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Sections > Programs and Student Services Report > PSS Report: January, 2013
PSS Report: January, 2013
Published by Marjorie Sawchuk [Marjorie Sawchuk] on 02/15/2013 (1687 reads)
PSS Report: January, 2013

PSS UpdateJanuary, 2013
Susan Kelley, Director Programs and Student Services


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

On January 24th and 25thteachers of grade two students were involved in a Professional Development Day funded by the Department on Education as part of the Succeeding in Reading Initiative. The focus of the day was “Teaching for Comprehension". All teachers of Grades P-2 participated in this professional development over the next month.

Site based professional development sessions continue for various schools as requested. Also, site based PLCs are being set up to enable teachers to review new DVD resources for P-3 from the Department of Education. Jenny Mac Lean, Brookland Elementary, and Donna Sullivan, Riverside Elementary, represented the CBVRSB in this DVD resource focused on reading and assessment.

At the provincial level, work continues on the ELA Curriculum Guide 4-6 revision.

Student resources have been ordered to support the development of reading at several grade levels P-8. They will support classroom libraries and students needing supporting reading.

As a follow-up to a Writing Conventions Framework developed at the elementary level, a team is working to develop a similar tool for junior high. This is in response to a need for this expressed by teachers and analysis of Provincial Assessment Results.

Information was provided to all schools regarding the upcoming Family Violence Prevention Week February 10-16. CBVRSB is a participating member of this planning committee, and it is hoped that schools in our Board will participate in some of the suggested activities for this week. Cusack Elementary Choir performed at the opening ceremonies at CBU on February 8 at 10:00 a.m.

The Thirty-Sixth Annual CBVRSB Public Speaking Event-sponsored in conjunction with the Cape Breton and Northside Union Locals is scheduled for April 8-17 at Memorial High School. Information is being forwarded to all schools regarding this event.

Mathematics Consultant P-12, Marlene Urquhart

In my last update, I mentioned that preparations were underway to help teachers get ready for the September 2013 implementation of the new mathematics curriculum. I am happy toreport that we have made solid progress. One hundred forty-two teachers from grade primary to grade two have received the first of two days of professional development regarding these changes. Topics discussed during the first day focused on the rationale for the change in curriculum, pedagogy and content changes for the different grades. Teachers are very excited about the upcoming changes to curriculum and look forward to the resources that come with the implementation.

The Provincial Mathematics Advisory groups for grades 4 and 6 met in Halifax in January. Our Board has been well represented on these committees. These provincial committees focus on the development of the mathematics assessments that are administered to students in grade four and grade six.

Michelle MacAulay, Mathematics Coach (P-2) and Angela Currie, teaching administrator Middle River, attended meetings in Halifax as part of a provincial evaluation team that reviewed the new mathematics resources for P-2 teachers.

Michelle continues to work with teachers through mentoring/coaching.

Arts Education Consultant, Lesley Ann Andrews

The official opening of a high school art exhibit with the theme of "Small Town Beginnings" took place on January 30th at 6 pm at Cape Breton University's Art Gallery. Students from Glace Bay High participated in this project along with a Riverview High School student doing a co-op placement at the gallery. Thank you to Laura Schneider and Sara Roth for involving students in the university gallery and for hosting this great experience.

Music students from Cusack Elementary, under the direction of Linda Bryden, performed for the opening of Family Violence Prevention Week on February 8that 10 am at Cape Breton University.

"Black Reflections Art Gallery", an exhibit of artwork featuring African Nova Scotia students, will take place at Menelik Hall from February 11th-14th.

Two workshop sessions were recently held for substitute teachers wishing to substitute on a short-term basis in music. These sessions focused on classroom music and instrumental music.

Library Services Consultant, Carmelita Shea

"Page Turner" Contest:

Malcolm Munroe Junior High hosted two writersworkshop which were sponsored in partnership by CBC Information Morning and CBU Press. Philip Roy, author of the Outlaw Submarine Series and Blood Brothers in Louisbourg, conducted the workshops on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18. Each day, twenty-five junior high students from Cape Breton Island participated in the morning sessions and created their own writings, learning techniques, skills and hints from Mr. Roy. Several students from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board participated: Donkin, Sydney Mines Junior High, Malcolm Munroe, Sherwood Park, George D. Lewis, Whitney Pier Memorial, Oceanview, Thompson and Dr. T.L. Sullivan. Students initially submitted writings and were selected to attend.

WOW Reading Challenges:

Reports at the midway point of the challenges indicate that schools with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board are enjoying their reading and are doing very well in the competition. Actual standings are not revealed until the competitions are completed, but indications are that the schools have embraced this initiative and are enjoying the joy of reading. For example, at one elementary school, a Grade 4 student has read over 300 books since the competition began in late November. More prizes are being distributed on Wednesday January 23, 2013 at the warehouse location in Florence. Several schools were recipients of Cst. John Kennedy's monthly prize bag draws. Prizes and banners will be distributed in mid-April once the results are revealed.

Board Library Committee:

On January 18, a Board Library Committee Meeting was held at the Staff Development. Those in attendance were able to begin the development of the CBVRSB Rubric for selection of books/materials for the school libraries, and in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Department of Education's “Bias Evaluation Instrument l" (April 2001). Carmelita Cechetto-Shea, CBVRSB Library Consultant and Chair of the committee gave a short presentation on "Dystopian Genre" in literature, especially with regards to young adult fiction. Several items on the agenda will be carried forward to the meeting February 20.

NSALT 2013:

A planning meeting will be held on Monday January 23, at 2:30 p.m. at Staff Development for the 2013 NSALT (Nova Scotia Association of Library Technicians) annual conference to be held this year in Baddeck on October 24-25, 2013. The CBVRSB is hosting this conference as the conference sites move around the province. CBVRSB held the first NSALT conference in Baddeck in October 2008 and was very successful. The hope is to mirror the highlights of that initial conference and provide library technicians across this province with professional development workshops that reflect their work, goals and enhancement of their library programs for the students. A Town Hall session is planned to enable brainstorming on the program in Nova Scotia, as well as ideas for moving forwardin this economic climate. This conference is the only time that library technicians around Nova Scotia get the opportunity to engage in conversation, activities with their colleagues. With lots of work to be done, all CBVRSB library technicians are urged to attend and bring their ides forth to make a successful conference experience for all.

Active Healthy Living Consultant, Mary Lou Andrea

Girls Play2 grants are in full motion with a variety of programs underway. The Northside Elementary hockey is in its fifth year with over fortygirls grades 3-6 registered. It takes place every Friday at the Sydney Mines Rink. After school dance and zumba classes are happening at Thompson Junior High. Equipment has been purchased for a girls only fitness program at Donkin Complex. This program will run atlunch time. Bridgeport School is also incorporating yoga in their school.

Plans for the 7th Annual CBVRSB/United Commercial Travelers Skating Jamboree are taking place. The Skating Races Jamboree will take place at Centre 200 in Sydney, on Saturday, March 30. The Jamboree is open to any grade primary through to grade six inclusive who wish to participate. Last year's registration approached one thousand (1,000), and the host committee is anticipating increased numbers for this year's event.

A Grade 5 Sexual Health Team has been established to look at linking grade 5 sexuality health outcomes and user friendly lessons. The team consists of the board's Active Healthy Living consultant, two guidance counselors, two grade5 classroom teachers and two Public Health nurses.

Nutrition for Learning, Dietician Debbie Madore

Health Promoting Schools grants continue to be supported for the 26 schools that were approved for funding. Schools are strongly encouraged to submit receipts for reimbursement at their earliest convenience.

Breakfast and/or snack programs continue to support learning in all schools. Canada Bread has sent notice of price increase and Scotsburn is increasing the price of orange juice. Produce prices continue to increase.

Glace Bay Elementary is continuing in its practice to have a healthy "Green Wednesday" that has a healthy snack for students and environmentally friendly containers. I had the pleasure to meet the group for this year, which is a very positive, energetic, student driven committee!!

Nutrition for Learning Committee met with new Board Members Yvonne Kennedy and Stuart Matheson on January 25. A history of the program from its inception in 1999 up to present date was provided to the membership. Looking forward to working with them.

Plans for the annual golf tournament are underway with Sydney Credit Union as the presenting partner. Denise Gallant, CUWealth and Insurance continue to participate as co-chair with Debbie Madore.

Heritage Fair 2013

Planning is underway for the Regional Heritage Fair to take place at Cape Breton University on May 2ndand 3rd. Schools with Grade 4-9 are encouraged to have students participating in this educational event that showcases projects on Canadian culture and heritage. Five projects with five students will be selected to attend the Nova Scotia Provincial Display to be held in Fisherman's Cove, Eastern Passage on May 31st, 2013.


Mathematics Consultant P-12, Marlene Urquhart

Grade 9 teachers have completed two days of professional development focused on common mathematical misconceptions that are made by students in the areas dealing with variables and linear relations. An overview of the new Mathematics 10 courses that will be offered September 2013 was presented. Teachers also spent time working on assessment items and levels of questioning. Teachers were given one copy of the student edition eBook on CD –ROM for every teacher in Grade 7, 8 and 9. The CDs were provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Education.

Work continues for the Provincial Mathematics 8 Advisory Group. Items that were field tested by students were corrected and vetted. Students from across the province will write the Reading, Writing and Mathematics 8 on from June 3rd to 6th. We have been working on a common midsession assessment for our grade 8 students. Early in the school year, grade 8 teachers met and a new yearly plan was developed. The assessment and the yearly plan will help students prepare for the assessment as well as help inform teachers' instructional plan.

A meeting was held with senior high guidance counselors to advise them of the changes that will come with the implementation of high school mathematics over the next three years. Although the focus of this session was on the new Mathematics 10 courses, we looked at the possible pathways students could follow as they progress through high school. Graduation requirements and changes to credit allotment for courses were discussed as well.

Math On Olympiad is back. Breton Education Centre, Dr. T.L.Sullivan, Malcolm Munroe, Oceanview Education Centre, Sydney Mines Junior High and Whitney Pier Memorial will participate in our annual Math On Olympiad Competition on April 12th.

On January 28th, our grade twelve students wrote a common mathematics 12assessment that was prepared by Evaluation Services.

Community-Based Learning/Options & Opportunities (02) Consultant, Rhonda Smith

Options & Opportunities

Riverview High school will begin the Options & Opportunities program in the second semester. To date, there are sixteen students registered. An information session was held on January 23 for the parents/guardians of the students. There was a family member from every student in attendance. School administration, guidance and lead O2 teacher welcomed the parents. The Community- Based Learning Consultant, Rhonda Smith, gave an overview of the program and a question/answer session followed.

Co-operative Education

English Program Services, Department of Education, will continue to provide funding support for co-operative education in the school year 2013-14. This support assists schools in the delivery of the co-op program in their schools. We have recently visited schools to review the programs. Schools are now conducting information sessions with their students to determine the number of students interested in co-op for next year.

Community partnerships such as the Cape Breton District Health Authority and Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) continue to support our co-op students. This year, the District Health Authority will provide 18 placements for co-op students to explore careers in the health care profession.

Thirteen students have applied for the Building Futures for Youth program, a partnership program with Construction Association of Nova Scotia. Interviews will be conducted March 4-6 by the HR coordinator (CANS) and the Community-Based Learning consultant (CBVRSB).

Vocational Programs Consultant, Ken Collier

Registration has begun for the Nova Scotia Skills Competitions which we will host on March 26th. These competitions give our students the opportunity to showcase their skills and possibly represent our province at the national competitions. Interest is once again running high as students anticipate this event.

Visitations to the junior high schools will be completed in February. Tours of the vocational programs at Memorial High are tentatively scheduled for February 26th.

Jason LeFrense, who owns J.L.F. Productions, spent three days in our school filming our Vocational programs. Jason has been employed to create a 4-5 minute commercial showcasing our Vocational Programs. The rough draft of the commercial has been completed and the editing is presently taking place. We are looking forward to the completion of this project.

Cathy Boudreau and the Guidance Counsellors were guests of Memorial High on Wednesday, January 9th. Time was allotted for a presentation concerning the registration process for students applying for Memorial High. Great discussions took place and everyone was treated to a beautiful lunch in our Dining Room. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day.

Five of our students have applied for the “Building Futures for Youth" summer employment project sponsored by the Construction Association of Nova Scotia. Interviews are scheduled for March 5th and students are presently preparing for this day. Good luck to all who applied.

Presentations to a number of classes have taken place showcasing the CO-OP education program. Additional classes will be included at the beginning of the second semester to try to achieve an estimation of the number of students interested in this program. Indication shows a large interest in the CO-OP program.

Ken Collier attended an in-service on personality dimensions on January 15th at the Staff Development Center. This was a very interactive session and proved to be a very enjoyable day. It definitely brought to light a clearer understanding of ourselves, and also an understanding of others. Thanks to Wendy King for facilitating a great day.

French Second Language Programs Consultant, Laurie MacIntosh

  • Dorothy Allen, Explore Promotional Agent, N.S. Department of Education, accompanied by Laurie MacIntosh, French Consultant, visited with grade eleven and twelve students from our Senior High Schools on January 17thand 18th. Ms. Allen delivered a short presentation to students explaining details of the MY EXPLORE (Summer Language Bursary Program). Many senior high students from the CBVRSB participate in this wonderful learning opportunity. Expenses for the program are covered by a $2,000 bursary.

  • The Cape Breton- Victoria Regional School Board currently has fourteen Core French teachers trained in the neurolinguistic approach to teaching French second language. We have five official “classes expérimentales", (supported by the N.S. Dept. of Education), three non-official classes and a new cohort of six more teachers being trained in the approach. Three professional development sessions have been recently held for the new cohort, with the last two sessions scheduled for February 6th and 7th at the Mulgrave Professional Development Centre. The facilitators and support team for this initiative include Elaine Melanson, French Consultant from the N.S. Dept. of Education, Céleste Foisy-Lahey, Literacy Support Lead Teacher and Laurie MacIntosh, French Second

  • We are continuing to evaluate students from the five official Core French "classes expérimentales" to monitor their progress. We are also conducting OPI (Oral Proficiency Interviews) with FSL substitutes.

  • Two significant initiatives of late from the N.S. Dept. of Education, French Second Language Program Services include the purchase of new technology such as LCD projectors and Net Books to support French second language classrooms of the CBVRSB as well as a cultural project in collaboration with the CSAP entitled F>êtons la Mi-Car>ême 2013". Five Late French Immersion students from Riverview Rural High will participate in this cultural event, similar to Halloween Trick or Treat in the Acadian community of Ch>éticamp. This is an old tradition in Ch>éticamp to celebrate the half-way point of Lent. Students will take part in a camp on March 7th- 9th at Ecole NDA, which will be filmed by the Atlantic Film Festival to produce a documentary. The students from Riverview include Anna LeBlanc, Shannon Clemens, Sam Rouleau, Andrew Calder and Joseph Chiasson.


A Cultural Proficient Workshop was held for principals on January 16 and 17 at the Northside Staff Development Centre. The Department of Education African Canadian Services Division and Mi'kmaq Liaison Office facilitated the sessions. The session was a follow-up to the November 30 Professional Development day and an effort to support principals in becoming Culturally Proficient School Leaders. This session is another step in addressing the Board's Strategic and Business Plans in supporting schools in the area of Cultural Proficiency and Continuous School Improvement. The day was well received by principals, a special thank you to facilitators Steve Carrington, Paul Ash and Michael Isaac.

African Heritage Month

A memo was forwarded to schools as a reminder that February is African Heritage Month. This is a time to celebrate the many contributions of people of African descent. Staffs are encouraged to provide wonderful opportunities for students to learn, celebrate and appreciate African culture during the month and throughout the school year. Each school received copies of the official African Heritage Month 2013 Legacy Posters.

Student Support Worker Program

The Student Support Worker Program, in partnership with the Black Educators Association and Community United for Black Education, is pleased to be hosting the annual Black Reflections Art Gallery. This exciting showcase will feature the fine work of featured artist Destiny Smardon and other African Nova Scotian students from the Cape Breton- Victoria Regional School Board. The three day event will take place February 12, 13 and 14 at the Menelik Hall, 88 Laurier Street, Sydney. Public viewing is from 5:30 pm – 7:30pm each evening.


The results for the Reading and Writing 3 and the Reading Writing Math 6 Assessments results are anticipated to be available to schools next week. The student reports are scheduled for distribution to parents/guardians February 11-15.

The grade 12 Mathematics Assessments were held on Monday January 28. All materials were copied and distributed to schools for administration. Exams were corrected at each site and returned to central office for storage. The same procedures will be administered for the June Mathematics examinations. Special thank you to Math Consultant Marlene Urquhart for her assistance with ensuring the process and expectations were clearly outlined for staff.

Literacy Support Consultant/Coach, Janet Briggs

In December, Craig and I continued to provide grade 8 English Language Arts teachers with support to implement the Nelson 8 program. The small group approach was well received as it encouraged collaboration and allowed teachers to share ideas for the implementation of the program. We continued to extend the learning to an on-line format as the lessons that were created were added to the Literacy Support moodle.

Audrey Kyte Murphy, Craig Seward and I began working on a conventions framework for junior high. This framework is being developed in response to concerns of teachers with regards to writing conventions across the curriculum at the junior high level. In addition, data from the Nova Scotia Provincial Assessments indicates “Conventions" as a consistent area of need for our students. The framework is a continuation of the P-6 Writing Conventions Framework that was developed in 2012. We received valuable input from both English Language Arts and content areas teachers for development of the junior high framework. A special thank you goes to Sheila MacDonald, Malcolm Munro Junior High, Jason Kempt, Baddeck Academy and Krista Simm, Thompson Junior High for their expertise.

As a new member of the organizing committee for the annual public speaking event, I met with Audrey Kyte-Murphy and Carmelita Shea to begin plans for this year's event. The dates for the elementary event are April 8 to 11 and the secondary dates are April 16 and 17 at the Memorial High lecture theatre. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their public speaking skills.

This month Craig Seward, Literacy Mentor, will be distributing literacy pieces for science to all junior highs. This material will supplement the existing Literacy Support Classroom Strategy and Assessment binders that were circulated last year for English Language Arts and Social Studies teachers. This is part of an ongoing process to assist junior high teachers with their approach to literacy support in English Language Arts, Social Studies and Science. In addition, Craig and I both continue to meet on a regular basis with individual teachers to provide literacy support in English Language Arts and the content areas.

Mi'kmaq Consultant, Marjorie Graves

This month I met with Kim MacDonald, a grade 2/3 teacher at Marion Bridge Elementary. Together we developed a grade 3 Social Studies Unit plan on Mi'kmaq culture using the Grandmother/Grandfather series. This series was given out to all schools last year. She wanted to mainly focus on a grade 3 Social Studies unit of People.


During the month of January, the Student Services Coordinator has been busy dealing with referrals for services, planning for the transition of new students with special needs to our schools for the 2013-2014 school year, developing a professional development session for staff of students with an identified learning disability, attending program planning team meetings, meeting with student services staff, and addressing parent and/or staff queries.

Throughout the month, I attended eight Program Planning Team Meetings for students with special needs and assisted with programming support for students and facilitated a daylong session with guidance counselors on January 9. On January 21, junior and senior high guidance counselors attended an information session on the International Baccalaureate Program at Sydney Academy. With the Schools Plus Facilitator I participated in a via conference as part of the Schools Plus Steering Committee on January 11. On January 18, itinerant Student Services staff and the Coordinator attended a TIENET session regarding the student confidential file. An evening information session was co-facilitated with Mike Foley from Mount Saint Vincent University about the M.Ed. Program in Curriculum Studies with an emphasis on diverse learners. The session was well attended. A meeting was held with the APSEA supervisor for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students on January 23. A professional development session on Personality Dimensions was attended with other school board personnel.

Several Program and Student Services meetings were held this month as well as meetings with Student Services staff, including Schools Plus personnel, school board social workers, guidance counselors, the behavior support teacher and speech-language pathologist. Regular consultations occurred with the Student

It has been a productive month in Student Services. The PSS reports from Students Services Consultants outline the many needs that are being addressed by our Student Services Team. We are fortunate to have a highly competent and dedicated team to service our students with special needs.

Student Services Consultant, Genevieve Richardson

Many schools start thinking about transition planning for their students with the new calendar year. Throughout the month of January, there were a number of transition meetings and transition support was provided to a number of schools. We are planning to meet with some of the outside agencies who help in providing valuable information regarding the child's strengths and challenges in support of their transition into school for orientation in May, and then when they come into Primary in September.

Throughout December and January there were a number of referrals for teacher assistant support that came to Coordinator of Student Services through the Tienet information system. A number of classroom observations were conducted and information was gathered to help in determining if additional teacher assistant support was warranted or not. If the teacher assistant support was not recommended, we discussed with the school's program planning teams what other strategies and/or supports may have to be put in place to support the needs of these students. Often, the school program planning teams met with the parents to discuss the other options to teacher assistant support. Most times, these strategies have to be implemented for at least 6-8 weeks before you see/get the preferred benefits from them.

In the month of January, there were a few homebound teaching/tutoring referrals that came to Coordinator of Student Services through the Tienet student information system. We worked on getting the information to the homebound teacher and looked at her schedule in accommodating these new students to her caseload.

Meetings were held with the Coordinator of Student Services and the Learning Disabilities Lead team as well as some student services personnel to discuss and plan a couple of professional development days for the roll- out of the Learning Disability Policy. Some sessions are planned for February and the follow-up days are scheduled in April. Our initial planning session was very productive and we were able to produce a framework for the two days.

A number of referrals for gifted and talented support were received from schools through Tienet information system and work was done in coordinating support for our gifted and talented students from some of the Gifted and Talented lead team members. Our Gifted and Talented lead team members are always well received by our schools and the support they give these students and teachers is greatly appreciated.

ASD Consultant, Louise Smith

January continued to be a busy month of school based consultations, program development and support, and program planning (PPT and IPP meetings). Classroom based consultations and program planning as part of the Board's referral process was completed at Brookland Elementary, Bras D'Or Elementary, Riverside Elementary and St. Joseph Elementary schools. Follow-up days for program development and implementation were scheduled/completed for each school. Program support/training with respect to the STAR program was completed at Mountainview Elementary, Rankin School of the Narrows, Riverside, Coxheath and Boularderie Schools. The ASD consultant attended Program Planning Team (PPT) meetings at Brookland Elementary, MacLennan Junior High and Thompson Junior High School.

On January 10th and 11th, representatives from the South Shore Regional School Board visited schools within the CBVRSB. Representatives from the South Shore Regional School Board included: Catherine Rahey, Consultant for Autism and Learning Centres; Barb Cochrane, Program Planning Consultant; Kelli Nauss, Transition Facilitator; and Joyce Veinote-Gates, VP for New Germany Junior/Senior High. The South Shore group was interested in the TEACCH Transition Programming initiative (TTAP) that is part of the ASD initiative within CBVRSB. The two days presented an excellent opportunity to collaborate and share information regarding best practice and programming for students with ASD. On January 10th, accompanied by Louise Smith, CBVRSB ASD Consultant, the group visited TTAP programming sites at Breton Education Centre, Oceanview Education Center, Glace Bay High School and Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High. On January 11th, accompanied by Shauna MacKeigan, CBVRSB ASD lead team member, the group visited TTAP sites at Riverview High School, Dr. TL Sullivan Junior High School and Memorial High School. The school visits provided an excellent opportunity to talk with teachers and discuss the challenges and successes experienced at their respective schools. It was clear that teachers valued the programs and saw the benefit for their students. It was great to hear about the progress and success experienced by students participating in these specialized programs. It is definitely necessary to acknowledge the hard work and expertise of our teachers in CBVRSB:

  • Breton Education Centre- Chris Campbell and Kirk Morrison
  • Oceanview Education Centre - Janice Donovan and Annette Boutlier
  • Glace Bay High- Cindy MacDonald
  • Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High - Margie LaVatte
  • Riverview High School- Lorna Gillis and Rick MacKinnon
  • Memorial High School- Tara Ivey
  • TL Sullivan Junior High (TTAP training and demonstration site) - Marilyn MacDougall

Visits to schools highlighted "ASD Initiatives in Action" within CBVRSB. Feedback from the South Shore group was extremely positive. It was two great days of sharing resources and best practice that will benefit students in both CBVRSB and SSRSB. Thank-you to Shauna MacKeigan for accompanying the group and sharing her expertise, and to the administrators, teachers and teacher assistants who took time from their very busy days to talk with the group and share their experiences - your time and hard work is greatly appreciated!

On January 11th, Louise Smith, ASD Consultant and Yvonne Rafuse, NSELC facilitator, completed day 3 of the NSELC ASD module 14 with CBVRSB teachers. Teachers presented information on projects completed as part of the module. Project presentations were certainly a highlight of the three day module - well done everyone!! It was awesome to see and hear how information and programming presented was taken, interpreted and implemented in classrooms with our students. The proof of best practice is seen in the success experienced by our students. A special "shout out" to Brookland's grade primary teachers - your work is what the module is all about!!

On January 15th, the ASD I joined coordinators and other consultants to participate in the "Personality Dimensions" session at the Northside Staff Development Centre. It was an excellent session that was both fun and informative - a great opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues.

During the months of January-April, Louise Smith, ASD Consultant and Alisa Cantwell, Behavior Support teacher, will be providing a school placement for Gillian LeBlanc who is a student attending the Behavior Interventionist program at NSCC in Port Hawkesbury. Gillian will gain a wide range of experiences with respect to behavioral principles and best practice.

On January 29th to February 1st, the ASD consultant, and five other CBVRSB lead teachers attended PEERS training in Halifax. The UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) is a manualized, social skills training intervention for adolescents and young adults. It has a strong evidence-base for use with teens and young adults with autism spectrum disorders, but is also appropriate for teens and young adults with ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems. This training opportunity was funded by the Department of Education as part of its ASD Initiative. Information obtained during this training will be used to help develop a comprehensive social skills program within CBVRSB. This project has been identified as a priority for the Board's ASD lead team for the 2012-13 school year.

Head Psychologist, Maureen Clare MacDonald

During the month of January, follow-up meetings were held with two psychologists who are currently involved in the formative evaluation process. I have met with the Mt. St. Vincent school psychology intern, who began her internship with us on January 3. Three of our psychologists will be overseeing this internship, and I continue to consult with them on a regular basis in this regard. Our psychologists are also involved with an upcoming in-service focusing on students with learning disabilities. The initial planning day was held this month, with a second preparation day scheduled for February.

We continue to face numerous challenges this year, as we are currently without three of our psychologists, and are soon to be without two additional Team members. I met with our Coordinator on two occasions this month to address upcoming events, caseloads, priorities and office needs. Our Coordinator has managed to secure some assistance for us in the form of a B-level assessor, and we recently welcomed Keri MacAskill to our Team. I have had several meetings with Keri, and will be continuing to assist her with case management and test/report consultations. We hope to have assistance from a second B-level assessor next month.

I had the opportunity to attend an excellent day- long workshop on Personality Dimensions, which was held at the NSDC on January 15.

As always, I continue to be available for case consultations with all Team members, and continue to provide school psychology services to five schools.

Behavior Support Teacher for Students with Special Needs, Alisa Cantwell

Happy New Year! The requests for behavior support continued to increase in January. A number of priority referrals were submitted by schools for students who are/were in crisis situations. In January, behavior support services focused on addressing these priority referrals. Coordinators, principals, teachers and parents, along with outside agencies, have been working cooperatively to address these student concerns effectively and efficiently.

The ASD Consultant and Behavior Support Teacher started supervising a practicum placement of a student enrolled in the Behavior Intervention program at NSCC in Port Hawkesbury. The student will observe and participate, as appropriate, in programs for students with ASD and behavior concerns. The student will be supervised one day per week for fifteen weeks.

Professional development activities attended in January included the Insights workshop presented by Wendy King and a Tienet workshop presented by Sheila Kublek. Both workshops were held at the Staff Development Centre. Between January 29th and February 1st, the six CBVRSB staff, including the Behavior Support Teacher, attended the PEERS Training Seminar Course in Halifax. Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, Director of UCLA PEERS Clinic was the presenter. This course is an initiative of the NS Dep't. of Education's Autism Program.


Assistive Technology/TIENET Consultant, Sheila Kublek

The month of January saw eight Assistive Technology assessments completed with students. As usual, once an assessment is completed there may be several additional visits to the school to assist with implementing the recommendations with the student and teacher.

Assistive Technology, along with school Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, Learning Disabilities teachers and Student Services representatives, is taking a role in the development of the professional development session scheduled to roll out the Department of Education's guidelines for Learning Disabilities. The workshop will be provided to all schools and look it will be both informative and practical.

In the area of TIENET, the following activities occurred during January:

  • The green light has been given to all schools and school board service providers to upload both additional programming documents and confidential documents to students>' document libraries in TIENET. An information session was held with service providers such as school Psychologists, SLPs, Social Workers, Student Services consultants, etc., to walk through the process of uploading their reports and programming information for students to TIENET.

  • "How to" documents and "how to" videos have been posted in the TIENET Resources site and the InSchool site to assist schools with uploading programming and confidential documents.
  • An "end of semester" checklist was provided to all high schools of tasks that need to be completed in TIENET for the end of first semester. Support is being provided to high schools for creating reports, finalizing documents and preparing new documents for second semester.

The opportunity was provided to participate in a workshop facilitated by Wendy King. This workshop provided insight into your personality and how to tap into your personality strengths. It also allowed us to explore ways to improve communication and collaboration with co- workers, students and parents.

SIS/IT PD Consultant, Kurt Kublek

The SIS team created a website or Frequently Asked Powerschool Questions. The site is composed of questions with responses in a quick text format and in a walk-through video format. Since its creation this month, most questions have been viewed over one thousand times.

Also, with respect to SIS (School Information Systems), we have been working with provincial members on consistent definitions of class size. With this formula the provincial coordination team has been able to develop a report that will consistently pull this data from the system. Work continues with the schools to ensure that data inconsistencies are remedied.

Work continues with onsite professional development with teachers connected with board expectations surrounding PowerTeacher grade book. All elementary schools that requested assistance have been visited and given support.

As we approach semester two of the school year, students from across the board have received assistance to register for Virtual School classes. To date we have ten students enrolled from six different high schools.

Lastly, I was able to attend a workshop developed by Apple Canada. The workshop's focus was primarily on the deployment and management of IPADS in schools. The two-day workshop was as informative as it was interesting for the growing area in our school system.

IEI-E/SIS Consultant, Brad MacNeil

This year IEI-E was able to refresh 128 cluster computers in our grade 6 classrooms, supply one digital microscope per classroom along with astronomy software to help support the integration of technology in science. The teachers have attended three professional development sessions, investigating software, lessons and strategies to help them in their goals for technology integration. Focus will now be shifting from our grade six classrooms to our grade P3 teachers, to help support the use of the new mobile technology centers (Net Book Carts).

I have been attending the provincial RBTS (Regional Boards Technology Staff) meetings in Halifax. During our last meeting, there was a focus on four main topics which are increasingly finding their way to the forefront of discussions around the province. These topics are:

  1. BYOD - Students/Teachers wanting to bring their own devices and connect to school networks. How can this be done effectively in the public school environment?
  2. Tablets - The effective use of tablet computers and which one(s) would be best to support the delivery of curriculum in our classrooms.
  3. PIIDPA (Personal Information International Disclosure Act; protecting personal information of our students, personnel and the development of tools to support the integration of technology in accordance of Nova Scotia legislation.
  4. Blended Learning - Using web-based programs, such as Moodle, to virtually support and add to our classroom environments.

Currently, our senior high schools have access to a function in Power School called 'Power Announcement.' This is a messaging system allowing administrators the ability to send out e-mail, voice mail and SMS text messages to staff, students and parents. This will be available to these schools for the remainder of this year or until a new product is chosen. I have attended the first provincial meeting regarding and Automated Parent Communication System RFP. The goal of this committee is to review and decide upon a product that will suit the needs of all schools in Nova Scotia.

Data Managers, Jim McNeil & Tom Baker

Continuing support for Blackberry Exchange Services and web hosting accounts was ongoing.

Weekly data imports for Aesop including all personnel and related subject information were conducted.

Some Powerschool custom reports and pages were adjusted to accommodate new data requirements.

A survey for high school teachers was implemented using a prototype created by Sydney Academy teacher, Vincent Nicholson.

Additions and further planning for future enhancements to the principal portal including incumbent reporting, teacher status and position tracking were designed and preliminary development was conducted.

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