. It will primarily focus on engaging readers and writers through the use of the new resource, Nelson Literacy 8, and how it can be used to develop literacy strategies to support students participating in the provincial literacy assessment which is new to grade eight this year.

Craig Seward, Literacy Mentor for grades 7-12, continues to support classroom teachers regarding literacy strategies in English and other content areas.

The addition of fifteen classroom teachers at P-3 this month will enable students to receive more support within the classroom setting and thus enhance their growth as learners in all subject areas.

Mathematics Consultant P-12, Marlene Urquhart

October has quickly passed us by and both Marlene Urquhart and Michelle MacAulay, Math Coach, continue to visit schools and meet with teachers. Michelle has been working with teachers at various schools and has focused on pedagogy and assessment. Both Marlene and Michelle continue to support schools with their accreditation process’ through developing assessments, interpreting data and supporting best practices to achieve the goals of each school. We attended staff meetings at Mira Road and Boularderie Elementary.

At the last Principal’s meetings, Cathy MacNeil, Lynn Crawford and Marlene Urquhart shared the results for EEMLA and EMLA. We saw improvement in both grades three and six results but made significant gains in grade three. This improvement in math scores is directly attributed to the work Arlene Andrecyk and Marlene Urquhart did with grade three teachers last year. We focused on early math intervention, pedagogy and assessment and high expectations for our students. The principals have been very supportive in our effort to raise our math scores and the teachers have been dedicated to the process. This was a real celebration for all involved. Marlene and Michelle continue to work diligently on this process. Marlene also discussed the implementation schedule of the new mathematics curriculum and the professional development that will occur for principals. The principal professional development will focus on the rationale for the curriculum change and provide opportunities for active participation in sessions that focus on key mathematical concepts. How to recognize and support best teaching practices will also be discussed.

Provincial Mathematics Advisory Groups are being established to ensure teacher input into the process and implementation of mathematics assessments in grades four, six and eight. There are representatives from each board on the provincial committees and the following teachers have been selected to represent the CBVRSB. They are as follows: Grade 4 Advisory -Evelyn Cooke (Robin Foote), Stacey Barrie (Florence Elementary);

Grade 6 – Marilyn MacDonald (Harbourside Elementary). These teachers have all shown leadership in the area of mathematics and we are very fortunate to have their expertise at the provincial table. We are well represented.

Dr. Lisa Lunney, Professor of Education at St. F.X. University contacted Marlene regarding the new program being offered by the university. It is a Certificate Program in Elementary Mathematics. We have enough CBVRSB teachers to support our own cohort which began on Saturday, October 20th.

The implementation for the new mathematics curriculum is progressing and draft versions for P-3 have been developed. Marlene attended meetings with the Provincial Mathematics Implementation Team and professional development for our teachers is being finalized. Our board is planning to start providing this professional development in January 2013.

Arts Education Consultant, Lesley Ann Andrews

Celtic Colours concerts took place in some of our secondary schools across the island as part of the Celtic Colours International Music Festival. Further programming for elementary schools will take place in May 2012 as part of Gaelic Awareness month.

Thirty-two scholarships were awarded to students to assist with instrument purchases, rentals and/or lessons from the Giant radio station music grant. This is a huge help to students and parents and we once again extend a thanks to Newcap for this support.

Our music performance groups are busy preparing for numerous Remembrance Day services in our schools and communities.

On November 7th, the Department of Education will provide materials and professional development to Grade four teachers within our board on new ArtsLinks resources.

Cape Breton University’s drama department will provide an opportunity to nine high school students to participate in improvisation, workshopping, and other collective creation techniques to write an original script, designed to showcase Shakespeare through a reality-style show. This show will then tour schools in the fall of 2013.

Library Services Consultant, Carmelita Shea

Professional Development:

As November 30, 2012 approaches, plans are in the works for the System Wide In-service. Library Technicians will be at the Staff Development Centre and will be having various sessions throughout the day. Ray Fernandez, Education Media Librarian, Nova Scotia Department of Education, will be providing the staff with a glimpse at a new initiative centering around educational portals which includes access to the online database EBSCO.

Reading Challenges 2012-2013:

The rules/guidelines for the upcoming challenge will be forwarded to all principals and library staff very shortly. This year, both the junior high and the elementary competitions will be happening during the same time frame. This lengthens the challenge for the junior high students but alleviates some of the concerns with exams, winter carnival, March break, etc. Last year over 6000 students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board participated in the challenges. The goal this year is to reach the 8000 mark. Fundraising is planned for the near future with a Literacy Day at Wal-Mart.

NSALT Conference 2012:

Several Library Technicians of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board will be attending the NSALT Conference “Building Better Communities” in Halifax on October 25-26. Margie Moore, Library Technician at Sydney Academy, will once again act as the parliamentarian during the Annual General Meeting. Sessions on leadership, teen programming, reader’s advisory emerging technologies, etc., will available for the delegates to attend. No library conference would be complete without an author read; hence, James Leck, author of “The Adventures of James Lime”, will discuss his work in mysteries and thrillers.

Library Orders/Budget 2012-2013:

Schools have submitted their selections for purchase for their respective libraries, and there is much anticipation for the arrival of these resources. This year, ALL school were very cooperative in submitting their selections on time as not to delay the consolidated order from going to the wholesaler for a quote. This resulted in the requisitions being completed approximately two weeks earlier than in previous years. Hopefully this will mean a quicker turnaround time for the arrival of books/resources.

Cape Breton University Press:

Mike Hunter, CBU Press, has presented copies of “Honour Roll of the Nova Scotia Overseas Highland Brigade” written by W. James MacDonald, which will be distributed to our school libraries free of charge. This book’s arrival is timely as we approach Remembrance Day in November. Mr. Hunter also wishes our assistance in getting copies of this book sent to other schools across the province. A meeting early in November will finalize the details for this deed of generosity.

School Visitations:

Carmelita Cechetto-Shea, Library Consultant, is currently visiting schools with new library staff assignments as well as new principals to the consolidated ordering process to assist in the understanding of the library program in the CBVRSB. These visits will continue throughout the year as needed. To date, seven sites are completed with six remaining. Visitation to the remaining schools will be completed prior to Christmas break.

Teachers’ Resource Centre:

Circulation has increased in areas of DVDs, assessment kits and reading boxes. The location of the Resource Centre near both the board rooms and the computer lab help to facilitate increased usage of materials.

Active Healthy Living Consultant, Mary Lou Andrea

The GirlsPlay2 Northside hockey program was highlighted in the Hockey Nova Scotia Female Hockey Guide. This guide was sent out to all hockey associations throughout the province. The program will be staring its fifth year in November and runs until April. It is free of charge for females in grades 3-6 on the Northside and takes place on Fridays at the Sydney Mines Rink. This year the girls will have an opportunity to share the ice with the University of Cape Breton female hockey team who will come over a couple times during the season for clinics.

The Health Promoting Grants have been very popular this year with 25 schools making an application for funding. Both Mary Lou Andrea and Debbie Madore visited each site to discuss the grants. This was a very positive experience for both groups. Every school presented a unique concept of increasing the student’s physical activity as well as providing opportunities for fresh fruit and vegetable consumption.

Nutrition for Learning, Dietician Debbie Madore

Breakfast and/or snack programs are up and running in all schools. Finding volunteers continues to be a challenge but programs are moving forward with the volunteers that are there. With rising produce prices, particularly apples that are up 40% in price since June 2012, I have been working hard with Ideal for better pricing and variety. Schools have been receiving pears which are better priced and a great change for the students.

I have had the opportunity to visit schools that have applied for Health Promoting Schools funding with Mary Lou Andrea , Active Healthy Living Consultant. We received applications from 26 schools with a total request for funding around $80,000. At this time, the visits are completed and letters confirming funding approvals should be out by the end of October. Common themes we hear in schools include a need for more physical activity equipment and resources, and that the children are hungry.

During October 1-3, I participated in three days of meetings in Tatamagouche with the Nourish Nova Scotia Board. The three days were spent planning the upcoming year long tasks to move Nourish forward to support nutrition programs for Children and Youth.

During the week of Oct 23-26 I will be attending the National Childhood and Adolescent Obesity Conference in Halifax. I have been asked to Host a table over lunch to share how the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is coordinating Breakfast Programs.

Cathy Viva, Coordinator

Mathematics Consultant (P-12) – Marlene Urquhart

Marlene Urquhart and Michelle MacAulay, Math Coach, have been supporting OVEC and MacLennan with their math accreditation goals. Both schools have identified the needs of their students and are putting a plan of action in place to successfully achieve their math goals. Michelle continues to work with junior high teachers of various schools in our board.

Marlene Urquhart, Janet Briggs (Literacy Consultant), Sheila Kublek (Assistive Tech/ESP) and Genevieve Richardson(Student Services) visited Cabot High on October 17th to provide support to teachers. Marlene met with all math teachers and had good discussions with them regarding their classroom concerns.

In response to the grade eight Mathematics Assessment results, grade eight teachers were invited to a professional development day held on Monday, October 22nd. A new yearly plan was developed to ensure that the outcomes were met for the course and the specifications for the provincial were aligned with the plan. We also did a session on preparing assessments and the importance of cumulative testing. Types of assessments were discussed as well as levels of questions. Grade eight teachers in attendance were also involved in activities that supported areas of concern for our grade eight students. It was decided that we would develop an assessment that could be used as a check-up to evaluate our yearly math eight plan and to see how our students are progressing. The January assessment piece will be corrected during a grade eight marking session which will occur in January/early February. Cathy Viva dropped into to show support for our grade 8 teachers and the work they are doing.

A memo to junior high principals was sent to all Principals regarding Math On Olympiad. So far the following schools have expressed interest in participating: Dr. T.L. Sullivan, Malcolm Munroe, Sydney Mines and the host school and winners of last year’s competition - Whitney Pier Memorial Jr. High. We need two more schools to join so that we can have a full competition. Marlene and Gloria Farmakoulas, Co-Chair, have met and are in the beginning stages of preparing for the competition which will occur in April 2013. This is a wonderful and fun opportunity for young people to get involved in mathematics.

Marlene continues to participate in the Provincial Mathematics Implementation Team meetings held in Halifax at the Department of Education. The Grade ten curriculum has been discussed as has the mathematics pathways for students. The new grade ten program will begin in September 2013.

Principals and Senior High Mathematics Department Heads were consulted and it was decided that we would have a common grade twelve mathematics assessment provided by Evaluation Services, Department of Education. This exam will be marked by classroom teachers.

Vocational Programs Consultant – Ken Collier

Memorial High will once again host the Skills Nova Scotia Competitions on March 26th, 2013. These competitions give our students the opportunity to showcase their skills, and possibly represent our province at the national competitions. Plans are underway to expand our competitions to include the provincial welding competition. Staff is presently in the process of completing the scopes and competition projects.

The dust collection systems in our school are finally operational. The technical difficulties have been addressed and we are only waiting for a few deficiencies to be rectified. The Operations staff has been excellent trying to repair the problems and getting these systems operational. Now we can deliver the curriculum without the constant disruptions for dust cleanup. Thanks to everyone involved.

Plans are still underway to bring our grade nine feeder schools to our school. These tours bring student awareness of the assortment of programs that are offered at Memorial High. It also allows students to know what we expect of them in their grade nine year when it comes to applying to one of our Skilled Trades/Technical Programs. Plans have also started to bring students from the other grade nine schools to our school as well.

Representatives from Seaboard Industrial have completed our fit-testing of students who need to wear respirators in certain shops for specific tasks. This fit-testing allow students to wear a properly fitted respirator for proper protection. Safety first!!!

On October 29th, a number of students will participated in “Techshop” at the NSCC Marconi Campus. This activity sponsored by Skills Canada-Nova Scotia, invites students to learn more about careers available in the skilled trades and technologies industries. Students have the opportunity to try out three different careers from a selection of nine. Students are looking forward to this day.

Representatives from the insurance carrier with the Student Insurance Program were in our school mid-October to carry out an inspection of our school. Indications were that the inspection went very well. We look forward to seeing the report.

A number of vocational staff has completed their First Aid and CPR recertification in late September. As always, the safety of our staff and students is paramount, and we need to stay current in our training. We look forward to having more training completed with other staff members in the near future.

Project Manager – Nova Scotia International Students – Tammy Sampson

The month of October brought forth several activities for the NSISP students. Several of the communities and schools hosted Halloween and Fall activities for the students including visits to Louisbourg, hiking along the Cabot Trail, and Halloween parties. We also had a total of ten CBVRSB students attend the NSISP cultural trips to Toronto.

Commitments for extensions were due on the 25th. We have had two students extend from three to five months and four students extend from five to ten months for a total of six extensions.

To date, we have thirteen new student applications for February intake.

The homestay coordinators have been busy interviewing new families and preparing for upcoming student activities.

The EAL teachers have been meeting regularly and plans are under way for presentations at the Nov. 30th conference.

Tammy Sampson took part in a recruiting visit to Brazil from October 12-26th. The visit took place in two states and seven cities focusing on multiple offices of several of our key agencies in Brazil. Activities included, school and classroom presentations, parent meetings, agent visits, agent training and public presentations.

Community-Based Learning/Options & Opportunities (O2) - Rhonda Smith, Consultant

Co-operative Education:

The province has invested more funding for the expansion and introduction of co-operative education programs. The announcement was made by Deputy Premier Frank Corbett, October 5, at Glace Bay High. For CBVRSB, schools like Breton Education Centre and Glace Bay High can now offer co-op to students outside of their O2 program. Baddeck Academy will introduce co-op for the first time this year. The province continues to support the successful co-op programs at Sydney Academy, Riverview and Memorial High.

Parent comment: “I didn’t realize that it would actually change the course of his life. This program opened the door to the world of trades that he had previously no knowledge.”

Employer comments: “As an employer I am always looking for new & energetic talent. Through the co-op program, I am able to identify potential candidates who are up for the challenge of the workplace because they have chosen to pursue work experience in my area. For the student, the opportunity to obtain “real world“ experience enables them to work towards their goals with the foundation of applicable skills laid out through participation in the program. This is a winning combination for the student and me.”

Employer comment: “We were fortunate to have a grade twelve student join our team on 4B at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital for her co-op placement. She became a part of our team. She was engaged in learning about patient care planning and discharge planning. The staff enjoyed having her because she was passionate, had great communication skills and wanted to learn.”

Student comment: “My experience was unforgettable. The people I worked with helped me every possible way. And even though I was a girl, they didn’t treat me any different. I worked hard to prove myself.” (Building Futures student, summer co-op)

School Visits:

Department of Education’s Community Based Learning and Youth Pathways and Transitions Coordinators, along with the Community-based learning consultant, visited all the co-op and O2schools in the Board on October 16, 17 and 18. This gives the department an opportunity to see the effective program delivery in the schools. It gives the schools the opportunity to highlight their successes and to identify any challenges. One highlight was hearing how some of Cabot High’s O2 students completed their co-op placements at the Keltic Lodge. The Manager and his staff provided the opportunity for students to explore every aspect of operating a tourist resort from front desk clerk, housekeeping, working with the chef and dining-room preparation, to developing promotional material and preparing for big events such as a weddings and conferences.

Professional Development:

The Co-op and O2 teachers will participate in a professional development session on November 6. The sessions will include Power School: A guide for Co-op and O2 teachers; Co-op and Career Planning Moodles.

French Programs Consultant- Laurie MacIntosh

One of French Second Language initiatives to be highlighted this year within the CBVRSB is the expansion of our “classes expérimentales” (neurolinguistic approach to second language learning). Our board currently has five official classes as well as three non-official classes. Due to the success of this approach, a new cohort of teachers will be formed. Teachers who have expressed an interest in taking part will meet on November 15 at Shipyard Elementary School. A series of four professional development days will follow with the first tentatively scheduled for December 5th. Facilitators for the P.D. sessions include Ms. Elaine Melanson, Consultant French Second Language Programs, Nova Scotia Department of Education, Laurie MacIntosh, French Consultant and Celeste Foisy Lahey, Literacy Support Lead Teacher.

Gérald Félix, Director of French Second Language of the Nova Scotia Department of Education visited our board on October 22 and 23. He met with Ms. Susan Kelley as well as visited with two teachers (Natalie MacIssac, George D Lewis and Lindy Oliver, Whitney Pier Memorial Jr. High) of the “classes expérimentales” to observe the students engaged in the new approach. Mr. Félix is tentatively scheduled to return to our board to carry out evaluations of French Special Projects on November 20th and 21st.

A full day inservice for Riverview High French Language Arts PLC will be held on November 1st at Riverview. The focus of the session will be incorporating the “cadre commun” into the grade ten and eleven French Language Arts classes, improving continuity/building on outcomes as well as evaluation strategies to improve oral production.

Upcoming initiatives for French Second Language:

  • A meeting of grade six Intensive Core French teachers at Shipyard School (November 1, 3-5:00 pm)
  • Training session for full-time Language Assistants (November 14-16 in Charlottetown, PEI)
  • Presentation to pre-service French teachers and Dr. Maureen Finlayson of Cape Breton University on November 26. Facilitators will be Laurie MacIntosh and Celeste Foisy Lahey who will present strategies on teaching the neurolinguistic approach as well as an overview of CBVRSB’s French Second Language Program

Lynn Crawford, Coordinator

October 17 -19 I had the pleasure of attending the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Symposium and Awards Ceremony in Halifax. The three days featured interesting keynote speakers and various workshops. A few of the workshops I attended include: Comparative Perspectives on Inclusive Education Strategies, Multiculturalism, Faith and Competing Human Rights, and Best Practices in Youth Dialogues and Civic Engagement. All of these sessions have provided me with materials that will assist with my role as Coordinator of RCH.

The First Lego League team sponsored by the Imhotep Legacy Academy began meeting at Harbourside Elementary. Marlene Urquhart, Mathematics Consultant, has volunteered to be the coach and will receive assistance from Michelle, Mathematics mentor and Shaun Parris, Student Support Worker. The program will also have students from Whitney Pier Memorial Jr. High to serve as mentors to the Harbourside students. The students will conduct research; build robots out of Legos and present at the local competition in November.

Expanding Cultural Competence: Responding to the Lives of our Students November 30th professional development day planning is going well. Jim McNeil recently uploaded the presenter’s registration form online. Presenters are completing the form on the RCH webpage and the information is immediately forwarded to us. Users complimented on the form being user friendly and professionalism of the process. A special thank you to Jim for his assistance in making this idea a reality. Once the presenters’ forms are all submitted the teacher’s registration form will be placed online for all teachers and principals to register for two workshops.

Student Support Workers

The Student Support Workers have been busy finalizing their schedules and confirming student numbers. On-going monitoring of student progress and daily support continues each day. Planning for the four major SSW events has begun; these activities include Black Reflections Art Gallery, Africentric Elementary Conference, Exchange Program, and Honoring Grade 12's celebration.

Mi’kmaq Consultant, Marjorie Graves

This month started out with travelling to Millbrook to attend the 2nd annual Mi'kmaq Heritage Month Teacher's Conference. The highlight of this conference including making my own traditional Mi'Kmaq drum and walking a medicine trail walk. I was able to network with many different people throughout the province.

I have also been very busy visiting lots of schools throughout the board, to introduce myself personally to the Principals. I have gone to about 35 different schools. I have dropped off some resources to some schools, which have included posters as well as lesson plans.

I have also given a professional development session to Cape Smokey Elementary on incorporating Mi'kmaq culture into the curriculum. I brought along with me many resources to show the staff some ideas on resources they could purchase to enrich their Library selection.

I have also been helping to work on the PD planning committee for November 30th. Lastly, I have been planning a visit to the Membertou Heritage Park for Shipyard and a Powwow for Sherwood Park Education Center.

Literacy Support Consultant/Coach, Janet Briggs

The month opened with the provincial assessments in all grades three and six classes in the board. Things seemed to go smoothly and hopefully our students will do well. The local correcting session will occur early next month. Craig Seward and I, along with many of our local teachers, will be involved in this process.

With the elementary assessments completed, our focus switched to the junior high. Craig and I spent time revising the literacy support process at this level. We sorted the grade six assessment data and located which junior high school each student was currently attending. We decided that in order to make the data more useful we would indicate in which specific areas the students did not meet. For example, instead of simply saying that a student did not meet in reading and writing, we now say that the student did not meet in literary prose, info text and matters of correctness. This easily accessible data should help teachers to provide more specific assistance to meet each child’s area of need.

In addition, we made slight revisions to Whole Class Plans to make them current and more user- friendly. We updated the English Language Arts plan and created content- area specific plans for Science and Social Studies. The Whole Class Plans also now include an organizer that teachers can use as a tracking tool to monitor the progress of students identified as requiring literacy support. This will be helpful for teachers to consult when they are completing the individual Summary of Student Progress forms. We also revised the Summary of Student Progress forms. Teachers use this form to record strategies that they used for a specific student based on student’s needs. The change involved replacing an inefficient progress code with mid-year anecdotal comments on student progress. We also provided samples of completed forms to model how literacy strategies can be used to provide assistance tailored to specific student needs. It is our hope that the changes will encourage teachers to reflect on what is working for the student and plan for next steps with regards to literacy support. At the end of each school year, the Summary of Student Progress forms will include a wealth of information that will help the receiving teacher to plan for continued literacy support.

In order to effectively communicate the changes to the process, Craig and I went to each school with junior high students and walked an administrator or lead teacher through the process. At this time, we also brought the grade seven Summary of Student Progress binders and updated the grade eight and nine binders. The changes were well received and a refresher of the overall process was appreciated.

Craig and I also met with Audrey Murphy to plan for an upcoming professional development session for all grade eight English Language Arts teachers regarding the Nelson Literacy 8 program. An hour of that day has also been put aside for me to provide information about the literacy component of the new provincial grade eight assessment. I will also be providing the teachers with a package of reading comprehension and writing material that they can use to help students to prepare for the assessment.

Brad MacNeil provided Craig and me with support to begin a Literacy Moodle on the board website. Whole Class Plans and Summary of Student Progress forms will be available on Moodle for those teachers that would like to complete them electronically. We will we continue to work with Brad throughout the year to further develop this valuable teacher resource.

Throughout the month Craig continued to meet with teachers to provide literacy support as requested. We will also be providing support for teachers that would like further assistance using the Nelson program or other programs to deliver literacy support. In addition, we hope to begin work on creating a conventions framework at junior high level. This framework will help to address an overall board need in the area of matters of correctness. I am looking forward to another busy and productive month.

Cathy Boudreau, Coordinator

During this month, the Coordinator of Student Services continued to meet with various groups within the department. On October 3, a meeting was held with the leaders of the crisis teams for the school board to update team rosters and discuss issues related to crisis intervention; on October 12, a meeting was held with school board psychologists and speech-language pathologists; on October 18, a meeting was held with the two community outreach workers (job sharing) associated with the Schools Plus Program, and also on the 18, this Coordinator received SAP Training from the Coordinator of Finance, Sandra Burke, and on October 19, the Coordinator met with the ASD Consultant. The Schools Plus steering committee meeting was attended in Halifax on October 5.

The Coordinator of Student Services co-planned the two day Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling Program Training offered by the Guidance Consultant with the Department of Education with the Coordinator of Student Services from the Strait Regional School Board, as well as attended the two day training session on October 29 and 30. This allowed the Coordinator to meet guidance counsellors she had not previously met, to address a few of their questions and to support the new counselling guidelines being presented by the department.

On October 31, the Coordinator and Student Services Consultant met with the LD Lead Team to consider ideas for the LD Grant proposal for the 2012-2013 school year. This was a highly collaborative process which will result in a comprehensive proposal to the Department of Education that reflects our school board's desire to continue to provide educational and practical supports to representative teachers of learning disabled students and school principals.

The Coordinator also assisted with the interviewing of Schools Plus Facilitator candidates, as well as candidates for the new elementary positions and the fall down positions resulting from those positions being filled, as well as for vacant student services positions. All Programs and Student Services meetings (PSS meetings) held in October were attended by this Coordinator. Two separate meetings with student services personnel were held to explore how TIENET can be utilized to support the Special Class Placement process for our board (October 11 and 19). Work in this area will continue to ensure that the process is finalized prior the time when the Special Class Survey process commences, usually in January or February of each school year.

This Coordinator has visited the following schools during the month (for PPT meetings, school meetings, and/or to drop in and establish how central office staff can continue to support schools): Sydney Academy, East Bay Elementary, Bras d'Or Elementary, Brookland Elementary, Saint Anne's Elementary, Sherwood Park Education Centre, and Jubilee Elementary. The SAA Conference was attended on October 26, provincial in-service day. In addition, the Coordinator continues to address parent inquiries and concerns and school staff inquiries. The Coordinator maintains regular contact with members of the core Student Services Team to process referrals for service, to follow up on cases, and to consider TA needs for students. It has been a very busy and productive month in Student Services.

Student Services Consultant, Genevieve Richardson

October was another busy month with a number of TA requests and classroom observations. The Coordinator of Student Services had received a number of teacher assistant referrals through the TIENET information system.

Having the referrals going directly to the Coordinator of Student Services, through TIENET information system, seems to help to expedite this whole process. A number of classroom observations were conducted to determine if there was significant evidence to support the school’s referral for request for additional teacher assistant support. Both the Coordinator of Student Services and the Coordinator of Human Resources requested that school teacher assistant schedules be reviewed to see if there was any time in these schedules to accommodate the request for teacher assistant support. In many instances, we were able to find time in the school’s teacher assistant schedules to support their requests. In other instances, other supports may have been recommended to try, such as: visual supports, time timers, a break-out room, etc., and in some instances, additional teacher assistant support was recommended and brought forward for consideration.

Supported various schools with their teacher assistant schedules so they could try to maximize their current teacher assistant complement to accommodate more students who required teacher assistant support.

Helped to coordinate gifted and talented support for some students and teachers in our Board. Various school program planning teams put referrals in the TIENET information system for gifted and talented support. Once approved by the Coordinator of Student Services, members of our Gifted and Talented lead team visited the schools to help support these students and their teachers with the strategies, etc.

Attended and supported a number of schools with transition meetings, program planning meetings and IPP meetings.

Supported the Home Assistance Support teacher with scheduling of students and attended some program planning meetings regarding some of the students on her case load.

Supported some Student Services teachers and regular classroom teachers with some programming support for their students, some IPP support, some TIENET support, transitioning planning support, program planning support, etc.

Met with some members of the Special Class placement committee and Sheila Kublek to work on ways that the TIENET information system can be used to support our students who are transitioning to special class placements in our Board.

Met with the Coordinator of Student Services and the Learning Disabilities lead team to discuss a planned proposal for the LD grant the Board receives from the Department of Education.

ASD Consultant – Louise Smith

Throughout the month of October, the ASD consultant continued to provide support with respect to development and implementation of programming for new and returning students diagnosed with ASD. Support involved program development as part of the PPT process, and classroom based program implementation and training with respect to visual supports and specialized programs. School/classroom based training, in consultation with the school’s PPT, has proven to be an effective way of building capacity for programming for students with special needs at the school level.

Emphasis during the month of October was placed on support/training for students and staff in established STAR (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research) sites. School and classroom based support involved program development with respect to the STAR curriculum, program development to support generalization of skills learned as part of the STAR program, modeling and coaching with respect to implementation of the program and use of its instructional strategies (emphasis on discrete trial) and consultation with teachers and program planning teams with respect to development of Individual Program Plans (IPP). Schools receiving STAR support included Jubilee Elementary, Rankin School of the Narrows, Coxheath Elementary, Sydney River Elementary and North Highlands Elementary.

Planning and organization of a professional development session focusing on healthy sexuality and adaptive skills for individuals with autism and asperger’s syndrome has been ongoing throughout the month of October. Dr. Isabelle Henault (Montreal) will be providing a full day professional development session in CBVRSB on November 19th at the Northside Staff Development Center. CBVRSB has collaborated with the Strait Regional and South Shore Regional School Boards to fund presentations in each board and bring Dr. Henault to Nova Scotia. Dr. Henault’s presentation and curriculum will provide an important contribution to the development of a comprehensive social skills program for students in CBVRSB. This programming has been identified as a priority for the Board’s ASD lead team for the 2012-13 school year.

Head Psychologist, Maureen Clare MacDonald

I began the Head Psychologist position on September 18th, 2012. Since that time, I have met with the Coordinator of Student Services, Cathy Boudreau, on two separate occasions (September 20th& 24th). During these meetings, the questions/concerns/needs of our Psychology Team were addressed. Ms. Boudreau also brought me up to date with regard to my responsibilities as Head Psychologist, as well as new initiatives by our Board and the Department of Education.

I have chaired two half-day meetings with the Team (September 21st & October 12th). During those meetings, I shared relevant information with our psychologists, and dealt with technology needs, as well as the upcoming challenges we are facing with regard to personnel shortages and needs of all schools. We developed a plan to cover thirteen schools that are currently without their psychologists, due to maternity leaves and job changes. I drew up the revised circuits and forwarded them to our Team, all speech-language pathologists, and our Coordinator. As we will require additional assistance, I sent a formal request for B-level assessors to our Coordinator, on behalf of the Team. We also revised our referral form for school psychology services, and this revised form is now available on the Board website.

I continue to be involved in the revision of our Consent form and, to this end, have been in contact with the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology, and have reviewed the School Psychology Guidelines. I have submitted several possible revisions to my Coordinator through e-mail. On the morning of October 12 our Team, along with the speech-language pathologists, were addressed by Cathy Boudreau and Susan Kelly. Following that meeting, I arranged an hour long PD session for our group with Susan MacDonald, early literacy teacher and coach. Ms. MacDonald explained the Succeeding in Reading program, including data compiled from last year, and the plan for 2012-2013.

During the month of October, I also attended a Consultants meeting (October 2) at the NSDC, where all in attendance spoke about their priorities for this school year. On October 11 I attended a Placement Committee meeting at Central Office, in which we dealt with the new procedures for placement in Learning Centres and LD programs with respect to TIENET. Additional activities included : canvassing our Team for psychologists who would be willing to supervise an intern from Mount St. Vincent’s School Psychology program; composing meeting summaries for our Coordinator; and setting up the formal evaluation process for three psychologists. At this point, I have begun the evaluation process for one psychologist, with the remaining two to begin in November. This will be a year long process.

Behavior Support Teacher for Students with Special Needs, Alisa Cantwell

I am pleased to report that the majority of primary students requiring transition support into school system are settling into their schools’ routines. Senior administration has provided additional TA support for students who were not being successful. This support is making a difference, as the TAs can implement the behaviour strategies/supports recommended in transition plans.

I have been able to start addressing referrals from other grades. So far this month, I have provided services to students in the following schools:

  • Mira Road (grade primary classroom)
  • Glace Bay Elementary (1 student)
  • Cusack (1 student)
  • Cape Smokey (1 student)
  • Sydney River Elementary (1 student)
  • Brookland (2 students)
  • St. Agnes (2 students)
  • Tompkins (1 student).
  • I completed PPT consultations and classroom/school observations for the above students. For the majority of the students, strategies/supports were developed, in consultation with the schools’ PPTs. For five students, I was able to model appropriate implementation of the behavior strategies/supports to teachers/TA’s. Except for the student at Tompkins, all students will require continued support over the next month.

    On October 2, I attended the Programs and Student Services meeting. It was an informative morning…especially learning about the priorities of consultations and services that I can access to address the needs of some of the students I support.

    Rick Simm, Coordinator

    SIS/IT PD Consultant, Kurt Kublek

    In Learning Management and Reporting (LMR), Mr. Kublek has been working with his provincial counterparts to ensure that the product requirements document is ready to go out to the public vendors. Mr.Kublek has had the opportunity to view other presentations of companies that could potentially meet the project’s requirements.

    In Powerschool, Mr.Kublek and his team, consisting of Brad MacNeil and Gina Tubrett, have been active doing onsite professional development with teachers. The PD has been has been primarily centered on the functionality of the gradebook and how things in the gradebook will present in the student-parent portal which will be open and accessible for all parents by mid-November when the first report cards of the year go home to parents. The portal is fully implemented in fourteen of the board’s schools and we have already seen nearly 45,000 sign-ins by parents/students.

    With the launch of the portal Mr. Kublek hosted a PD session for principals at the Staff Development Center to go over all aspects of the portal. The session was well attended and many questions were asked and answered.

    Mr.Kublek has been busy testing report cards for the first report cards of the year. Since last year the provincial reporting templates have changed and the provincial project team has divided the task of testing the reports before they are put into the production environments.

    Assistive Technology/TIENET Consultant, Sheila Kublek

    Throughout the month of October there has been a great deal of Tienet support provided at the school level. The month began with a Tienet professional development session held at Glace Bay Elementary for the school’s Learning Monday. The focus of that session was the role of the classroom teacher in Tienet. Many schools have requested on-site support, more so to determine if they are implementing Tienet appropriately with their program planning practices. I am very happy to report that the schools I have visited are using Tienet effectively and have been able to meld their program planning practices to the Tienet product. The Tienet provincial facilitators, along with a programmer from Maximus, continue to have bi-weekly conference calls to track the progress of Tienet and to keep the system and schools up to date.

    To date I have participated in two Placement Committee meetings where we are looking at utilizing the data in Tienet to assist with program placement for the 2013-2014 school year. A plan has been developed on how Tienet data will be manipulated to assist with the placement process and will begin in the very near future.

    Ongoing consultation takes place with many of the Itinerant Core Professionals (psychologists, SLPs, social workers, etc.) to make sure they are effectively using Tienet to receive referrals for their services. Much of the feedback from this group of Tienet users has been very positive. They particularly like the lack of paper work and efficiency of the communication with case managers at the school level. As well, training and support has been provided to School Services and Secondary Programs coordinators and their administrative assistants on receiving referrals for services and managing services in Tienet.

    There have been eight assistive technology assessments performed with students during the month of October. Several of these assessments required follow up visits to implement software or hardware. As well, I was able to attend several program planning team meetings to assist with the implementation of assistive technology into students’ programs.

    With the assistance of Mrs. Gina Tubrett- Crawley, I have been doing a follow-up and review of all students using netbooks / laptops, FM systems, Writers Plus and iPads/iPods. This is an extremely laborious and time consuming endeavor.

    Several members of the Kurzweil Lead Team met on October 24 to prepare for professional development on Kurzweil v. 12 Web License which was installed in all our junior high schools over the summer. This training will be provided to all junior high resource, learning disabilities and academic learning centre teachers. It will take two days to complete the necessary training for all teachers.

    Charles Sheppard, Coordinator

    Southside Learning Center (SSLC)

    Two months have passed since the launch of the new program at the center. Intake meetings have admitted a number of new students to the program with the emphasis focusing on literacy, math and technology. The SSLC has welcomed a number of new staff this year. Communication is ongoing between staff of the SSLC and the student’s home school. There will be an intake meeting in early November to admit new student to the program.

    “How Credit Work For You”

    Met with the planning committee to decide on which schools will they visit and present to. The following schools have been selected: Rankin of the Narrows, Cabot, Oceanview Education Center, Sydney Mines Junior High and MacLennan Junior High.

    How Credit Works For You, is a 30 to 45 minute presentation which provides awareness to junior and senior high students on credit and other related areas such as identity theft, budgeting and the effects that these topics have on one another. After the presentations are delivered students are given a chance to obtain a financial award by simply stating in an essay on” how the presentation prepared them for the world of credit”.

    School Liaison Officers (SLO”S)

    On Friday October 19th, 2012, I attended a meeting at Sydney Academy with the four school liaison officers and their immediate supervisors Mr. Tom Ripley and Inspector Warren MacEachern. Discussion centered on additional roles and responsibilities that they can carry out as a team at certain school events.

    Provincial Workgroup Emergency Planning (October 17, 2012)

    On Wednesday October 17th, 2012 I attended a meeting with Constable Mark Young, School Safety Advisor, Nova Scotia Department of Education and members of the provincial working group looking video surveillance, emergency measures planning and missing child protocol.

    Telephone Calls

    Received and answered a number of phone calls from schools and parents dealing with matters of bullying, suspensions and school attendance, also held meetings with those involved to resolve said issues. Also, met with school officials around two incidents, one involving a teacher assaulted by a non- student and the second involving a student on student threat with a weapon on a school bus, both incidents have been investigated by the authorities and charges laid in one of the incidents while the other incident resulted in counselling and mediation being offered to the students involved.

    CBRM/School Meeting

    Attended a meeting with school administration from Sydney Academy and Riverview along with staff from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Cape Breton Regional Police Services to discuss events that transpired at the home opener of a hockey game between Sydney Academy and Riverview in which problems arose from the apparent lack of security at the event in which crowd control was reported has non-existent and students from both schools were reported to be somewhat out of control. The meeting centered on how can the schools avoid such an incident from happening again.

    Major/Minor Incidents Reports

    Please find below charts tracking the number of Major and minor incidents reported in the CBVRSB for the month of October, 2012.

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