Core Tech Review
Aliant Xwave has been contracted to review the current state of information technology for the Board and to develop a technology road map that will assist the Board in planning, structural, and investment decisions over the next three to five years. With this overall purpose in mind, there are four specific objectives of the project.
- Review the current state of technology for CB-VRSB to provide a baseline for measurement against technology objectives.
- Develop a long-term (5 year) technology vision for CB-VRSB that identifies the key components that guide the investment decisions of the organization.
- Develop a target Blueprint architecture that identifies the short-term (18 month) technology targets for CB-VRSB to achieve over the planning cycle.
- Develop an integrated, high level implementation plan that identifies the major projects, milestones, work level estimates, and budgetary estimates for achieving the short-term Blueprint.
Thirty-four interviews and eight focus group sessions will be carried out with representatives of all classifications of employees at school level and central office covering the four departments. Interviews began on Wednesday, February 28th, at the school site level and will continue for the next month and a half.
Review of Special Education Programming
The Department of Education has named a three-member committee to look at whether special education programming and services are achieving their desired results. The review may include such topics as teacher education, transition planning, inclusionary practices, integrated services and programming support.
In the coming months, the team will meet with parents, educators, school boards, school advisory council chairs and advocacy groups. Interested parties will also be able to provide input through a government website and written submissions.
We await further details regarding the scheduling of meetings with stakeholders within the jurisdiction of the CB-VRSB. A final report, with recommendations, is expected to be completed by the summer.
We have 825 students registered for Grade Primary in September 2007. Last year, after our initial registration, we had 792 and by September 30, 2006, we had 942 registered. We hope the same increase will happen this year as well. There are many people who failed to register for a variety of reasons despite all the publicity. We do expect some 1600 Grade 12′s to graduate this year.
Meeting with Probation Services
Two meetings were held with Brad Furey and others from Probation Services to discuss possible partnering for an alternate class/program for students in conflict with the law. Each year, we lose a number of students who seem to ‘fall through the cracks’ because of their legal issues. They are not ready to enter the regular school system or any of the alternate programs such as Steps to Success or Learning Centres at Southside or Northside. We hope to provide some programming for those on Probation so they could eventually transition into our system. This program will hopefully begin in September.
Trevor LeBlanc has developed a DVD covering all the aspects of the PEBS initiative. We hope to approve this DVD soon and then distribute it to all schools. Mr. LeBlanc continues to work closely with all schools in accordance with PEBS and with students having behavioural concerns.
Department of Education – Grades two and three teachers will be receiving sample packs of ′Literacy Place′. The Primary Program Document Support Video is in the works. The Department of Education has requested Donna Robson be the narrator for the video.
Curriculum Mapping - Michelle Planetta, Shipyard Elementary, continues to work on developing continuum maps for reading and writing.
Literacy Initiative for Teachers (LIFT) - The initiative will offer a close-out session for those schools involved in Phase 1: Bras d′or, Glace Bay Elementary, and Greenfield. It will take place on February 20 at Shipyard School. As this initiative unfolds at each site, we see the value in using this process as an assessment for learning tool. Greenfield Elementary has decided to revisit what their primary orientation day looks like and this year, in conjunction with the Reading Recovery teachers, will offer a modeled demonstration for parents/caregivers.
Our new sites for this semester include: Mount Carmel, Jubilee, Florence and St. Joseph (Sydney Mines). A professional development session will also be held on the same date and location for these participants. Riverside, St. Anne′s, Harbourside and George D. Lewis Schools have completed phase two and will present a site based plan for next year. Support will be continued and will vary from site to site.
Primary Promoting Understanding for Lifelong Success (PPULS) - Teachers involved in this initiative will be receiving their technology support prior to March Break. The four classrooms, two primary and two grade one′s, will be supplied with two new computer systems, a projector and screen. We are in the process of finding a site that can house our virtual classroom that will enhance and enable many mentoring experiences to take place. The project involves participants from programs and student services.
Mentors - Maxine Hardy, Michelle Solazzo and Jason Kempt are all actively mentoring this month. Harbourside School continues with after-school literacy groups and this has increased the requests for individual mentoring. Maxine is offering several levels of support as she attends the sessions for the STEP teachers (Supporting Teachers Entering the Profession), makes classroom visitations and sets up and attends mentoring days for this group. Jason will begin his first junior high experience mid-February.
Primary Parent Fairs - Members of the committee for the Fairs will meet at Staff Development Centre, North Sydney, on February 21. The group is communicating closely with Student Services and community groups on this event.
Making Meaning - The date for Making Meaning has been changed to April 23. The event will take place at the Membertou Trade and Convention Center. There will be a deliberate focus on the process of ‘making meaning’ and a strong cultural connection.
There have been two recent math mentor secondments in our Board; one at the elementary level and the second at the junior high level. The term will be from February 13 to June 27. Several other mentors will continue to provide ongoing mentoring on a part-time basis. Mentoring requests continue to grow.
Math Materials Purchases
There has been a fund created so that schools can order manipulatives which at present are lacking. Twelve schools have responded with requests and the vast majority of those requests have been filled. This was greatly appreciated.
Van de Walle Book Study
Van de Walle was a world renowned mathematician who has greatly influenced many of the new math strategies we presently use. His untimely death this year is a great loss to the math community. There is a wonderful group of ten enthusiastic and dedicated teachers taking part in the Van de Walle Book Study. Every second Tuesday we meet after school at Brookland Elementary from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. We have had some great discussions about the philosophies around the new strategies. Each week we have homework, a chapter to read and an activity to try out in the classroom. The sharing has been fun and the time is over very quickly.
Ron Muller (Mentor)
Ron, one of our elementary mentors, has been successful in receiving a short term study leave. He has been visiting schools and meeting with the math consultant and mentors. Ron has also arranged to meet with John Mighton, the author of Myth of Ability, to discuss the JUMP program which is targeted at children at risk in mathematics. He has also been visiting classrooms using this program. In addition, Ron will attend a conference on the weekend which focuses on patterning and algebra, grades primary to three. He is also seeing a couple of different math recovery programs and many uses for the Learning Carpet.
Teachers have been very receptive to support offered to them. It is obvious that teachers in general are striving to deliver the math program as prescribed in the curriculum document. They have indicated that they need time and guidance to do the best job possible.
The lead teachers in our Board have had their third and final day of professional development on mental math. They will now present the last forty-five minute session to their schools. They have indicated that the extra time this year has made the delivery at their schools considerably more comfortable, as they have had a great deal of background information.
Mathematics Support Meeting
A team from each Board in the province will meet to discuss effective ways to provide mathematics support for students who will have written the early elementary Mathematics Literacy Assessment and are identified as not yet meeting expectations.
Van de Walle Book Study
The book study will continue this month. There are seven sessions in total.
The mentoring will continue and expand as more teachers self identify.
This will continue, including schools where principals have asked Sharon Boudreau to visit.
(Paula Muise - Ongoing Professional Development, Two Groups
Susan MacDonald - Teachers in Training)
The training class had two inservice training sessions and each of the two on-going professional development groups met once in February. Teacher Leaders continue to support teachers with school visits and ongoing communication by e-mail, fax, and telephone.
Teacher Leaders teach children daily. Teachers continue to take part in the Literacy Initiative for Teachers. Teacher Leaders support the teachers during the debriefing sessions after school.
Paula Muise discussed Literacy Issues on CBC radio on February 19 at 4:35 p.m. The spot is pulling in the 35-49 demographic, a target audience for the program. They hope to expand it into next year. The meeting will be held in March.
Paula Muise attended the GRADS session on February 19. Susan MacDonald hosted a Trainer Visit from Irene Huggins on February 19. Paula Muise presented ‘Scaffolding Emergent Writing’ to the School Liaison Teachers on February 6.
A Power Point presentation, ‘A Proposed Action Plan for Reading Recovery® in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board’ was prepared for a meeting with Liaison Administrators at the Shipyard Training Centre on February 1. Five Reading Recovery® teachers also contributed to the meeting. Teacher Leaders hope to present this report to senior staff. Proposed changes in the implementation of Reading Recovery® in this Board would align our practices with the Standards and Guidelines of the Canadian Institute of Reading Recovery®.
Teacher Leader visited Boularderie School and North Highlands in order to assess children for acceptance into Reading Recovery® lessons. This will speed up the transition of teachers who are assigned to school for half year terms.
An all day inservice is planned for February 23 for Reading Recovery® teachers who are not needed at their schools on that day. On February 27, Teacher Leaders will hold one final session for teachers who took part in the Observation Survey& Running Records Training in the fall. It took over four months for the books to arrive from the Book Bureau. They will be distributed at that meeting.
Among the activities for the month of March is an inservice for Teacher Assistants in Training at Marconi Campus on March 9.
Three arts educators are participating as pilot teachers for advanced grade twelve arts courses. Steve MacInnis (Music, Memorial High), Hardy Kalberlah (Visual Arts, Sydney Academy) and Elizabeth Lalonde (Visual Arts, Holy Angels) will be attending workshops presented by the Department of Education. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated teachers who are willing to participate in curriculum development at this level. There is a need to provide those gifted and talented students with appropriate learning opportunities.
There are many arts educators who realize the benefit of offering students opportunities outside the realm of their everyday experience. Two such teachers are Diane Lewis and Susan Greaves. Diane Lewis, who teaches visual art at Memorial High, received a Sheonoroil Fund Grant in 2006. She involved students in experiences that promoted the arts as a vehicle to open the lines of communication at Memorial High. In addition to initiating a school newspaper, developing tableaus that represent violence, bullying, etc, students were asked to use visual arts to covey thoughts on particular topics. One student, Amy Donovan, created a photo essay of shoes that is currently being considered for distribution by the Department of Education.
A PDAF Grant was recently received by Susan Greaves who teaches music and art dramatique at Holy Angels. This project will result in a performance utilizing black light theatre and will involve music, drama and entrepreneurship students.
As a result of the recent performance by Glace Bay Elementary Schools Band at the opening ceremony of Family Violence Prevention Week, the band was asked to perform during the Capers Basketball games on Friday, Feb. 16th at Cape Breton University.
Three projects from our Board will be showcased as a part of the Provincial Historica Display on Monday, February 19 at Citadel Hill, Halifax. The students and project titles are as follows: Samantha MacLean, Cusack ( Halifax Explosion), Evan Bonaparte, Rankin (Little Narrows Gypsum Co.) and Mathieu Briand, Malcolm Munroe (Sydney Steel).
Lyn McInnis began a secondment for the position of Acting Literacy Support Consultant on February 6, 2007. On February 6, she worked with Susan Kelley prioritizing the work to be done over the next several weeks. Lyn also attended a meeting at Central Office regarding Literacy Assessment results with David Brennick, Brenda MacIsaac, David Crane, Susan Kelley, Diane Brennick, and Donna Robson.
Over the next few days, she prepared communications to all elementary school principals regarding the number of days allocated to their school to support the development of Literacy Support Plans for students and time to meet with the parents of these students. She also compiled an overview which would reflect this data.
On February 13, she met with John Astephen, David Crane, David Brennick, and Brenda MacIsaac to learn more about our Board′s initiatives concerning Professional Learning Communities. On Wednesday February 14, she attended the Library Committee meeting with Carmelita Cousins.
Lyn is beginning to receive requests from schools to work with teachers and resource teachers on developing appropriate Literacy Support Plans for students.
Board Library Committee
The Committee met on February 14th. The agenda included such items as library orders, budgets and continuation of programming issues. A tentative timeline was created in relationship to the possible purchase and implementation of Board-wide library automation software; the Committee will finalize this at their next meeting.
Surplus Library Resources
Books have begun to arrive as part of the surplus order. Items will be sorted and catalogued, then distributed to the respective schools. Resources will reflect diversity of many areas: race, religion, gender, as well as Cape Breton culture. Books will be representative of fiction, non-fiction and reference material types. Once placed on the shelves of the various schools, they will enhance our libraries, making our Board′s library collections reflective of diversity of many cultures and subjects. It is anticipated that over 200 large boxes of books will arrive before the end of March. Such an initiative as this will support CB-VRSB students in both curriculum needs and leisure reading.
Freedom to Read
February 25 to March 3 was designated as ‘Freedom to Read’ week in Canada. Library Technicians prepared various activities centering on the concept of freedom of choice for reading and hosted displays, discussions, etc., based on books which have been challenged in public and school libraries across Canada. For more information on this celebrated week, visit www.freedomtoread.ca.
Nova Scotia Association of Library Technicians (NSALT)
After many years of planning and hard work, the Nova Scotia Association of Library Technicians has been created. The group will hold their first Annual General Meeting on March 12 in Halifax. This group will represent Library Technicians from various sectors: public schools, public libraries, Nova Scotia Community College, hospitals, government and private companies. Nominations and elections for all executive positions will take place and the by-laws of the new association will be read. It is hoped that NSALT will be able to provide a voice for Library Technicians throughout Nova Scotia. Their mission will be:
- To promote a wider understanding, acceptance and advancement of the professional role of the Library Technician in Nova Scotia.
- To collaborate with other library associations and other organizations in response to issues that relate to the entire library community.
- To provide input into and information about continuing education opportunities.
- To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas between Library Technicians and Library Assistants
Carmelita Cousins will represent our Board at this meeting and will bring back membership forms for Library Technicians in our Board.
English Language Arts
An In-service for all grade eight Social Studies teachers was held February 2nd, 2007, at the Staff Development Centre. Wayne Hamilton from the Department of Education, along with Sally Capstick and Andrew Unsworth, Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, shared many valuable strategies and activities with all present. Packets were sent out to any teachers unable to attend due to a conflict with exams.
Sheila MacDonald has agreed to pilot units for the Teaching in Action 7-9 guide supplement. She will start this in late April. The supplement to the guide will be ready for distribution sometime in the fall.
An infusion for the grade 9 Active Readers has arrived at all the junior highs.
High school English Language Arts teachers (1 per school) are signing up to attend a session about the new African Heritage Language Arts course. This course will be piloted in 2007 and will be fully implemented in 2008.
Jeffrey Wilhelm′s book Engaging Readers and Writers with Inquiry is being delivered to all senior high schools. Jeff Wilhelm was the presenter to the Literacy 10 success teams.
The Active Readers Assessment Resource was presented to the newly hired Literacy Support teachers.
The next newsletter for English Language Arts will be sent out to the schools shortly.
In last year′s Young Writers Short Story contest MacLennan Junior High was a runner-up school. Information and application forms for this contest have been sent out to all secondary schools.
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.
Each school is responsible for maintaining a current school website. In order to provide support to schools, the Instructional Support Team regularly monitors school sites. If needed a support person goes directly to the school to work with the designated school website contact person on staff.
A workshop for the final group of Instructional Support/Technology school liaison persons will be held on January 26th. These teachers play a key role as they become another communication link between the instructional support/technology department and the school.
A series of workshops for grade 4-6 teachers will take place at the Staff Development Centre from January to March. All classrooms grade 4-6 have received IEI clusters of computers and related technology. The purpose of the workshops is to provide support to teachers with the integration of technology. Teaching strategies and classroom management are key topics.
Planning for upcoming PD for Multimedia is progressing. A plan is in place to involve 15 teachers from different grade levels to participate in multiple training sessions covering many facets of multimedia. The approaches and strategies will help teachers develop and implement projects that will enhance technology integration in classroom activities and meet cross-curricular outcomes.
A technology meeting (RBTs) was attended in Halifax. The meeting focused on IEI, summer institute planning for PD and surveying ICT skills of teachers and students.
Work is being done to develop a library of scanned texts to be used with the assistive technology Kurzweil software program. Scanned texts are being acquired through school purchases and through the Jennifer Keeping Accessibility Centre at CBU.
On January 25, 2007 all Resource teachers from across the district attended the Staff Development Center for professional development. The day was facilitated by Suzanne Brown and Donna Robson focusing on strategies for reading and writing for students with special needs. Resource teachers were able to watch a Running Record session at the Junior High level that was conducted by Milley George and a grade nine student. Resource teachers reported that this session was very useful and practical and are looking forward to implementing such strategies into their own classrooms. A second session was scheduled for January 26, 2007 for the other half of the Resource teachers, but due to school cancellation this will be rescheduled.
On February 8, 2007 all Learning Center teachers from across the district attended the Staff Development Center for professional development. The morning session was delivered by Cathy Viva and Suzanne Brown, which focused on writing Individual Program Plans. Teachers were given the opportunity to work on their own IPPs for their students, and also collaborate with other teachers for ideas and strategies.
Tim White, Occupational Therapist from the Autism Intervention Team (AIP), facilitated the afternoon session. The focus of this session was to explore different Sensory issues students with special needs might have within the classroom. The afternoon lead to great discussions. It involved strategies and techniques that could be applied to the Learning Center or classroom environment.
In the spring of 2006, the Department of Education released the document called ‘The Program Planning Process: A Guide for Parents’. As a result of this document release, the Student Services Department of the Cape Breton Victoria School Board decided to also roll out this document in the form of Public Presentations. In order to prepare for these presentations, an expression of interest letter was put out to all interested persons willing to participate in facilitating sessions throughout the district. Participation was encouraged from school staff and the parent community from different geographical locations. After the expressions of interest were received, teams were formed consisting of an administrator, parent/s, student services person, classroom teacher, guidance, Speech Language Pathologist and Psycho-Educational Assessor. Teams were then in-serviced by the core team members of Student Services (Cathy Viva- Coordinator of Student Services, Suzanne Brown,-Student Services Consultant, Trevor LeBlanc-PEBS Lead Teacher and Amber MacCormack- Transition Support Lead Teacher) during an afternoon session. The purpose of this document is to outline the program planning process and provide information for parents/guardians on their rights, roles and responsibilities. This document comes from the Supporting Student Success: Resource Programming and Services document which was released in 2002 from the Department of Education.
Public Information sessions are planned for:
# of parents attended
MacLennan Jr. High
February 20, 2007
February 22, 2007
February 27, 2007
Glace Bay Elementary
March 7, 2007
Sessions are planned for North of Smokey and Baddeck/Iona with dates and locations to be announced.