PSS Report January 2009
Category : Programs and Student Services Report
Published by Marjorie Graham [Marjorie Graham] on 01/14/2009

DIRECTOR, JOHN ASTEPHEN

Strategic Plan Update

A meeting to continue with the development of a Strategic Plan was held on November 12, 2008.  We are now focused on the following Strategic Trend Issues:

§    Pathways to Success

§    Integrated Curriculum and Instruction’

§    Demographic Dynamics

§    Governance

The strategic issues identified above resulted from a focus group session with Coordinators and Directors in August 2007, a Senior Staff session in October 2007, and a focus session with School Board members in November 2007.  Sub-committee Co-chairs were appointed to take the lead with each of the issues and these co-chairs have been working on draft position papers for each issue.

During a meeting held November 12, 2008, co-chairs were reassigned as a result of retirements and job changes.  Draft position papers were reviewed for Pathways to Success and Demographic Dynamics and the team reviewed a parent/public survey conducted by Bristol Omnifacts Research for the Strait Regional School Board for consideration in our Board.

A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, January 13th to establish a Steering Committee and to continue with review of draft position papers.

Other agenda items include:

§    Composition of focus groups for each issue

§    Input and feedback regarding questions for parent/public survey

§    Next steps


PROGRAM SERVICES P-6

Cathy MacNeil, Coordinator

Literacy Consultant P-6, Janine MacAulay

Department of Education Initiatives

The Department of Education held its semi-annual meeting of the Active Young Readers/Writers in Action P-6 Lead Team.  Highlights of this meeting included:

∙     The final PD session surrounding the new Primary Program Validation Draft will begin with CB-VRSB teachers in January.  Teachers have been asked to provide feedback on this document.

∙     The Spelling P-9 document and supporting texts should now be in schools, and teachers are expected to be following the key messages in the document. 

∙     A Writers in Action program for grades primary to three will commence next year.

∙     English Language Arts outcomes, which are scheduled for revision this year, will remain the same.  However, the guide itself will be revised, beginning with P-3.

∙     Language Arts Consultants around the province identified similar priorities for the Department of Education, including more resources for literacy mentoring, infusion of more early literacy books and non-fiction texts at all levels, as well as more support in implementing the Spelling P-9 document.

Spelling P-9 Document

The implementation team for Spelling P-9 is preparing an in-service day for representatives of each elementary school site in January.  The document was placed in schools last June.  This document represents a significant departure from the traditional weekly spelling test, focusing instead on teaching spelling in context and paying attention to individual student needs and developmental stages. 

Literacy Mentors

Janine MacAulay and Sharon Boudreau, P-6 Math Consultant, have been collaborating with literacy and math mentors to develop feedback instruments related to the mentoring program.  It is hoped that participating teachers will be able to submit surveys about their mentoring experience on paper or electronically in January.  Further instruments are being created for mentors and principals.  The Department of Education is also looking at a program evaluation for mentoring across the province, using a consulting agency.

Literacy mentors continue to provide support to classroom teachers through one-on-one meetings, the LIFT program, and school-based professional development sessions.

Family Violence Prevention Week

The Family Violence Prevention Week Committee has been meeting throughout the fall to plan events and activities around this important social issue.  The opening ceremonies for Family Violence Prevention Week will take place at CBU on February 6.  On Friday, February 13, schools and community agencies will be asked to support Purple Friday by wearing something purple to support victims of family violence.  Any donations from schools will go to support Cape Breton Transition House.  Janine and Kathy Milburn from Family Place Resource Centre will be meeting to develop relevant activities for elementary students for this week.

Gifted/Enrichment Education

The Gifted Education Lead Team met in November to further develop their skills in supporting teachers with gifted students in the regular classroom.  Identification checklists, procedures and PD offerings have been sent to Cathy Viva for inclusion in the Student Services Handbook.   Schools have been requesting support for individual students as well as whole-staff PD sessions around gifted and enrichment education.  Janine also met with Janet Beaton, Coordinator of the International Baccalaureate program at Sydney Academy, to discuss how teachers can better prepare students for the rigors of advanced high school study and how IB students may be utilized as mentors for younger gifted students in CB-VRSB.   


Mathematics Consultant P-6, Sharon Boudreau

Early Elementary Mathematics Literacy Assessment

The results for this year were made available to schools late in November.

Results were sent home to parents in December.

Grade Four Math Development Records

All grade four teachers have completed the workshops and will complete the MDRs for their students before the results are sent home.

PRIME:  (PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE AND INSTRUCTION FOR MATHEMATICS EDUCATORS) 

This training will assist all teachers in working with students who are struggling with mathematics.

Teachers in all four schools (Brookland, Coxheath, Cornwallis, and St Joseph, Sydney Mines) have completed their training.  Resource teachers have received the first and second day of the PRIME training.

Parent Information Sessions

There has been a focus on getting information out to parents with regards to the new math strategies.  We will show them what math looks like now and how they can help their children.

The Adult Learning Association and the CB Regional Library sponsored a series of workshops aimed at enhancing parents’ ability to help their children with their homework P-6.  Sharon Boudreau was approached to become part of the project and, along with several mentors, presented a workshop at the McConnell Library on November 26 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Ron Muller presented monthly night classes at Mira Road School with parents who want to learn more about how to use manipulatives to build conceptual understanding.  The response was positive.

Maureen Wadden provided a ‘Math Evening’ at Donkin School on November 10 and Gowrie School on November 12.  There were stations containing grade banded activities with teachers to support.  There was a very good turnout at both locations.  Brenda Jackson, School Principal, was a huge “behind the scenes” support.

January Plans

Parent Information Sessions:

∙           Plans are underway to have a parent session at Shipyard on January 21.

∙           Ron Muller will continue parent math classes at Mira Road School.   Parents will have the opportunity to see and experience how their children learn math and how that differs from the way they learned.

PRIME

Resource and LD teachers will receive the final day of training in PRIME.

Mentoring

Requests from teachers for mentoring continue to grow for both elementary and junior high levels.  Presently, we have four teachers appointed as system math mentors:  1 FTE, 0.7 FTE, and 0.6 FTE at the elementary level, as well as 0.5 FTE at junior high.  Several other mentors are mentoring day-to-day as requested.


Arts Education Consultant, Lesley Ann Andrews

More than fifty of our schools participated in holiday concerts with more than sixty concerts performed throughout our Board in the month of December!  Other performances also took place for community parades, tree lightings, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles games, and caroling for seniors, businesses and telethons … just to name a few!

The first concert in the Cape Breton Post concert series took place at the Savoy Theatre on November 25 with students from Riverview High School introducing the featured performer, Darrett Zusko, and also writing a critique of the concert for the Cape Breton Post .  Many of our grades nine to twelve students received free tickets, sponsored by ECBC, to attend the concert.

Historica Fair 2009 information was sent to elementary and junior high schools along with intent to participate forms, pre-planning information, “Stamp Stories” contest information, and information on the “Mathieu da Costa” contest.  Informational meetings regarding Historica Fair took place on December 10 at the Staff Development Centre and December 11 at Cornwallis School.

Malcolm Munroe Junior High School was featured on CBC Radio along with their instrumental music program.  Malcolm Munroe has recently started a choir group for their students with their first performances in December.  They hope to continue the choir as a regular part of the music program.

The first group of the recurring “Giant 101.9” scholarships was awarded to three successful applicants.  This group of recipients received monies to help with music books, lessons, instrument upgrades, and for extended travel to lessons.


Reading
Recovery™ Teacher Leader / Early Literacy Consultant, Susan MacDonald

Susan MacDonald attended the Atlantic Teacher Leader Meeting held in Truro on November 14.  Reading Recovery® Teacher Leaders from Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick were in attendance, providing the opportunity to meet and discuss Reading Recovery® along with the challenges and implementation issues we all work with.  They identified three goals to work on over the next year to help with our data.

Our Reading Recovery® teachers met on November 25-26 for ongoing professional development (OPD).  The emphasis of these sessions was “Teacher Language and its Role in Responsive Teaching.”  There is no session scheduled for December.  The next OPD sessions will be held on January 20-21.

In November, Ms. MacDonald visited Mount Carmel, Harbourside, North Highlands, Marion Bridge, Membertou, and Boularderie Schools.  It is recommended in the Standards and Guidelines that each teacher receives one visit per year (minimum) and more if needed.  Visits can be requested by teachers when they are having difficulty with a particular student and would like some advice.

Ms. MacDonald attended a GRADS (Growing through Reading, Acting, Discussing and Sharing) meeting on December 1 at Staff Development Centre and met with Programs on December 6 to plan a focus for system-wide Staff Development Day in February.

During the month of December, Ms. MacDonald travelled to Robin Foote, Mountainveiw, Baddeck, Harbourside, Marion Bridge, Greenfield, Brookland, Bridgeport and Riverside Schools.  She also continues to work with three children daily at Shipyard Elementary School.


Library Services Consultant, Carmelita Cousins

Insignia Project

The automation project is rolling along, and the intent is to have online web-based capabilities in the early spring.  Computers are in place and MARC records are being unified into one server/database in North Sydney.

Board Library Committee

The committee is moving forward with a couple of initiatives for the new year; a Junior High Reading Challenge and a Bookmark Launch will highlight the celebration of literacy.

Shop of the Class

On December 5th , the Cape Breton Regional Police visited each elementary school and drove pre-selected students (one per site) to the Mayflower Mall for the Shop of the Class event. Each student received a t-shirt, lunch, a $100.00 gift certificate for their mall shopping, and a stocking full of treats. The students were paired with police officers who assisted them with their shopping. Disney characters, compliments of Sheldon Nathanson, were in attendance. The students also participated in the making of a tree decoration craft under the guidance of Michaels. The event was a great success thanks to the excellent organization and sponsorship from the Cape Breton Regional Police and the Mayflower Mall.


RACE RELATIONS, CROSS CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING & HUMAN RIGHTS

Lynn Crawford, Coordinator

Mi’kmaq Consultant

Consultant Sheldon Googoo is pleased to highlight the recent appointment of Candy Palameter to the position of Director of the Mi'kmaq Liaison Office, Department of Education. Sheldon will continue to work closely with Ms. Palameter, the Council on Mi'kmaq Education , the Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey Education Working Group, and other organizations to provide continuous service and support to students and staff of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

Student Support Workers

The Student Support Workers meet daily with students, principals, teachers, parents, etc. to address the needs of African Nova Scotian students.  Their primary focus has been meeting with each student regularly and establishing cultural awareness groups in their schools.  The SSWs are continuously expressing to students the need to seek additional academic support when needed, or inform an SSW so they can provide assistance or obtain the necessary supports. Student Support Workers have been challenged by some high school student’s poor attendance and the incompletion of assignments, however through collective efforts by school administrator and teachers working with SSW and parents, there have been improvements in these areas.

Many parents have shared their appreciation of the SSW services.  Increased communication with the homes has been informative to parents and beneficial for students. 

Preparations for African Heritage Month are underway as the students are planning activities for their schools.  The highlight of African Heritage Month will be the Black Reflections Art Exhibit, highlighting African Nova Scotian student’s artwork from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

RCH Lead Team

RCH Lead Team has been busy planning and preparing for the upcoming RCH In-services.  The sessions will be presented to principals and the RCH School Liaisons on January 13th and 14th at the North Star Inn, North Sydney.  The day will look at ensuring ongoing RCH initiatives are taking place in our schools, the roles and responsibilities of the RCH School Liaison, and the sharing of ideas for the board Diversity Day February 13th .

RCH Diversity Committee

RCH Diversity Committee members continue to provide support to teachers and administrators with addressing homophobia in the classroom. The committee is currently reviewing materials to develop grade appropriate presentations for all grade levels.

4+ Program

The students held their annual Kwanzaa celebration with students reciting a poem, sharing their knowledge of Kwanzaa, and singing followed by a reception.  Teacher Jean Guy Demeter feels the 4+ Program is going very well and the students are advancing nicely.  Issues of transportation have been rectified; four students are picked up and dropped off by a taxi daily.  Three of these students are from the Sydney area.


STUDENT SERVICES (EDUCATIONAL QUALITY & ACCOUNTABILITY)

Susan Kelley, Coordinator

Work continues with Provincial Advisory Committee on the Implementation of the Nutrition Policy.  A meeting was held in Halifax to discuss the preliminary results of a survey that was conducted across the province last June on the implementation of the policy and possible areas that we might want to provide addition support.

Health Promoting Schools Evaluation Committee has been struck with the initial meeting held in December in Halifax.  The purpose of this committee is to look at developing an evaluation framework for this initiative.

Plans are in place for teachers to mark the grade 12 NS Exams in Math in North Sydney on January 28th .  This is facilitated by the Department of Education.  Results from the Early Elementary Math Literacy Assessment (grade 3) were distributed to parents in December.

The schools in their first year of the accreditation process will attend a workshop on Jan. 15th and 16th around writing SMART goals and writing their School Improvement Plan.


Active Healthy Living – Mary Lou Andrea, Consultant

February 3rd Professional Development Day

Planning for the board wide inservice is taking place.  All levels of physical education staff will be involved in this day with a variety of sessions being offered. Sessions will also be available for the Healthy Living teachers in the area.

Girls Play2 Girls Hockey

On Friday, November 21st between 11:30-2:30 at the Sydney Mines Rink there was an Esso Fun Day for girls in grades 3-6 on the Northside who were interested in trying to play hockey. Since 1998 the Esso Fun Day Program has introduced thousands of females to the great game of hockey.  In an attempt to make the program more accessible for females of all ages, Hockey Nova Scotia hosts Esso Fun Days.  Esso Fun Days are funded by Esso and Hockey Canada. Forty girls attended, and the great thing was that 24 of them never played hockey before. Because of the interest this has become a weekly event for the girls.

The school board has received funding from the Department of Education to increase the physical activity of girls. Because of this funding the board has developed a Girls Play2 program. The elementary hockey is one component of this project.   Research has shown that one of the barriers that prevent girls from participating is a lack of equipment.  We are trying to assist with this by working with local sport stores and the public to provide equipment for any girls interested in playing. 

STEP Teachers PD

A geocaching professional development session was held for the teachers on the use of the GPS in the classroom. 

AHL Website

Work is ongoing to update the website.


Sports Animator Report- Jim MacEachern

  • December saw the completion of the first half of the Swim to Survive Program for the grade three classes throughout the Board. Schools completing their Program were:

Cornwallis, Marion Bridge, East Bay, Mountainview, Saint Mary’s, St. Joseph (NS),Mount Carmel, John Bernard Croake, Mira Road, St. Agnes, Bridgeport, Donkin Gowrie, Shipyard, Robin Foote, Coxheath, Riverside, Harbourside.

Remaining schools will complete the course in the spring.

  • Plans have commenced for the third Annual CB-VRSB / United Commercial Travelers Skating Races Jamboree. Projected dates for the Jamboree are tentatively set for March 27/28. Plans call for expanding the participation from grade primary to the grade eight level this year. Registration will be called for in early January.
  • Registration has been completed for the 3rd Annual Youth in Motion @ CBU Program for the grade five classes in the School Board. Every elementary school in the Board has registered for this exciting program, highlighting active physical activity and healthy eating. More than a dozen community groups continue to volunteer their efforts to this worthwhile program.
  • Mr. MacEachern was able to assist and facilitate coordinating a Learn to Swim Program at the Kiwanis Pool, for the grade four, five and six students from Robin Foote. The Program is ongoing for a fifteen week period.
  • Mr. MacEachern continues to work with the Active Living Policy Committee in drafting a formal policy covering, as one section, active play and participation of students in sports and athletics in our schools.
  • Mr. MacEachern made formal presentation to the Credit Union Managers Association of Cape Breton seeking corporate support for physical activity programming.
  • Mr. MacEachern is working on feasibility and support for various March Break physical activity events. This is in the early planning stages.


PEBS/Behavior Support-Trevor LeBlanc, Lead Teacher
    

In the area of PEBS/Behavior Support, we will be concentrating for the month of January on the following items:

§    The PEBS website has now been updated and all forms have been added.  School PEBS initiatives will be added under a section for each school.

§    Forms for the board are being developed in the areas of functional behavioural assessments.  New forms have been recently added for parents and students with autism.

§    The lead PEBS team will be meeting in the near future to prepare a workshop and professional development for principals and schools.

§    Resources for schools will be made available in the coming months to assist in the implementation of PEBS.  The Department of Education has allocated to the board $7660.00 for targeted funding.

§    The Behaviour Lead team will have their first meeting of the year to develop strategies and workshop materials to help our schools in the areas of behavioural challenges.

§    There will be a Non Violent training session for 25 teacher assistants on February 3rd and 4th . Location TBA.

§    A weekly PEBS tip will be sent to schools each week in order to provide ideas and strategies for schools.


Breakfast for Learning/Nutrition Policy/Health Promoting Schools – Debbie Madore, CBVRSB Dietician

Breakfast Programs

Breakfast programs continue to run in 57 sites. A visit was made to Seton Elementary in November to begin looking at a program for the students. A notice regarding the program and the need for volunteers went out in their newsletter.           

HEAL Cape Breton

Healthy Eating Active Living Task force has established a Healthy Eating work group, consisting of public health Nutritionist, several hospital based Dieticians, and Debbie Madore, CB-VRSB Dietician. The ultimate goal of HEAL is to make our community population healthier. For 2009, the agenda is to promote healthier snacks and label reading. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is a recognized leader in healthy eating in our community.

National Breakfast for Learning

Meetings were held in Toronto November 14-17 to review our strategic plan for 2009. Funding and the need for National Funding Partners was the highlight of the agenda. Both Sobeys and SuperStore plan to be funding partners with National Breakfast for Learning. Sobeys will be doing a promotion across Atlantic Canada in January, where a percentage of sales from specific foods will go towards Breakfast for Learning. You will see this at your local Sobeys.

Nova Scotia Council, Breakfast for Learning

Ms. Madore continues to participate as Co-chair for this council. A meeting was held in November following the National Strategic Planning meetings in Toronto. This Council continues to receive a grant from NSHPP to support .5 of the Dietitian Coordinator position that leads Breakfast Programs Provincially.

Provincial Funding

As year four of Learning for Life comes to an end, a meeting was held with all Provincial leads in Nova Scotia around how the Provincial Model for Breakfast Programs will look in future years. Presently, there is $750,000 available at the Provincial level that is distributed to Boards based on the Department of Education funding formula. A grant is also provided to Nova Scotia Council, BFL for the Dietitian Coordinator Margo Riebe-Butt. Suggestions were made and several possibilities were discussed. The information was to be taken by Michelle Murton, Healthy Eating Coordinator, to HPP and Ann Blackwood, DOE, for final decision.

Webpage

A training day on Webpage designing was held on November 20 to develop a webpage for Breakfast for Learning. A student at Whitney Pier Memorial also did some work on the website! It can be viewed at www.cbv.ns.ca/nutritionforlearning

Golf Anyone??

Although the snow is flying, plans are underway for the 6th annual golf tournament in support of Breakfast for Learning, June 12, Bell Bay Baddeck. Anyone interested in participating is asked to contact Ms. Madore for details. A sunny day with a light breeze has already been arranged!

Health Promoting Schools:

At the Provincial meeting in October, a discussion was held around having another Showcase in May 2009. This event is not in the budget, but Dwayne Provo, School Health Coordinator, wants to move forward on it as it has a great deal of value for boards. Teleconferences were going to be held in November and December, but nothing has been decided to date. The next Provincial meeting will be held in March.

Grants to schools

Schools completed requisitions for equipment to support HPS initiatives in November. The equipment lists were reviewed and are being processed by Purchasing. Some schools have received their equipment to support ongoing programs.

Food and Nutrition Policy :

Health Henri Award

This awards program is lead by Public Health in an effort to encourage restaurants to provide healthier choices to the public. The schools in the CB-VRSB are also encouraged to apply for the award. Letters were sent out to schools with cafeterias for January 5 to encourage them to submit their menu for review.

Health Promotion Policy

Ms. Madore continues to work with Health Promotion group, lead by Susan Kelley, to establish policies for CBV-RSB.

Literacy Support Report – Lyn McInnis, Literacy Support Consultant

The month of December was an extremely busy month. Grade 11 teachers were involved in site-based inservicing around developing “Whole Class Instructional Plans” for students identified as “not yet having met

expectations” as determined on the Junior High Literacy Assessment. A floating substitute was made available at each high school.  The substitute brought with her a literacy lesson and therefore required no preparation for the classroom teacher.   Teachers appreciated the fact that they did not have to prepare for the substitute while they were out of their rooms for approximately one hour. Binders with Assessment results were made for all grade 11 teachers and were distributed to them during the site-based in servicing. Teachers were all given time to work on developing their “Whole Class Instructional Plans”.

At the high school level, administrators and/or guidance were provided with “Summary of Student Progress” binders to allow teachers to report on identified students at the end of each semester.

At the grade 4 level, all teachers received site-based in-servicing to assist them in developing Literacy Development Records for students identified as requiring a Literacy Development Record based on the results of the Early Language Literacy Assessment written in grade 3. In addition, all grade 4 teachers were given one day to work on the LDR’s. This day was provided by the Department of Education.

Plans are now underway to work with new to grade 10 teachers and new to grade 3 teachers around the Provincial Assessment results.

An in-service for grade 3 teachers will take place on February 4, 5, and 6th (approximately 20 teachers per day) focusing on “assessment to instruction”. Janet Porter, from the Department of Education, will work with our team to present to the group.


PROGRAMS (INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT)

Rick Simm, Coordinator

The “Instructional Support Team”, consisting of Sheila Kublek, Bill Tennant, Paul Gartland, Dorothy Tennant 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)

Throughout November and December a total of 21 assistive technology assessments have been performed with students at various levels.  There have been onsite professional development sessions for communication devices and software, use of FM systems, alternative & adaptive hardware, Kurzweil and Intellitools. 

The Assistive Technology Professional Learning Community (ATPLC) met in Halifax during November.  Issues discussed during the session included communication devices, assistive technology training for teacher assistants, and software upgrades.  The AT PLC is planning on attending an Assistive Technology conference to be held at Cape Breton University in June 2009. 

A Kurzweil tracking system was sent to all secondary schools during the month of November.  Each school that returned the tracking sheet had their name submitted to a draw for a Kurzweil USB flash drive.  The winning school was St. Michael’s Junior High School. 


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 to Content Management (Xoops), training site teachers in how to setup and maintain their school website. To support school web page masters using Xoops, a number of video tutorials on the Multi-Media page linked from the Teacher Resource page on the CB-VRSB website have been added. 

There were a number of schools visited during this reporting period including St. Joseph (Sydney Mines), Mira Road, Bridgeport, Baddeck, Sydney River, Glace Bay Elementary, Middle River, St. Mary’s Elementary and Memorial High. Technology integration was covered through many different strategies. Also, different technology topics were covered. Professional development was arranged for teachers who requested help in integrating technology in their classes. In some cases, this occurred in the classroom with the students present.

The introduction to a new pilot program for Science 10 Learning Passages took place in Halifax.  Mr. Tennant attended two meetings that outlined the rationale and components of the ICT program which adds literacy support to the Science Program at the high school level.  Those present spent a great deal of time going through each learning passage editing or capturing any problem area that may cause some issues for students and teachers. 


IEIE Consultant
(Dorothy Tennant)

The IEIE (Grade 11 focus) initiative continues. Professional development sessions with teachers from all high schools took place on October 30, and 31, November 4, 5, 12, 13, 17, 18 and December 17th. Technology Integrated lesson plans are in development and seven lessons have been published to the Teacher Resources Website.  Follow up on-site professional development and mentorship is continuing.

Professional Development projects that have taken place in November and December include:

  • Moodle/Blogging/Podcasting sessions for grade 11 English teachers in partnership with the secondary language arts consultant, Diane Brennick
  • A STATCAN session  for Math and Social Studies teachers
  • Film and Video Team teacher workshop
  • Curriculum Specific Tech Team teacher workshop
  • Multimedia Team teacher workshop
  • Autograph session for grade 11 Math teachers in partnership with secondary math consultant, Arlene Andrecyk


Adult High School

Registration of new students for the Adult High School program has begun, with appointments set up in each site for January 2009.  Advertising is booked with Eastlink Cable, the Cape Breton Post and the Maritime Merchant to promote the Adult High Schools.  These ads will run in January. 

Attendance and retention is a serious issue which has challenged staff and administration.  Ms. Patterson discussed some of the initiatives taken to address the problem with Coordinator Rick Simm and Director John Astephen.  We are working within the talents of the Adult High School staff and within available resources to offer more options and supports for students.  These include extra resource help and more flexible testing options.  We are also looking at ways to deliver extras such as free WHIMIS training.  As well, we are exploring different courses through the PSP that would engage these students and help them in successful pathways.  All adult schools within the province including the Nova Scotia Community College and other adult programs are undergoing similar challenges.

The changing economic climate is probably going to mean an increase in demand for adult programming.  We have had calls from a few employees at Magna Powertrain in North Sydney looking for night school classes.  Ms. Patterson has contacted their human resource department to discuss the programs we offer with the adult high schools and adult evening classes and to provide information for their employees. 

Adult Evening Classes

A full page ad for winter course offerings appeared in the Cape Breton Post on January 10th .  Registration will run the week of the 12th to 15th in Sydney, Glace Bay, New Waterford, and on the Northside.  There has been great interest expressed by the public for Chemistry, Math & Biology 12 and in GED preparation.


STUDENT SERVICES

Cathy Viva, Coordinator

Team members from the Board’s Individual Program Plan team attended a two day workshop on November 6th and 7th . They received instruction in delivering the four modules on IPP development. Plans to deliver the modules to resource and learning disabilities teachers at the February Inservice day have begun. Principals in our Board will also be given the opportunity to receive the four modules. Plans for sessions for classroom teachers are in progress for the spring of 2009.

The Coordinator of Student Services, consultants and lead teachers worked with the data base manager in November to enhance the Support for Students Site. The site has been made more user friendly and now includes the forms associated with Student Services so that all forms can be completed and directed to Student Services personnel online. Security issues around confidentiality have been addressed. The site will be presented to the Director of Programs and Student Services in January and will be introduced to Principals and Program Planning Team members in the New Year.

A student services handbook has also been compiled and will be placed on the Student Services website when it has been reviewed and approved by the Director of Student Services. As part of the process, Student Services Policies were reviewed and the final result is being compiled in draft form for review.

The monthly report for December 2008 from school psychologists indicates there are approximately 526 outstanding referrals. Of the 526 outstanding referrals 96 are in process which could mean the assessment has been started, the report is being prepared or the follow up meeting is pending. It can be projected that another 590 referrals could be completed before the end of the present school year. Referrals will continue to be received during this time and there would still be a waitlist at the end of the school year.

In comparison to last year, we have and additional 100 referrals at the end of December. Two of our psychologists have been on special assignment since January of 2008 which may be an explanation for the additional outstanding referrals.  We have had a psychologist on Maternity leave since December 11th .  Two retired psychologists will be completing the maternity leave substitution days starting January 12th .  It is expected with their employment we will be able to address the two schools with the largest referral lists.

PROGRAM SERVICES 7-12

David Brennick , Coordinator

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

The Exam and the Curriculum Mapping teams have met and have almost completed their mandates.  They should have maps ready for teachers for next semester and an exam template and handbook will be ready before the next examination period.  Both of these tools will greatly help classroom teachers with curriculum and assessment.


Another newsletter was sent out to all ELA teachers and secondary principals.  Information packets were also sent out to junior high principals regarding ELA mentoring with Sheila MacDonald at Malcolm Munroe Memorial Junior High.

Grade 11 English Language Arts teachers spent a very productive day learning about the Nova Scotia virtual school.  They created their own virtual classrooms and did work on blogs and Podcasting, and they will do these activities with their students.


Teachers at Dr. TL Sullivan were given a workshop on Writing Strategies. Many teachers employed some of the strategies immediately with their students.


The Writers in Action 10/11 team for our board has been formed, and they will be attending a three day workshop in May.  Diane Brennick and Jacqueline Poirier will be a part of the provincial lead team for this initiative and will be going to planning sessions in January and February.


The dates for Public speaking are: Senior High, April 6th ; Junior High, April 7th and 8th ; and Elementary, April 9th , 14th , 15th , and 16th .  As in the past, this event will be held at Memorial Composite High School in Sydney Mines.


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

Holy Angels held their O2 Family Orientation Night on November 26. This is the first year for O2 at Holy Angels and this event gave the school’s staff and administration a chance to meet with parents and discuss the O2 program, events the students have participated in, and the students’ school progress. It also gave the students an opportunity to display some of their projects, such as their portfolio binder, to their parents. Also in attendance was Rhonda Smith, Community-Based Learning Consultant, Fran Foster, the Department of Education’s O2 mentor, and Barb Burke, NSCC’s College Prep Coordinator.

The Department of Education’s O2 Mentor, Fran Foster, and an O2 teacher each from Glace Bay High and Holy Angels visited the junior high guidance counsellors to discuss the Options & Opportunities program in their respective high schools. These visits proved to be very valuable in that it gave the O2 teacher a chance to tell the guidance counsellor what students are involved, the courses they are taking, and a progress report on their former students. For the guidance counsellors, it was an opportunity to ask questions about how the program works and the student selection process.

The “Building Futures for Youth” program was presented to the O2 and Co-operative Education students by Juanita MacDonald, HR Development Coordinator of CANS (Construction Association of Nova Scotia) on November 12 and 13.  For the students interested in applying to this program, the closing date for application forms is January 9, 2009.

The O2 teachers from BEC, Cabot, Glace Bay High and Holy Angels will participate in a mid-year O2 workshop sponsored by the Department of Education on January 9, 2009.

The high schools offering Co-operative Education: Memorial, Sydney Academy and Holy Angels, were visited by the Consultant from the Department of Education on December 2nd and 3rd .  The Department of Education has provided these schools with 0.15 FTE support and support for transportation (Memorial) for this school year.

A presentation on Co-operative Education was made to the administration and guidance of Riverview High on December 3rd .

The Community-Based Learning Consultant, Rhonda Smith, is working with the learning centre teachers of Glace Bay High to develop opportunities for short term placements in the community for some of their students.

Ms. Smith is also working with two teachers from Rankin School of the Narrows, in partnership with the Highland Village, to develop opportunities for students to obtain some workplace health and safety training, and short term placements/job shadowing with trades people working in the village.  The goal is to have the opportunities in place for spring 2009.


Mathematics (7-12), Arlene Andrecyk, Consultant

Arlene Andrecyk visited all math teachers from Cabot High School, St. Michael Junior High, Southside Learning Centre, George D. Lewis, Bridgeport School and Thompson Junior High. Each meeting was an informal session in which the teachers had an opportunity to discuss the delivery of the math curriculum. Teacher comments, suggestions and concerns could be raised at this time.

On November 6, the Junior High Math Olympiad Committee had the first meeting of the school year to start planning for the regional competition to be held at Malcolm Munroe. Currently each school is having school-based competitions.

Over forty resource teachers received the first two days of training in PRIME, a program that provides professional resources and instruction for mathematics educators. Junior high resource teachers and resource teachers new to elementary received the training which took place over four days: November 10 and 12 and December 15 and 16. Arlene Andrecyk and Ron Muller facilitated the sessions. The feedback was very positive. Resource teachers feel this program will be very valuable to them as they support students in mathematics.

On November 24, all teachers new to Grade 7 math, all junior high resource teachers and all math mentors participated in a geometry workshop that focused on Chapter 7 of the grade 7 textbook. Arlene Andrecyk facilitated the in-service. Teachers were engaged in hands-on activities. The feedback was very positive. After the workshop, teachers expressed a greater comfort level with the content, manipulatives and instructional strategies. Teachers were encouraged to use the junior high mentors in the board if they wanted more support with setting-up and delivering the math curriculum.

The first Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board Math League Game scheduled for November 22 at Cape Breton University was cancelled due to inclement weather and was rescheduled for January 10, 2009.  On November 18, 2008, 18 high school math teachers attended a technology workshop at the Staff Development Centre. Dorothy Tennant, IEI Project Facilitator, and Arlene Andrecyk organized the workshop. The focus of this workshop was to provide support to math teachers in the integration of technology in the Math 11 classrooms using the computer software program Autograph. Paul O’Neill, math teacher at Glace Bay High School, developed Discovery Activities to enhance student learning of transformational geometry. Participants explored these activities. Arlene Andrecyk led the participants through activities involving 3-D graphing. Other teachers shared instructional strategies using Autograph. The feedback from the participants was very positive. Math teachers are already starting to use the information gained at this workshop in their classrooms.


Nova Scotia International Student Program, Tammy Sampson, Consultant/Program Manager

Our short term group from Los Pinares returned to Colombia on November 22nd .

On November 23rd , the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board International Student Program hosted a family and friends skating party at Centre 200. There was a great turn out with guests being treated to lunch. A great day!

Soeren Henkel, a Nova Scotia International Student Program student at Breton Education Centre, and a member of the high school basketball team this semester, went to Disney World in Florida with the team in December for ten days. The team played in an international tournament, but also visited Disney World, Universal Studios and attended two NBA games.

The Nova Scotia International Student Program is sponsoring a Familiarization tour to Mexico for homestay coordinators. Eligible applicants will have the opportunity to visit several cities and to live with Mexican families as they learn about the culture, the language and the country.  This is a great opportunity for the coordinators. Mexico is one of our biggest markets and it is important for coordinators to gain a better understanding of the students they are working with.

We are beginning placements for second semester. We have 32 students departing and have received 17 new applications for 2nd semester to date.

Our cultural Christmas potluck took place on December 14th , 2008. Students were treated to a special performance by up-and-coming band RiverRoad, a visit from Santa, and a gift of movie money.

Our students are preparing for the Christmas holidays! Most are anxiously awaiting their first Canadian Christmas, while others are planning to return to their home country or to visit family and friends across Canada and the US.

Several Nova Scotia International students are exploring the possibility of pursuing higher education opportunities in Nova Scotia. The positive experiences of attending high school in our board and their stay in Canada have contributed to their interest in remaining in Canada to continue their studies.


English Second Language, Geoffrey Laurence

The schedule for November and December ran smoothly for both Nova Scotia International Student Program and landed immigrant students. One slight change was made at Breton Education Centre to address the needs of a landed immigrant. That student is now receiving support specifically designed to improve her reading and writing skills in the academic setting. The same type of class routine is in effect for landed immigrants at Brookland and Sherwood Park. The classes for the other students, both Nova Scotia International Student Program and landed immigrants, consist of support in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Grammar and vocabulary enhancement activities are included in these sessions. There will be some changes to the schedules beginning in January due to the addition of new students.

There is one month left in the semester for the high school students. During the examination week in late January, some classes will be adjusted to allow for English Second Language support for those students writing exams, especially at the high school level and those writing provincial exams.


Skilled Trades Education, Ken Collier, Consultant

Students from Memorial Composite High participated in our annual Remembrance Day Service on Friday, November 7th . During the service, a video presentation was shown by the Information Technology students. This service is always very moving, and students, staff, and local veterans always have words of praise for the ceremony.

Representatives from Skills Nova Scotia visited Memorial on November 18/08 regarding the Career Showcase which will be held in conjunction with our Skills competitions on April 7/09. This showcase will be viewed by our entire school as well as a number of visiting schools.

A number of students from Memorial attended the Skills Quest Youth Project at Marconi Campus of Nova Scotia Community College sponsored by Skills Canada Nova Scotia. Students had the opportunity to participate in and experience a variety of trades to enable them to make future career choices.

Skilled Trades Consultant, Ken Collier, attended the Skills Excellence Awards Luncheon in Halifax on November 21st . Skills Nova Scotia recognized Industry Partners, Educators, and Volunteers who make the competitions possible.

Mr. Kent Brewer and the Electrical students attended Seton Elementary School in North Sydney on Monday, December 8th . The Electrical students were partnered with a Grade 6 class, and explored the area of energy conservation in the electrical field. The students watched a presentation, and then participated in a project working directly with the electrical students. This proved to be a very worthwhile project, with all students enjoying the activity. The Grade 6 students will be completing an electrical project which will be judged by the Memorial electrical students, and the top winners will come and spend a day at Memorial High in the electrical shop.

Two students from Holy Angels High School came to our school on Wednesday, December 3rd to spend the day in two of our Vocational Programs. The students had the opportunity to experience what happens throughout the school day, both in the classroom and in the shop area as well. These students are considering applying to our school for September enrollment.

On Wednesday, December 10th , students had the opportunity to see Michael Gaultois. Michael is a burn survivor, and delivers a message to the students about making the right choices in life. He also encourages students to make the best out of situations, even if something bad happens. The students found this to be a very powerful and moving presentation.

The Grade 9 Career Awareness tours are taking place at Memorial each week. To date, we have had tours from Thompson Jr. High, Sydney Mines Jr. High, Dr. T. L. Sullivan Jr. High, Sherwood Park Education Center, Baddeck Academy, and Rankin School of the Narrows. These tours allow students to explore options/careers to consider before entering high school.

Skilled Trades Consultant, Ken Collier, Carpentry Instructor, Arno Raymaker, Plumbing Instructor, Paul Andrea, Electrical Instructor, Kent Brewer, and Graphic Design Instructor, Milton Bonnar, and a number of their students, participated in a Career Fair at Riverview High School on Thursday, December 11/08. Students had the opportunity to ask questions about choosing a particular career.


French Second Language, Laurie MacIntosh, Consultant

On November 19th and 20th , Elaine Melanson, French Consultant, Department of Education, visited the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board to conduct evaluations of French Special Projects.  Ms. Melanson and Laurie MacIntosh, French Second Language Consultant, Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, visited with the schools, teachers, and principals which receive funding from French Special Projects.  This funding is made available through federal, provincial, and school board budgets to support French Second Language initiatives.

From December 2nd to 5th , Gérald Félix, French Consultant, Department of Education, visited with Laurie MacIntosh, and the grade six Intensive French teachers to share analysis of students’ written test results.  He also visited the Intensive French teachers’ classes, as well as the experimental Core French classes at Malcolm Munroe Junior High and Bridgeport Schools.

On December 3rd and 4th , Robert McNutt, Department of Education, accompanied by Laurie MacIntosh, presented information sessions to grades 11 and 12 French students on the program “Explore” (formally the Summer Language Bursary Program).  The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board continues to send many students to the French Second Language summer programs across Canada.

An Elementary Core French working committee met on December 10th , to develop descriptors to accompany the new elementary report card.

Jean-Claude Bergeron, French Immersion Consultant, Department of Education, met with interested junior and senior high principals, guidance counselors, and French teachers on December 10th to present information on the Nova Scotia/Québec Exchange Program (a reciprocal program pairing students from Nova Scotia and Québec for a three month period).

A professional development session was held on December 12th , at Riverside Elementary School for grade six Intensive French teachers.  Facilitators were Celeste Foisy-Lahey, Laurie MacIntosh, and Genevieve Richardson.  Intensive French teachers from Chignecto-Central, South Shore, and Tri-County School Boards were also in attendance.

Laurie MacIntosh will attend a professional development session at the Nova Scotia Department of Education on January 30th , 2009, to continue exploring the implementation of Intensive Core French strategies into the Core French classroom.

The February 3rd Professional Development day for French Second Language teachers will be a “CASLT chez vous” with presenters from the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers exploring the “Language Framework Portfolio” and “Variations Francophones”.

Brenda MacNeil, Memorial High, and Jennifer Moss, Riverview Rural High, will attend a follow-up session on March 30th , in Halifax, and will be examiners (April 14-17) for DELF (Diplôme d’études en Langue française).  The purpose of the DELF evaluation is to give students international recognition for their accomplishments in French Second Language learning through oral and written expression and comprehension.  The pilot school for this initiative is Riverview Rural High School.