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School Board Meeting Minutes: November 25, 2013
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 01/28/2014 (1590 reads)
School Board Meeting Minutes: November 25, 2013

Sherwood Park Education Centre
Sydney, N.S.
November 25, 2013



A meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board was called to order today beginning at 7:25 p.m.


Present: Lorne Green, Chair Sandra Margettie Stewart Matheson
John Berk Jackie Organ Steve Parsons
Joan Currie Joyce Lind Yvonne Kennedy
Kevin Ruelland Darren Googoo Barb Mercer
Jack Toomey Darrell Flynn Gary Fraser
Absent: Fred Tilley
Also, Present: Ambrose White, Superintendent
Beth MacIsaac, Director of Human Resources
Susan Kelley, Director of Programs and Student Services
George Boudreau, Director of Financial Services
Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services
John Astephen, Regional Director of Educational Services
Michelle MacLeod, Board Recording Secretary


(a) Deletions:

There were no deletions.

(b) New Business/Additions:

i. Commissioner Fraser – Operational Services
ii. Commissioner Parsons – Riverview High School
iii. Commissioner Toomey – NSTU Award

Commissioner Flynn asked for an in-camera session after this session.


Moved by Commissioner Fraser
Seconded by Commissioner Mercer

that the minutes for the following meetings be approved by the Board. . .

Regular Public Board Meeting - October 28, 2013
Special Board Meeting - October 28, 2013
Special Board Meeting -November 4, 2013
Special Board Meeting -November 18, 2013

Motion carried


All Board members introduced themselves to those in attendance.




Commissioner Currie introduced to the Board International Student Chanoh Lim will be playing the piano and there will be a static display from the Art class.

Chanoh Lim played an amazing piece for those in attendance. He made the keys on the piano dance.


I would like to focus this month’s report on the theme of student services and the systems in place to support children with special needs within the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board.

Each School Board is responsible for establishing a process of identification, assessment, program planning and evaluation for students with special needs. Much of the following is cited from our Special Education policy as well as the Department of Education policy.


The school board is responsible for the implementation of this process; therefore, each procedural step should be documented in the school board’s special education policy. School boards are encouraged to refer to the appropriate sections of the Department of Education’s Special Education Policy.

Identification, Assessment, and Program Planning Process

Stage 1: Screening and Identification

This stage may be initiated by a variety of people. Some children and students may come to school with assessments and programming information from other agencies or from another school. Some students may have been in school for a number of years, and their special needs may be identified at a later stage. The planning process can be initiated at any time, based on student need.

If a student has been identified as needing an individual program plan before entry to school, the team may wish to start the process at Stage 3, Referral to Program Planning Team, to avoid delay.

Parents are expected to be involved at the beginning of the process. Classroom teachers, parents, students, and outside agency personnel and resource teachers are all possible initiators at this stage. The principal should be aware of any communication concerning students at this stage.

Stage 2: Exploration of Instructional Strategies

After a student has been identified as requiring additional planning to meet his or her needs, the classroom teacher uses available material and human resources to explore a variety of strategies in the learning process. In all schools there is a wealth of experience to draw upon. In exploring alternative methods of working with students, teachers may also wish to consult co-coordinators, school psychologists, speech-language pathologists, or other available personnel. The key at this stage is to be as creative as possible in determining a wide variety of behavioral and/or instructional strategies to meet student needs while ensuring accurate record keeping in terms of the outcomes of utilizing these approaches. Determining why a method does not produce the desired outcome can yield as much information as one that does. Co-operation and collaboration among professionals and parents are essential at this stage.

The identification, assessment, and program planning may not go beyond this stage for many students, as their needs may be met through adaptations that support them in achieving provincially approved curriculum outcomes. However, adaptations will require review at least once annually, as student needs change over time. It is also necessary to ensure that the adaptations are supporting student success in meeting the outcomes.

Stage 3: Referral to Program Planning Team

If a student’s needs are not met as outlined in stage 2, the classroom or subject teacher and/or parent should make a referral to the principal to establish a program planning team for the student. In some boards there are school teams that provide peer support for problem solving and creative suggestions for meeting student needs. This team may also be involved in prioritizing referrals. If either the teacher or parent disagrees on the need for a referral, the matter should be referred to the principal. Guidance counselors and resource teachers may provide valuable insight on student strengths and challenges at this stage.

The Education Act outlines the responsibility of school boards in this regard: “A school board shall, in accordance with this Act and the regulations … develop and implement educational programs for students with special needs within regular instructional settings with their peers in age, in accordance with the regulations and the Minister’s policies and guidelines…” [Section 64(2)(d)].

The responsibility of teachers to engage in the process is also outlined in the act: “It is the duty of a teacher in a public school to … implement teaching strategies that foster a positive learning environment aimed at helping students achieve learning outcomes; … participate in individual program planning and implement individual program plans, as required, for students with special needs…” [Section 26(1)(c)(g)].

The format of the referral depends on school and school board procedures. The initiator of the referral may be required to have certain types of information available for the principal in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to select team members and set a date for the program planning team meeting. Information required could include anecdotal information, observation records, informal assessment, interviews with the student and involved agencies, school records, or any other information available that may be of help in program planning. Care should be taken not to use outdated or irrelevant assessment data. (See policies 2.4 and 2.5.)

Stage 4: Program Planning Team Meeting

The program planning team must ensure that the problem or difficulty facing the student and/or teachers and parents is clarified before proceeding with the planning. The reason for referral does not always match the team’s clarification of the problem, and careful problem solving at this stage can prevent unnecessary or inappropriate steps being taken.

Team members are those who have responsibility for the student’s learning. The team includes the principal or vice-principal, teachers directly involved in teaching the student, and parents (see Policy 2.4). These members form the core of the student’s program planning team. The selection of additional members depends on the needs of the students and on the personnel resources of the school board and community. In some cases, students may have ongoing involvement with health or community agency professionals. These professionals may be invited to a program planning team meeting to share their understanding of the student’s learning needs, and written reports can also be shared – with parental consent – if they are not able to attend a meeting. It should be noted that the school retains responsibility for programming and implementation decisions. In cases where there are many teachers involved, as in high school, reports can be gathered from teachers for presentation at the team meeting; however, key personnel should be present. In some cases, this may include the student, especially at a high school level when career/transitional decisions are being discussed. Every attempt should be made to encourage parents to feel comfortable in presenting their views of student’s strengths and challenges.

The team meeting provides an opportunity for members to come together to clarify, given all available information, the student’s strengths and challenges and to decide on future actions to be taken in terms of program planning. The meeting should not be a forum for teachers, administrators, and other agency personnel to present a completed program to the parents. If this is done, the parents become outsiders to the process and do not have the opportunity to affect decision making in any meaningful way. Together, the members should discuss the information each has observed and collected. Concerns should be expressed openly and information presented, without judgmental rebuttal. However, in cases where differences of opinion occur, the chairperson acts as a mediator in the process.

The team decides whether or not to proceed with the development of an IPP. The meeting may highlight the need for adaptations while maintaining the outcomes of a prescribed course. When this occurs, adaptations must be documented and stored in the student’s cumulative file. [See the Adaptations: Strategies and Resources fact sheet, and Supporting Student Success: Resource Programming and Services (2002)]. However, when the outcomes of the provincially approved curriculum must be changed or additional outcomes are needed to meet the needs of the student, an IPP becomes necessary. An IPP may focus on behavioral as well as curriculum outcomes to address student behaviors that may inhibit learning. At this point the chairperson designates responsibility areas to the team members to develop the IPP according to the priorities, outcomes, and strategies set at the meeting or to collect further information if necessary. Minutes of the program planning team meetings are distributed to team members by the chair.

Stage 5: Individual Program Plan Development

The student’s program planning team uses information gathered to write the individual program plan. Those who have responsibility for implementation of any part of the IPP should be involved in developing the outcomes, and deciding on strategies and evaluation procedures. The IPP includes the following (Policy 2.6):

  • a summary of student strengths and challenges
  • annual individualized outcomes
  • specific individualized outcomes
  • strategies and resources
  • responsibility areas
  • reviewing and reporting dates
  • signatures

Stage 6: Implementation of Individual Program Plan

Team members are assigned responsibility areas and monitor student progress. The teacher responsible for teaching the student is also responsible for evaluating and reporting to parents the student’s progress in that curriculum area (policies 2.5 and 2.6).

Stage 7: Monitoring

Teachers and other designated professional team members are required to evaluate individual program plans in order to continually assess student progress.

Stage 8: Review of Individual Program Plan

The program planning team is responsible for reviewing the student’s progress toward meeting the outcomes of the IPP and meeting to discuss changes when necessary. The individual program should be reviewed prior to each reporting period.

Learning Centres

The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board recognizes that there is a need for flexibility in student programming. Student placement in a Learning Centre is a result of referral from various stakeholders in a student’s education (parents, teachers, psychologists, medical professionals, etc.) as part of the Program Planning Team. The referral goes to the system Placement Committee who reviews and approves placement.

Inclusive educational philosophy promotes student centered learning and therefore respects the need for a student’s program to be individualized. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board provides services at all levels of the learning process. Every effort is made to accommodate student needs within the regular classroom setting. Shaping a program to facilitate each student’s needs may include time outside of the regular classroom in an environment that permits more one to one assistance for the student. The amount of time spent in the Learning Centre is therefore dependent on each student’s individual program plan.

The school board accommodates all students requiring Learning Centre placement. Learning Centres focus on academic growth, social skills, self-organization skills, personal independence, communication skills, and recreation and leisure skills.

Some Learning Centres are designed to facilitate students with multiple needs requiring more concentrated assistance with their learning and their physical independence. The program in these Learning Centres may include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language services and specific programs such as STAR (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research), PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and TTAP( TEACCH Transition Assessment Profile).

Other Learning Centres are designed to meet the needs of students who benefit from academic support in several different areas. These students work throughout the school and return to the Learning Centre as their academic schedule determines.

Transitioning Transition Support

Transition planning is a collaborative process that is most often initiated by the school program planning teams. This process should involve the parents and anyone working with that student who is able to contribute to the transition planning.

In order to receive this transition support a Transition Support Referral must be completed and sent to the Coordinator of Student Services for approval. With the approval of the Coordinator of Student Services, the Transition Support Lead Teacher or members of the Transition Lead Team can help to support school program planning teams with this process.

What is Transitioning?

Transitioning is the passage from one stage to another and is a lifelong process. Transition occurs when a student moves from home to school, from grade to grade, from school to school, from school to community. (Transition Planning for Students with Special Needs: The Early Years through to Adult Life, 2005, p. 5).

Transition planning takes into consideration the major aspects of each student's life experiences and assists in determining appropriate educational resources and programming. (Transition Planning, p. 3)

Transition planning is essential if we are to be empowered to improve the quality of our students' independent lives. (Transition Planning, p. 5)

Transition planning is part of the individual planning process for each student with special needs... School to community transition planning should begin when a student enters junior high school. (Policy 2.7, Special Education Policy Manual, 1996, p.49)

Transition planning is necessary at key transition stages for any student for whom an individual program plan (IPP) has been developed, as well as, for those students who do not have an IPP, but whose special needs related to transitioning must be addressed. (Transition Planning, 2005)

Although transition planning occurs for all students during their years in school, it is essential that individualized and collaborative transition plans be developed for those students requiring additional supports to achieve their potential.

The Transition Planning Process The transition planning process has four essential components: policy and guiding principles, collaborative consultation, the individualized transition planning process, and the development and implementation of an individualized transition plan. (Transition Planning, p. 3)

Establish Individual Transition Plan Outcomes → Base Outcomes on Strengths, Needs, and Aspirations → Engage in Community Resource Mapping → Identifying Existing or Required Services, Supports, and/or Programs → Linking the Outcomes to Services, Supports, and/or Programs. (Supporting Student Success, 2005)

Transition planning for students with special needs is a process that involves the cooperation, collaboration, and participation of students, parent(s)/guardian(s), educators, and other professionals to ensure that an individualized transition plan is developed to support the student through key transition stages. (Transition Planning, p. 9)

What is a Transition Plan?

A transition plan is a written document that reflects outcomes developed collaboratively in response to the specific strengths and needs of the student in relation to a transition phase in the student’s life. (Transition Planning, p. 6)

Effective Transition Planning Involves:

Early identification and assessment

· Individualized program planning
· Collaboration between home, school and community
· Informed and involved parents/guardians
· Knowledge of community based programming and services
· Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
· An understanding that it is a collaborative process
· An understanding and acceptance that transitioning is a lifelong process
· Tracking, monitoring and evaluating the plan and the process

Other supports for students with special needs include speech language, assistive technology, Steps to Success, ASD, teacher assistants, social workers, guidance counsellors, classroom teachers and Board based administrators. The new government suggested they may review the area of Student Services in the next year or so and we look forward to working with them.

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.

Moved by Commissioner Margettie
Seconded by Commissioner Organ

that the Board accept the Superintendent’s Report as presented. . .

Motion carried


The report will be provided electronically at a later date.



Moved by Commissioner Mercer
Seconded by Commissioner Fraser

that the Board approve the minutes of the Education Committee Meeting of Monday, November 4, 2013. .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Mercer
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board accept the PSS Report as presented by the Director of Programs and Student Services, Mrs. Susan Kelley at the Education Committee meeting. . .

Motion carried

b. NSTU Requests for Deferred Leave:

Moved by Commissioner Mercer
Seconded by Commissioner Currie

That the Board approve the following requests for a deferred leave. . .

Employee #






Collin Bauer

Riverside Elem/George D. Lewis

One Year:

Aug 1/15 to July 31/16



Patti Curry-Bauer

Mountainview Elem

One Year:

Aug 1/15 to July 31/16

Motion carried

c. NSTU Long Term/Term Recommendation:

Moved by Commissioner Mercer
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board approve the following for Long term/term position. . .

Employee #





Sub #: 40054955

Stephanie LeBlanc

St. Agnes Assessment Centre

LTS: Nov 5/13 to Dec 18/13

Term: Dec 19/13 to July 31/14

Motion carried

d. Amendment to Job Status:

Moved by Commissioner Mercer
Seconded by Commissioner Organ

That the Board approve the following amendment for a substitute term position. . .

Employee #



Previous Assignment/Dates



Sub #: 40037042

Term #: 40030568

Michelle Finigan


Learning Disabilities 75%

Changing from 75% to 100% term as of Nov 4/13

Learning Disabilities 75%

BIRT (Behaviour Intervention Resource Teacher) 25%

Motion carried

e. NSTU Changes to dates: (for information)

Employee #



Previous Assignment/Dates



Sub #: 40040204

Term #: 40047536

Meaghan Flynn

Memorial High

LTS: Oct 29/13 to Feb 24/14

Term: Feb 25/14 to July 31, 2014

LTS: Oct 22/13 to Feb 17/14

Term: Feb 18/14 to July 31/14


Sub #: 40047000

No Term #:

Greg Wilson

Sydney River Elementary

Term: Aug 1/13 to Dec 20/13

Term: Aug 1/13 to Feb 28/14

f. Educational Leave:

Employee #






Suzannah LeVatte- MacDonald

Mira Road Elem

Jan 1/14 to June 30/14

g. Human Resources Report:

Moved by Commissioner Mercer
Seconded by Commissioner Matheson

That the Board approve the report as presented at the Education Committee Meeting. . .

Motion carried



Moved by Commissioner Parsons
Seconded by Commissioner Flynn

that the Board approve the minutes of the Management Committee Meeting of Monday, November 18, 2013 . .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Parsons
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board recommend a standardized rate of $60.00 per month to reimburse eligible users for internet charges. Also that the rate be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure consistency with current rates. . .

Motion carried

j. Report of the Director of Financial Services:

Moved by Commissioner Parsons
Seconded by Commissioner Currie

That the Board accept the Director of Financial Services report. . .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Parsons
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board recommend acceptance of the report presented by the Director of Operational Services at the Management Committee meeting. . .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Parsons
Seconded by Commissioner Mercer

That the Board approve a contribution of $10,000 for the Reading Challenge program to purchase books. . .

Motion carried


Nova Scotia School Boards Association (NSSBA) Report was presented by Commissioner Mercer. Highlights of the report included the NSSBA School Review position paper.

The School Review Position Paper developed by the NSSBA, to be submitted to government as a guideline to improve this process, was presented at the Leaders' Advisory Committee (LAC) for discussion and feedback by School Board Chairs and Superintendents.

The next NSSBA Board of Directors (BOD)meeting will take place on Dec. 5th and 6th, 2013.

Moved by Commissioner Organ
Seconded by Commissioner Flynn

That the Board approve accept the report as presented. . .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Fraser
Seconded by Commissioner Googoo

That the Board approve the report of the Director of Regional Educational Services. . .

Private Schools in Nova Scotia

Under Section 130 of the Education Act, a child may attend a private school.

If a child has been attending public school and his or her parents wish to enroll the child in a private school, there is no comparable funding for the private school unless the child has a disability. Parents, in such cases, would make application to a Designated Special Education Private School (DSEPS) through the Director of Student Services, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. A child enrolled in a private school must attend the school during the time required by the rules and regulations of the school.

Under Section 131 of the Act, private schools must meet all local health and safety building standards for Nova Scotia, as determined by the Departments of Health and Wellness and Environment, and the Office of the Fire Marshall. Statistical information with respect to the school must be provided as required by the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. The school must, where requested by the Minister, provide evidence that students are making reasonable educational progress appropriate for their age and grade level based on results of nationally or internationally recognized standardized achievement tests.

The Minister may require a regional education officer to assess a private school, including its teachers, its educational programs and its instruction materials, as well as its facilities.

Section 132 of the Education Act provides a private school the opportunity to make application to the Minister to recognize its program of studies as meeting the requirements for a high school leaving certificate. In determining recognition of a program of studies of a private school, the compulsory and elective courses offered from the Public School Program must meet the requirements for a high school leaving certificate, and courses that are different from the courses offered in the Public School Program must be reasonably equivalent to the compulsory and elective courses offered from the Public School Program. In addition, the school must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Minister, that each teacher is eligible for teacher certification in Nova Scotia. Currently there are 10 private schools authorized to award the Nova Scotia high school graduation diploma.

If and when a student who has attended a private school is to be enrolled full-time in public school, the onus is on the parents/guardians to provide evidence of that student’s educational program to the administration at the public school. Final grade placement is at the discretion of the principal.

In 2012-2013 a total of 32 private schools registered with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development,including the three current Designated Special Education Private Schools (DSEPS): Bridgeway Academy with locations in Dartmouth and Truro; Churchill Academy in Dartmouth; and Landmark East School in Wolfville.

Below is a breakdown of private schools and enrollments by region for the 2012-2013 school year:


# of schools

# of students

% of total number of students enrolled in private schools in N.S.

Annapolis Valley




Cape Breton-Victoria












South Shore















Motion carried


i. Commissioner Fraser – Operational Services – Commissioner Fraser and Commissioner Flynn made a presentation to Mr. Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services on behalf of his department for their support and cooperation during the Canadian Little League Championship in 2013.

ii. Commissioner Parsons – Riverview High School – Wished to have a congratulatory letter forwarded to Riverview Redmen girls for winning regionals.

iii. Commissioner Toomey – NSTU Award – He recognized Mr. Gaye Dixon recently winning the NSTU Award for Teachers Make A Difference. He further recognized correspondence be forwarded on behalf of the Board.

Moved by Commissioner Toomey
Seconded by Commissioner Fraser

That correspondence be forwarded on behalf of the Board. . .

Motion carried


Next Scheduled meeting date - Monday, January 27, 2014 – Sherwood Park Education Centre –7:00 p.m.

(15) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 7:53 p.m.



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