Superintendent Report - January, 2015
Category : Superintendent Report
Published by Marjorie Graham [Marjorie Graham] on 02/05/2015


In the spring of 2013, the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board began a planning process for long term facility and system sustainability. Potential grade level configuration as it is related to service provision was also a planned reflection in the process.

Moving forward to January 2015, our board approved a plan for reconfiguration that would envision P-5 elementary schools, 6-8 middle schools and 9-12 high schools. This reconfiguration gives us an opportunity to focus on a review of grade 9. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has identified grade 9 as a critical transition year for students. This movement will provide our students with access to larger programming spaces, more specialist teachers as well as an exploration to strengthen connections between what is taught in the classroom and what can be experienced in the community.

A second opportunity in this grade level configuration is to move from a junior version of high school to a model that offers a unique approach to education. Our administrators and staff will be working collaboratively to implement the best practices for middle school teaching and learning. There is a need to look at relationships first for this age group, to build a sense of belonging and working together to achieve academic success. The many physical and neurological changes that are occurring in young adolescents are more adequately addressed by a middle school learning environment.

Our planning for these changes in September 2015 is underway as schools begin work on their individual transition plans. The fundamental elements of these plans include:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our directors for their leadership in this plan and our staff in all divisions for their dedicated assistance to us.

Coincident with the transition to grade level configuration, administrative staff will be preparing a long range outlook for our Board’s consideration. Under the department’s School Review policy, school boards are required to present information annually to the public “about the current and developing situations of their schools and the delivery of education programs and services”. The purpose of this outlook, which is to be provided no later than April 30, is to provide “both the board and community an opportunity to discuss the future of education delivery for a group of schools”. Information which is to be contained in this long range outlook will include any identified need for a review of a group of schools as well as a rationale for the review.

On another note, one of the overarching goals of our board is to prepare our students for the 21st century. To this end, many schools in our district enthusiastically participated in the Hour of Code during Computer Science Week, Dec. 8-14. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching millions of students in over 180 countries. The purpose of the Hour of Code is to provide a one hour introduction to coding and computer science. Reports from our IT team indicate that students were so engaged in the exercise that they were upset when the bell rang! Many schools have continued their instruction in programming and our IT team is hoping this will be a year round endeavor.

As reported from the grade 4’s at Baddeck Academy:

“It was really fun and you really had to think hard…”

“It was fun but challenging!”

“It was cool to get a certificate!”

I would like to draw your attention to our school websites and also our school board website that highlight the achievements of many students across our system.