With the abundance of snow, it has been a great year for many of the physical education teachers to take students outside. The snowshoes which are available at the Resource Center have been widely used. The snowshoes have also been available to local groups for weekends including the Cadets and Pathfinders.
The students at Oceanview Education Centre have been able to enjoy the outdoor facilities at their school by doing some cross country skiing.
March was Nutrition Month. Meetings have been held with local dietitians with CBRH, Public Health and HEAL Cape Breton. This year’s theme is “Simply Cook and Enjoy”. Our elementary schools participated in “Big Crunch” on March 21st.
Conference calls have been planned with the AdHoc group to calculate funding distribution for schools for breakfast programs for the 2014-15 school year.
Breakfast for Learning has provided our school board breakfast programs with $57,000 for equipment and general supplies for this 2013-14 school year. With this funding, 18 conveyor toasters have been ordered.
Breakfast Clubs of Canada have partnered with Walmart to do a National Campaign to raise money to support breakfast programs. Three Walmarts have been visited and thanked for their support. Money raised at local stores does support our local schools. This year’s campaign is called “Let them Shine”.
A meeting was held at the Gaelic College around guidelines for a policy framework to support healthier food options for recreation settings. There were mixed reviews from representatives that work in the industry, as sales from canteen support their bottom line. The same feedback was received from principals on the Food and Nutrition Policy for schools. However, things have moved forward with schools. Healthy Eating in Recreations Settings (HERRS) will continue to move forward with “guidelines” that support healthy eating.
The Malcolm Munroe French Immersion PLC met on February 24 while the Riverview High French Language Arts PLC met on March 5th.
Susan MacDonald, Director of French Second Language Services, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, visited the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board on February 21st. Ms. MacDonald met with Laurie MacIntosh, our French Second Language Consultant, as well as with the teachers involved in French Special Projects with the goal of discussing their current and future progress.
Post oral proficiency interviews have been completed by Laurie MacIntosh with grade six Intensive Core French students at Greenfield Elementary. Most students scored very high on the New Brunswick OPI Scale (basic level), with every student experiencing success.
During the month of February, collaboration with community partners was achieved via transition meetings with early intervention professional staff for new primary students with identified special needs entering school in the fall of 2014, as well as through participation in attendance at the local regional Advisory Committee. Collaboration with colleagues in education from across the province was offered via participation on the DOEECD School Code of Conduct Review Committee. The Coordinators of Student Services in Nova Scotia attended a two day session with the Student Services staff/team from the DOEECD mid month, the theme of which was “Collaboration.” Cathy Boudreau, our Coordinator of Student services, along with the Schools Plus facilitator and TIENET lead for the School Board all participated in a VIA conference with Schools Plus colleagues from across the province.
Several professional development sessions were completed this month which also reflect the ongoing collaborative efforts with staff and partner agencies. Specifically, all of the learning disability program teachers met to network, discuss their program delivery, examine program intervention planning and review TIENET in relation to this program.
The 37th annual Public Speaking event was held April 7-14 at Memorial High School sponsored by the CBVRSB and NSTU locals. Both the junior high and senior high participants delivered interesting speeches on topics important to them.
Cathy Viva, Coordinator of Program Services 7-12, had the opportunity to adjudicate the Senior High presentations, and was amazed at the caliber of the speakers. It was very difficult to determine winners because scores between the adjudicators were so close. It is encouraging to see students return year after year and to see the support and camaraderie that has developed within the group of participants. Teachers were also present for the evening and parents were there to support their children. The topics covered in the speeches were educational, introspective and personal for the presenters. They had the audience laughing, crying and listening intently to the important topics they chose to present.
The event has a strong history of promoting the art, skills and benefits of public speaking. Over the years, numbers have lessened in the junior high and senior high participants. Direction for next year involves encouraging increased participation of the schools within our Board and encouraging attendance of community and school members at the event.
On April 3rd, the awards ceremony for the 2014 Science Fair was held at CBU. Students, families, community members and teachers were present to celebrate the accomplishments of the prize winners. The Science Fair committee did a great job of making the evening special for the participants, their families and the community. As the prize winners were announced, a picture of their project was on screen for all to see. The attendees were amazed at the amount of prize money distributed during the evening. We will be well represented at the Canadian Science Fair by four projects. Seven of 18 schools from our region were represented at the fair this year. The committee for the Fair would like to increase the number of schools who participate in the Science Fair and will be working on a plan to increase awareness within our region.
At the IT Fair and the signing of the FIT MOU at Riverview, students talked about what they had experienced and their consideration of future career choices as a result of their attendance. Rhyan Coleman and Joe Chisholm were recognized for their commitment to showcasing information technology.
The Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development named an Education Review Panel on February 19, 2014. A former Lieutenant Governor with decades of experience in education will lead a panel to identify what Nova Scotians think needs to be done to strengthen the public education system. Myra Freeman and five panelists will seek public opinion on what is working with public education and what needs improvement.
The panel begins the process of reviewing the education system and will look at many components from curriculum to technology, to student outcomes, and how to better adapt the education system to ensure success of all students in the changing environment. A partners’ advisory group will assist the panel. It will consist of a diverse group of organizations and educational partners, including those representing teachers, school boards, universities, African Nova Scotians, Mi’kmaq, Acadians, youth and business. The review may provide short term and long term direction, and a Minister’s Action Plan on Education will be developed and some changes to public education may be implemented as soon as the 2014-15 school year.
The other panelists are:
Tina Dixon, Bear River, Digby County
Mike Henderson, Brookfield, Colchester County
Kyle Hill, Toronto, formerly of Yarmouth
Gordon MacInnis, Glace Bay
We look forward to providing input to the panel as well as the final results.
Staff continues to work on budget preparations and we hope to get our numbers in early April.
The week of April 6-12 was designated Volunteer Week. We, in the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board are so fortunate to have an abundance of volunteers associated with our schools. We have breakfast programs, lunch programs, after-school programs, clubs, teams, groups and activities in all our 52 schools that rely on volunteers to operate. These are literally thousands of people who volunteer throughout our system. These clubs, teams and activities, etc., could not operate without the tremendous effort of these wonderful people who give so generously of their time. I know I speak for the entire Board, staff and schools when I say thank you to all who volunteer in our system.
Education Week took place from April 20-26 this month. This year’s theme was “Active Citizenship: Get Involved, Take Action, Be the Difference.” The ceremony took place April 22nd, Tuesday, from 2-4 p.m. at Rocky Lake Junior High School in Bedford and celebrated 23 teachers throughout the province who promote active citizenship and making a difference. Janice Hanna from Riverview High School and Theresa Halliday from St. Joseph’s Elementary, Sydney Mines, were both recognized from our Board. I congratulate both and certainly all the dedicated teachers from the CBVRSB who they represent.
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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