Highlights of the Regular Board Meeting, October 28, 2013
Category : Board Highlights
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 10/30/2013

Held at Rankin School of the Narrows, Iona
October 28, 2013

On October 28, 2013 the Board met for their Regular monthly meeting.

Presentation from Rankin Relief – the presenters were Hannah MacNeil, Logan MacLellan and Hector Shaw – The group provided a power-point presentation highlighting how the group was formed originally with the grade nine population and has increased over the years to include Grades Seven – Twelve. The hold many fundraisers including bake sales to raise funds for organizations such as: Food banks, Loaves and Fishes and World Vision. The school and students are proud of their efforts and the accomplishments they have made in such a small community. They also recognized parents and guardians who assist in their fundraising endeavors.

Mr. Ambrose White, Superintendent followed up with his report. Highlights of his report included the appointment of our new Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Honourable Karen Casey. He congratulated Ms. Casey and welcomed her to visit the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board at her earliest convenience.

In October of each year, Mi’kmaq History Month is celebrated. This year’s theme is Kawie’l Pu’taliewe’l – “Porcupine Quill Baskets”. Mi’kmaq Treaty Day was held on Tuesday, October 1st and launched the month-long celebrations. All schools within the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board participate and celebrate Mi’kmaq History month.

During October, “Walk to School Day” is celebrated as well “Fire Prevention Week” and “School Bus Safety Week.” These, and several other events, are celebrated in our schools with the help of our many community partners and organizations.

The Succeeding in Reading Early Literacy teachers will attend a full day of professional development on October 29th. Colleague visits will occur in the morning and a professional development session will take place in the afternoon for the whole group. During the month of November, the Early Literacy teachers will present what they focused on at this session to all Primary – Two teachers within several Family of Schools. This aligns with the CBVRSB goal to provide more site-based professional development.

In elementary mathematics, the implementation of the P-3 curriculum continues to be a focus for our Board. Our mathematics coach has been visiting schools, co-teaching and coaching elementary teachers. On October 8th, a professional development day was provided for teachers of combined grades 2/3 and 3/4. Resources and model lessons were shared that support the effective delivery of two mathematics courses in one classroom. Teachers were also given time to collaborate and build plans for future lessons. This session promoted the importance of building collaborative learning communities among schools.

Continuous school improvement plans will have one focused goal on mathematics. Support for schools on interpretation of the data from provincial mathematic assessments, goal setting, assessment building, and intervention planning are the key support elements offered to schools.

Many of our schools celebrated Thanksgiving with harvest lunches or dinners and collected food for those in need. This is a great time to share the bounty of the land and express genuine thanks for all the good things we take for granted as citizens of this great country.

Commissioner Green presented his report as Board Chair. It is tempting to list all of the things that are wrong or hard to accomplish in education today. Clearly, some of our critics like to do this for us. They view education's glass as half empty. Instead, we must build on all that is positive in our schools, eschew the finger-pointing and blame game that too often characterizes our present day society and focus on the rewards and pleasures that come from doing this most important work with today's children - tomorrow's adults.

October was a difficult month for both board and staff. We have seen editorials written without knowing all the facts which often causes confusion and misunderstanding when it comes to board business. It is easy to be an armchair politician when you are not held accountable for what you write or your opinion. I say to those people walk a mile in the board's shoes.

I attended a Policy 101 workshop in Arichat along with Commissioner Jack Toomey. This workshop was lead by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, it provided a better understanding of the policy, what it is, how it works, and how to develop it. They talked about now being a critical time to support physical activity citing that the majority of Nova Scotia's are not meeting the recommended amount of daily physical activity. Three areas they focused on; after school time this was the time from 3 pm until 6pm, Active transportation, Equitable access to recreation and sport.

Myself along with several board members attend a professional development session in Halifax that was put on by the NSSBA. Those members included commissioners; Stewart Matheson, Kevin Ruelland, Joyce Lynn, Darrell Flynn, Barbara Mercer, John Burke and Sandra Margettie. The session was about Community Engagement they had presenter from Alberta and Nova Scotia. I have to say for me the presenter from Nova Scotia out shined the two from Alberta and I am very proud to say that. If any of the board members that were there would like to add anything please do so.

Just the weekend; myself and Commissioner Sandra Margettie attended a meeting in Halifax with the African Nova Scotian school caucuses to network and discuss the many issues that affect black Learners. This group is mandated to meet at least four times a year and plans are now in the works to meet outside of metro Halifax.

Congratulations to Premier Stephen MacNeil and the liberal government on the election October 8th 2013. With this new government in place we have a new minster responsible for Department of Education DOE. It is none other than the Hon. Karen Casey. Ms Casey is no stranger to this portfolio as she was the minster with a previous government. We look forward to the change and opportunity to work with Ms Casey to ensure our students get the best education possible.

I would like this time to say thank to the board for your hard work, dedication and commitment to the students of the CBVRSB. I attend board chair's meeting with the chairs from across the province and I can tell from those meeting we are the envy of the province. We work for the same goal and as united voices for our students that are in trusted with.

Through the Education Committee report, the Board approved the following;

· An NSTU retirement

· Request for flexed pension option

· Changes to the Interview process

· Programs and Student Services Report

In the Management Committee report, the Board approved the following;

· Director of Financial Services Report

· Director of Operational Services Report

· CUPE Resignation

· Signage for the Baddeck Soccer Field with its official name

Commissioner Mercer provided her NSSBA report. On Oct. 17-18, 2013, as referenced by the Board Chair in his report, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association/NSSBA offered school board members professional development sessions on the importance of community and student engagement. The presenters, Suzanne Lundrigan and Paul Bennett described the community engagement initiatives implemented by the Alberta School Board Association over more than a decade. Following this, Dr. Meredith Greene-Burton, a Resource teacher with the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, addressed student engagement. A panel of students, who joined the session via videoconference, discussed what engages them to learn and suggested ways that could further enhance student engagement. These young people demonstrated the importance of consulting students regarding issues that will impact them as they can contribute insightful recommendations. Copies of the presentations by the speakers can be accessed on the NSSBA website. Presently, the NSSBA is in the process of planning another professional development session on Board Governance.

Most recently, the NSSBA has embarked upon a process to create a long-term vision for public education.

Lastly, the NSSBA has developed a position paper on the school review process which it intends to present to the government as a guideline to improve this process.

The following is the report of the Regional Educational Services, Mr. John Astephen:

Home Schooling in Nova Scotia (http://homeschooling.ednet.ns.ca)

Under Section 128 of the Education Act, parents/guardians may provide a home education program for their child centered in their home.

Parents wishing to home school must advise the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development annually of their intent to educate their child at home by September 20. Proof of age must be included with the registration form for a child not previously registered in public school or home schooling in Nova Scotia.

In June of each year, parents must also provide a report to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Regional Education Services) on the educational progress of their child. The report would be compatible with the program of study submitted in the fall for each child for the year.

Parents are often interested in registering their child in their neighborhood school for partial programming. Section 128 (3) of the Education Act also states: “With the approval of the school board, a child in a home education program may attend courses offered by a school board, subject to any terms and conditions prescribed by the school board.”

The student must register in the neighborhood school prior to September 30 in addition to the Home Schooling Division of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The student is counted in the board’s enrollment data for budget funding purposes by the province. As a registered student in the neighborhood school, the student would be required to be present for the specific courses/subjects as requested. However, as a home-schooled student, the school would only be responsible for supervision of the student during the specific times that the course/subject was offered. The student would also be responsible to adhere to school rules and regulations while in attendance at the neighborhood school. Parents who wish to take advantage of this option for specific areas of programming would meet with the principal of their neighborhood school to discuss scheduling and expectations.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development does not provide financial support in either direct grants or through tax credits for home schooling. Curriculum guides are available through the Department web site (http://www.ednet.ns.ca) for all grades; and for grades 7-12, there are correspondence courses that can be purchased from the Nova Scotia Correspondence Studies Program (http://csp.ednet.ns.ca). Commercial home schooling programs are also available from a variety of suppliers.