Friday, January 17, 2020

Lead in Water concerns, plans for a seismic upgrade and School Calendar options among SD52 Board Notes for January

The trustees of School District 52 hosted their first Board meeting for 2020 on Tuesday evening, with a range of items making for their first Agenda of the new year.

Among the items of note flagged by the District for discussion, was a report on the state of the water in the District Schools and buildings, with the trustees noting that the allowable liming for lead in the water has been cut in half and how following a number of tests, the School District has confirmed that the flushing of water lines is not effective to reduce the amount of lead in water to this new limit at most sinks in schools and other district buildings.

As a result of those findings, the District has now advised all staff and students to use only the filtered water fountains for all drinking water, as they have found that the filters continue to be effective for the reduction of lead in the water.

Lead in the water is not the only issue being explored, the School District also advised that there is now a new limit for copper in the water. Towards that issue, the District is currently consulting with Northern Health on the steps to be taken to meet the new requirements.

The District also had an update on their request of the Province of December to have Conrad Street Elementary School added to the provincial Seismic Mitigation Program list.

With Trustees advising the public that the province has confirmed that the school is on the list now.  Conrad is one of 248 schools where no formal work has begun when it comes to seismic mitigation for the building.

Plans towards developing the School Calendar for the next three years are underway, with the Board of Education distributing proposed draft calendars  for 2020-21, 2021 and 2022-23. The draft versions of the calendars include both one and two week Spring breaks.

In order for the calendars with the two week breaks to be approved, the District and Prince Rupert District Teachers will be required to reach an agreement to amend the collective agreement.

As we noted on the blog yesterday, the District will be holding their Annual Budget Consultation process in a new location for 2020, with the Booth Operations Building set to be the venue for the meetings.

The first Budget consultation will take place on Thursday, February 6th at 7 PM. The Booth maintenance building is on Hays Cove Circle, behind Lax Keen School and across from the Petro Canada station.

The first meeting will feature a presentation from District staff and allow for a Talking Circle, which provides each person in the circle the opportunity to speak without interruption.

The Trustees also heard an update on the District Literacy Program, with District Literary Teacher Jennifer Pottle providing some background on the program. Trustees heard how Levelled Literacy intervention is one of the tolls being used in the district to improve the reading abilities of students. They also gained some background on the Collaborative Early Literacy Intervention program, which enables the District to meet the needs of every student.

Observations from the program are used to provide a consistent assessment method for all students. The trustees took note that as the majority of the early learners have been identified as 'at risk' for literacy, targeted interventions are to take place to meet the needs of each student.

"The Board was pleased to be provided with data demonstrating the value of the district literacy program. Consistent application of this program over the coming years will ensure that many more students are reading at their grade level by grade 3." -- Board Chair James Horne

Trustees also heard an update on the Staff Wellness program at local Schools. The initiative which is organized by Pam Groves a Mental Health Literacy Specialist Teacher, will assist staff to maintain Gyeksm  Goot  (Calm heart).

Among some of the measures to be used will be yoga, drumming and wellness exercises which will take place after school on different days of the week.

You can review the District's update on their January notes here.

For more items of interest related to education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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