On Tuesday, October 22, the Honourable Karen Casey was appointed Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. She is also Minister Responsible for Youth. I would like to congratulate Ms. Casey and welcome her to visit the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board at her earliest convenience. Ms. Casey served as Minister of Education before and was a former Assistant Superintendent in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. We look forward to working with Ms. Casey as Minister and wish her all the best in her new portfolio.
In October of each year, Mi’kmaq History Month is celebrated. This year’s theme is Kawie’l Pu’taliewe’l – “Porcupine Quill Baskets”. Mi’kmaq Treaty Day was held on Tuesday, October 1st and launched the month-long celebrations. All schools within the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board participate and celebrate Mi’kmaq History month. Performances, concerts, guest speakers, assemblies, classroom projects, drumming and dancing and other research activities are some of the many ways our schools participate throughout the month.
As of September 30th, 2013, the enrolment of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board is 13,673. This is a reduction of 291 students and is quite significant for our Board. In the past 10 years or more, our decline was between 500-600 annually. We hope the decline will level off and we can receive a lesser reduction to our provincial funding model.
On Friday, October 25th, there was a Provincial Professional Development Day sponsored by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and their respective professional organizations. These days occur across the province and many of our teachers attend to gather and learn in their respective fields.
During October, “Walk to School Day” is celebrated as well “Fire Prevention Week” and “School Bus Safety Week.” These, and several other events, are celebrated in our schools with the help of our many community partners and organizations.
The Succeeding in Reading Early Literacy teachers will attend a full day of professional development on October 29th. Colleague visits will occur in the morning and a professional development session will take place in the afternoon for the whole group. During the month of November, the Early Literacy teachers will present what they focused on at this session to all Primary – Two teachers within several Family of Schools. This aligns with the CBVRSB goal to provide more site-based professional development.
In elementary mathematics, the implementation of the P-3 curriculum continues to be a focus for our Board. Our mathematics coach has been visiting schools, co-teaching and coaching elementary teachers. On October 8th, a professional development day was provided for teachers of combined grades 2/3 and 3/4. Resources and model lessons were shared that support the effective delivery of two mathematics courses in one classroom. Teachers were also given time to collaborate and build plans for future lessons. This session promoted the importance of building collaborative learning communities among schools.
Continuous school improvement plans will have one focused goal on mathematics. Support for schools on interpretation of the data from provincial mathematic assessments, goal setting, assessment building, and intervention planning are the key support elements offered to schools.
Celtic Colours concerts took place in some of our schools across the island as part of the Celtic Colours International Music Festival. There were 28 scholarships ranging from $100-$250 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 parents and students and, once again, we 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.
Many of our schools celebrated Thanksgiving with harvest lunches or dinners and collected food for those in need. This is a great time to share the bounty of the land and express a genuine thanks for all the good things we take for granted as citizens of this great country.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to direct your attention, and that of the board members and staff, to read the comments from our school principals that are placed on individual school websites. These items represent the awards, achievements and successes of our students and staff within the boundaries of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. Again, I ask the principals to ensure that these important communications are kept up-to-date.
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