PSS Report March 2006
Category : Programs and Student Services Report
Published by Marjorie Graham [Marjorie Graham] on 08/21/2006
PSS REPORT
SCHOOL SERVICES
Ambrose White, Coordinator

Initial meetings were held to establish next year's school calendar. We hope to take the draft and make it final very soon.

School suspensions, school incident reports and field trips continue to come into the office on a regular basis. We monitor each of these areas on a monthly basis.

PROGRAM SERVICES P-6 Brenda MacIsaac, Coordinator

Arts Education

The theme of Imagine has been selected for this year's Annual Art Exhibit of student works, Grades 4-12, which will take place in May at Gallery 11, Cape Breton University. Diane Lewis, Memorial High, is the chair of the event which will feature a large sampling of the artistic endeavors of CBVRSB students. The opening ceremony is planned for Tuesday, May 2, 7:00 P.M. at Gallery 11.

Diane Lewis is also the recipient of a Sheonoroil Grant and is undertaking a collaborative project with her visual arts students at Memorial High, as well as students from the student newspaper and art clubs. These students will be creating artwork and writings that look at non -violent solutions to violence in school.

Students in the CBVRSB are creating very interesting works of art that will communicate their reflections on mental illness. Approximately thirty works of art from senior high students will be on display in the main gallery, CBU, in May as part of the program 'Shadows of Light'. This is an initiative of CMHA Cape Breton and involves students presenting their retrospections on depression.

On March 2nd and 3rd, PD sessions will be held for senior high visual art teachers and music teachers. These sessions are offered by the Dept of Education to support the implementation of the senior high visual arts and music curriculum documents. Since there is no curriculum document at the junior high level in both disciplines, teachers at this level are also invited to attend as it is important that they understand the expectations at the senior high level in order to best prepare their students. Gary Ewer (music), Isla McEachern and Elizabeth Vincent (visual arts) will be facilitating. Also present will be Eric Favaro, Arts Education Consultant, N.S. Department of Education.

A draft copy of Music P-6 Skills and Sequence Chart is to be forwarded to classroom music teachers for their comments re additions/ deletions. It is hoped that this document will support the Music P-6 curriculum guide by assuring that specific music skills are appropriately developed.

Around the Board, many arts activities are occurring including Sydney River Elementary Choir, under the direction of Leslie Ann Andrews, taking part in a recording session at Soundpark Studio. They provided back-up vocals for a local performer. The Grade 4 students at Mountainview and Sydney River are doing a project on Egyptian mummies to go along with the unit they are studying in their classrooms. This is a fine example of cross-curricular study.

Library Services

School libraries within the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board will be receiving a special book in the next few weeks. The children's book entitled B is for Bookworm: A Library Alphabet written by Anita Prieto will be distributed to all elementary schools. During the 12th American Association of School Librarians conference in Pittsburgh, PA, in October 2005, delegates from across the United States, Canada and overseas heard stories of despair from their colleagues in the hurricane struck state of Louisiana. The American Library Association is embarking on an effort to help rebuild libraries damaged and destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The B is for Bookworm initiativeis helping build the Gulf Coast's hurricane damaged libraries, one book at a time as the publisher is donating $1 from the sale of each copy of B is for Bookworm to the American Library Association's Katrina Disaster Relief Fund. This book enables Cape Breton-Victoria schools to assist in the rebuilding process and, in return, learn about the job of libraries in an educational way.

SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS:

Brookland Elementary: A presentation was given by the parent advisory group to senior management. The advisory group requested the services of library technician for their school. A pilot project was suggested.

Cape Smokey Elementary: Cape Smokey hosted a very successful Scholastic Book Fair during the week of February 20-24, 2006. Funds raised will be used to buy new library books, especially novels and easy reads to add to the present collection. Parent volunteers, under the guidance of Clara Hardy, have revitalized the library program at the school. Training was provided to Clara and her team in December of 2005.

Literacy Initiatives

The Early Literacy Initiative is continuing to provide opportunities for strengthening instructional practice in grades primary and one. Participating schools (Harbourside, St. Anne, Riverside, and George D. Lewis) are already speaking about the power of taking ownership of a professional learning community. This is being supported by the Literacy Place sampler packs that have been sent to all sites for grades primary and one students. The sampler includes four teaching-support resources and texts. This sampler is addressing many of the issues and questions that have been coming up in professional development sessions.

A new primary orientation package has been developed. It will be available to all schools in May. To coincide with this package a primary orientation night or Primary Fair for parents is being planned for late May. This Fair will be held in three different locations (Northside, Sydney, Glace Bay/New Waterford) on three consecutive evenings and will provide an opportunity for parents to become acquainted with our schools and programs. Community partners, as well, will be invited to set up and attend the fair.

A summer institute is being planned which will be open to all new teachers and administrators as well as to teachers new to a grade level.

Schools are working together to request professional development experiences on staff requested needs and areas of interest. Jubilee, St. Mary's, St. Joseph's, and Seton came together as a family of schools and hosted a PD session together on February 17th.

Elementary Literacy Support

February was a busy month in the elementary schools. Literacy teams which included the grade 6 classroom teachers, student services teachers (resource, learning center, LD), and school administrators, attended an in-service on writing and implementing effective literacy support plans (LSPs). The feedback indicated that the in-service was definitely needed and, consequently, well received. Teachers also made suggestions regarding areas in which they would still like more professional development support.

As a result of these workshops, a weekly communication initiative, Monday Morning Musings, has begun. A literacy strategy, website, and/or resource is being e-mailed weekly to everyone who indicated that they would like to receive this support

Also this month, all schools received the preliminary results of the 2005 literacy assessment. With these scores and the in-service fresh in their minds, schools have begun working on LSPs for students requiring support in the areas of reading and/or writing. After March Break, when the Minister of Education releases the results, schools will then meet with parents to get their input and to finalize the LSP plans.

Math Initiatives

Math Assessment handbooks have been distributed to every teacher from primary to twelve. As well, every teacher from P-3 received a tote containing hands-on activities for homework. They contain all the instructions and hands-on materials necessary to complete an activity. The purpose of this Department of Education ‘Homework Baggies' initiative is to provide parents with a greater understanding of how math is now being taught in schools.

Maxine Hardy and Ron Muller continue to mentor teachers, Maxine at Cape Smokey and North Highlands, and Ron at Ashby and Cornwallis. These lead mentors have also been working with teachers at Macdonald Elementary, Robin Foote, and Cusack. Several other teachers from various schools have also expressed interest in the mentoring program.

PD sessions for grade two teachers have now been completed. There were many positive comments. The message has been made very clear that the Curriculum Document is essential to cover the required outcomes. It was also pointed out that the document is filled with activities and other resources which can support teachers.

A PD session was held at the Northside Board Office on February 17 for substitute teachers. Maxine Hardy and Tara Colbert were facilitators, and the session was well received. On February 24th, resource teachers were in-serviced on math strategies. Facilitators were Ron MacLean, Sharon McCready and Brenda MacIsaac.

Social Studies

On February 20, 2006, Heritage Day, three students displayed their projects at the Provincial Heritage Event at Citadel Hill, Halifax. They were Katie Jones, Donkin; Rebecca MacKeigan, Riverside Elementary; and Mary Southwell, Glace Bay High. These students were outstanding projects winners at the 2005 Heritage Fair. Senator Laurier LaPierre, Honorary Chair for the Historica Foundation's Heritage Fairs Program, was guest speaker at the opening ceremony on Feb.20th.

Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery teachers met for two regularly scheduled in-services and again on February 17 at Harbourside School for a subsequent professional development session. Another two sessions are scheduled for March.

A Trainer Visit is scheduled for March 28 with Irene Huggins, trainer for the Western Institute of Reading Recovery in Winnipeg. While in Sydney, Ms. Huggins will visit in-service sessions with both Reading Recovery teacher leaders, Paula Muise and Linda Neville. She will also meet with the liaison administrators from Central Office.

A regional meeting and teacher leader professional development session will take place in Halifax on March 31st. The Teacher Leader Forum will be held from February 26 to March 1st in Alliston, Ontario. Linda Neville will represent the CBVRSB at this forum.

Professional Development

Site-based professional development sessions took place at all P-6 schools across the Board on February 17th. Principals have been submitting agendas of the PD programs that they and their staffs developed for the day.

As well, many teachers attended the Centre for Leadership Development Conference Teachers as Leaders: Explore the Possibilities. Keynote speakers, Dr. Riley and Dr. Norris from St. F.X. University were well-received. Teachers also enjoyed the workshops facilitated by their colleagues from across the Board.

Liaison teachers continue to participate in workshops at the Staff Development Centre which prepares them to facilitate professional development sessions during the staff meetings at their schools. This is a very important step towards building capacity for more quality site-based PD.

Website: Memos regarding PD opportunities are posted each Monday on the P-6 link at the CBVRSB website http://www.cbv.ns.ca/Departments/ProgramsStudentServices/P-6.

Click on the What's New link.

Education Committee members are more than welcome to attend any of these sessions!

PROGRAM SERVICES 7-12

David Crane, Coordinator Breakfast for Learning Program (Debbie Madore, Nutrition for Learning Coordinator)

Provincial Funding for Breakfast programs arrived January 30th. All schools are now able to have breakfast programs. Nutrition for Learning Committee decided that schools looking for a program will be started up first. Those who do not wish to have one may need some education regarding the program and will be approached in May.

Debbie Madore, Nutrition for Learning Coordinator, did attend a meeting in Halifax February 22nd with the Provincial Breakfast coordinator. The meeting brought together all of the representatives from each board who look after their breakfast program.

Food and Nutrition Policy Implementation

Nova Scotia Health Promotion has hired Heather Spiedell to do some public relations around the new Nutrition policy. She has contacted Ms. Madore several times and hopes to set up a 'lead team' to promote healthy foods at school. The team would consist of Ms. Madore, Principal(s), and cafeteria staff that have made positive changes in their cafeteria. Both Judy Jackson and Doug MacSween have been contacted.

The Food and Nutrition Policy is waiting approval from the new Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. English Language Arts (Secondary) (Diane Brennick, Language Arts Consultant, 7-12)

At a recent Secondary Principals meeting Ms. Diane Brennick, English Language Arts Consultant (7-12), gave an update on what is happening in English Language Arts in our Board. An inventory of all the materials provided through Active Readers 7, 8, 9 is available to principals upon request.

Grade Seven English Language Arts teachers enjoyed sessions on Writer's Companion presented by Nadine Strang. They were shown how to use this program and they were given an opportunity to plan a lesson for use in their classrooms.

An agenda for the March 3rd in-service day has been prepared to send out to the schools.

English Language Arts teachers at the High School level will be doing web searches on subject related topics. They will also participate in a session on 'See it Right' with Suzanne Brown. These sessions will take place at Riverview Rural High School.

A feature on the Public Speaking event was in the Cape Breton Post Saturday, February 18th. All of the positive benefits of participating in this event were highlighted. The general public was encouraged to attend this very worthwhile event. The dates for this year are April 3, 4, 5,6,10 and 11th.

A bell ringer session about 'Reading Idol' was held at the recent CLD conference. Ms. Brennick presented this session for over fifty of the attendees. Many of the teachers were really interested in this idea.

A workshop on Research and the research paper was presented to the secondary teachers at Baddeck Academy on Friday the 17th of February. Ms. Brennick also left the teachers with a number of very useful handouts to use with their students.

The marking sessions for the English 12 exam will be held March 8, 9 and 10th in Dartmouth. Ms. Brennick will be part of that team.

Literacy Support Plan (Susan Kelley, Literacy Support Consultant)

February was a busy month for literacy support in schools. Literacy teams including the grade 6 classroom teachers, student services teachers (resource, learning center, learning disabilities, etc.), and school administrators attended an inservice on writing and implementing effective literacy support plans. The feedback indicated that the inservice was well received. Teachers also made suggestions regarding areas that they would still like some more professional development.

As a result of these workshops, the first of a weekly emailing containing a literacy strategy, quote, website, resource, etc., was sent to everyone who indicated that they would like to receive it (approximately 125 teachers). These ‘Monday Morning Musings' will be a weekly event.

A half-day workshop was held for all staff at Sherwood Park Education Centre on February 17th around writing effective Literacy Support Plans. Full day workshops are planned for junior high schools teams the week after March break. These four member teams will include one teacher from each of grade 7 and 8 in ELA and content areas, a student services teacher and an administrator. The teams will then be responsible to bring the information back to the staff at their school. Grade 9 teachers will receive this inservice in the fall.

Also this month, all elementary schools received the preliminary results of the 2005 literacy assessment. With these scores, and the inservice fresh in their minds, schools have begun working on Literacy Support Plans for these students. After March break when the Minister of Education releases the results, schools will then meet with parents to get their input and to finalize the plans.

English Second Language (ESL) (Jen Kokoska, ESL Teacher)

The ESL program continues to evolve while reaching the following objectives: to better help ESL students understand and achieve in the English language and provide assistance to classroom teachers with ESL students.

February was the start of the second semester for most of the ESL students. The regular monthly schedule began on February 13th, and since this time, Jen Kokoska, ESL Teacher, has been able to meet with all of the new ESL students, as well as former students. Individual portfolios have been created for the new students and a new monthly calendar has been devised. This calendar allows for extra study time with students who really need the help.

The ESL workshops on Friday, February 17th, at Sydney Academy and St. Michael Junior High, were very successful. Ms. Kokoska was able to give classroom teachers some valuable insight into the challenges and obstacles that some of their ESL students face, and ways in which to help their students adapt to their new culture. Teachers were given the opportunity to share their experiences and discover ways to effectively teach to this population of students without disturbing native English speakers. The feedback that Ms. Kokoska received from all of the teachers was positive and there were many requests for future workshops on this subject. In total, she met with 45 teachers, 18 at Sydney Academy, representing only teachers of Nova Scotia International Student Program Students, and 27 teachers at St. Michael Junior High, representing only teachers of landed immigrant students.

This month has been very successful for both students and teachers. The new students are settling in well with their new schedules and schools. The teachers who attended the ESL workshop, indicated that they have a better understanding towards their students. Based on the feedback received from the workshop, the ESL workshops are especially important for teachers of Nova Scotia International Student Program Students. Many teachers had written that they would like more in the future and that they found the workshop very helpful.

Active, Healthy Living (Physical / Health Education) (Mary Lou Andrea, Active, Healthy Living Consultant)

On the Edge Skating Program - This six-hour instructional program for grade three Sydney Mines students is winding up this week. It has been a positive experience for all. Students are thoroughly enjoying the program, and the skills learned throughout the sessions will enhance the students' ability to become lifelong skaters.

John Hudec, a Cape Breton University professor with a doctorate in physical activity, look into a research project that would evaluate the physical activity and nutritional components of the Health Promoting Schools Pilots.Also, at this meeting, the committee approved the application process that will be sent out to the schools. Schools will be able to apply for funding to the committee for active healthy living initiatives that they will create in their schools. This is part of the Health Promoting $60,000 grant given to the Board by Nova Scotia Health Promotion. Ms. Madore, Nutrition for Learning Coordinator, will be part of the implementation plan for the HPS initiative. Ms. Madore also attended both Principals' meetings in February promoting HPS.

February 17th Site-based Professional Development Day - Physical education teachers across the Board were treated to a healthy breakfast by the Cape Breton Diabetes Association. Arlene Parsons and Vic Gouthro made presentations to the group on the importance of physical activity and nutrition in the prevention of the disease. The second part of the day included a hands-on Fitnessgram presentation. Fitnessgram was developed to provide physical educators with a tool that would facilitate communicating fitness testing results to students and parents. It measures three components of health-related physical fitness that have been important to overall health and function. Fitnessgram is a computer program that enables the teachers and students to track fitness test results, which could be used in a student's portfolio. PDR and CALM teachers across the Board were introduced to activities that would improve the comfort levels for teachers in presenting sexual health. As part of the inservice, the teachers were given an overview of the Sexual Health resource that is available for students, as well as the teen Health Centre. Both inservices were well received by all in attendance.

PACY (Cynthia McCormick, PACY Facilitator)

Introduction to the project was completed at Riverview and a second one at Sydney Academy. Only ten Riverview students returned their consents and they completed the online portion of the study and are presently wearing their monitors. The second introduction at Sydney Academy was very successful with 39 consents returned. They will begin the project Tuesday February 28th.

Following a request Cynthia McCormick, PACY Facilitator, made to the Research team in Halifax, there have been a few more high schools added to the list in order to achieve the goal of 120 sets of data; Glace Bay High was one of them. The introduction was made to three classes and Ms. McCormick is waiting on their consent return. She has another class to introduce on Monday Feb 26th.

Twenty-one students at Cornwallis/Ashby have completed the activity, and there have been a few more consents brought in and they will be done after March Break. Eleven students at MacLennan are presently participating in the study and will be finished on February 24th.

Mathematics (Secondary) (Ron MacLean, Mathematics Consultant, 7-12)

- Dynamic Classroom Assessment for junior high teachers continues with three modules remaining. These modules will be completed in April and May.

- Texas Instruments, T3 training modules will continue on March 30,31, and April 1 for the high school teachers who began the modules in December.

- The junior high resource teachers including teachers in learning centers met for a workshop in mathematics on Friday Feb 24.

- Senior high mathematics teachers participated in a workshop at the Staff Development Centre on Friday March 3rd. Darren Teasdale, David MacFarlane and Shirley Picknell presented at the workshop.

- The new grade 9 core resource is on schedule with the first of the workshops on its implementation to take place at the Staff Development Centre on April 12th. We are currently working at the provincial level to develop the program for the day.

- Grade 7 mathematics teachers will meet on March 9th for a workshop at the Staff Development Centre.

- All high schools will be receiving copies of Autograph, a software program to assist students with their understanding of mathematics concepts.

- We are in the early stages of looking at what can be done to improve summer school learning outcomes for students.

Vocational Education (Fred Martell, Vocational Education Consultant)

On February 11, Thomas Carey, a former cooking student, visited Memorial Composite High School's Cooking program and spoke to the class. Thomas Carey has won Gold medals in Provincial competitions and a Bronze Medal in National Competitions. There was a very impressive article in the post on February 11th as well. Thomas has worked in Halifax, Spain, Scotland and Paris - an excellent ambassador for Memorial and our Cooking program.

On Friday February 17, Memorial Composite High School hosted the 'Skilled Trades Workshop' for the Department of Education. Jen Thorne, The Apprenticeship Training System and Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator and Melissa Dorion, MPA Student Intern, were the main presenters on the 'Workit' initiative from the Apprenticeship Training and Skill Development Division. Barb Burke,NSCC Prep Coordinator and Dawn Morrison, Marketing and Communications Manager with Skills Nova Scotia, also presented. The participants included Guidance Counsellors, Pal-Com-Coop teachers, Career Centers, HRDC, Social Services, etc.

The junior high school tours are continuing every Tuesday with great success. On Tuesday the 21st George D. Lewis will be on tour through the twelve vocational programs.

Memorial's OH&S committee has collaborated with St. John's Ambulance, LifeSmart -Instructor Certification Program to train two more of Memorial's Staff. Pal-Com teachers, Shane MacRae and Ted Coleman volunteered their time and will spend a week in April training to be Certified Instructors for First AID/CPR courses. The St. John's Ambulance will cover the substitute costs of one teacher and Memorial's OHS will be covering the cost for the substitute for the second staff member. Bonnie McCormick a teacher trained last year has certified her first group of 29 students in First Aid-CPR during the first semester. Our trained instructors can offer courses on First Aid/CPR, 'free of charge,' to our students. This is a cost saving of $75.00 dollars to students and most employers do require the certificate before they hire.

Mr. Martell began booking vocational presentations on 'Career Awareness' at the various schools. He will be presenting a career awareness presentation to four grade nine classes at St. Michaels Junior High on Wednesday, February 22.

Professional Development

The site-based Professional Development Day for all schools was held on Friday, February 17, 2006. All sessions went well, and agendas were reviewed.

Plans are now finalized for the March 3rd, Regional Professional Development Day for semestered schools. Agendas were distributed to all Senior High Principals for distribution to teachers. Community Education (Adult High School) has been invited to participate, as well as Eskasoni High School Teachers.

African Canadian Studies 11 teachers from the region participated in a Department of Education initiated inservice, on February 16, at the Northside Staff Development Centre. This inservice focused on the implementation of technology within the curriculum. Maureen Finlayson, Department of Education, and Bill Tennant were facilitators for this session.

Teacher Professional Growth Plan

Mike Brownlow, Department of Education, made a visit to Central Office to meet with administrators, senior staff, and teachers regarding the Teacher Professional Growth Plan. He held a focus group in the afternoon for nine teachers, which included three representatives from each level: elementary, junior/middle, and senior high.

Sports Animator (Jim MacEachern, Sports Animator)

Jim MacEachern, Sports Animator, commenced meeting and dialogue with CBRM Recreation Program Director , Frank Bruleigh, to attempt assisting in provision of summer programming of Physical Activity for the students of Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. Mr. MacEachern also met with the Director of Whitney Pier Youth Club to offer assistance, where possible, gain background to existing programs offered by Club, and to discuss the possibility of assisting in coordinating a Summer Program for Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board students from the Whitney Pier area of the Board. He is seeking potential funding sources for program.

Mr. MacEachern met with Shaun Syms, St. Agnes Elementary, to obtain background on the 'Classroom Water Bottle Program for Students'.

He also held meetings with Barry Hollaran, Sydney Academy Fitness Facility Committee and John Fraser, area Director for Sport & Recreation, with reference to expanding the fitness club and facility.

After consultation with quorum of junior high school principals, Mr. MacEachern made recommendations to Joel Le Blanc, Cape Breton Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Supervisor, to have downhill skiing and snowboarding added as one of the Junior High Participation Sports for Regional Competitions.

Mr. MacEachern dialogued with Superintendent Davis and Director of Program & Student Services, John Astephen, with reference to an assistance request from the Glace Bay Boys and Girls Club.

Mr. MacEachern met with CBU Administration, Public Health Administration, and C.B. Health Authority Administration, collectively, to continue pursuit of a partnering program with CBU, with reference to Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Life Style Project. He is working in consult with Mary Lou Andrea, Active Healthy Living Consultant.

Mr. MacEachern dialogued with a CBVRSB member on the potential of coordinating a Coaches' Clinic for elementary level coaches in the Board. He also met with CBU Varsity Mens' Coach, Jim Charters, to initiate dialogue on the potential of an Elementary Coaches Clinic and Elementary Schools Basketball Jamboree for the late spring or early fall of this year.

Brookland School Advisory Council: Mr. MacEachern made request to have an additional outdoor recreational court facility added to the potential list of projects to receive additional funding, in lieu of Cabot St. being closed.

Mr. MacEachern met with Executive Members of the Challenger Disabled Sports Group to assist in developing an expanded program and to cite potential grant assistance for existing and future programming.

Nova Scotia International Student Program (Tammy Sampson, Program Manager)

Our winter orientation took place the weekend of February 17th-18th. Students were treated to a Screaming Eagles Hockey game followed by a pizza party and movies. Twelve of the fourteen new students spent the night at the Days Inn in Sydney where they also took part in morning workshops on several topics: culture shock, program rules, good relationships and health and fitness.

Many of our students continue to receive some extra ESL support.

Our fourteen new students are adjusting to their schools, host families and the experience of a new culture.

Students are busy making plans for March break. Some will travel to their home countries to visit family and friends; others will visit other parts of Canada with their families, while some will travel throughout Nova Scotia. Many of our students have opted to spend their break with their host families.

Many of our students are taking part in a ski day this coming Friday. This will be the first time for several of the students.

We are beginning to receive applications for September intake already and are busy interviewing new families.

PROGRAMS (INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT)

Rick Simm, Coordinator

Student Information Systems

The Provincial initiative for SIS (Student Information System) is progressing well. By way of video-conference, Mr. Simm attends biweekly meetings with representatives from all Boards and DOE. On February 28, March 1 and 2, important meetings of school level personnel from All Boards, including CBVRSB, were held in Halifax in order to gather input on reports that will be required of the SIS. These meetings are similar to the one held on February 7th for Central Office staff.

IEIE - 8 (Peter MacKinnon, Consultant for IEI)

Brookland Elementary

Workshops were held at Brookland Elementary for all grade level teachers on March 6 and 7. These workshops covered a range of topics suggested by the administration and included basic file management, Powerpoint voice over, grade level software, curriculum games and teacher suggested topics.

Electronic Report Card

Jubilee has just completed the report card electronically for term two. Jubilee, using the SIS program 'Outcomes', has been involved for three years.

A grade six teacher at Brookland used the provincial template and produced it electronically using the SIS program, Insignia.

George D. Lewis, using the Maplewood SIS program, has produced their junior high reports electronically.

Meetings

Mr. MacKinnon attended the RBTS meeting in Halifax where future plans for the IEIE project were discussed. We are awaiting the new budget to see what funds will be allocated for the upcoming year. We hope in 2006-2007 to complete our grade nines.

Our training video was shared at the meeting to allow people to see the professional development model followed in our Board.

With assistance from Liz Mahoney and Bill Tennant, two workshops were presented at the Staff Development Centre on the tech integration model. Mr. MacKinnon continues to take part in bi-weekly conference calls dealing with issues on the provincial standardized report cards.

IT Professional Development (Bill Tennant, Consultant)

School web pages, classroom teacher homework pages, grade 8 roll-out, web mail, software selection and professional development were the main topics of February 2006. During the month of February, a number of workshops (12) were planned and given to teachers and administrators. Grade 8 IEI technology integration workshops took center stage this month while school web pages proved to be an important topic. Workshops on FrontPage 2003 were implemented for ACS 11 teachers as well as for school web page developers. Also, Canadian History 11 online registration workshop was held for those teachers who expressed the need for help registering their students for the second semester. School IT contacts were inserviced on a number of technology integration topics relevant to their schools and grade levels.

The requests for web mail accounts from the teachers attending the workshops were many. There was also other staff requiring accounts from various schools throughout the Board. Planning for upcoming PD integration initiatives in March is ongoing.

Assistive Technology (Liz Mahoney, Consultant)

Assistive technology assessments have been completed in Coxheath Elementary and Sydney River Elementary. The assessed students have the technology required in place. Teacher and Teacher Assistant training has been arranged and will take place within the next two weeks.

The Assistive Technology team have received training in a new assessment tool called 'See It Right' that focuses on Learning Disabled students.

An Assistive Technology mentorship took place in Ashby Elementary with the Resource teacher, Lynn O'Neil, and AT member, Genevieve Richardson.

Mentorship

The mentorship program has been completed at St. Anne's Elementary and Bridgeport. Informal reports indicate great success. A formal assessment of the programs will be after March Break.

STUDENT SERVICES

Cathy Viva, Coordinator

Autistic Spectrum Disorder Lead Team - The Lead Team for ASD met on February 21st, 2006, and reviewed the requests from the three days of inservicing provided to all schools in our region. The team is putting together modules for professional development that will be offered to schools in response to their needs. Dates in early April are being considered for the team to meet and create modules. Team members also participated in inservices at Sherwood Park Education Centre and Harbourside School on February 17th. Three members of the team will be attending a conference on 'Sensory Issues for Students' on March 3rd and 4th in Halifax, and two members will be participating in the 'SCERTS' training sessions sponsored by the Provincial Health Department over the March Break.

The Learning Disabilities teachers met on Thursday, February 23rd at Greenfield School. Genevieve Richardson provided a workshop on Assistive Technology in the morning. Programs that are available in our classrooms and through our assistive technology department were presented and teachers were able to try using the programs. The afternoon was spent reviewing the provincial guidelines for SLD (Severe Learning Disabilities) programs which were completed in January of this year. Upcoming professional development opportunities were discussed and distributed, and all teachers shared materials and strategies they have found useful with their students. A follow-up meeting is planned for the afternoon of April 20th at Shipyard Elementary. Agenda items include a presentation from Susan Kelly on the Literacy Assessment and another sharing session on materials and strategies.

On March 3, workshops for Learning Centre Teachers, Learning Strategies Teachers and Resource Teachers at the High School Level was held at Holy Angels High School. The Learning Centre teachers will be exploring the use of visuals for scheduling, helping with behaviour, and organization. They will have a make and take session for the afternoon. The Resource teachers and Learning Strategies teachers will be working with assistive technology programs for the day.

RACE RELATIONS, CROSS CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Charles Sheppard, Coordinator

The RCH school liaison team representatives met with Mr. Brad Barton for Part 2 of their training at the Northside Staff Development Centre on February 22 and 28, 2006. Training centered around the RCH policy and the implementation of a school plan.

February saw many schools in our district celebrate African Heritage Month, with activities such as school displays, guest speakers and celebrations of food and music.

Some examples of events that took place in our schools:

- Shipyard Elementary - Imelda Grant's grade five class honored Father Vincent Waterman for his contribution to the black community of Sydney.

- Ball's Creek School celebrated contributions of African Nova Scotians and Americans in poem and song.

- St. Agnes - Mr. Charles Sheppard, RCH/Human Resources Coordinator spoke to the grade five class on the importance of African Heritage month.

- Morrison Jr. High - projects completed such as discussions, written projects, etc., on Dr. Martin Luther King as well as contributions made by Mathieu de Costa, Viola Desmond and a study on the events that led to the destruction of Africville.

The student support workers for the Board presented to many classrooms and schools throughout the Board during this month.

Mr. Sheppard attended the MECNS (Multi Cultural Educational Council of Nova Scotia) meeting in Dartmouth, N.S., where discussion centered around the life of the organization.