Tuesday, March 22, 2022

SD52 Board gains look at new CHSS program, approves Strategic Plan, three years of Two Week Spring Breaks

 The March 16th session  of The Board of Education took the trustees into the homestretch of the 2021-22 school year, with but three months remaining until the end of the school year.

The Board has yet to return to public sessions at their Booth Building meeting room and is still gathering in remote fashion, so the Brady Bunch like screen continues to dominate their video presentation of the March gathering.

The meeting opened with a presentation on a new program at Charles Hays Secondary Geography/Specialized Science 12-Fisheries, a delegation of two instructors and two students led by teacher James Zlatanov, taking the Board members through the program.  

They provided the Board Members with a glimpse as to what the course is all about, specifically some of the local perspective that the Course outline provides for as well as the collaborations that the program is building on in the community.

The Board members took advantage of the opportunity to ask a number of questions of the students on hand for the evening's program of information sharing.

As for the remainder of the Board session, the Board members received a number of correspondences, some discussion took place related to the plans of the Ministry of Education's Child Care ambitions  

Superintendent Andrew Samoil's Report covered a range of themes, including a note that with restrictions from COVID being lessened there are more and more Field Trip opportunities being pursued by the local schools.

On the school enrolment picture, the February numbers have gone down, with Sandra  Pond noting a decline of 26 students from the school rosters. Of that number, ten moved out, seven graduated, nine were removed because they weren't attending, with the District to look to get them back to school, 4 new students arrived in the district, which meant a net decline of 22 for the month.

When it comes to the plans for School District calendar planning, Secretary/Treasurer Cam McIntyre noted of some adjustments required with the Collective Agreement with the PRDTU, the Board then voted to approve the proposal for the two week Spring Break for the following three years.

Trustee Last noted of the opportunity to provide for three year planning when it comes to the calendar planning.

"I love that we can do more than more than one year, so my appreciation out to the PRDTU for considering that for us, just gives, parents and staff and students ... they can prepare better, they know that for the next three years, there's a two week spring break. And for the Board as well you know you're not having this calendar and having to approve it every year. This is the first time in my twenty year history that we've been able to do this, so I'm very appreciative to everyone involved." --Trustee Tina Last

Trustee Horne did call attention to the consequences of the two week break which would see some of the School Board staff realize an extended unpaid period of time off.

Trustee Beil also spoke to the topic, expressing her concerns over the two week break and the impact it would have on some students who rely on the schools for social supports outside of the home.

Trustee Last observed that towards some of those concerns, the District should look at the larger issues that were raised towards student supports and should look at those in the scope of the entire calendar.

In the end the vote on the calendar moved it forward for approval to the three year two week formula as presented, with two votes in opposition.

The remainder of the Superintendent's update covered areas of ongoing COVID response measures, along with some notes on the Strategic Plan for the District.

"We believe the document is at a place where we are seeking approval, but I do say that this is a living document and it will change, it will changes as our students priorities change. But basically this is the first part of many documents that we'll be producing. 

In that is the Strategic Plan sets out our priorities and then the Operation plan which we will start working on is to gives greater detail to our staff on how are we going to accomplish our goals "-- Superintendent Andrew Samoil

In discussion to the topic Trustee Last noted of the time taken to create the document.

"So we've heard about the Strategic Plan, we've been informed and it's so nice to see it actually in living colour, it's beautiful, so kudos and thanks and appreciation and great job to all those involved. It took us time, but as good things do, you put lots of thought into and just very well done"

Trustee Horne and Chair Toye also had praise for the work of staff in putting the project together and their appreciation to those who contributed.

"I would like to echo that as well, I got to be a small part of this and it was very exciting and fun, I love strategic planning and it's so lovely to see this complete. And I'm so excited to see how all of the pieces now fit into this and how this is a support for our whole District. So thank you for the mass amount of work that I know the is on top of all your other daily and beyond daily jobs that you have to do" -- Board Chair Kate Toye

The Board then approved the Strategic plan. 

The Superintendent then outlined some of the additional work on reports and upcoming projects that they will be taking on in the months ahead.

He also updated the Board on the District's work on the Board's Anti Racism In Service work and of a recent session for forty staff members that explored those themes.

"Judging from the comments I received, Staff were very appreciative of the event, it was hoped that we can continue to offer this. This was the second year that we offered this and we're hoping to expand it as the COVID restrictions are lessened, perhaps we can make this a much bigger event and be more inclusive in the community with our community groups and partners who work with us in and outside of our schools" -- Superintendent Andrew Samoil

Secretary/Treasurer Cam McIntyre provided for his reports on a range of themes, the only question raised was one from Trustee Maier who inquired about the path of the District's amended budget.

In reply, Mr. McIntyre observed that he was "quite comfortable" with the progress and that things were "tracking well."

Mr. McIntyre also provided an update on the ongoing work towards the installation of ventilators for the schools. The funding for that work will come from capital funding through the School enhancement program.

The review of Committee Reports made for the final quarter of the Board session, among the topics a review of the District's plans for a motion on Indigenous Education representation at the Board level.

On that topic Trustee Tina Last shared some thoughts on the proposal for the motion for the BCASTA noting of the work of the District when it come to Indigenous issues, as well as her support for the themes and how the Board must be careful not to assume that there isn't Indigenous representation on the Board. 

Board Chair Toye also spoke to the topic noting of the range of Indigenous involvement that is in place with SD52 and how it frames the discussion. to take to the BCSTA AGM.

A number of Policy Review items also provided for some extensive review by the Trustees during that portion of their discussions on the evening.

The Board also outlined their thoughts related to the Climate Change Work Group Survey, providing for a mixed review as to their work or succession Climate Change goals to this point. Offering an indication that more work may be needed towards those topics.

The session wrapped up with a pair of questions from the PRDTU's Gabriel Bureau on notification process on dates for the next ABC meeting; as well as the work on the School Calendar over the the three years ahead, with some concerns over the decisions on Pro D dates in those years.

You can review the full Board meeting from the Video archive posted to the SD52 YouTube portal.

To explore the background towards the Strategic Review, Calendar items and other notes from the Board meeting see the Agenda Package here.

More notes on education can be explored here.

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