PSS Report January 2008
Category : Programs and Student Services Report
Published by Marjorie Graham [Marjorie Graham] on 01/21/2008

STUDENT SERVICES

Cathy Viva, Coordinator

In November, 14 schools in our Board met with a representative from Medic-Alert Canada. Each of the schools enrolled in the ‘No School Without’ Program. Students in the schools will receive free medic-alert bracelets, and the schools will receive additional services through Medic Alert Canada.

Resource teachers in our Board continued to receive in-servicing on the Prime program and developed effective Math program plans with the elementary Math consultant and Math mentors. The new materials and training is welcomed and appreciated by the resource teachers.

The Speech Language Pathologists and Educational Psychologists attended a full-day meeting as a learning community. Plans for prioritizing professional development needs were the main topic of the day. Forms and current practices were also discussed.

The lead team for Gifted Education met in November and January. The focus of the lead team this year is to develop a protocol for identification of, and interaction with, students requiring enrichment. The team is also offering professional development to schools.

The program constructed in cooperation with the Justice Department for students who are involved with Justice got underway in December. The program gives students a half day of academics and a half day of social skills, life skills and leisure skills. The students for the program have been identified jointly by the Justice Department, School Services and Student Services.

Consultants and lead teachers with Student Services continue to plan for a one-day conference for parents in March. Thirty three sessions have been identified to date, and other agencies and publishers have been contacted to display information on that day.

SCHOOL SERVICES

Susan Kelley, Acting Coordinator

Work continues with various agencies including CATCH – Children at the Critical Hour (Youth Restorative Justice), Community Partnership on Drug Abuse, NS Education for Sustainable Development, and the High Risk Youth Action Committee.

CATCH representatives made a presentation to our elementary principals describing their program. This gives us another proactive group who will work with students from 9-11 years old who are experiencing problems with aggression, bullying, and other potentially harmful behaviors.

Work continues on the emergency checklist document for school administrators. The final draft is almost ready for printing, and we hope to have it out by mid February.

Schools are in the process of submitting an update on PEBS and the schools going for training this year have been identified. The Virtues Project has been introduced to several schools and a session is planned for the February 5th inservice day. Trevor LeBlanc has been working on a PEBS website with many great links for schools to access.

As a follow-up to our lunch with the Dutch Ambassador, Susan Kelley was contacted by his assistant at the Embassy in Ottawa to discuss some exchange of ideas that might happen in our schools. This has resulted in a package on Rembrandt arriving for use in our schools. A fine arts teacher has been identified who will make good use of these materials. We will follow up by sending a package to the Netherlands.

RACE RELATIONS, CROSS CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Lynn Crawford, Coordinator

Mi′kmaq Consultant

Mr. Googoo continues to work well with principals and students to address the educational needs of Mi′kmaq students. He has conducted presentations in schools and arranged guest speakers for a few schools. He continues to attend the regular meetings of the provincial Mi′kmaq Education Working Group.

In September, Mr. Googoo informed students of the Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth bursaries and scholarships program that is available to high school students. Mathew Gould of Sydney Academy was a successful candidate this year and will receive a bursary award of $750.00.

Mr. Googoo has made contact with principals and community members to arrange the first meeting of the Mi′kmaq Liaison Committee scheduled for January 16th.

Student Support Workers (SSW)

Student Support Workers have been extremely busy the past few weeks, working directly with student as well as compiling data of student′s first term progress. A reoccurring concern is math marks as well as several students not wanting to attend school. Together with the principal and parents, they are working hard to encourage students to remain in school. A couple of home visits were conducted with two Student Support Workers going to the homes together.

The SSWs arranged a student tour of the NSCC campus with the Darren Desmond, Coordinator of African Canadian Recruiting, NSCC. The students were informed of the available programs and made aware of possible future education opportunities.

The student support workers were introduced to the guidance counsellors at their monthly staff meeting. The student support workers previously met with principals and felt this made their experience entering the schools more positive. Introduction to the guidance counsellors is intended to do the same.

Student support workers attended parent-teacher sessions providing an opportunity for parents to meet them.

Plans are underway for African Heritage Month celebrations in each region. Teachers and principals are requesting support from the student support workers to plan for African Heritage Month. Student support workers are also working with students to plan special events for their schools.

Four Plus Program

The Four Plus Program is going very well with 18 students attending. On December 12th, the students held a Kwanzaa celebration. In the short period of time (one month), the program and students are coming along wonderfully.

RCH Coordinator Board Initiatives

The RCH Policy team has been working diligently on the policy. It is hoped to be completed in January.

The RCH school liaisons were in-serviced by Mr. Robert Upshaw, educator and social justice advocate on January 10 & 11 at the Northside Staff Development Center.

The RCH Lead Team met to outline objectives for this year and will meet again following Mr. Upshaw′s presentation to discuss follow up.

Ms. Crawford met with Mr. Gerard Cormier, Executive Staff Officer, Outreach Programs and Equity Services – NSTU. Inservicing on the topic of homophobia was discussed and plans for future educational opportunities.

PROGRAMS (INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT)

Rick Simm, Coordinator

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.

Assistive Technology Consultant (Sheila Kublek)

The month of November began as a very productive month as the Assistive Technology Consultant, Sheila Kublek and Transition Lead Teacher, Genevieve Richardson, attended a meeting at the Department of Education with other assistive technology facilitators from around the province. It provided an opportunity to share and learn from each other about a variety of effective software and hardware. It was apparent that the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is among the leaders in the province for assistive technology.

Professional development for assistive technology has been ongoing, with a majority of it taking place within the schools for small groups of people. Much of the professional development taking place ‘on site’ has been provided by members of the assistive technology team. Along with providing professional development, Mrs. Kublek was able to receive training in Moodle and participate in two webinars to explore new software in the assistive technology field.

In the past month, there has been a total of 15 assistive technology assessments performed with students in our Board. One of these assessments was on a young student who is home schooled due to medical issues. We are in the process of connecting this student with her grade one class at Sydney River Elementary with the use of webcams. All participants in this project are very excited and eager to begin interacting with each other.

Planning is underway for a parent fair, Supporting Success, to take place March 29, 2008, for parents of students with special needs within the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board. Workshops will be provided to parents by school board staff and community agencies and organizations.

Mrs. Kublek had the opportunity to spend a day at Thompson Junior High School to share in conversation with teachers and students on the use of technology within the school. She reported that it was rewarding to see and hear how teachers and students were implementing technology into the curriculum. It was felt that there was an overall feeling of cohesiveness and collaboration amongst the teachers when it came to the area of technology.

The Instructional Support & Technology Department was very pleased to receive a rather large thank you letter from the primary class at Florence Elementary. Mr. Rick Simm was able to place two new computers in the class, and Mrs. Kublek was able to provide appropriate and necessary software to meet the special needs of some of the primary students. Also, on a happy note, we were notified that a particular grade four student at Mira Road Elementary who had received a fair amount of assistive technology hardware, software and professional development support managed to achieve one of the highest scores in the school on the grade three provincial math assessment. It was fantastic to hear how a student can make such wonderful progress with the support of assistive technology.

PD Consultant (Bill Tennant)

Principals continued to make requests for help with their school web pages. A number of school web pages have been updated and training for on-site teachers has been provided.

As a result of the DOE′s workshops using Life Works Portfolio, there were many requests for web mail accounts from administrators and teachers.

One highlight of this reporting period was Multimedia Mac training where 15 classroom teachers came together at Mount Carmel for in-depth multimedia training using I- Macs. Over the span of 5 days, teachers learned numerous techniques and strategies in the development of multimedia to use with their students in the classroom to meet the ICT outcomes.

Over the course of this reporting period, there was an opportunity to inservice consultants and teachers to enhance student′s presentations using various multimedia techniques and the favorite Photo Story 3. There was a 2 day workshop at Malcolm Munroe given to all grade 9 language arts students integrating technology to produce multimedia projects for their poetry section. Also, inservicing was provided to a number of O2 teachers at the SDC and subsequent follow up was requested by several teachers.

IEIE Consultant (Dorothy Tennant)

Instructional Support Lead Teachers from the grade P – 9 schools attended a workshop session on November 2 or November 9. Topics included teaching strategies, classroom management techniques, technology integrated lesson plans and mentorship opportunities.

Workshops for IEIE Grade 10 Lead Teachers took place on November 15, 16, 28, 26, 29, and 30. All teachers were presented with a flash drive to take digital resources and technology integrated lesson plans with them for sharing back at their school(s).

The Staff Development Centre hosted Department of Education Grade 10 Workshops on November 21, 22, 23. Besides CB-VRSB teachers, others from Strait Regional and Chignecto School Boards also attended.

A meeting with administration and department heads took place at Sydney Academy on October 25 regarding direction for high school IEIE professional development. A similar meeting took place on November 27 at Riverview.

Two successful Lunch, Learn and Share sessions were held for high school and then junior high principals on November 14 and November 27. Direction and opportunities regarding technology use and integration were discussed.

Awards for celebrating teacher and student success in the use of technology were presented. On December 13, Lowell Cormier, Principal at Mt. Carmel Elementary in New Waterford, received a plaque and an amount of $1000.00 to be spent on technology in his school for the students. The award was presented in the gym with all staff and students present. On December 14, Debbie Murray, a teacher at Seton Elementary in North Sydney, also received the same prizes for exemplary career long promotion and use of technology in her classrooms.

Community Education & Adult High Schools

This September saw an increase in overall enrollment at the four Adult High Schools of 34.8%. The breakdown is shown in the table below.

Enrollment Comparisons

September 2006

September 2007

% increase

Sydney Adult

43

81

88%

Glace Bay Adult

47

55

17%

New Waterford Adult

24

27

12.5%

Northside Adult

21

19

10% decrease

Total

135

182

34.8 %

These figures are based on the audit numbers from the Department of Education.

An Open House will be held at all four Adult High Schools on January 16th from 1:00 to 3:00 where perspective students can come in and meet the teachers and explore educational options within our program.

Night School

We are once again offering a variety of continuing education classes throughout the area. Registration was sufficient to be able to offer introductory computer classes in New Waterford and medical terminology in Glace Bay. Outside of these two classes, all others are running in Sydney. There continues to be a great demand for Chemistry 12 and we had an enrollment of over 30 students for this course. Professor Allen Britten of CBU contacted our office in August with a list of bridge students from the university who needed this course to move on to the nursing program next year. We also see a demand for academic Math 12 which is running as well. We ran a full page ad on January 5th outlining our course offerings and registration began the week of January 7th in Sydney, Sydney Mines, New Waterford and Glace Bay. We have been running ads in the Maritime Merchant and on Eastlink Cable for both the day school and night school programs. There has been a steady response to both from potential students.

PROGRAM SERVICES P-6

Brenda MacIsaac, Coordinator

Literacy Consultant P-6, Donna Robson

Department of Education

Spelling Document - The Spelling document, grades primary to eight, will be rolled out to provincial lead teams in March, 2008. Jason Kempt and Donna Robson will be part of the provincial planning team designing the professional development.

Provincial Primary Focus Group - The purpose of the focus group is to plan for the change in entry date for grade primary students as of September 2008. Two sessions have been held. Donna Robson has been invited to sit on this committee.

Active Young Readers – Provincial debriefing sessions were held this month. Jason Kempt attended these meetings.

Board

Primary Common Assessment - The data collected from this common assessment has created significant conversation over the past two months. A focus group was brought together to discuss the classroom planning piece surrounding the data. Grade primary teachers will be brought together in January to discuss the results and how they relate to daily classroom instruction. Next year, we will focus on having these conversations closer to the time of completing the assessments.

LIFT (Literacy Initiative for Teachers) - This initiative continues to provide evidence that supports the power of establishing professional learning communities. Working with a larger number of sites has required flexibility on the part of LIFT, and we are pleased that we have been able to support sites and their individual needs and requests. In January, we will be bringing on four new sites. As we grow, we continue to reflect on ways to make this cultural shift even stronger.

LIFT represented our Board at the NSSBA Conference in Halifax in late November. This initiative was presented with a focus on Harbourside School and their success story. Presenters included Michelle Sollazzo, Paul MacDonald, and Donna Robson.

Mentors – The response from mentoring experiences has been very positive. Maxine Hardy has a very comprehensive program developed to work with and support new teachers. From both sides of the scenario the mentoring experience is working. Mentoring teachers feel it is the best professional development they have taken part in. Geraldine Beaver, Michelle Sollazzo and Thelma Libbus are both working as 50% mentors designated to several sites. All of the mentors have become part of the LIFT initiative. Mentors meet on a weekly basis to discuss their roles within sites.

PULS - (Promoting Understanding for Lifelong Success) The Florence site continues to provide support and inspiration for teachers and administrators. Over 200 visitors have toured the site so far; many requests have come from teachers in training and substitutes. We are more than pleased to give all a tour.

Primary Parent Fairs – Last spring, parents expressed a desire to have more fairs. This year, we will be hosting fairs in four sites and we will also be creating some mini fairs to be hosted in our more rural sites.

Primary Orientation – Plans are in the making to create a template for sites to use on this day. A parent session will be one of the components. This session will be supported by our mentors, Reading Recovery teachers and School Board personnel.

Mathematics Consultant P-6, Sharon Boudreau

Early Elementary Mathematics Literacy Assessments - The results of this assessment, which involved grade three students in June, were sent to schools on November 23. Schools are checking to make sure all students received their results and that information was to be forwarded to Department of Education Assessment Division in early December. It is expected that parents will receive the letters in early February.

PRIME (PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE AND INSTRUCTION FOR MATHEMATICS EDUCATORS) – PRIME is a research-based professional learning initiative using a developmental approach. Elementary resource teachers and math mentors have received kits and the first day of PRIME training. The main purpose is to support grade four teachers in implementing the support plans for students identified as not yet meeting expectations. This training will assist resource teachers in working with all struggling math students. The second day was held December 18 and 19. The three pilot schools for this program, Mountainview, Cape Smokey and Macdonald Elementary, are also continuing their training sessions.

PRIME Leadership - The Department of Education will present a leadership course to all elementary school administrators and math mentors. This workshop is designed to assist administrators in understanding how math strategies have changed and how to support their teachers.

January Plans:

Grade Four Support Plans - Resource teachers will support the teachers. Day two of the four day professional development sessions was held early in January. Participants included all grade four teachers, upper elementary resource teachers and mentors. As part of the day two in-service, the teachers worked on the support plans for their students identified as scoring less than 400.

PRIME - Mountainview, Cape Smokey, and Macdonald Elementary will continue piloting this program.

Lead Teachers - There will be a workshop for math lead teachers on January 21-22. This will be a continuation of last year′s Mental Math sessions which were very well received. All elementary teachers should now have a draft of mental math for their grade. At this session, lead teachers will be given the completed copy with additional mental math strategies.

Arts Education Consultant, Cathy MacNeil

On November 20, artwork from students of Diane Lewis, Greenfield Elementary, was on display at Cape Breton University during the CBU National Child Day Ceremony. One particular piece by Victoria MacDonald, a grade five Mount Carmel student, is featured on the CBU Children′s Rights Center 2008 Calendar. The Sydney River Elementary School Choir, conducted by Leslie Ann Andrews, performed during this ceremony. Having student participation in such events in the community is an integral part of their educational experience.

In early December, dance students from Holy Angels and Riverview combined for a field trip to Halifax. Holy Angels drama and music students presented to the public during an arts evening on December 13.

Classroom music students, band students and visual arts students delighted audiences with musical performances and visual displays throughout Cape Breton. In addition to the very fine school presentations, musical performances also took place at many senior citizen residences, malls and CTV Christmas Daddies Show. During the month of December, various school choirs performed on Charlotte Street, Sydney, an initiative of the Downtown Merchants.

This term there are five senior high teachers who have students enrolled in Advanced Visual Art / Advanced Music study. To support these advanced courses, the Department of Education is providing financial support through the Community Partnership Grants Program. These students will have the opportunity in the next few weeks to be mentored by an artist from the community. In conjunction with this program, advanced art students of Elizabeth Lalonde, Holy Angels High School, will have a display of work at the Cape Breton Regional Library, Sydney, in late January.

Gaelic Initiative - Mira Road Elementary was one of two schools in Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board to receive funding from the Department of Education to support Gaelic Language programming. On December 19, Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis visited the school to see firsthand this program in action.

Reading Recovery® Teacher Leaders / Early Literacy Consultants,

Paula Muise & Susan MacDonald

During November and December, Reading Recovery® teachers continued to offer after school inservices for their staff, or family of schools, on taking and analyzing running records. Each group negotiated their needs, times of meetings and number of meetings they needed. This voluntary addition to the duties of Reading Recovery® teachers has been well received and has taken a lot of pressure off the Teacher Leaders who have offered these sessions in the past.

While we must be cautious in over burdening these teachers, who are also deeply involved in the LIFT program, organizing the sessions at a school level helps build site based professional learning communities.

The LIFT program now has schools in first, second and third year implementation. More schools will join in February.

Regular inservice sessions for trained teachers and biweekly sessions for teachers in training have continued.

Susan MacDonald began her maternity leave on December 10; she will return in September. Paula Muise will take over her assignment of training eight new teachers in the training class, along with supporting the two ongoing professional development groups.

Library Services Consultant, Carmelita Cousins

Carmelita Cousins attended the American Association of School Librarians Conference in late October. The conference was an International affair with over 4,100 delegates in attendance. Sessions were provided on new trends and strategies for library programming in schools. With new ideas, concepts and programs, the conference sessions will be shared with all library staff during professional development workshops.

Board Library Committee - The Board Library Committee held their final meeting of the year and their work was very productive. Policies were reviewed for any revisions and a third policy is almost ready for submission in the new year. In addition to policy development, ‘Library Goals’ are in their final revision for adoption by the Board as standards for the Library Program. The grades primary to six goals are complete and, upon adoption, the group will move forward with the creation of goals from the secondary grades.

NSALT Conference - A meeting was held with NSALT President Erica Smith, and the conference planning is moving forward. A site change to the Baddeck venue has been discussed as it brings the conference closer to possible delegates on the mainland, especially the neighboring Board staff.

Santa′s Elf Readings - One of Santa′s elves (Carmelita Cousins) has been reading some new Christmas stories to several classes. Mrs. Elf read at Baddeck and Shipyard Schools and the children were delighted with the array of books. Candy canes were distributed to the delighted children and there were smiles everywhere. It is a new ′tradition′ that this happy Elf wishes to continue on a yearly basis, visiting different schools each year.

Literacy Support Consultant, Lyn McInnis

This month Lyn McInnis was very busy working in the areas of elementary, junior and senior high Literacy Support.

In preparation for the release of the grade nine literacy assessment results, she and Millie George were able to visit all high schools to provide a brief information session for principals regarding the literacy plan to be put in place by the grade ten teachers of Math, Science, Social Studies, and English for students who have not yet met expectations in reading and/or writing. Principals were informed that Lyn and Millie would be available to come in to support teachers in a variety of ways; for example, in-servicing a group of teachers or sitting with individual teachers to help them write the actual plan. At Cabot High School, they met with the principal and grade ten teachers to give them an overview of the process.

Lyn also visited the elementary schools with information regarding ELLA. Some of these schools included: St. Mary′s/St. Joseph′s (North Sydney), Seton, Florence, Bras d′Or, Jubilee, St. Joseph′s (Sydney Mines), Cape Smokey, North Highlands, Boularderie, Shipyard, Greenfield and Mount Carmel. She will continue to contact/visit schools to share information as it becomes available.

Lyn attended the Literacy Support Meetings with Janet Porter at the Department of Education, Halifax, in November and December as well as our Board′s Consultant Meetings.

We are pleased with Lyn′s development of a new website for Literacy Support where teachers will be able to access a ‘strategy of the month’ as well as general information concerning Literacy Assessments, calendar updates, etc. E-mails were sent out informing teachers and principals of the new website.

During the month of December, Lyn was able to attend our Board′s Library Committee at the Staff Development Centre, work with the Professional Learning Communities Committee at the Department of Education, as well as attend Department of Education Session with Vince Warner on scaled scores.

At the junior high level, Lyn and Diane Brennick, Secondary Language Arts Consultant, facilitated a focus group at Thompson Junior High with students in grades seven, eight, and nine dealing with bullying issues.

PROGRAM SERVICES 7-12

David Crane, Coordinator

English Language Arts (7-12), Diane Brennick, Consultant

The Debrief session for Active Readers 7-9, Writers in Action 7-9 and Literacy Success 11 were held recently in Halifax. The comments regarding implementations and presentations were very positive. Our Board lead team did an excellent job and their evaluations reflected the high quality of their presentations.

The Literacy Success 11 team and the Teaching in Action 7-9 teams met on December 18th to plan our session for February 5, 2008.

The Teaching in Action document is being shipped as we speak. In addition teacher professional materials and student resources are also being shipped out to all of the junior highs.

Another ELA newsletter went out to all the secondary schools. The dates have been set and the site has been booked for this year′s Public Speaking Event. As usual, it will be held at the Lecture theatre in Memorial High School, Sydney Mines. The dates are April 1- senior high; April 2 and 3 - junior high; and elementary - April 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2008.

Team members for the Spelling P-8 have been appointed and will be attending a launch of the document in March.

A number of professional resources are being ordered to refurbish some of the classroom or school libraries.

We recently sent out a copy of a document prepared by local teachers. It is a document that highlights a number of useful strategies found in the resources teachers are currently using. We sent copies out to other Boards and they are very impressed with the work done by our teachers. We are very fortunate to have some incredibly professional and skilled teachers representing us on the various provincial teams.

Nutrition for Learning, Debbie Madore, Dietitian

Applications for HPS have been reviewed and work continues on group purchasing for equipment. There were 30 applicants/schools reviewed, and funding was provided to 28 schools.

Children′s Emergency Foundation have approved funding for CB-VRSB Breakfast programs. They will be sending a total of $7500 over the next year through installments.

Debbie Madore attended an Obesity Steering Committee meeting in October, consisting of several community partners. The mission is to address childhood obesity.

Ms. Madore presented a Healthy Eating inservice during the professional development day on October 26 to secretaries.

Ms. Madore attended the National Breakfast for Learning Conference, November 3-7, in Ottawa.

Ms. Madore facilitated a series of inservices on healthy eating, healthy lifestyle to students at Holy Angels.

A new Breakfast Program is up and running at St. Joseph′s Elementary in Sydney Mines.

Three workshops on Food Safety and Sanitation have been offered to Breakfast Volunteers.

Active Healthy Living, Mary Lou Andrea, Consultant

On the Edge Skating Program was a great success again with grade three students from St. Mary′s Complex and Bras d′Or Elementary taking part. The program is in its third year and is sponsored by Speed Skate Canada with instruction provided by the Northside Blades coaches Bernie and Lauralee Crane. The program will be offered to grade three students at Seton and St. Joseph, Sydney Mines, as well as grade four students at St. Mary′s Complex starting in January. This program offers an opportunity to enhance the physical education program and teach students some very valuable lifelong skills.

A Nordic Walking leader clinic was held at Baddeck Academy where three physical education teachers, along with Mary Lou Andrea, were trained to teach the skills to other staff and students. Nordic walking uses specifically designed poles to engage the upper body during fitness walking. During Nordic Walking, the upper body uses about 30% more energy and with an effective and proper technique, it helps to strengthen both the abdominal and back muscles. The course was conducted by Ueli Albert who originates from Switzerland and has been involved with Nordic Walking since it first began in Switzerland in 2001.

The Sexual Health Network has been resurrected after a year absence and is in the process of planning an inservice for the Healthy Living and CALM teachers on February 5, 2008.

The Active Healthy Living Committee met and is working on Physical Activity policies for all levels.

The Girls Play 2 program is underway with the Board and it provides physical activity opportunities for girls′ grades 5-9. Seton Physical Education teacher Paula MacRae has several programs planned throughout the Board including beginner hockey clinics, a ‘Knight’ to Remember Badminton night, Fitness and Dance sessions to name a few.

Community-Based Learning (O2), Rhonda Smith, Consultant

The O2 students from the three schools participated together in a full day of sessions at Marconi Campus on November 14. The sessions included tour of the facility, services provided by the campus through Student Retention and Employment Coordinators and the importance of mathematics in the trades. The group also heard about Petroleum Operations and the job prospects in Atlantic Canada. This was the first attempt to provide a full day for all the students and it proved to be very valuable to the students as they begin to explore their career direction.

Teachers from each of the O2 schools participated in a Department of Education E-Portfolio workshop on November 13 at the Staff Development Centre.

On November 22 Cabot High held their O2 Family Orientation Night. Staff and administration of the school provided a supper for the students and their parents as well as an overview of the program, a display of events that the students participated in and information pamphlets. The Board ′s Consultant for Community-Based Learning attended as well. Many parents expressed to her that the program was the best thing that has happened to their child. They are seeing changes in their child′s attitude towards school, an interest in community events/opportunities and an interest in a post secondary direction.

The O2 teachers participated in a Department of Education O2 workshop on January 11, 2008, in Halifax .

Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has signed on with Invest in Youth employer database which helps to support work placement in our O2 and Co-op Education programs.

Sydney Academy will start Co-op Education in their second semester. The co-op mentor from the Department of Education has provided assistance to the co-op teacher in preparation for this.

Riverview High School, with assistance from the Workit Grant, funds organized activities within their school to promote careers within the skilled trades to their students, parents and teachers.

Mathematics (7-12), Arlene Andrecyk, Consultant

Karen Dunning Gillis from Malcolm Munroe Jr. High and Mark MacNeil from St. Michael Jr. High are presently piloting the geometry outcomes for the new Grade 8 Mathematics textbook, Mathematics 8: Focus on Understanding.

On November 16, Math Foundations 12 teachers had the opportunity to come together for the day at Sydney Academy. They discussed the role of Math Foundations 12 in the high school mathematics program. They examined the curriculum document and the suggested time-frame for the course. They shared policies on student assessment as well as copies of assessment and resource materials. Bob Crane did a presentation on the Fibonacci Sequence. Teachers went to a computer lab where Arlene Andrecyk did an in-service on Geometers Sketchpad. Teachers received a package of activities that used this software in Unit 3: Circle Geometry. Teachers felt the day provided valuable time for networking.

The first CB-VRSB Math League Game took place on November 17 at CBU. Sixteen high school teams participated in the event. The game went very well. Students and coaches appeared to really enjoy the competition. Dr. James Preen, a math professor at CBU, gave an introduction to CBU and the math program. He also did a math activity with the students and awarded prizes for the team that came first in the activity. CBU provided a lovely refreshment break. A team from Sydney Academy came first in Game One. The students on this team were presented with plaques. There were two random draws for graphing calculators.

On November 21, all Grade 9 Math teachers attended a full day workshop at Sherwood Park Education Centre. Cathy Viva, Coordinator of Student Services, led a discussion on student adaptations and individual program plans. Joe MacLellan led teachers through a power-point on alge-tiles and provided material for classroom activities. Teachers shared copies of Grade 9 examinations from prior years. Arlene Andrecyk distributed an analysis of the data collected from Junior High schools in June 2007 regarding the Grade 9 final math grades. Teachers discussed student assessment and the importance of evaluations that are valid indications whether students are meeting curriculum outcomes.

On November 29 and 30, six high school math teachers attended the Math for the Workplace 12 Implementation Workshop in Halifax. Brenda Meery, from Glace Bay High School has been piloting this course and was one of the facilitators at the workshop. This course is designed for students looking for a course that will support their transition to NSCC programs that require a High School Graduation Diploma as distinct from specific academic math credits. This course will work toward improving the students′ mathematical knowledge base, and most of the aspects of the course will be directly related to math that is needed in areas such as carpentry, cosmetology, welding, forestry, electrical, plumbing, auto mechanics, electronic technology, refrigeration, and masonry. This course will be offered second semester at Cabot High, Glace Bay High School, Holy Angels, Breton Education Centre and Sydney Adult High.

This year, six junior high schools will participate in a junior high math league. This is the first year for junior high school students from the CB-VRSB to have a math league. To distinguish this league from the senior high math league, the junior high league will be called Math Olympiad. Six schools are planning to have a school competition involving math students from grades 7, 8 and 9. A committee is being formed to organize one larger competition involving the six schools. Sydney Mines Jr. High, Malcolm Munroe Jr. High, Sherwood Park Education Centre, Whitney Pier Memorial, Morrison Jr. High and Breton Education Centre are the participating schools. If this Math Olympiad is a success, it is hoped that all junior high schools will become involved in the 2008-2009 school year.

Teachers in the Math Departments at Holy Angels, Sydney Academy, Breton Education Centre, Riverview, Bridgeport School, Sydney Mines Junior High, Morrison Junior High, Malcolm Munroe Junior High, Sherwood Park Education Centre, Donkin, St. Michael Junior High and Whitney Pier Memorial each met with Arlene Andrecyk for one school noon hour. Each meeting was an informal session in which the teachers had an opportunity to meet with the math consultant and discuss the delivery of the math curriculum. Teacher comments, suggestions and concerns could be raised at this time. Arlene was available for the rest of the day to meet individually with any math teacher and/or resource teacher.

Beginning January 2008, the Department of Education will be making an adjustment with regards to the marking of the NSE Mathematics and NSE Advanced Mathematics. Teachers will no longer mark their own students′ booklets at the school site. They will instead work with other teachers from the Board and elsewhere in the province, and collectively mark all of the student booklets. The Department of Education will lead these regional marking sessions and the results will be returned to schools for each of their students.

Nova Scotia International Student Program, Tammy Sampson, Manager

  • The cultural trip to Halifax was a great success. Fifty of our students travelled to Halifax for a great weekend of shopping, movies, museums, and ethnic restaurants from November 2 – 4, 2007.
  • Our fall activity took place in November. All students attended a Screaming Eagles hockey game. They also enjoyed a buffet dinner and were joined by the entire Eagles team. Later students had opportunity for pictures and autographs.
  • Tammy Sampson represented the CB-VRSB at the annual CEC fair in Calgary. The presentation was entitled ‘How to create a successful homestay program’. She co-presented with Lisa Hartery from the CCRSB.
  • Tammy Sampson has recently returned from a promotional tour of Mexico as a representative for the NSISP. There is a great deal of interest for 2 week school to school exchanges. The NSISP reps in the CB-VRSB would be happy to assist any junior or senior high teacher within the CB-VRSB interested in such an initiative.
  • The annual cultural potluck took place in December. Students and families provided a great meal. Several students and host parents entertained the crowd while some Sydney Academy students provided some great music as well. Students enjoyed a visit from Santa Claus. All students received a gift certificate to Empire Theatres.

Many of the NSISP students prepared for Canadian Christmas celebrations. Others enjoyed visits from family and friends from their own country, meeting parents in other parts of Canada and the US, or traveled home to spend Christmas in their own countries. Three of our students took part in the BT New Year′s Celebration in Halifax. They were interviewed for the live broadcast.

Some School News

Sydney Academy: Students have had several pizza lunches. Plans are underway for cultural lunches in the cafeteria.

Riverview: Janice Hanna hosted a Christmas party at her home. Students took part in a secret Santa gift exchange and also performed a rendition of the 12 days of Christmas in their own languages.

BEC: Irene Grezel and her husband treated the students to a lunch of homemade chili. Ms. Grezel and a host parent took several of the NSISP students to Savoy theatre to see Christmas Mania on Wednesday, December 12th. This was sponsored by Mr. Spencer and BEC.

Holy Angels: Staff took the girls to Boston Pizza for a Christmas luncheon.

SPEC: The NSISP students took part in a school visit to the Mayor′s office.

Vocational Education, Ken Collier, Consultant

Students from the Electrical Program and Metal Shop had the opportunity to refurbish the Christmas decorations for the Northside Hospital Foundation annual lights-up ceremony that took place at Northside General Hospital. Students sanded, painted, and rewired the decorations. This was an excellent way of teaching our students the need for involvement in their community.

Plans are continuing to host some of the secondary Nova Scotia Skills competitions at our school. We presently plan on hosting competitions in Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing, Motor Vehicle Repair, Workplace Safety, and Radio and Television Broadcasting. The date of the competitions is March 19, 2008. A ‘Career Showcase’ will take place as well. Meetings are ongoing with representatives from Skills Nova Scotia.

Our Electrical Instructor, Mr. Kent Brewer, participated in the Worldwide Innovative Teachers Conference in Philadelphia Helsinki, Finland, through a program called Partners in Learning. ‘Partners in Learning’ is a $250 million dollar (U.S.) global program to support educators′ use of technology within the curriculum. Mr. Brewer found that this was a very rewarding experience and looks forward to future upcoming events.

Grade 9, ‘Career Awareness’ tours are continuing. To date, 293 students have visited our school, and participated in the tours of the vocational department.

Candace Carnahan from the Workman′s Compensation Board made a presentation to approximately 600 of our students on November 7, 2007. Students from the Vocational Programs, CO-OP education, PAL, and Entrepreneurship were included in the audience. Candace gives a very powerful presentation regarding safety in the workplace.

Rollie and Lynn Clarke, Owners of ‘Rollie′s Restaurant’ were in our school on November 28, 2007 to talk to the Cooking Program students regarding working in the cooking industry. This was a very informative session and was enjoyed by all.

Students in our Workshop Program enjoyed a very eye-opening presentation by Lynn Crawford, Coordinator of RCH. Ms. Crawford′s presentation was very well received as the students found it very interesting.

In closing, students and staff have been very busy with their curriculum, as well as contributing to our school and community wherever possible.

English Second Language, Geoff Laurence, and Stephanie Hynes, Teachers

Some NSISP students are heading into their last month of classes in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. It has been a very interesting, enjoyable experience getting to know the ESL students, both NSISP and landed immigrants. We are proud of the way they confront and deal with the challenges they face daily in our environment, in and out of school.

Professional Development:

  • October 24, 2007 – Stephanie Hynes and Geoff Laurence attended a meeting at Baddeck Academy. The focus of this meeting was to re-evaluate the progress of the Golub students. Suggestions were made and discussion was held on how these students could possibly grasp the language more quickly.
  • October NSLTA Conference ′07 – Stephanie Hynes attended a workshop on writing activities for ESL students at the Elementary level. This workshop, led by Diane Walker, took the participants through the various writing stages: Pre-Writer, Emergent, Beginning, Developing, Capable, and Experienced Writer. Each stage was discussed in detail and supplemented with appropriate example writing activities. The workshop was followed-up with a sharing session where teachers share and trade strategies and resources that have worked for them!

Halifax has been working to develop their ESL program for quite some time and they have been very good to send materials and help the ESL teachers in any way they can.

  • November 15, 2007 – IPP and Adaptation Session. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the new format for the IPPs. It was suggested that one make more measurable specific outcomes and have more time allotted to achieve these outcomes.
  • November 23, 2007 – ESL Information Session at Breton Education Center. Geoff Laurence and Stephanie Hynes met with the teachers at BEC to discuss some specific strategies and adaptations that could be made for English Second Language learners. They also provided Breton Education Centre with some specific background information on their students, regarding their level of English Proficiency, as well as some information on ESL students in general. The feedback on this event was very good.
  • November 29, 2007 – meeting with Sheila Kublek to research language learning software.
  • December 7, 2007 – attended the annual ‘Employability Breakfast’ at Membertou Trade and Convention Center. The guest speaker was the ‘real Rainman’ Kim Peek. The purpose of this event was to make people aware of the struggles diverse learners face and to give recognition to local employers who have made outstanding efforts to be inclusive.

What is happening in our schools because of what the ESL teachers are doing?

  • During report card time, an ESL interim progress report was also sent out. This report outlined what the students were working on when they were with their ESL teacher and their level of proficiency. This proved to be very helpful to the classroom teachers and really opened the lines of communication.
  • The students are making great progress. Most, if not all, have been integrated into the core curriculum. Teachers have been working hard to make adaptations (test-based reviews, oral testing, and parallel texts) and follow them closely.
  • In some cases, homework packages have been sent home, and outside tutoring has been arranged.
  • An effort is being made to make better use of technology and provide students with the opportunity to learn English on-line when the ESL instructor is not available.
  • We are working to compile a list of available ESL tutors. Presently they are working through the term and substitute teachers at the CB-VRSB, and in the New Year they hope to hit the University possibly students in the Education program and/or the BACS program.

Upcoming Events:

  • High School Exams
  • Change of semester and possibility of new students.

Sports Animator, Jim McEachern

Working with the facilities Improvement Committee of the Track & Field Association of Cape Breton and with the support of CBRM management and its Recreation Department, the Atlantic Street Track in Sydney has been expanded to eight lanes in preparation for the first ever CB-VRSB hosted Regional Track & Field competition, to be held in May of 2008. Upgrades will continue in the Spring.

Fiddler′s Run for students was a great success, approximately 750 students participating, with Robin Foote Elementary School winning the draw for the ‘School Participation Award’.

Health Promoting Schools Funding Committee accepted thirty schools for funding of Physical Activity and Healthy Eating initiatives.

Mr. Jim McEachern, Sport Animator, attended Animator workshops in Halifax in October and November for a sharing of ideas and programs updates.

The Sport Animator continues to resource support for proposed Swim to Survive / Learn to Swim Program. Seeking corporate financial support of program.

The CBU Health Complex Committee, comprised of a number of community group volunteers, continues to meet and work on support for the building of a multi-facility Health Complex at the University.

The Leadership Class at Sydney Academy will assist in the running of the ‘Youth in Motion @ CBU′ physical activity program. Program commences on January 14, 2008.

Steve Martell′s Sport & Kinetics Classes at CBU offered three sessions with grade three classes from three schools, utilizing sport skill instructional lessons to the students attending. Schools attending were Marion Bridge, John Bernard Croak and St. Joseph′s (SM)

A Level 1 Technical Basketball Clinic was offered in December by Basketball Nova Scotia for coaching volunteers in our school system. Seventeen seats were sponsored at the Clinic with support from the CB-VRSB.

The Challenger Group ‘Unique Sports’ Program continues to offer physical and social activity programming for the challenged students in the Board. Activities run throughout the year, supported by a volunteer support group. Support is offered through the CB-VRSB Health Promoting Schools Program.

Final plans are being put in place for the second year of the ‘Youth in Motion @ CBU’ Program. Grade four classes from across the Board are being registered with over 80% of the Elementary Schools registered to date.

The Junior High Hockey Program has been reorganized and set to commence on Monday, January 14, 2008. Nine Junior Highs from the Board are participating.

Plans are in place for the second year of the ‘Soccer in the Community’ Program, under the direction of Deanno Morley, Technical Director of Soccer Cape Breton. The program is scheduled to commence in February for the Grade 5 students of the Board.

STUDENT SERVICES

David Brennick, Coordinator

French Second Language, Laurie MacIntosh, Consultant

Anne Baccardax, Director of French Language Programs, N.S. Dept. of Education visited the CBVRSB on Nov. 19th and 20th. Ms. Baccardax met with Laurie MacIntosh, French Consultant as well as all principals and teachers at schools that are part of special project funding.

David Brennick and Laurie MacIntosh will continue meetings in the new year with French teachers and Dept. Heads at the Jr. and Sr. High level. As part of a PLC, Elementary Core French teachers met on Nov. 29th at Greenfield Elementary School to discuss new initiatives and examine new curriculum materials.

On December 14th, Harbourside Elementary School was host to an inservice for all Intensive French teachers and Consultants from across the province. Also in attendance was Mr. Gerald Felix, French Consultant, N.S. Dept. of Education and the developers of Intensive French, Dr. Joan Netten (MUN) and Dr. Claude Germain (UQAM). Dr. Netten and Dr. Germain had the opportunity to visit with students at all the new sites offering the program as well as the follow-up program at Dr. T.L. Sullivan Jr. High.

Robert McNutt, liaison, N.S. Dept. of Education for Explore and Odyssey French programs will be visiting students at our Sr. High Schools the week of January 7th to promote and provide information on these programs as well as information on obtaining bursaries to participate in FSL initiatives.

Plans have been finalized for the upcoming Professional Development day for French teachers on February 5, 2008. Facilitators for the day will be Mr. Daniel Demers (Special Education Consultant, N.S. Dept. of Education) and Mr. Tony Orlando, retired French Consultant, Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.

The annual Concours d′art oratoire (French Public Speaking Contest) will take place on March 18th and 19th at Malcolm Munroe Jr. High School. The provincial competition will be held in Halifax on Saturday, April 26, 2008.