April, 2014
Category : Board Highlights
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 05/07/2014
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REGULAR BOARD MEETING

Sherwood Park Education Centre

April 28, 2014

On April 28, 2014 the Board met for their Regular monthly meeting.

Correspondence was received from the Department of Education regarding TCA projects. A second piece of correspondence was received from Nourish Nova Scotia recognizing our volunteers for their participation in our Breakfast program.

A very informative and well-enjoyed presentation was made by the students of Sydney Academy regarding Theme activities. Several students took to the mike and spoke of the many programs at Sydney Academy. It was very positive and they expressed how each program encouraged their learning and inspired them to enhance their learning in a very positive manner.

They noted their love for both the school and staff. They further highlighted what they are learning in school offers them exceptional opportunities and friendships. Athletics were also identified as a big part of the school environment.

Mr. Ambrose White, Superintendent followed up with his report. (posted on the Board website) Highlights of his report included concern regarding storm days, Nutrition Month; along with advising the Board that May is Gaelic Month. He advised those in attendance that the Science Fair occurred at CBU during the month of April and was very well received.

The Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development named an Education Review Panel on February 19, 2014. A former Lieutenant Governor with decades of experience in education will lead a panel to identify what Nova Scotians think needs to be done to strengthen the public education system. Myra Freeman and five panelists will seek public opinion on what is working with public education and what needs improvement.

The panel begins the process of reviewing the education system and will look at many components from curriculum to technology, to student outcomes, and how to better adapt the education system to ensure success of all students in the changing environment. A partners’ advisory group will assist the panel. It will consist of a diverse group of organizations and educational partners, including those representing teachers, school boards, universities, African Nova Scotians, Mi’kmaq, Acadians, youth and business. The review may provide short term and long term direction, and a Minister’s Action Plan on Education will be developed and some changes to public education may be implemented as soon as the 2014-15 school year.

The other panelists are:

· Tina Dixon, Bear River, Digby County

· Mike Henderson, Brookfield, Colchester County

· Kyle Hill, Toronto, formerly of Yarmouth

· Gordon MacInnis, Glace Bay

· Donna O’Connelly, Pugwash, Cumberland County

We look forward to providing input to the panel as well as the final results.

The Board Chair Commissioner Lorne Green provided his report. With the winter finally over and snow days finished at lest we hope, we can now focuses on ending the school year on a positive note. I would like to say on behalf of the board thank you to the staff at operations, in particular Transportation Coordinator Ms. Colleen McMullin for calls on cancellations of schools, we have to agree that she was right on the mark when cancelling classes due to bad weather.

As we continue to work through the budget process we will have many challenges and obstacles to overcome with the ultimate goal of delivering the best education possible for the students in trusted in our care. As board members we must make difficult decisions to strike a balance between the desired for strong educational experience and the need to control costs and avoid a deficit, of all the public agencies school boards are unique in that their budget must not have a deficit.

Budget meetings will continue next week with the hopes of wrapping up soon. I have to say that this is no easy task and we should be proud of our senior staff for the tireless hours they spend on trying to deliver a balanced budget.

Superintendent Mr. White and I were in Port Hastings to sign the health promotion partnership agreement on Wednesday April 23 rd. The agreement is with our board the The Strait Regional School board the Cape Breton District Health Authority and the Guysborough Antigonish District Health Authority.

Correspondence on the Looking Inward document has been sent to the Cape Breton regional municipality, Warden and Council of Victoria County and our local MLA's for their input. Meeting with the SAC's are scheduled to commence Wednesday evening and further public meeting to be announced. With the response we have received up to this point; one has to conclude that this exercise has proven it’s worth.

We would like to acknowledge administrative assistants day which took place on Wednesday, April 23 thank to all of our admin assistants.

At this time I would like to inform the board that the search for the replacement of the superintendent is going well and on schedule. The hope is to have a superintendent in place before the current superintendent exit. This will allow that individual the opportunity to shadow that position. Communication with the consulting firm tasked with short-listing indicated high interest and credible candidates thus far.

We will be hosting the annual general meeting the AGM for all eight school boards across the province. This meeting will take place, May 29th 30th and 31st at Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, the theme is Making a Difference. I want to at this time say thank you to the board for all the hard work they are putting in to make sure this AGM will be the envy of the rest of the province. We would be remiss if we didn't thank our communications officer; Michelle MacLeod thank you for your work and your commitment to this board.

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

· Human Resources Report

· Programs and Student Services Report

· Fundraising Policy will be forwarded to the stakeholders for further review

· Final approval of the following policies was given:

i. Attendance Management (HR)

ii. National/Provincial Flags & Anthem in our Schools (PSS 204)

iii. Policy Development, Adoption & Review (PSS 231)

iv. Research Studies & Surveys (PSS207)

v. Transfer of Students (PSS249)

· Motion passed three resolutions for the NSSBA however only two will be brought forward.

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

· Director of Financial Services Report

· Director of Operational Services Report

· Human Resources Report

· A motion was passed affirming Commissioner Mercer as NSSBA representative

· TCA projects for 2014-2015

· Moving forward with the Board Looking Inward discussion paper

· Request to the Department for small school funding

Commissioner Kennedy provided the NSSBA report. The Board of Directors of the NSSBA met on March 6th & 7th at the office Boardroom in Dartmouth. Some highlights include:

· An in-depth session was held on video-conferencing with the aim of reducing the costs associated with holding future NSSBA meetings in the future.

· The report from the Communication Committee encourages Boards to meet with the MLA’s and the Board members to make themselves more visible in the community.

· The executive has met with the Education Minister on such items as the School Review process and the government’s vision for education.

· NSSBA has invited Leaders of Today; a group hosted by Heart Wood Centre for Community Youth Development to submit a proposal to assist with youth consultations across the province to gather input regarding changing the education system.

· There was a presentation by the Gaelic Council. May is Gaelic Awareness month in Nova Scotia. The Gaelic flag will be flying at the Board office on George Street during this month. Over 1000 school age children are enrolled in Gaelic programming in 13 public schools. Ten teachers are currently instructing the language in Cape Breton and other mainland Nova Scotia schools. Gaelic is presently offered at three schools in Antigonish and at Citadel High in Halifax.

· The NSSBA AGM will be hosted by our School Board from May 29 – 31, 2014. The theme will be “Making a Difference.” The NSSBA will host a workshop for the delegates on the value of the organization for the individual School boards across the province.

She further noted that she brought Gaelic calendars to distribute to those in attendance

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

Focus on Information Technology (FIT) Certificate Program, Riverview Rural High School

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014 he had the distinct pleasure on behalf of Honorable Karen Casey to congratulate Riverview Rural High School in becoming the first high school in Nova Scotia to offer the Focus on Information Technology (FIT) certificate program to students in its business/technology program.

Showing their commitment to strengthening tomorrow’s workforce, leading organizations across Cape Breton gathered at Riverview Rural High School’s IT Fair, where Information and Communication Technology Council’s (CITC) Focus on Technology (FIT) program was officially launched in Nova Scotia.

The FIT certificate program uses the Nova Scotia Public School Program high school curriculum in business, technology, and co-operative education to provide students the skill and hands-on experience needed to pursue a career in Information Technology.

This program will not only provide opportunities for Riverview Rural High School to expand educational partnerships with its local business community, but it will also allow students to obtain career information and to learn current technology applications required for 21st century learning.

This partnership is the result of a great deal of progressive and innovative thinking and planning by all involved: the administration and staff at RRHS (particularly Rhyan Coleman, Department Head Business and Technology); Information and Communication Technology Council; local business partners NSCC Marconi Campus, Innovacorp, and Cape Breton Partnership, as well as Susan Kelly, Director of Programs and Student Services with staff members Cathy Viva, Coordinator of Program Services and Rhonda Smith, Community Bases Learning.