School Board Meeting Minutes: April 25, 2016
Category : School Board Meeting - Minutes
Published by Michelle MacLeod [Michelle MacLeod] on 05/31/2016

Coxheath Elementary
Coxheath, N.S.
April 25, 2016



The meeting of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board was called to order today beginning at 6:03 p.m.


Present: Lorne Green, Chair Sandra Margettie Kevin Ruelland
John Berk Jackie Organ Gary Fraser
Joyce Lind Darren Googoo Yvonne Kennedy
Jack ToomeyJoan Currie Stewart Matheson
Barb Mercer
Absent/Sent Regrets): Steve Parsons Charlotte Shaw Fred Tilley
Also, Present: Beth MacIsaac, Superintendent
Wendy King, Director of Human Resource Services
Paul Oldford, Director of Operational Services
John Astephen, Regional Education Officer
Leanne Marcil, Acting-Board Recording Secretary


Moved by Commissioner Toomey
Seconded by Commissioner Organ

That the Board approve the agenda as presented. . .

Motion carried


(a) Deletions:

There were no deletions.

(b) New Business/Additions:



Moved by Commissioner Currie
Seconded by Commissioner Berk

that the minutes for the following meetings be approved by the Board. . .

Regular Public Board Meeting -March 29, 2016
Special Board Meeting -March 29, 2016
Special Board Meeting -March 30, 2016
Special Board Meeting -March 31, 2016
Board Meeting -April 4, 2016
Special Board Meeting -April 5, 2016
Special Board Meeting -April 6, 2016
Special Board Meeting -April 11, 2016
Public Board Meeting -April 12, 2016
Special Board Meeting -April 18, 2016

Motion carried






Students from Coxheath Elementary presented on coding. The presentation began with a video on coding. The students were from the Grade Four & Five level. Stations were set up for Board participation in the varying types of coding that the students were very proud to display.


Ms. Beth MacIsaac, Superintendent of Schools presented her report. The report is as follows:

The 2015-16 Business Plan of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board highlighted three goals for this school year. These goals were in the areas of student achievement, safe and inclusive school environments, and collaboration of school board departments.

Student Achievement

Ms. Cathy Viva, Acting Director of Programs & Student Services, has focused the work of her department on student achievement. Coordinators and consultants have assisted schools in establishing the baseline for school improvement plans through the analysis of student achievement data. This initially determined the areas of needed improvement and then proposed targeted interventions in classroom practice. In addition, team visits to support specific schools in the areas of literacy, math and assessment have been assisting in the interpretation of the data and the alignment of school goals to increase student achievement.

Student achievement in the area of science education was certainly highlighted in the 35th Annual Science Fair recently held at Cape Breton University. Approximately 75 awards were presented to students in such diverse categories as engineering, earth science, STEM, energy, health, environment, information, innovation, and agricultural science. Stephanie Campbell, Acting Coordinator of Secondary Programs, and one of our judges at the fair, was effusive in her praise for the “level of scientific thought and innovation” by the students and also for our teachers and parents who encourage this work. A complete list of the awards will be attached to this report.

Junior Gold Medal: Owen Burke - “Take a Look: A Study of Peripheral Vision in Athletes”

Intermediate Gold Medal & Best Overall: Aiden Ellerker - “Measuring Information Processing of Images and Words at Varying Rates”

Senior Gold Medal: Rebecca Lewis - “Hydrolysis of Cellulose Biomass by Cellobiase Enzyme”

During Education Week from April 17-23, two of our teachers were formally recognized for their work in “Media Literacy: Empowering Critical Thinking in a Digital Media World.” Denise Oake, a teacher at Dr. T.L. Sullivan, and Dave Lavigne, a teacher at Glace Bay High, were recognized for their efforts in encouraging students’ insightful examination of media messages and enhancement of the curriculum through the use of technology.

Safe and Inclusive School Environments

As part of the Minister’s Action Plan, the Achievement Gap, “persistent differences between groups of students in math and literacy” was highlighted as an area for action. Our program teacher, Mr. Joey Desmond, under the direction of Ms. Lynn Crawford, Coordinator of Race Relations, Cross Cultural Understanding and Human Rights, has focused his work in numeracy and literacy to support African Nova Scotian learners. Through co-teaching with staff and pull-out sessions with students, efforts are focusing on reducing the achievement gap for students.

On March 9, our student support workers program hosted an Africentric Conference where our African Nova Scotian high school students met with 40 African Nova Scotian role models. This event complemented the work done by our support workers at the senior high level with course selection and application to post secondary institutions.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Serena Matheson, a teacher at Robin Foote Elementary, for her selection as the 2016 recipient of the Carl Anthony “Campy” Crawford Award. This award is presented annually to an individual who “exemplifies leadership and commitment to justice, fairness, volunteerism, sportsmanship, and equality.”

Serena’s work as the lead team member for Race Relations, Cross Cultural Understanding and Human Rights committee has been instrumental in promoting safe and inclusive schools for our LGBTQ students.

April 10-16 is National Volunteer Week. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many volunteers throughout our system who gives so generously of their time and talents to students. In particular, I would like to recognize Nourish Nova Scotia for their crucial support of our Breakfast Program for students. Last year, through their support and our volunteers, 588,670 breakfasts were served to students in the community.

Collaborative Work by Departments for Student Access to Programs & Services

On April 12, our School Board passed motions to complete our School Review Process. Directive O of the School Review Policy directs that if the school board votes to permanently close a school, a transition committee composed of principals of the school(s) and receiving school(s) be formed to develop a plan for transition. To this end, a member of board staff has now been appointed to serve on each committee along with school advisory representatives. A template has been developed to support their work. Some key elements in the plan include student orientation, floor plans, programs, as well as staffing. Once completed, this plan must be communicated to the school community, public and the Minister. Any questions or concerns regarding the transition can be forwarded to our communications officer, Ms. Michelle MacLeod, for response.

Moved by Commissioner Fraser
Seconded by Commissioner Googoo

That the Board approve the report as presented by the Superintendent . .

Motion carried





Moved by Commissioner Toomey
Seconded by Commissioner Fraser

that the Board approve the minutes of the Education Committee Meeting of Monday, April 11, 2016. . .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Toomey
Seconded by Commissioner Matheson

That the Board approve the report presented by the Director of Human Resource Services, at the Education Committee meeting. . .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Toomey
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board approve the report of the Director of Programs and Student Services. .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Toomey
Seconded by Commissioner Berk

That the Board approve the following policies. . .

That the Education Committee recommend to the Board the approval of the following policies. . .

i. Use of Mobile Communications Technology Devices (Revised) PSS 258

ii. Emergency Response Procedures New

iii. Suspension of Students (Revised) PSS 246

iv. Hiring Policy (Revised) HR304

Motion carried

d. Policies at Stakeholders Review Stage (no motion required)

School Trips PSS-237 Revised


Moved by Commissioner Toomey
Seconded by Commissioner Matheson

That the Education Committee recommend approval of a revised resolution regarding teacher suspension and certification. It originally stated, " re-evaluate sections 33 and 34..." now stating, " revise sections 33 and 34..." Also, that the Board agrees to withdraw the resolution regarding Music 12.

Motion carried



Moved by Commissioner Berk
Seconded by Commissioner Organ

that the Board approve the minutes of the Management Committee Meeting of Monday, April 18, 2016. . ..

Motion carried

g. Mr. George Boudreau - Report of the Director of Financial Services :

Moved by Commissioner Berk
Seconded by Commissioner Margettie

That the Board accept the report of the Director of Financial Services as presented by the Coordinator of Finance & Accounting . .

Motion carried


Moved by Commissioner Berk
Seconded by Commissioner Lind

That the Board approve the report presented by the Director of Operational Services at the Management Committee meeting . .

Motion carried


Commissioner Margettie submitted her report as follows:

The BOD never had a face to face meeting this month. We did have go-to meetings which focused on the governance action plan steering committee. We also discussed on-going support for Treaty Education.

Our next meeting will be June 1st.

The communication committee is continuing to work on the 2016 school board elections. The Department of Municipal Affairs along with individual municipalities will be working towards raising awareness along with an understanding of the African Nova Scotian and the French provincial elections. Material will be coming out in the coming weeks with the hope that school board members across the province will support the efforts to engage more voters.

Respectfully submitted

Moved by Commissioner Organ
Seconded by Commissioner Currie

That the Board approve the report as presented . . .

Motion carried


a. Individual Program Plan (IPP) Review – Action Plan on Education

As part of the comprehensive work through the Minister’s Action Plan on Education, the Minister announced a province-wide review of individual program plans in December 2014. The final review report was prepared by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development based on findings gathered and shared by the province’s school boards.

Boards reported that, in the majority of the IPPs reviewed, there was evidence to support the need for an IPP. However, boards questioned whether so many students would need individualized programming if the provincial curriculum were more relevant and innovative, and if schools offered more differentiated instruction, a continuum of support, and culturally responsive teaching practices—especially for students of Aboriginal ancestry and African descent. Boards also confirmed the need for schools to help parents and guardians understand the program planning process and to involve them in decisions affecting their children.

This report includes nine recommendations directed to the department and six recommendations for school boards.

Following the province-wide review, in October and November of 2015 Programs and Student Services Division, under the leadership of Acting Director Cathy Viva, completed a review of individual program plans of students who self-identified as Aboriginal and African descent.

As a result of this board level review schools have been provided support and the appropriate support for students was determined utilizing the response to intervention model of support.

To access the complete report, go to ... l-program-plan-ipp-review.

b. Committees/Meetings attended as of March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016-CBVRSB Monthly Board Meeting, Brookland Elementary, Sydney, NS

March 31, 2016-SOC Meeting, Sydney Academy, Sydney, NS

April 4, 2016-Northside Family SOC meeting, Memorial High School, Sydney Mines, NS

April 5, 2016-CBVRSB In-Camera, Boardroom, Sydney, NS

April 6, 2016-CBVRSB In-Camera, Boardroom, Sydney, NS

April 11, 2016-CBVRSB Education Committee Meeting, Sydney, NS

April 12, 2016-Public Meeting re school review, Riverview Rural High School

April 18, 2016-CBVRSB Management Committee Meeting, Sydney, NS

Respectfully submitted

Moved by Commissioner Fraser
Seconded by Commissioner Matheson

That the Board approve the report as presented . . .

Motion carried




Next Scheduled Regular Board meeting date - Cabot Education Centre - Monday, May 30, 2016 - 6:00 pm

(15) Adjournment of the meeting. . .

the meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.



1. Debbie Tracey, Concerned representative for Bridgeport School – Expressed her concerns with regards to the closure of Bridgeport School. She highlighted the school’s gym, great ventilation system. She expressed her disappointment in students moving from MacDonald Elementary to Tompkins Elementary rather than attending Bridgeport. It was her opinion that parents may refuse to send their child(s) to Tompkins Elementary. She was disappointed in the Board’s decision. Ms. Tracey recognized that the students from MacDonald Elementary have been bussed to Bridgeport over the years. She spoke of assumed expenditures for technical reports that may or may not have been necessary. It was her opinion that expenditures for students to attend Bridgeport would be less than what it would cost to accommodate students at John Bernard Croak and Tompkins Elementary. Lastly she expressed that Bridgeport School was a beautiful school that had many renovations and provided a safe environment.

2. Brennon MacLean, Concerned representative for Bridgeport School – He advised those in attendance that he is a volunteer at Bridgeport School and has coached basketball at the school for many years. He has been in many gymnasiums and it is his opinion that the students are not safe in the gymnasium at Tompkins Elementary. He advised that we are eliminating his ability to volunteer as an elementary coach. He recognized the efforts of the Board and the tough decisions that they needed to make. In his opinion students cannot be accommodated at Tompkins Elementary. He noted his disappointment in the report and in his opinion it was hard to read.

He spoke of the safety concerns he had for students at Tompkins Elementary. He further reiterated his support for Bridgeport School. He recognized the Board’s anti-bullying policy and stated in his opinion the Board were bullies. He stated that the Board was not supporting their communities. He then noted that he respected the position that all Board members were in however he asked that the Board revisit their decision.

3. Tammy MacDonald, Concerned representative for Bridgeport School – Questioned the distribution of the technical report and whether the Board received the same report as presented to the public.

4. Brenda MacLean, Concerned representative for Bridgeport School – She advised that members of the Bridgeport delegation have made several phone calls to Board members and it was her opinion that the Board were not responding to their calls nor answering their questions. She also expressed her disappointment in the manner which they were treated by members of the Dominion community.

It was her opinion that the gymnasium at Tompkins Elementary was not adequate for school functions. She felt the Board disregarded comments made regarding the opinions of the condition of Tompkins Elementary.

5. Linda Tracey, Concerned representative for Bridgeport School – Noted that she did not wish to speak negatively of other communities. She expressed her disappointment with the Board decision and her opinion that Bridgeport is a safer environment. She questioned the hiring of a surveyor for Bridgeport School while she was not aware of surveying being done at other schools. She recognized that the process is about students and should not be about budgets.