Summer Institute for Principals
A very successful two-day Summer Institute for principals, system administrators, and consultants was held on August 28th and 29th in Baddeck. The institute featured important updates and orientation from Human Resources, Operations, Programs and Student Services, and Finance divisions. Participants were provided opportunities for team building during the afternoon of the first day while Robert Sampson and Stacey Pineau facilitated concurrent sessions on Cyber Bullying and Media Relations during the evening of the 28th.
Feedback from participants indicated that all aspects of the two-day institute were very well received and determined to be very effective.
Comments such as
‘With the large amount of information available as well as sorting out new assignments, this opportunity to relax and reflect was invaluable – thank you’
‘Well thought out and appreciated! This type of institute has re-energized all of us!’
‘Excellent as a consultant – the connections/discussions that took place ′open up′ the lines of communication for the year’
‘One of the best sessions I ever attended on team building. I hope we build on this for next year.’
‘Best principals′ meeting ever – I left refreshed and not overwhelmed. I appreciate the team building efforts you are making – it will pay of greatly!’
‘It was a wonderful combination of important sharing of pertinent information, effective PD and relaxation. A great balance!’
‘This summer institute was such a positive experience. I felt valued. I hope to model the experiences during the school year. Thank you for a very effective, positive and informative start for 2007-2008!’
are representative of how well received this initiative was for all who attended.
Minister′s Review of Services for Students with Special Needs
In July, 2007, the Review Committee′s Report and Recommendations regarding Services for Students with Special Needs was released. The 91 page report contains a Key Findings section which addresses comments by the committee on the action to date from the 34 recommendations contained in the Special Education Implementation Review (2001) response work plan as well as a section outlining 27 recommendations resulting from the Committee′s most recent review of services for students with special needs.
Copies of the Report will be distributed to each Board Member for your review and Programs and Student Services will take the lead in developing a response to the report in the coming weeks.
A Summer Math Institute for Grade 3 teachers and substitute teachers was organized by Sharon Boudreau, Grades P-6 Math Consultant, and Ron Mueller, Grades P-6 Math Mentor. The Institute was held the week of August 20th to August 24th at the Delta in Sydney. Forty-four teachers participated in this institute, a much greater number of teachers than was originally anticipated.
The feedback from teachers who attended this institute was very positive. Comments such as "This was the best professional development experience I have ever had."; "Thank you so much for including substitutes. I now feel so much more confident going into the classroom; "I can't believe it. I have the whole Grade Three Math Program planned out for the year."; and "Wow! Now I understand why we have to change the way we teach math and now I know how to do it. I wish I was taught like this when I was in school. I would have loved math instead of hating it’ indicated how participants felt about the institute.
Sharon Boudreau also facilitated a Nova Scotia Educational Leadership Consortium Mentoring Module attended by 11 Grades P-9 teachers in our Board during the week of August 13th to August 17th. This means that the Board now has a total of 20 teachers trained to mentor their colleagues in the areas of literacy and math.
The Grade Primary Curriculum Committee under the leadership of Donna Robson, P-6 Literacy Consultant, has developed a Grade Primary Literacy Assessment. All Grade Primary students in the Board will be given this assessment administered by their teachers within the first few weeks of school. This provides teachers, early in the school year, with learning profiles for each of their students. This profile will highlight areas of strength and areas of need so teachers are better able to address the individual learning needs of their students.
Reading Recovery teachers have agreed to work with classroom teachers in their schools to support them in administering the observation survey and running records. This is a wonderful support as more and more new teachers are beginning their teaching careers and, to be able to guide and support their students literacy learning, they must be able to administer and read this assessment instrument.
For the first semester, we now have a total of 67 students who will attend 9 different schools, grades 7-12, within the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, through the Nova Scotia International Student Program. Eleven of these students are returning students from last year. The Homestay Coordinators for all students in the program are currently planning Welcome Barbeque′s for their students.
The New Student Orientation will take place in Margaree, September 15-16, 2007. All new Nova Scotia International Students will take part in various activities, including bumper boats, mini-put, canoe trips, paddle boats, kayaks and go-karts, as well as movies, and a bon-fire. Students will learn all about the program rules and regulations, and complete many workshop sessions. This orientation gives these international students a great opportunity to connect and form bonds with the students who will attend different schools, and live in different areas in the region.
In the upcoming school year, a new web-based student information system will be implemented in grades P-6. This user-friendly program called ‘Outcomes’, a proven solution for data collection and reporting needs of schools, is presently being used at Jubilee Elementary, Donkin-Gowrie, Bridgeport, and George D. Lewis. This is a big step forward in the management of student information and a positive change that will make teachers′ and administrators′ jobs easier.
At the beginning of September, Student Services staff was involved in ensuring smooth transitioning for students with special needs.
Lead Teacher for PEBS/Behavioural Support, Trevor LeBlanc, provided an in-service to an elementary school on the PEBS Initiative.
Plans for meetings with teachers new to Student Services and other disciplines are underway.
A two-day Accreditation Workshop is scheduled to be held at the Best Western North Star Inn in North Sydney on Monday, September 24th, and Tuesday, September 25th, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Monday. This session is for Principals and Co-chairs of the twelve new schools who will be beginning this process during the 2007-2008 school year. The focus of this meeting will be on the Internal Review Process with Mitch Landry and Lawrence Ryan. Vince Warner will serve as aresource person.
Student Support Workers
On Wednesday, September 5, a meeting was held with the Student Support Workers (SSW); new staff was welcomed aboard (Margaret Estwick and Shaun Parris). The SSWs attended the Africentric Training in August. All four participants enjoyed the session and felt it has prepared them for the school year.
Highlights of our meeting included; scheduling, programming, African Heritage Month program and the need be proactive as opposed to being reactive. Emphasis was placed on reaching African Nova Scotian students in rural areas. The two new SSWs will job shadow Noreen and Dionne for the first couple of weeks.
On Wednesday, September 5, a meeting was held with the Mi′kmaq Education Consultant, Sheldon Googoo. Sheldon began visiting schools and creating contacts within the Native community. Discussion was generated on the need to develop an information package to distribute to schools for Mi′kmaq Heritage Month. Contact was made with the Foundation for Advancement of Aboriginal Youth, to ensure students within our Board are utilizing the opportunity to receive bursaries from the organization.
Ms. Crawford has also begun putting together information to construct a Board RCH website. This site will inform people of the role of RCH, Mi′kmaq Education Consultant and the Student Support Workers.