Trevor LeBlanc continues to work with schools on the Positive Effective Behavioural Support Initiative. Trevor conducts sessions for schools who are on their way in the implementation process and for those just starting out. He is developing a DVD to help with this initiative.
Risk Management Conference – Mr. White attended a Risk Management Conference in Halifax provided by SIP. Colleen MacMullin, Coordinator of Transportation, attended this very worthwhile conference on November 23 & 24, 2006, as well.
Meetings have been held with Cape Breton Regional Municipality Police Services and Island Business to organize presentations to our high schools on April 12 & 13, 2007. Bobby Smith will be in town to tell his story. (See attached) More details to follow at a later date.
School Services hosted all principals for a full day Elementary/Secondary Principals′ meeting at the Northstar Inn on November 29, 2006.
There were many schools visited in November and December and several Christmas Dinners hosted by various schools were attended.
Thanks to everyone.
Literacy Consultant P-6, Donna Robson
Department of Education – Classroom teachers at the grade primary level will be receiving the resource ‘What′s Next for this Beginning Writer?’ Students at the grade four level will be receiving a copy of ‘Writer′s in Action Handbook’. Delivery will be mid-winter. Our Board will be receiving six sets of resources including DVD′s around the process of writing. In the spring of this year, grades one and two classroom teachers will receive a copy of the Trehearne text, ‘Language Arts, Grades One and Two’. The ‘Teaching In Action’ supplement will be rolled out mid-winter and a lead team will be inserviced.
Curriculum Mapping – Several sites have requested support with the introduction of curriculum mapping including a primary-to-nine school. Plans are to work with the secondary consultant to facilitate this request. We are presently working on a map for reading and writing that should make the transition from grade to grade more manageable for classroom teachers.
Literacy Initiative for Teachers (LIFT) – We are in the process of inducting four more sites into the LIFT initiative. The sites include St. Joseph′s, Jubilee, Florence and Sydney River Elementary schools. An information and development session will be held for these sites in late January. The development of LIFT as a Professional Learning Community continues to drive many of our new professional development experiences. As the initiative grows, sites are able to localize their needs and direct individual school plans.
Primary Promoting Understanding for Lifelong Success – The conversations resulting from the mapping, LIFT, and Reading Recovery experiences have encouraged us to take a focused look at primary practice. A small team of colleagues comprised of two grade primary, two grade one, one resource, a representative from technology, reading recovery and school administration are in the midst of creating a model primary classroom. The process will be documented and videotaped to provide additional support to classroom teachers.
Liaisons – Liaison teachers provided site base professional development surrounding spelling and word study. Harbourside School, as a result of this delivery, provided magnetic letters for all classrooms to assist and promote this developmental practice.
Mentors – Maxine Hardy is busy visiting new teachers at their sites. Michelle Solazzo, a Reading Recovery teacher and a literacy mentor, has made great strides at her site working with individual teachers upon request. Jason Kempt, who has received the mentoring training, has spent a day viewing reading recovery and also doing site visitations in lower elementary. It is our goal for mentors to be able to bridge the transition from one level to another.
Mentoring – Ongoing upon individual request.
Mathematics Consultant P-6, Sharon Boudreau
Grade Three Math Literacy Assessment:
The professional development session explaining to the grade three teachers the administration of the assessment has been cancelled as part of the provincial decision that there be no more pull-out. Ours was to have been on April 2nd and 3rd. Assessment dates are June 5th, 6th, and 7th. Grade three students are not used to writing tests.
Grade Four Support Packages:
– The plan will be developed – proactive
– Report card for teachers will be different than parents
– The DOE is looking at either Prime or First Steps as a program to support this
The number of teachers requesting mentoring continues to increase. At this time, in excess of 30 elementary and approximately 10 junior high teachers have self identified. Two of our junior high mentors have visited all junior high schools explaining the mentoring program to teachers.
Baddeck Academy had a fund raiser after which they purchased white boards for their classes.
Brookland and Glace Bay Elementary Schools:
Both of these schools are ordering large quantities of mathematics manipulatives for their schools.
On December 15th, math mentors from P-9 met. It was a great sharing session where mentors had the opportunity to discuss issues and share ideas.
Maxine Hardy, Donna Robson, and Sharon Boudreau met with Paul Gartland to set up a front page for math and literacy.
On Feb. 12/13, Lead Teachers grades P-9 will have the third of three professional development sessions. Lead teachers will have presented the first and second workshop to their staff. All teachers should now have a copy of the draft for their grade level. This session continues to support lead teachers in presenting the mental math strategies to their students.
The mentoring will continue and expand as more teachers self identify.
Reading Recovery® Teacher Leaders / Early Literacy Consultants,
Paula Muise & Susan MacDonald
Paula Muise - Ongoing Professional Development, Two Groups
Susan MacDonald - Teachers in Training
Teacher Leaders receive one Trainer visit each year, following the Standards and guidelines of The Canadian Institute of Reading RecoveryTM. Trainer Irene Huggins from Manitoba visited us from November 7 – 10. She observed Teacher Leaders teach children as well as conduct an inservice session with teachers. She also met with Brenda MacIsaac, Donna Robson and Teacher Leaders, a common practice during a trainer visit.
A regional Teacher Leader meeting/professional development day was planned for November 10. Teacher Leaders from the Strait Richmond, Chignecto, Annapolis Valley, TriCounty and the French Board were able to attend, making use of Dr Huggins′ expertise and invaluable assistance.
It is very important to share with our colleagues all the issues that can be covered on such a day. Irene Huggins is one of the top people in early literacy in Canada and we always learn a lot from her inservices. Susan and Paula provided a home cooked lunch for the visitors. This was the first time our Board hosted a Teacher Leader meeting. Guests were pleased with the Training Centre and the hospitality offered to them. We hope we can do it again some time.
Each Continuing Contact group met once and the Training class met twice for sessions in November. Teacher Leaders continue to teach children daily, conduct school visits and attend sessions with the schools involved in the Literacy Initiative for Teachers.
Paula Muise was approached by Wendy Berkfelt of CBC Radio′s Mainstreet to do a series of interviews on literacy issues for the program. The first one aired on November 23 at 4:35 p.m.; the second one was on December 18 at the same time.
December is a relatively quiet month for Reading Recovery® teachers. They spend a lot of time trying to locate students for lessons as they engage in all the seasonal festivities. Teachers continue to monitor missed lessons. We have seen improvement in understandings of interrupted lessons in schools as principals respond to data from teachers.
There are three groups of Reading recovery® teachers: one training group and two ongoing professional development groups. Teachers in training had two training sessions this month and each trained group had one.
One teacher from Membertou has dropped out of the training class. The training class is now down to six from a recommended twelve. Trained teachers will be asked to teach for the training class at several inservices to enable teachers to develop the observation and discussion skills that are a major goal of the training.
Teacher Leaders are preparing a document for the Department of Education for tracking former Reading Recovery® students′ progress in the grade three literacy testing.
Teacher Leaders continue to support teachers with school visits and through participation in the Literacy Initiative for Teachers.
Arts Education Consultant, Cathy MacNeil
December was a month of many concerts and presentations throughout the Board. Students were provided with the opportunity of showcasing their talents and receiving positive feedback on a job well done. Students from Sydney River Elementary Choir were special performers with Kelly MacIntyre, a recording artist from Ontario, when she sang in the December 20th Savoy concert hosted by the Cape Breton Chamber Orchestra. This fine choir had previously provided vocals for Kelly′s CD. An additional ′work-in-progress′ is being undertaken by the Drama Department at Sydney Academy under the direction of Maynard Morrison. This group will once again develop, film, edit, and cut an original script with a ′mummy′ theme. To facilitate their costuming, a hands-on professional development session was conducted on December 8th and 9th with two professional hair and make-up artists. Drama teachers were able to observe mummies being created and receive valuable tips on this aspect of production.
In late January, the newly appointed Department of Education Arts Education Consultant, Ardith Haley, will be in the area for a ′Meet and Greet′ with arts educators in this Board to discuss priorities regarding curriculum development and general issues in arts education.
During January, there will also be a display of works of art from students in Scotland and the grade six students from Sydney River Elementary who have been collaborating on the ‘Birds′ project. In November, a similar show took place in Scotland. The artist/ teacher from Scotland, Deidre Nelson, is hoping to be in attendance for this show.
Library Services Consultant, Carmelita Cousins
Board Library Committee:
The Board Library Committee finalized details of the presentation requesting funding for the approval of the purchase of the ‘Insignia Library Automation Software’. The Power Point presentation includes Board statistics for the library program, highlights of various school successes and the advantages of this program for students, library staff, and the Board overall. It is hoped to be presented sometime in late January or early February.
Standardized Library Programs:
Many Library Technicians have submitted their respective activities, initiatives and program presentations for the Board Library Committee. These will be reviewed at the January meeting and the committee will begin the process of creating guidelines for grades P-6, 7-9 and 10-12. These will be further developed at the next professional development session with brainstorming sessions for all Library Technicians.
North of Smokey Schools:
The success of the TD Grade 1 Book Launch of 2005-2006 culminated in May 2006 when students at both Cape Smokey Elementary and North Highlands Elementary received their personal copies of Alligator Stew during a reading by Carmelita Cousins, Facilitator of Library Support. Ms. Cousins, dressed as ‘Daisy Duck′, entertained the students with reading various poems in this anthology. This endeavor caught the attention of the Canadian Children′s Book Centre (CCBC), which published a delightful story of the visit in its Fall 2006 publication Canadian Children′s Book News; the article is available online at www.bookcentre.ca (Fall 2006). Kathleen Martin, Nova Scotia Regional Officer for CCBC, praised this ‘adventure’ as ‘what a thing to celebrate when the Carmelita′s of Canada hop into action: when they go the extra miles to the tiny places in our immense country to put the perfect book into a child′s hand, to listen and encourage a child′s creative writing, to unabashedly celebrate the importance of books’. This story in this publication will be shared with others across Canada. Despite the success of this project, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board′s application to host the author of this year′s TD Grade 1 Book giveaway was unsuccessful. Better luck next year.
Active, Healthy Living (Physical / Health Education) (Cynthia McCormick, Active Healthy Living Consultant)
Girls' Only programs have been organized to begin in January. The following areas are set to go: Northside elementary students in grade 5 will attend four classes after school once a week at Platinum Fitness; Glace Bay Jr. High students will attend Perry's Gym once a week for four weeks. These classes will be offered to the less active students in hopes of motivating them. An aerobics fitness class will be offered to the grade 5-6 girls in New Waterford on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a month. These classes will be offered at St. Agnes Hall and may rotate to individual schools.
Girls' Programs for Sydney, Sydney River and Cape Smokey area are in the planning stages.
Professional Development in both Outdoor Education, GPS, and competitive skipping are planned for February.
Health Promoting Schools funding has been disbursed and 27 schools will be initiating or continuing a variety of after school activities in January.
The mandatory Physical Education credit for High School has been the focus throughout November and December. A guide for Grade 10 will be available for the fall 2007, followed by grade 11 and 12 in subsequent years. A teacher from each board will meet in January to address this curriculum.
Nineteen elementary schools have been provided with $500.00 to refurbish their Physical Education equipment; the other elementary schools will receive this funding next year.
English Second Language (Stephanie Hynes, English Second Language Teacher)
Ms. Stephanie Hynes continues to work hard to establish a rapport with students, assessing strengths and weaknesses with their English proficiency (Reading, Writing, Listening, & Speaking) in an attempt to develop individual/group program plans according to need.
At the Primary level she continues to reinforce/review previously taught lessons through oral practice, games, and hands on activities. At the same time, she has tried to introduce new lessons on social language, themes (family, shapes, color), concepts (big/little, same/different, go/stop, general directions-up/down/over/under and phonetics (initial consonant sounds). She is working with teachers at this level as much as possible to reinforce recent topics covered in class. Slowly but surely students are showing signs of progress. It is very clear that they are receiving a great deal of support from both home and school. Ms. Hynes continues to be encouraged by student′s adaptability and enthusiasm.
At the elementary and junior high levels she continues to use reading comprehension activities, varied according to level of proficiency. She has recently begun to use the recommended PM Benchmark testing kit to do running records and assess student reading. In the area of grammar, we continue to build simple sentences using correct word order, sequencing activities, and journal writing. At the junior high level we have progressed to identifying different types of sentences and parts of a sentence (e.g. articles, verbs, verb tenses). Students continue to submit weekly writing samples as a means to help Ms. Hynes identify where they may need extra help. Most notably at this level, some students at Sherwood Park Education Centre and MacLennan Junior High have been encouraged to prepare a project/presentation on their home country. It is good to see teachers take advantage of such a great learning opportunity. Ms. Hynes′ time at MacLennan, in particular helping a student with her Korea Project, has been especially enjoyable since Ms. Hynes spent some time there herself!
At the senior high school level, class time continues to be spent helping students interpret and complete assignments in English Literature (Shakespeare, The Old Man and the Sea, Short Stories, Essays) Math, History, and Global Geography. Some students have also used this time to write tests. For those students who feel confident in their classes, but have requested some extra help with grammar, Ms. Hynes is providing supplementary activities/worksheets to be picked up by the student at his/her own convenience. Students seem to be content with the amount of support they are receiving at this time, and find some security in knowing they can reach their ESL teacher at any time if they need her. Ms. Hynes has given all of them her e-mail address as well as taken theirs.
Again, at all levels, time was taken to observe Remembrance Day, its history and importance in our country.
Professional Development & Teacher Support:
During the month of November, Ms. Hynes has worked hard to educate herself on various computer programs that could be available to assist our ESL students. She also attended the first of two Kurzweil Workshops, led by Sheila Kublek and Elizabeth MacNeil. The second is to take place December 15, 2006. The session was very informative and definitely something that could be useful to the ESL program. Presently we are using this program to scan Social Studies text for one of our ESL learners at Rankin Memorial. Ms. Hynes has provided a teacher at the elementary level with an oral vocabulary building program called ‘My First Thousand Words.’ She has also learned of a program ‘Starfall.com’ again at the elementary level that teachers are using and seemed to be very pleased with.
She is in the process of giving all of the teachers of her students a copy of the NSISP booklet ‘English As a Second Language, A Resource For Classroom Teachers.’
Ms. Hynes has provided an ESL progress report to be included with students report card at Boularderie Elementary, as it was requested by the classroom teacher.
Mathematics (Arlene Andrecyk, Mathematics Consultant, 7-12)
High school teachers are continuing to work towards a coherent mathematics program in the board. Through meetings with the Senior High Mathematics Committee, high school teachers are actively engaged in cumulative testing having all three levels of questioning. Examinations in math 10, math 10+, math21 and advanced math 11 will follow the same format as the NSE. The rationale is students will be more comfortable writing the provincials if they are used to this type of testing. At one Senior High Mathematics Committee meeting, department heads brought copies of recent math 10 and math 11 tests. All tests were copied and each school was given a resource binder containing these tests.
The first CBVRSB Math League Game took place on November 25th at CBU. Close to 70 students attended. The game went very well. Students appeared to really enjoy the competition. Plans are underway to start a Junior High Math League.
Teachers teaching Math 10 Plus and Math Essentials 11 attended in-services in Halifax on October 19th/20th and on November 30/ December 1st respectively.
Sandy Urquart, Elaine MacEachern and Arlene Andrecyk, Mathematics Consultant, are developing a teacher resource package for the probability unit in Math 12.
Teachers in three schools in the board have offered to do field-testing for the NSE Mathematics: Cabot High School, Glace Bay High School and Memorial High.
Grade 9 math teachers attended a board in-service on Dec 13th. Since the grade 9 math text is new, teachers were given an opportunity to collaborate on the contents of the new text and to plan for its implementation. Part of the in-service was devoted to developing a bank of suitable examination questions for the January 2007 exam. This bank of questions has been compiled and sent to all grade 9 teachers.
Lead teachers received in-servicing on day 2 and are now doing that in-servicing with their schools.
English Language Arts(Secondary) (Diane Brennick, Language Arts Consultant, 7-12)
A planning session for Writers in Action 9 was held in Halifax. This is in preparation for an implementation to provincial teams in April.
Planning is also underway for Literacy Success 11.
Members of our local Literacy Success 10 team have been in-servicing their own schools at staff meetings and the half-day PD days. A number of them have finished for this year.
All of the student resources for Literacy Success 10 have arrived at the schools. The collections are valued at over $1700.00 each. We were disappointed to discover that these resources were not going to be provided to the Adult High schools. A letter has been forwarded to Ann Blackwood with the hope that she may be able to provide the same for our Adult schools.
Teams are now being set up for Teachers in Action 7-9.
Plans are underway for the 30th Annual Public Speaking which will take place in April 2007. The dates are April 10th for senior high; April 11th and 12th for junior high; and April 16-19 for elementary schools. The venue has been booked and the school reps are been decided.
Susan Kelley, Donna Robson, and Diane Brennick planned and executed an in-service for the 7-9 ELA teachers to familiarize them with reading records.
The brochures for the CanSpell competition have been distributed to all the appropriate schools. Information about an upcoming poster contest for Social Studies has also been sent to all appropriate teachers.
Nova Scotia International Student Program (Tammy Sampson, Program Manager)
ESL and International Students:
Stephanie Hynes continues to do an excellent job. Her student numbers continue to grow with immigrant students.
NSISP Social Events Organization:
The Christmas potluck took place on Sunday, December 10th, 2006. We had an excellent crowd. We had a visit from Santa. New NSISP students received their hats while 2nd year students received movie money.
Dorothy Kaiser hosted a Christmas get together for her students on December 21st. Students made a Christmas ornament and had pizza and snacks.
We have received 17 new applications to date for the February intake. Tammy Sampson sent out application packages to two new interested families. She attended pizza parties, a Brazilian Lunch, and she chaperoned a Christmas coffee house at Sydney Academy.
Fifteen of our students are travelling for the Christmas holidays. Some are returning to their home countries while others are meeting family in other parts of Canada or the United States.
Science & Technology Fair (True Burke, Chair, Science Fair Committee)
The Regional Science Fair is scheduled to be held March 28th and March 29th at the Nova Scotia Community College, Marconi Campus. School registration closed on December 18th with 10 schools registered to participate in this year′s fair. This is a huge increase from 4 schools last year. The participating schools are as follows:
– Four students will be sent to Nationals to be held in Truro in May.
– All schools have been informed of the funding from the AST for school science fairs.
– The website is still under construction in hopes of being finished by the end of this month.
Vocational Education (Ken Collier, Vocational Education Consultant)
November and December have been very busy at Memorial High. We have started receiving
some of the new equipment which has been ordered with the provincial upgrade money, and
will continue to receive the balance of the equipment within the next two months. Most of
the equipment has been ordered, although there are still some tenders being worked on
with the purchasing department. I would like to acknowledge the many hours of work that
have been put into this project thus far by many people, and thank everyone for their
efforts and support.
Renovations to our Kitchen and Dining Room will begin in the very near future as the tender has been awarded, and a meeting later this week should reveal the actual start date. Staff and students are eagerly awaiting these renovations.
Our Safety Orientation and WHMIS training has been continuing with approx. 400 students trained thus far. We have also started to train in First Aid and CPR. Once again, we will be applying to the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association for consideration for their annual safety awards.
The vocational department is also in the process of preparing a locally developed course
application, for consideration of a welding program to complement our course offerings.
We are presently working with Mr. Astephen and Mr. Crane in the preparation of this document and curriculum. We feel that this program will be a great addition to our school.
On December 15/06, we had the pleasure of having Ms. Karen Casey, the Minister of Education, and Mr. Charles Clattenburg come to our school for a tour of the vocational programs. Mr. Don Matheson was also in attendance representing senior staff. A master plan for infrastructure changes to complement our equipment upgrade was presented, and we look forward to a positive response to our proposal.
Finally, students and staff are looking forward to this year as the anticipation of the arrival of new equipment, and infrastructure changes, will allow us to better prepare our students for their future.
Food Policy Implementation has begun phase two of the implementation plan. Debbie Madore has visited all schools to review the present menu and what changes are needed for January 2007. Provincial Food Policy working group met for the final meeting November 23 in Halifax. A new committee will be developed for ongoing support.
Chartwells has visited with Cape Smokey and North Highlands and has declined servicing the schools. Chartwells feel it would not be profitable.
Health Promoting Schools applications have been reviewed and final approval has been received. All schools have been notified by phone and confirmation letters are going out in early January.
Breakfast programs are up and running in 47 sites. A meeting was held with Principal, Donnie MacNeil, to look into starting something at Tompkins. Programs are also to begin in Florence and Mountainview this month. A new adoption came in from an anonymous donor in the amount of $3500. Provincial Breakfast program meetings were held in Halifax on November 18 & 19.
French Second Language (Laurie MacIntosh, Consultant)
On December 1, 2006, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board hosted a provincial inservice for teachers and consultants involved in the teaching of grade six Intensive Core French. In attendance with the teachers and consultants were Mr. Gérald Félix (Consultant, Nova Scotia Department of Education) as well as the founders of the program: Dr. Claude Germain and Dr. Joan Netten.
Special Project Evaluations were carried out by Mr. Gérald Félix, on November 16-17 and November 29-30. He visited the teachers and students at the four grade six Intensive Core French sites and was very impressed by the students′ progress. Oral post-testing of the students will be carried out the last week of January by Laurie MacIntosh, Suzanne AuCoin and Celeste Foisy.
The French Second Language Mentoring Initiative has been very successful. Marilyn McGillivray of Breton Education Centre is currently working with six French teachers and the list of interested teachers is growing.
Twelve French teachers of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board finished their Masters in Teaching French as a Second Language from Université Sainte-Anne on December 17, 2006.
A planning meeting for the annual ‘Concours d′Art Oratoire’ (French Public Speaking) will be held on February 8th, 2007.
On January 26th, there will be a meeting with all Elementary Core French Teachers. The grade eight Social Studies Implementation workshop will be held on February 2nd, 2007 for teachers of Sciences humaines 8e année. On March 3rd, there will be a meeting of the Integrated Core French (Social Studies, grade eight) Working Committee.
There will be a visit from the Nova Scotia Department of Education French Second Language personnel at Riverside Elementary School (grade six Intensive Core French class) on February 9th, 2007.
The provincial IEI funds in 2006-2007 are targeted to provide technology, PD and infrastructure to grade all 9 classrooms. In December, Mr. Simm attended a meeting of Board Coordinators, in Halifax, to discuss and update the IEI Project. This has been a very successful project to date.
Mr. Simm has been a representative on the provincial Student Information System Committee. Recent ‘RFPs’ (Request for Proposals) from software vendors have been received and evaluations are ongoing. This is a major step in the process.
In December, a meeting of the Board Technology Committee was held at the Staff Development Centre. The Committee was very supportive of the initiative to have a Core Technology Review done throughout the CBVRSB.
The ‘Instructional Support Team’, consisting of Sheila Kublek, Bill Tenant, Dorothy Tenant and Rick Simm, meets on a weekly basis for discussion and planning of instructional support/technology initiatives. The Team report follows.
IEIE Consultant (Dorothy Tenant)
During the last two months, final orders have been placed for IEIE hardware and software for the year ending in March 2007. Some of these orders have arrived and been delivered to the school sites for grade IX classrooms. The rest will arrive in January and February. Imac and enhanced personal computers are on order as requested by teachers and consultants for higher level multimedia projects that will be integrated into the curriculum. The Board continues to work towards a goal of supplying an LCD projector for every five classroom teachers at each school. We are in the process of setting up one more grade 9 classroom with a cluster of 4 computers. After this is done the grade 9 IEIE rollout will be complete.
A school webpage workshop was held on November 1st. Ten teachers learned how to use Front Page to create their own school web page. A short presentation was made at the grade 9 IEIE Technology Integration Lesson planning workshop on November 2nd and on November 6th an e-Portfolio Planning session was held.
Programs – Instructional Support staff took part in planning the technology component for the grade 5 Science Implementation Workshop on November 7.
On November 24, a meeting was held with teachers from the Adult Education schools to discuss Assistive technology solutions for their students. Some PD took place and a plan for the teachers was agreed upon.
A Technology Integration Professional Development session was held at the three schools North of Smokey: Cabot High, Cape Smokey Elementary and North Highlands Elementary on December 6, 7, and 8. One day was spent at each venue addressing technology needs.
Many school visits were made to ascertain technology needs, solve technology issues and touch base with administrators, teachers and students regarding technology use at the schools. Follow up work will be completed in the New Year.
As IEI Consultant, it was important to attend a meeting in Halifax on November 30 and December 1st. Mentorships to assist schools with technology integration were organized and most will take place next term.
Work has been done updating the IEIE section of the Instructional Support link on the board web site. Work on the special e-Portfolio Special Project continues. It will be launched in the schools in January.
PD Consultant (Bill Tennant)
Web pages, Web mail, online registration, databases (Outcomes), school visits, multimedia projects and Professional Development were the main focus topics of November/December 2006.
Principals continued to make requests for help with their school web pages. Plans to resolve these items are being addressed on a daily basis.
Requests for web mail accounts, especially from teachers attending workshops, were plentiful.
Planning for upcoming PD for Grades 9 teachers and other IEI integration initiatives in January and February is ongoing. Integration of technology will again be the main focus.
There were several requests for guidance and support to complete the Canadian History 11 online registration. Teachers from high schools delivering this online course attended a workshop at the SDC to complete the process by setting web accounts and registering their classes for the course. Also, PD gave the teachers a deeper insight into the integration process with a closer look at the resources they have at their disposal. The collaboration, sharing of ideas and reflection on course outcomes was very productive.
In order to meets the needs of classroom technology integration, sometimes school visits are necessary to provide coaching or mentorship with achieving the outcomes. It is a valuable tool to provide guidance and ideas to the classroom teacher. The Tech team presented such an opportunity to the three schools north of Smokey.
We were able to give site based PD effectively to a large number of teachers. Topics such as Writer′s Companion, Web Paging, Ednet accounts, integrated technology lessons, assistive technology, setting up Homework pages on school web page, Smart Boards and other curriculum related issues were covered during the three days.
As a result of school visits, many interesting projects arise from the collaboration between all parties concerned. The end result being resources (DVDs) produced by teachers and students to be used in future teachings and student presentations.
Assistive Technology Consultant (Sheila Kublek)
November began with a three day conference at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish. The conference was hosted by Bridges-Canada. The focus of the conference was supporting literacy through the implementation of assistive technology software, such as, Kurzweil, Solo and Inspiration.
A demonstration of assistive technology software and hardware was implemented on separate occasions to the teachers in the Steps to Success program and the Psycho-Educational Assessors within our school board. Both groups responded positively to the latest assistive technology and requested further information and demonstrations of assistive technology.
A portable sound system was installed in a grade four class at Sydney River Elementary. This system will assist a student with a significant hearing loss to be able to interact and communicate more easily within the classroom environment. Susan Mac Lean, an itinerant teacher from APSEA, was very generous in providing her time and expertise with setting up the sound system.
The first of a series of Kurzweil workshops took place in November for the ten schools with the Kurzweil network licenses. Two teachers from each school attended the workshop. Feedback from these teachers revealed that they were highly interested and motivated to use Kurzweil with their students. Some teachers quickly returned to their schools to demonstrate the uses of Kurzweil with other staff members.
An application for funding to implement the new guide, Assistive Technology: Supporting Student Success, was completed and forwarded to the Nova Scotia Department of Education. The guide is expected to be released in January 2007.
A total of eight assistive technology student assessments took place in various schools throughout the month of November. Several of these assessments were performed by Sherry Power-Jessome, Lisa Kelly and Melanie Dolan, new members of the Assistive Technology Assessment Team.
A fair amount of time has been spent planning and organizing for three days of in-servicing for North of Smokey in early December. There was a great deal of collaboration between the principals of Cabot High, Cape Smokey and North Highlands and the Instructional Support consultants in order to plan effective and necessary in-servicing.
The month of November was rounded off with a conference with Heather Patterson, the vice-principal of the Adult High Schools, and several teachers from the four sites. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the possible uses of assistive technology with the students in the Adult High Schools. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was established that providing assistive technology hardware / software and teacher training were priorities.
During the months of November and December, student services teachers continued to be involved in workshops and in-servicing in our region.
In November, the teachers in the Steps-to-Success programs met with Trevor LeBlanc to continue building effective behavior plans and develop strategies to help students work with peers in the regular classroom. Teachers also engaged in a workshop on assistive technology with Sheila Kublek. The day allowed teachers to develop strategies for behavior and academics.
Learning Centre teachers met on November 10th for a full-day workshop. Topics for the workshop included the TTAP which is a new assessment tool for use with students with special needs. The TTAP gives information to help structure programming, so students have the skills necessary to transition to post-secondary placements with the skills to be successful in the placement they have chosen. The tool is being piloted this year at Dr. TL Sullivan Jr. High. Teachers also had presentations on program planning and transition planning. In the afternoon, teachers worked in small groups to discuss and share life skills curriculum and to share what is being covered at each level.
Resource teachers at the Junior High level had the opportunity to meet with the elementary language arts consultant who worked with them on developing literacy skills through reading records and using the information to provide effective programming with students. The response from this workshop was so positive that a follow-up in-service for all resource teachers is being planned for February and will involve programs and student services staff.
The Speech Language Pathologists held their monthly meetings in November and December. Topics for the meetings included updates on the STAR curriculum, a presentation on the TTAP and sharing of the service delivery pilot at Harbourside School.
The Educational Psychologists have a meeting planned for February with a guest speaker from the Strait Board.
The Learning Disabilities teachers met in December for a full day in-service on assistive technology and transitioning. They will continue with workshops on level B tests in the 2007 school year.
Plans for the roll-out of the Parent Guide for Program Planning have started and in the spring of 2007 all families of schools will be holding information sessions for parents to introduce the document. Parents, school staff, and student services staff will be involved in the presentations to the communities.
Teachers involved with the provincial co-teaching video have been invited to conduct a workshop with teachers from Chignecto Central District in February. The response to the video from other districts in our province has been very positive.
In November and December, the remainder of the elementary schools received the Comprehensive Literacy Resource by Miriam Trehearne, one per grade six classroom. Schools were encouraged to provide feedback on this resource and to share it among teachers. Every junior high school also received a copy of this resource.
A team of teachers and administrators from our board took part in marking the upper elementary literacy assessment in Halifax in mid November. This is always a great learning experience. The preliminary results of this assessment will be released to schools in mid to late January.
All junior high schools were visited to discuss their needs in Literacy Support. In conjunction with the administrators of these schools, and in consultation with Human Resources, it was agreed that this year′s budget would be best utilized by providing a literacy support teacher(s) to work with students who have literacy support plans. These 16 positions (both term and secondments) were advertised in January and these teachers will be in schools by February 1st. Workshops are planned for these teachers.
At the request of the grade 9 ELA teachers a workshop was held on November 21st and 22nd for all junior high ELA teachers on Reading Records. This workshop was facilitated by Donna Robson and Diane Brennick, English Language Arts consultants.
The gathering of data by this years accreditation schools is well underway. Meetings were held with the co-chairs and/or administrators of the schools to discuss progress and provide assistance. A workshop/sharing session was also held at the Northstar Inn with all co-chairs to discuss progress and to answer questions.
Two of last years accreditation schools, Dr. T. L. Sullivan and Bras d′Or Elementary, completed the external review process in November. Both schools received very favorable reports from their respective External Review Teams.
RCH Steering Committee Meeting December 2006
Mr. Sheppard attended a planning session meeting regarding the upcoming National RCH conference to be held in May 2007 in Halifax.
MECNS (Multi-cultural Education Council of Nova Scotia)
Mr. Sheppard attended the annual MECNS AGM. Guest speaker was Dr. Carl James of York University.
African Heritage Month
February is African Heritage Month.
Plans are underway to review the staffing for our schools regarding teacher assistants for the upcoming 2007-2008 school year.