Superintendent's Report: November 26, 2007
Category : Superintendent Report
Published by Karen Delaney [Karen Delaney] on 11/27/2007

Superintendent's Report - November 26, 2007

SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT

BOARD MEETING

NOVEMBER 26, 2007

Attachments:

As the year 2007 comes to a close, we have much to reflect upon. We have immersed ourselves in listening, learning and assessments of people, programs, policies, problems and potential opportunities. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has been involved in a myriad of activities associated with the educational future of our children. We have been engaged in a number of Department of Education reviews such as:

a) School Closure Policy;

b) Teacher Education Review;

c) Transportation & Walking Distance;

d) The implementation of the Hogg Report; and,

e) Special Education Review.

We have on all occasions made the feeling of this Board well known to the Department of Education and the other partners of education throughout the province.

The following number of Department of Education and Regional Board initiatives have occupied our time and energy over the past number of months:

  • Accreditation/S.A.C.
  • Teacher Audit/Out of Field Assignments;
  • Literacy & Mathematic Focus;
  • Recreating our Strategic Plan;
  • Lead & Achieve Extensions/New Directions;
  • Business Plan;
  • Learning for Life II;
  • New School Construction;
  • Renovations of Older School Sites;
  • Time to Learn/Time to Teach; and,
  • Succession Planning.

It is important to understand that we are required to move on these objectives simultaneously. We do this because we know that the problems we face are not simple. In fact, they are amazingly complex, and we know there is no simple 'Silver Bullet' answer to them.

In response to the Premier's Symposium on Education, it was apparent to us that we will be taking some very intentional direction over the next few years. Improving students' outcomes will occupy most of our attention. We have implemented most of 'Learning for Life I' and we are finishing our commitments to 'Learning for Life II'. The next step will be 'Learning for Life III'. Most of the goals associated with this last phase have been anticipated, but it is not too late for us to contribute some new ways of thinking and acting. One of the underpinnings will be the interagency collaborative cooperation among Health, Justice, Education and Community Services. Dr. Robert Wright has been named the Executive Director of this venture which is front loaded from the Community Services Department who has taken the lead. I firmly believe that this Board is committed to its primary responsibility to foster the belief that we must change the way we do business. We must try to create circumstances under which this change is possible. The bottom line for us would be how this will impact for the benefit of all of our students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

Because we want to become one of the province's premier school regions, we should always try to work together to be sure our students will:

  • Feel comfortable, welcome and safe;
  • Engage in relevant & personalized learning experiences;
  • Develop strong, respectful relationships with adults and peers;
  • Take ownership for learning;
  • Achieve high academic standards; and,
  • Graduate with a plan for the future.

With our working together, we can realize our mission so they can succeed in all aspects of life.

This is the time of the year where we look at the goals and objectives of our Business Plan and ascertain the achievement levels that we have accomplished over the year. This process offers us the opportunity to reflect on work that we are doing, and just as importantly, why we are doing it. It also affords us the opportunity to step back and look at how things connect and fit together into what I believe is a truly comprehensive plan to improve the educational opportunities for all students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board communities.

Take a moment to look at our Business Plan; examine the work so that we can continue to improve. By reviewing these objectives, we can ensure that the new goals and priorities for the year before us will fulfill our challenges and aspirations for our students. The due date for the development of our new Business Plan is February 2008 which will reveal the direction we will be taking for the ensuing year 2008-2009.

My theme for parents and students most appropriately should be titled -" Your School, Your Child, And The Future "......

When you and I recall the events that have occurred since we were in school, we begin to realize how rapidly the world is changing. With this kind of thinking, we can begin to predict some changes that may happen in the future. Without doubt, we can safely say that our children, who are now students, will graduate into a world that is vastly different from today's world. The enormous explosion of knowledge, the rapidity with which products and practices become out-of-date, and the restructuring of world economic and government systems send us messages about what is ahead.

At school, we are concerned with making education that we provide appropriate for the future. We know that you share this concern. As parents and as educators, we are looking for ways to prepare our students for the future.

We want to share with you some of our thoughts about the education that will be needed by our children in the future and tell you some of the things we are trying to do to prepare our students to live in the world of tomorrow. Our goals are based on the following principles:

  • Each student must be guided in the process of becoming a person of moral and ethical integrity. We plan for our students to see and experience many examples of honesty, respect, and responsibility. Guided practice in honesty in schoolwork and behaviour with others is a priority with us. A respect for self that expands to include a respect for others, their ideals, their property, and their efforts is a continuous goal of our school. We emphasize a responsibility for self and a sharing of the responsibility for helping others as we seek to prepare students for the future;
  • We believe it is essential that each student have explicit training and practice in problem solving, decision making, and critical thinking. Although the problems of the future are beyond our prediction, we teach our students the processes involved in identifying and solving problems and give students guided practice in finding data, applying trial solutions, and evaluating consequences or outcomes;
  • We emphasize to our students every day that learning is an on-going process that lasts throughout life. As we teach the basic academic tool subjects, we expand that teaching to include use of these tools to achieve further learning. In reading instructions, we emphasize comprehension and give practice in analysing, synthesizing, and evaluating what has been read. We teach students how to find information and apply their knowledge to life situations. We teach writing, but we take it a step further to help students see writing as a tool of communication, technology, and creative expression. We teach math from the first day your child enters school. Along with the facts, the operations, and the problem solving, we teach our students that math is the language of science and technology and a useful tool for the improvement of the quality of life.

The young people we share, your children and our students, will live and work in a world that will change. In our efforts to prepare these young people to function in that world, we must take the position that "the future is now" and make every effort to provide an education that will serve them always. We need your support and your help. Give your school a call to learn more about what we can do together.

Madame Chair, I would ask you and your elected colleagues to peruse the addendum to my report to see the many and varied reports from our school sites which celebrates the work and awards of students and staff.

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