Trustee Nohr…Report #21      SD 61 December 31, 2013 Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed. Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     December 2, 2013 Superintendent Gaiptman presented a summary of the district’s graduation from 2008-2012 showing a consistent improvement. The Superintendent stated that the improvements were due to the hard work of all staff. * Specific details will be referenced in the December 9th Board meeting summary below. OPPs Meeting… A Few Highlights… December 2, 2013 The first order of business was to continue the review of the Public Engagement Committee recommendations. The discussion was focussed on the Q&A which will now occur at the public board meeting. All questions will be directed to the Chair. Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, December 9, 2013 Trustee Elections for 2014-2015 Chair- Peg Orcherton Vice Chair- Bev Horsman Representative for BCPSEA (BC Public Service Employers’ Association) – Tom Ferris Representative for BCSTA ( BC Trustees Association ) – provincial councillor – Bev Horsman Representative Vancouver Island Labour Relations Association – Tom Ferris Chair for Operations, Planning and Policy Committee – Elaine Leonard Chair for Education Policy Development Committee –  Catherine Alpha *None of the new trustees were elected Chair’s Report- Chair Orcherton reported that as the government is undergoing a core review we as a district will be undertaking our own core review. The Chair stated that we do a core review every year through our budget review. I would like to see a specific review of every department with the trustees present in this process. That is not occurring at this time. Motions #1 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) put forth a media release about its graduation rates. Passed- unanimously Here are some important current stats: female grad. rates up 6.6%, male grad. rates up 7.2%,  ELL learners (English Language Learners) grad rates up 7.2%, grad rates with honours up 5% and students with special needs graduating with Dogwood Certificate up 8.1%  Again, this is the result of enormous efforts by all in our district. While this is great news there is no doubt that students, parents, other professionals, para professionals and teachers face the impact of underfunding each and every day and an increasing sense of being overwhelmed and under serviced in the effort to provide appropriate instruction for all students. Class composition, that is students with specific identified special needs or yet to be identified special needs are not receiving the instruction they need and deserve due to the public education funding policy of the government. If you observe students not receiving the instruction or other support they need or if you hoped for more instructional support, counselling, speech and language support for your own child consider the following data. Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA): 2001- gr. 4 reading-80%, 2012-71% and 2001- gr. 4 writing-91% and 2012- 73%, 2001- gr. 4 numeracy- 86% and 2012 – 67%… 2001- gr. 7 reading-83% and 2012- 61%, 2001- gr.7 writing – 81% and 2012 – 66%, 2001 gr.7 numeracy – 85% and 2012 – 56% * Consider also that the Ministry of Education requires only a class size report from each school district; they have expunged the class composition data requirement. * Teachers would report these same sharp declines from their daily, weekly and summative assessment results. These sharp declines in achievement at the grade 4 and 7 levels is in large part due to insufficient professional staffing. Students need the direct instruction of teachers, the reviewing and reinforcing of skills and concepts from educational aids, the small group and one to one talk time with counsellors, the weekly lessons from speech and language therapists and finally the specialized support of librarians and learning assistance teachers. * How do you think this makes students feel? … frustrated, inadequate, disinterested and more In an October 7, 2012 letter to the Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender, the trustees of SD 61 stated the following: While we understand that most of the public sector has concluded collective agreements under the cooperative gains mandate, it is our view that the education sector is unique. School boards throughout the province have been facing annual provincial shortfalls and additional costs, including for example, the teachers’ pension plan rate increase, MSP premium increases, higher BC Hydro costs and general inflation, which have led to service reductions in the K – 12 sector. #2 Motion– That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria) approve the 2014-2015 Budget Plan. Motion Passed For: Nohr, Orcherton, Horsman, Alpha, McEvoy, Ferris, Leonard. McNally Against: Loring-Kuhanga * Trustee Loring-Kuhanga wanted and more in-depth budget review ( refer to the following motion ) and so did I. I voted for this motion because of the appropriate timeline and general format for discussion with the public. I strongly feel as Trustee Loring-Kuhanga does that SD 61 should have specific Budget Committee for all interested trustees and other stakeholders. #3 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) hold a series of question-focussed budget meetings constituted as meetings of an Ad Hoc Committee (Bylaw 9140) at no cost to the Board and to include menbers of the current      ( and future Budget Committee), as well as any interested trustees to be among those “selected” by the Board, and any interested stakeholder to discuss questions raised about the budget and the SD 61 expenses. Findings and recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee to be presented to the Board at public meetings beginning with further examination of the 8 items from the Secretary-Treasurer’s memo of November 12th. The term of the Ad Hoc Committee to be open until two weeks before the final April Board budget debate and vote. Motion Defeated For: Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr   Against: Leonard, Alpha, Horsman, Orcherton, McEvoy, Ferris, McNally * It is my opinion that trustees need more information that can only be attained through deeper discussion, drilling down on the numbers and asking more specific questions. Superintendent’s Report  Superintendent Gaiptman and Associate Superintendent Bell provided the following information on 2012-2013 Dogwood Completion rates: female grad. rates up 6.6%, male grad. rates up 7.2%,  ELL learners (English Language Learners) grad rates up 7.2%, grad rates with honours up 5% and students with special needs graduating with Dogwood Certificate up 8.1% New Motions or…Notice of Motion #1 Motion-Rezoning Application for License Retail Store at Hillside Mall #2 Motion-iPad Safety Public Disclosure of In-Camera Items: The contract for CUPE 382 workers in our district (outside workers, custodians and maintenance workers)  has been ratified. * I support the use of hard wired technology for our youngest learners! Tablets can be charged through hard wire and then used. As a trustee, I have been given no financial costing of this initiative, installing wifi in all our elementary schools. I will be asking for a report on this and the district’s plan to accommodate students and employees with severe EMF sensitivity. I will also ask what plan, if any, does the district have to ensure the safest installation of wifi. Until recently, the hours spent at school  were the ‘break’ from wifi and technology….off the EMF smog grid for 6 or 7 hours each day. Now, most children will have 24 hour exposure to EMF! With the emerging health findings, we should be concerned. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! Trustee Deborah Nohr

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