The CBVRSB strategic plan of 2012 identified four critical issues that articulated our Board’s vision and mission statement:
Two of these critical issues formed the foundation of our present planning process for our long term facilities and ultimately sustainability of our system. The critical issue of governance identified collaboration of community stakeholders in Board decisions. The critical issue of demographic dynamics and our continuing declining enrollment provided a second element.
To this end, there was initially an extensive public consultation process on a planning framework, Looking Inward, that resulted in a number of proposals to deal with declining enrolment and surplus space in our facilities. This was followed by consultation work with community groups from each family of schools across the region to assess the proposals and provide alternative scenarios.
These family of schools community groups will present a progress report to the Board in early November and then deliver this report to their communities for further response. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Director of Operations, Mr. Paul Oldford, for his leadership in this area, as well as Mr. Jim Burton for his facilitation of this process. Our coordinators in programs, human resources, finance and operations, as well as principals and school advisory councils across the Board have devoted countless hours to this immense undertaking, and we are certainly grateful to them for their dedication, hard work and willingness to collaborate with us. The results of their work will stand us in good stead as we move forward with the long range planning framework now being required by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Coincident with our planning process, are recent discussions with the Department that indicate our funding formula is changing, and we will be transitioning to a revised formula that will reduce the provision for declining enrolment (7.5 million) that has offered a protection factor in the past. We have reached a critical point where future changes are necessary to sustain our system and maintain programs.
October is Mi’kmaq History month, an opportunity for schools to focus on Mi’kmaq culture, history, and achievements. Schools have been sharing in this celebration during this month and will continue to reflect on these experiences throughout the year. To this end, our Board welcomed Mr. Wyatt White, Director of Mi’kmaq Education at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, to our Management meeting this month. Mr. White provided the Board with valuable information outlining the services and supports that are available.
The past month has seen a number of our schools receive recognition for their efforts in various endeavours. Boularderie Elementary School received the Norman Connors Healthy School Award of $1,000 for promotion of healthy living activities.
Tompkins Elementary was the recipient of the 2014 Mobius Award of Environmental Excellence for School of the Year. This school was chosen as the provincial winner in a ceremony held at Pier 21 on October 15th.
On October 17, the new skilled trades centre was officially opened at Glace Bay High School. This exciting program addition to Glace Bay provides students with an opportunity to explore skilled trades as a career option and provides hands on learning in workplace activities.
A beautiful new soccer field with an amazing view of Baddeck Bay was officially dedicated to the memory of Mr. Stephen MacDermid on October 15. Mr. MacDermid was a dedicated community volunteer who supported extra-curricular sports in the Baddeck community for many years.
And finally, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to Newcap and the Giant 101.9 FM radio station for their support of our music programs. The station presented our Board with a $30,000 grant for the seventh year in a row for a total of $210,000. This generous grant provides support in music programs in the areas of instrumental purchase, music curriculum, festivals and scholarships.
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. Again, I ask that principals ensure that these important communications are kept up-to-date.
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