This February, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia. This year’s theme is “Rising Stars – Celebrating our Youth.” The Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board is very proud to acknowledge Oceanview Education Centre student, Tatyana Headley, who is one of six featured youth on this year’s African Heritage Month poster. Tatyana is always eager to give back and to serve as an inspiration to youth in her community and around the world. Her volunteer work with the Undercurrent Lighthouse church and her mission trip to the Dominican Republic for Habitat for Humanity have enabled her to have a lasting positive effect in the lives of others. Tatyana strives to be a leader in her school by participating in the “Me to We” program, Project LEAD, and the Black Educators’ Association Cultural Academic Enrichment program. Tatyana is certainly a “Rising Star” and fits into this year’s theme perfectly. Congratulations Tatyana. We are very proud of you. Every school within our Board celebrates the beautiful African Canadian Heritage throughout the year but especially in February. Speakers, performers, dancers and various projects and presentations are held in conjunction with this theme. I congratulate all schools for their work in this area.
My report often gives me the opportunity to acknowledge many of the wonderful accomplishments of our students and schools and this month, I would like to recognize two annual sporting events that have been occurring for over 30 years and are much more than “sporting events.” I refer to the Annual Coal Bowl Classic Basketball Tournament at Breton Education Centre in New Waterford and the Red Cup Hockey Showcase Tournament at Riverview High School.
The Coal Bowl is unique in that teams stay at the school, participate in academic exercises, visit local sites, museums, etc. Students participate in fundraisers, attend dances and socials and really get to know about the community and Cape Breton. They also get to meet players from other provinces and learn about their communities. This great event would not occur without the wonderful support of over 300 volunteers and many community and corporate sponsors.
The Red Cup Classic also features teams from Cape Breton, from across the province and Maritimes, and sometimes from across the country. The rink is packed to capacity each night, and the students are highly engaged and supportive of this wonderful event. Again, community/ school volunteers and corporate support are the anchors of this tournament. I congratulate both schools and their students, parents, and communities at large for another successful tournament. These two events are examples of the many types of high level co and extra curricular activities that occur at many of our schools throughout our Board, and I use them as examples of all the others as well.
The second semester recently began, and the targets for student enrollment through the Nova Scotia International Student Program have been met for this year. Student enrollment increased from 81 students in the fall of 2012 to 124 students in January of 2014. Staff continues to work hard to provide quality homestays and an inviting and great educational experience for the students.
On February 20th, there was a professional development day for all junior high principals. The day was a collaboration between Secondary Consultants for Math and English, the Secondary Programs Coordinator and the RCH Coordinator. The day was arranged in response to a request to look at specifics regarding goal setting in the School Improvement Plan of the Continuous School Improvement process and an opportunity for principals to consider what their results are telling them in regards to student success and student need within their population. This information can be invaluable in providing leadership for the school improvement process and in giving guidance to teachers regarding their practice.
The very successful 02 Program – Options and Opportunities is presently operating in five of our eight high schools. To offer 02 to the remaining three high schools; namely, Memorial High, Rankin School of the Narrows, and Baddeck Academy, a number of options are being explored. One unique option for Rankin School of the Narrows and Baddeck Academy is to offer 02 in both schools but as one program sharing the FTE support and program resources. Flexible scheduling in each school will assure that the components and outcomes of the 02 program are delivered and accomplished. Both schools have established community-based learning opportunities. Rankin School of the Narrows with the Highland Village and Baddeck Academy is in its second year offering cooperative education. Programs would be set to go in September 2014, pending funding.
Senior staff attended an ANSEA Conference on February 20th and 21st on the theme of “School Security”. Mr. Ken Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services, was the keynote speaker. He has been making schools safer for over 30 years. He and his team advise superintendents, school boards, administrators, and their community partners on how to reduce risk, prevent and prepare for crises, and strengthen community confidence in school leaders on safety and preparedness issues. We also had principals, other central office staff, CBRM police and CLOs in attendance. It was very well done.
Finally, it is that time of the year, i.e. budget time, and all Boards are waiting for their draft profile sheets for our upcoming year. We will certainly inform the Board when and what those numbers are as soon as we year.
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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