Welcome to our fresh new year. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is a powerful influence along with parents, family and the community on children's learning. Although we have taken many initiatives to increase that involvement, I feel strongly that the Board will endeavour to create an even greater long-term vision for increasing that involvement in public education.
The mission of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is as follows: "The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board fosters a caring, dynamic and creative environment that provides educational opportunities, promotes a love of learning, respect for others, and challenges all persons to develop their full potential to become confident, versatile, lifelong learners and thinkers".
To achieve our mission, we are committed to achieving the following in every school:
- Excellence in teaching;
- A safe and respectful climate in every school;
- Adequate resources and equitable facilities;
- Collaborative goal setting, planning & problem solving; and
- Strong community & family partnerships.
We are proud of what our community has done to bring our dreams for your children closer to reality. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has committed the entire school system to an ambitious strategic plan, a yearly business plan and a guarantee that the bulk of its yearly budget will be directed to the children's classroom. The regional board has built a number of new schools, have plans for several new ones in the near future, have renovated old sites and have worked towards a transportation facility which will enable us to facilitate a safer and efficient bus maintenance schedule which will benefit all students from one end of our region to another.
The Rankin School Complex will be ready for students within a very short time frame. The Glace Bay Junior High School is on schedule for 2009. The North Sydney elementary school is now a new venture for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board which is scheduled for the year 2009. The renovations to St. Joseph's School in Sydney Mines will allow for the inclusion of the junior high students from that community which will culminate in the year 2009.
Our budget supports a wide range of services for our children ranging from core curriculum support, special services for all students, cultural and diversity initiatives, technology innovations, library services improvements, international baccalaureate, vocational education options, O5 options and opportunities, and a myriad of new course selections for high schools. Our staff and our students have worked with the regional police department to make our schools safe places, governed by respect and civility.
Our home/school partnerships are supported by school advisory councils and parent/teacher associations at every school and a regional liaison of school advisory councils across the entire Board.
The Education Act outlines the responsibility of parents and students as a critical factor in student success. That partnership begins with the parent or guardian and your child's principal and teacher. They share a dream of success for your child. Please support this partnership. Make sure your child comes to school each day rested, neatly dressed and ready to learn. Ask your child about what he or she has been learning at school and show interest in the work your child is asked to do at home. Encourage your child to read for school and pleasure, so that your child can discover the power of reading. Share information about your child's interests, hobbies, worries and past experiences so that your teacher will know your child better and will be able to teach him or her better.
Again, welcome back to the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board where every teacher, every principal, every support staff, every board member is committed to your child's success as a learner.
The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board looks back over the past year, 2005 - 2006, with both a sense of pride and accomplishment. Refocusing the Board's mission and goals around the theme, 'Learning For Life 11', sharpened our focus and created positive attention for the whole organization. Much remains to be done, but we are off to a great start. With a balanced budget, and two hundred (200) new teachers, an increase in teacher assistants, twenty-two (22) new principals, a large number of new vice-principals, a Department of Education supported program, student services personnel, new school construction, school renovations and the enthusiasm of all staff, we are ready for the challenges before us, ever focussed on how we can create schools to support our students with the highest quality public education for all children.
Again this year, I will be devoting a part of my monthly report to the interest of our students and their parents or guardians.
Realizing that the Board and the public have been made aware of all the information that is generated through the reports from the following departments: Finance, Human Resources, Operations and Program & Student Services, I have tried to make my report more reflective of the Board's perspective - (a global view for parents/guardians, students, staff, community and the public). At the same time, I will add a new section -' Superintendent's Memos' - to help the public see some of our monthly outcomes.
SUPERINTENDENT'S MEMOS FROM JUNE 1ST - DECEMBER 25TH/06
Programs & Students Services:
- Thank you to Ambrose White, Co-ordinator of School Services, and his secretary, Leanne Marcil, for their many hours of work over the summer in developing the package and the agenda for the Principals' meeting held on August 31, 2006, at Malcolm Munroe Jr. High School. The meeting went very well and all of the feedback was very positive;
- All teachers, principals and school staff were provided professional development sessions on the Board's Staff Development days, September 6th & 7th, 2006. With orientation on September 5th and a Program Planning Day at school level on the 8th, the first day for students was September 11th. Programs & Students Services will evaluate this 'front loading' of system inservices by obtaining feedback from all stakeholders prior to planning next year's schedule;
- On September 5th, 2006 the Department of Education released a policy on 'School Fees'. The policy states that student fees, in general, shall not be charged for goods or services provided to students without which the student could not meet required learning outcomes or assessment requirements of an education program provided by a school board. This new policy was forwarded to all school principals, system administrators, and school board members. It is available on the N.S. Department of Education website (www.ednet.ns.ca). Principals were provided with information about its pending release during their August meeting. Action plans to support implementation will be addressed at the next principals' meeting;
- The new 'Food & Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Schools' was officially released on September 12th, 2006. The policy outlines standards for foods and beverages that can be served and sold in schools. It promotes nutrition education in the curriculum, encourages community partnerships and provides a supportive environment for healthy choices. All school principals received a copy of the policy, and it is available on the N.S. Department of Education website (www.ednet.ns.ca). Although many schools within the CBVRSB have already implemented some of its directives, the policy will be phased in over three years beginning in 2006-2007. Programs & Student Services are in the process of developing an action plan to continue to support the implementation of the Food & Nutrition Policy.
- Summer Institutes: On Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006, at the Staff Development Centre, a Summer Institute entitled, ALet's Talk About Writing@, was provided at no cost to participants. The session was open to all teachers and substitute teachers of early literacy learners. Institute organizers and facilitators were: Paula Muise and Susan MacDonald, (Reading Recovery Teacher Trainers). Also on August 21st & 22nd , 2006, Brenda MacIsaac, Co-ordinator, Program Services ((P-6), and Deborah Graham, Programs Co-ordinator from the Strait Regional School Board, organized and presented a ANew Teachers@ Summer Institute at Baddeck Academy. Approximately twenty-five new teachers from each board benefited from this institute that focussed on Organizing and Managing a Literacy Based Classroom;
- MOU with Cape Breton Health Authority (CBDHA): A working committee has been struck to develop a Health Promotion Partnership Agreement with CBDHA. The working committee, made up of representatives from staff of both boards, has been meeting bi-weekly for the past couple of months in an effort to develop a draft MOU to be presented to both boards by the end of October. As a result of this partnership, it is our hope that children and youth will be better able to acquire knowledge and skills, to access health and education services and to live, learn and play in communities that promote healthy growth and development.
- Nova Scotia Professional Learning Initiative: On August 14th & 15th, 2006, six schools from our Board had administrative and staff representation at a provincial workshop entitled, AN.S. Professional Learning@. The focus of the workshop was to introduce the idea of moving from district level, externally led, pull-out workshops to school level, job-embedded professional development featuring Professional Learning Communities and Networked Learning Communities. Our Board team of administrators and teachers have identified many current practices that are congruent with this site level approach and it will consider other changes as resources and support permit.
Human Resource Services:
- Thank you to Bernie MacKinnon, Charles Sheppard and Mary Passerini, as well as our secretarial staff: Norma Baxter, Mary MacNeil and Michelle MacLeod for their tremendous efforts in staffing over the summer months;
- Professional Development activities for teacher assistants and lunch/bus ground supervisors were held on September 6th & 7th. Charles Sheppard and Sharon Johnston co-ordinated sessions on non-violent crisis intervention for teacher assistants, as well as first aid training for lunch/bus grounds assistants;
- As of the end of August, two hundred and five (205) new teachers were hired as well as twenty-two (22) new principals and twenty two (22) new vice-principals. An information session for new principals will be held on September 28th at the North Star Inn with representatives from all divisions;
- Negotiations for the local Nova Scotia Teachers' Union agreement begins on October 3rd & 4th;
- An award for our workplace education programme was presented jointly to the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and C.U.P.E. 5050.
- The Maintenance Department had another very busy summer painting inside and outside schools, refinishing gym floors, upgrading ventilation systems, renovations to various schools, roof repairs and replacements, asbestos removal and fencing to name some;
- The Technology Department was also very busy and did many PC upgrades, completed inventories in many schools, installed computer clusters in various schools, installed servers, etc.;
- A motion was passed by the School Board to revise the capital building proposal for North Sydney, changing it from a P - 9 school to a P - 6 school. A letter was written to the Deputy Minister of Education asking for the change. We are awaiting a response;
- The School Board approved the borrowing for the new Bus Garage and Maintenance Facility to be constructed at 999 Alexandra Street. A letter was written requesting that the borrowing resolution be approved. We are awaiting a response;
- A new policy for school security has been drafted and copies were sent to the principals and school advisory councils for comments. We have received a number of comments and most are very positive. The Committee will be meeting to review them and, hopefully, be able to have a final draft to go the Board;
- The Transportation Department worked very hard prior to school opening and the first week of school to ensure that all students who are entitled to bussing were accommodated. Despite delays caused by various construction projects, the opening of schools went very well.
- The final funding profile from the Department of Education was received on August 18th , 2006. This funding profile reflected an increase for IEI Revenue of Targeted Funding Initiative - $9,500;
- The 2006-2007 budget was uploaded into SAP. The only part that remains to be uploaded is the classroom supplies and materials budget. We are awaiting the final enrollment numbers (September 30th/06) before this allocation can be made;
- We have adjusted roles & responsibilities in the payroll department so that our Payroll Supervisor , Linda MacInnis, can be freed up to attend pressing matters with JEM;
Madame Chair, I direct your attention to the attachments to my report that will inform you, the Board and the public about the celebrations of success within our schools and the honours bestowed upon our students.