PSS Report: February, 2012
Category : Programs and Student Services Report
Published by Marjorie Graham [Marjorie Graham] on 05/31/2012


Director, Susan Kelley

We continue to work with the Department of Education and our high schools on the Attendance Pilot. An enhancement has recently been added to PowerSchool so that data can be gathered both at the board level and provincially. The Department is presently gathering baseline data for all boards.

Schools continue to be supported in their implementation of the provincial Student Information System with the latest training in TIENET, the student services component of the system. Our board is one of only a few across the province that was working with an online system for student services.

CLASS II reports were just released to boards (see report attached). All of our elementary schools took part in this study.


Cathy MacNeil, Coordinator

Early Literacy

The Early Literacy Support for Grade 1 students has begun for the next group of students identified as needing support. Due to additional funding from the Department of Education, five substitutes were placed in school for an eleven week period to continue providing support to students who , although making progress, were not at the hoped for class level for reading and/or writing.

Mathematics Consultant P-12, Arlene Andrecyk

On January 6, I attended meetings of the Provincial Mathematics Team. The team reviewed and discussed curriculum documents for primary to grade three for the new mathematics curriculum.

On January 23, twenty-five grade six teachers participated in a full day math workshop at the new Staff Development Centre. Maureen MacNeil of Coxheath Elementary, Carl Anderson of Sydney River Elementary, Jane Summerell of Glace Bay Elementary, Marlene Urquhart, Math Mentor and Arlene Andrecyk facilitated the day. The focus of the workshop was to examine (1) best practices that support student learning in mathematics and (2) strategies to help students prepare for the EMLA. Such topics as yearly plans, mental math, appropriate use of technology, varied forms of assessment, valuable resources, learning centres and other instructional strategies were explored. Teachers were engaged in hand-on activities. Carl, Maureen and Jane contributed and shared very valuable information and material they use in their classrooms. The feedback was very positive.

Two Early Math Intervention Teachers have been hired for Harbourside Elementary and Greenfield Elementary respectively for an intervention program to further support students in their mathematical development. Tara Colbert is supporting students at Harbourside and Allison Colford is at Greenfield. Support is being given to students in Grades Two and Three through a pull- out program that provides extra support in a small group setting. The funding for this program is through a provincial math initiative. Feedback from parents and classroom teachers has been very positive.

On January 19, I travelled to the highlands and visited teachers at North Highlands Elementary and Cape Smokey Elementary. Teachers had an opportunity to discuss the delivery of the math curriculum and raise comments, suggestions and concerns. Discussions took place with grade three and grade six teachers individually to discuss the EEMLA and EMLA respectively. Teachers expressed their appreciation to have the opportunity to discuss the math program.

Mentoring has been going very well with more teachers requesting support. Teachers are looking for professional development in the areas of assessment practices, unit and yearly planning, use of manipulatives in the classroom and strategies that help students move from concrete to abstract thinking. Various schools have asked for support with their math accreditation goals. This is a wonderful opportunity for school staff to reflect on what is and what is not working for the students in their schools.

With the implementation of a new software program Mighty Math – Number Heroes, Marlene Urquhart has been working with Tracie Collier, IEI Consultant and Gina Tubrett Crawley, PD support teacher. They have been mapping the grade five math outcomes to this software so that students and teachers maximize its’ potential.

Arts Education Consultant, Lesley Ann Andrews

Elementary band teachers met for a session with Kurt Kublek on January 16 to learn how to use PowerSchool for elementary instrumental music reports. Thank you to our PowerSchool team for finding a way to make this work for us.

Diane Lewis, visual arts teacher, is having professional artist Onni Nordman, work with students at Mount Carmel Elementary while Sharyn Brennan, visual arts teacher, is having professional artist Lynda Lou MacIntyre work with students at Sydney Mines Junior High. This is a project in conjunction with ArtSmarts and the project will culminate with the students’ work being part of an exhibit featuring artist Jacques Hurtubise at the Centre for Craft and Design.

The Riverview Arts department was busy in January with two music concerts, two dance recitals, and a Drama 12 production.

Sydney Academy students will continue their choral studies in next semester with the addition of a co-curricular choir. They have also invited Sydney area grade nine students to participate in their choir. Auditions will be held on January 29 for this purpose. The choir visited local junior high schools with information prior to the audition process.

Visual arts teachers are invited to a sharing session based on new junior high curriculum, which will take place at Malcolm Munroe Junior High School on February 2. Penny Steele is hosting the first sharing session, with the hope that this will continue throughout the year.

The official opening of an advanced high school art exhibit with the theme of “Regional Phrases” will take place on February 7th, 2012 at 7 pm at Cape Breton University’s Art Gallery. Thank you to Laura Schneider for involving students in the university gallery and for hosting this great experience.

Music students under the direction of Richard Burke will perform for the opening of Family Violence Prevention Week on February 10 at 10:00 am at Cape Breton University. This performance will include students from MacDonald, Mount Carmel and St. Agnes Schools. Choir students from Breton Education Centre, under the direction of Lindsay Campbell, will also join the group for this event.

Plans are underway for the annual board-wide art exhibit to take place in April 2012. The theme for this year is “Follow your Heart through Art”.

Active Healthy Living Consultant, Mary Lou Andrea

The 2012 Doctors Nova Scotia youth running is in the planning stages. This program encourages all students to be physically active through a well organized running program. Once again the majority of our schools will partake in this initiative.

CLASS II data has been sent to all elementary schools in our Board. According to the researchers, “The objective of CLASS II is to investigate the impact of provincial and school board level healthy eating and active living policies and programs on school practices and diet, activity, body weights and other outcomes of children in Nova Scotia”.

The results were discussed in a number of meetings with Principals, Cathy MacNeil, Mary Lou Andrea, and Debbie Madore. These discussions included brainstorming on how schools can help to improve the lifestyles of our youth.

Sports Animator, Jim MacEachern

Library Support Consultant, Carmelita Cousins

Teachers’ Resource Centre

January 2012 saw the relocation of the Staff Development Centre and our Teachers’ Resource Centre and with the much appreciated assistance of Property Services, the Resource Centre is functioning with all resources available for circulation. The centre is spacious, bright and now includes a reading area and a small work area suitable for up to 6 people. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. New resources are being added daily and the plan is to eventually have a web page linked to the Board’s website

Junior High Reading Challenge

On January 23, 2012, the WOW Junior High Reading Challenge began. There are ten schools in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board that are participating this year: Baddeck Academy, Breton Education Centre, Sydney Mines. Dr. T. L. Sullivan, Thompson, Sherwood Park, Bridgeport, MacLennan, George D. Lewis and Donkin. The challenge ends in early April. Staff are also participating in the challenge and there is always a strong competition in the schools with students versus the staff. A fund raiser is scheduled for Saturday February 11, 2012 at the Wal-Mart on Spar Road. Members of the various partners will be thee requesting support from the community.

Insignia Project

The Insignia Project is slowly continuing in the secondary schools. Although all secondary schools are inputting data and creating MARC records, there are some difficulties with technology in a few sites. All secondary schools and Library Technicians are working towards completion in the near future.

Nutrition for Learning, Dietitian Debbie Madore

Schools had an immediate resumption to their Breakfast Programs in the new year.

Golden K has renewed their sponsorship of Mountainview Elementary, and Canadian Tire has given $2000 to Harbourside program. Businesses and service clubs enjoy the PR of having their sponsorship pictured in the Cape Breton Post. It also gives the community exposure and awareness to the Breakfast programs.

Provincially, work continues on the new model for Breakfast programs. The committee is meeting bi-monthly through a conference call and hopes to meet face-to-face in the spring.

March is Nutrition Month. A committee of Dietitians has been meeting provide awareness in planning meals at home. The target group is adults in the age range of 25-40 who are the parents of our students. During the month the goal is to increase awareness about healthy nutrition within the home and to emphasize the importance of healthy planning of meals and school lunches.


Debbie McIsaac, Coordinator

An Accreditation Workshop was held on January 20, 2012 at the Membertou Trade & Convention Center for the schools who are re-entering the accreditation cycle. The schools who participated are as follows:

The focus was on the School Improvement Plan and the Validation Visit. We also spent some time working with the on-line template for each schools improvement plan.

Math P-12 Consultant, Arlene Andrecyk


On January 20, I visited Cabot High and had the opportunity to meet with all the math teachers, some individually and some in groups. For teachers new to the grade, we discussed the curriculum document, instructional strategies and assessment and I addressed any concerns teachers had. I also met with the school accreditation team and examined the school’s math goal. We explored strategies and action plans. We are planning a follow-up meeting

This year junior high students from Malcolm Munroe Jr. High, Whitney Pier Memorial, Oceanview Education Centre, Breton Education Centre and Dr. T. L. Sullivan are participating in Math Olympiad. On January 24, the Junior High Math on Committee had the first meeting of the school year to start planning for the regional competition to be held at Whitney Pier Memorial. A date has not yet been decided. Currently each school is having school based competitions. This math competition not only encourages problem solving but it promotes the important message that math can be fun.

On January 25, I met with junior high principals in the afternoon of the principals’ meeting. We went through the components of the EMLA Student Report and discussed the support teachers are providing to students that did not meet expectations. Principals also received information on the Grade 8 Mathematical Literacy Assessment which will be written on June 5-6, 2012. On February 17, all Grade 8 math teachers will attend a professional development session which will focus on student support and the grade 8 assessment.

On January 30, seventeen math teachers participated in the NSE Mathematics 12 regional marking session at the Staff Development Centre, North Sydney. Coordinator Lynn Crawford visited the session. She thanked the teachers for their cooperation and hard work. Teachers involved in this session found the day to be very valuable professional development.

Vocational Consultant, Ken Collier

January is a very busy month as students and staff are preparing for the exams at the end of the month. We hope that all will be prepared and have a successful first semester.

The Construction Association of Nova Scotia will be conducting interviews on March 1/12 for the Building Futures for Youth Program. This program sees approximately 10-12 students from our board hired in the summer to introduce them to careers in the trades. This was coordinated through Rhonda Smith, Community Based Learning Consultant.

Ken Collier, Vocational Consultant is continuing to visit the junior high schools from outside our catchment area to conduct presentations for students entering grade 10 next year. This presentation allows the students to discuss our school with their parents before the tours takes place. School tours at Memorial High will take place on February 21/12. These tours give the students the opportunity to view the programs that are offered at our school for consideration as they prepare to enter senior high in September of 2012. These tours are always popular and the feedback we receive is very positive.

Registration is currently taking place for the Skills Nova Scotia Competitions which are scheduled to be held on March 28/12. These competitions give our students the opportunity to showcase their skills, and possibly represent our province at the national competitions.

As part of the public accessible defibrillator program, St. John Ambulance has donated an automatic external defibrillator, trainer, and wall cabinet to Memorial Composite High School. Memorial was chosen because of its involvement in the LifeSmart program through St. John Ambulance. Teacher Charles Colson has been part of the LifeSmart Program for many years, and he, along with Teacher Angela MacMillan offer first aid training to our students. First aid training is free for high school students through this program. We are very pleased to be the recipients of this equipment as it is a great asset to our school. Thanks to all involved.

The Carpentry students are preparing to construct a storage barn for the Sydney Mines Pensioners Club. This project will help out another community group as well as teach our students the importance of volunteering in our community. We look forward to this project being completed.

NSISP Program Manager, Kevin Linden

January has been a busy time for our International students and team leaders. Many students who are leaving after a five month program face many emotions. The friendships made, the close ties to families, school and community are difficult for many who are returning home. It has been documented that many students deal with post cultural shock when they return home. Many feel that this is due to the feelings of loneliness from family and friends made while here in Canada.

This month we have thirty two students departing from our first term program. They are being replaced with twenty nine new students from over 12 different countries. This semester there has been an increase in Junior High students primarily from Colombia.

Each month, the Cape Breton Victoria Regional ISP plans outings and events for our international students. January’s Ski session to Ski Ben Eoin was an amazing outing for the students, many of whom never skied or snowboarded before.

February events included a bowling event, as well as the Term Two Orientation which will include six international students from Strait Regional School Board. The CBVRSB ISP also meet to discuss future plans in regards to possible year end ventures for the international students and to look at better ways of increasing family homestays. In particular, we are attempting to find additional homes in the Glace Bay area.

The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board International Student Program has also, once again, been invited to participate in the Nova Scotia International Student Program Campeche Leadership Camp to take place during March for 2 weeks. This venture is a cost effective way to keep the program available to Nova Scotian students. In March, Debbie Mc Isaac will spearhead the Camp Campeche leadership camp and we are very proud to have four high school representatives accompany her to Mexico.

French Second Language Consultant, Laurie MacIntosh