What Is Your Vision For Society? Mine Starts With Funding For Public Education!

Trustee Nohr…Report #28      SD 61
June, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.
Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     June 2, 2014
*Social Justice Collaboration Learning Project
….The vice principals from Esquimalt, Tammy Renyard and Barry Janzen, presented the inquiry based project that started with this question, What does social justice mean to you? 120 grade 9 students were involved. This project was integrated into English, Social Studies and Art. Students developed their own conceptualization about social justice. Students used  the ‘Aurasma’ app, an augmented reality app, to link visual and audio reflections to their art. One student stated, “The gala event was surreal, seeing your art piece on the wall it made me thankful that my teachers organized all of this”.
* Culture and Community Committee Draft Statement of Principles….. 
A presentation of the draft principles developed over the past year and a half through an appreciative inquiry approach and discussion from various perspectives was presented. I sat on this committee for over a year and my sense of the draft document is that these values of respectful and thriving relationships, engagement, personal growth, leadership opportunities for all students and community involvement have been and are now central to all of our schools’ philosophies and culture. There is certainly the need for intentional discussion at each school to ensure continued growth BUT equally important is the necessity of funding to support these principles which must come from a base of effective student learning. Thus, students feel successful, happy, identifying with their strengths, engaged in personally relevant projects and lessons at their instructional level. As well much more counsellor and special education supports are needed to contribute to the culture we aspire to in our schools. Neglecting our students through underfunding is incompatible with a fully flourishing school culture. Our teachers (GVTA) and myself left the committee when the majority of committee members determined that a District Code of Conduct ( including specific roles, adherence to provincial and federal regulations and guidelines and an explicit hierarchy of consequences (for repeated behaviour) and the issue of bullying / cyber bullying would not be discussed in this committee. I see that all these initiatives could and should go hand and hand.

*French Immersion
 Registration will occur 2 weeks earlier than regular kindergarten and there will be a ‘draw’ started. This will provide every early immersion registrant an equal opportunity to pursue French Immersion in their catchment area. 80% of BC districts have already gone to this process. SD 61 has the highest French Immersion student population per student enrolment in the province and the demand is growing. Motion passed unanimously in support of the French Immersion committee.

*Community Literacy Plan…. 
We have many initiatives in our community to support student literacy. The district works closely with these organizations.

* Achievement Contract…..
Superintendent Sherri Bell reported that SD 61 has a graduation rate of 84.5% The trustees present voted to receive the 2014-2015 Achievement Contract
. Please note that 22% to 32% of our grade 4 and 7 students do NOT participate in the FSA testing. Our grade 4 and grade 7 achievement rates are not fully representative of our total student population.

* Good News! 
* All secondary schools have received some form of suicide prevention programs and 9 out of 10 schools had the NEED2 presentations in their schools this

* Policies and regulations on cyber bullying are being reviewed by Associate Superintendent Dave Pitre.

* Soon we will have a student trustee at the Board table.

*Public Engagement Committee…

I had hoped that the all trustees would support any member of the public recording any portion of any of our meetings, including our Education Policy Committee and our Operations, Policy, Planning Committee as well as the formal Board meeting…in the name of engagement, transparency, democracy and education! But it was not to be.

* No other recordings will be permitted except media outlets (For: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris)  (Against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Alpha)

* In order to support and encourage dialogue that occurs during Board Committee meetings, those meetings will not be recorded. (For: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris)  (Against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally)  Absent due to teachers’ strike- Trustee Alpha
* Youth Detention Centre…. 
All trustees are very concerned that our Island facility has been closed down. It is not in the best interests of the youth, their families and in providing effective support for rehabilitation.
* Motion- Policy and regulation 3450.1 School (Non-Public Funds) reflecting current accounting and reporting procedures  Passed- unanimously
*Motion– Bylaw 9250.2 Notice of Motion
need to revise wording to match wording of Bylaw 9130
* Motion-Keys and Security Locks
Regulation 3517.1 Security-Keys     Regulation 3517.2- Security Locks 
Updates to reflect current practice.
 Recycling initiatives started in 2008 and we now have all of schools fully recycling with the exception of 2 high schools. Seamus Howley, Director of Facilities, stated that SD 61 has reduced its carbon footprint with an additional 8% reduction in the carbon offset purchase for last year. The district received a grant of $300,000 from the Carbon Neutral Capital Program to upgrade the boilers at George Jay in conjunction with the seismic upgrade.
* Motion-That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) modify its letterhead to include a footer to reflect  the composition of the entire Board.
(For: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Horsman) (Against: Leonard)   (Abstained: Orcherton, Ferris)   McEvoy- absent

Now At The Board Meeting     Monday, June 16, 2014     Lots of Motions!
Community Presentations 
Vincenza Gruppuso and Audrey Smith made presentations on behalf of VCPAC.

#1 Motion– That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) support the recommendations of the French Immersion Committee regarding kindergarten registration.  Passed unanimously (Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally) Absent- Trustees Alpha and McEvoy

#2 Motion– That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) receives the 2014-2015 Achievement Contract    For-(Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally) I abstained. While our district is involved in many, many very important and effective efforts to support student learning this report is structured by the Ministry of Education using a particular format that DOES NOT allow for specifically identifying nor documenting the lack of support and the impact of underfunding.

 #3 Motion– That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approves the revised Policy 3450.1 School (Non-Public) funds. Passed unanimously

#4 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) agrees to give all three readings of Bylaw 9250.2, Notice of Motion at the meeting of June, 2014  (three working days notice required for ‘Notice of Motion’)    Passed unanimously

#5 Motion-(McNally) That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) modify its letterhead to reflect the composition of the entire Board.  For- McNally, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Orcherton, Horsman  Opposed- Ferris     Abstained- Leonard     *This is a good idea because it informs the public about who their trustees are in SD 61.

#6 Motion-Academy fees made public on the SD 61 website….    Passed unanimously

#7 Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) appoint Tom Moore as Chief Elections Officer to conduct the Trustee Elections on November 15, 2014     Passed unanimously

#8  Motion– (McNally) That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria)  direct senior administration to consult with school communities to explore the possibility of an elementary school site that could be designated as wifi free so the parents requesting accommodation for their children will have  public school option that meets their needs   For- McNally, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr   Opposed- Ferris, Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard

#9 Motion– (McNally) That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) provide a written rationale of the Board’s decision regarding designating an elementary school site as wifi free to the parents requesting accommodation for their children after the Board has made that decision…Ruled out of order

#10 Motion-  (Nohr) That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) write another letter to Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender requesting that the Premier demonstrate good faith bargaining by providing the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) with a renewed mandate to bargain class size and composition into the collective agreement; and that the Premier request BCPSEA and the BCTF to use the services of a special mediator with a view to reaching an agreement as soon as possible.   For- Nohr, McNally, Loring-Kuhanga    Opposed- Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard    Absent- McEvoy   Due to strike  Trustee Alpha could not attend.   * I support our teachers!  This strike reflects the critical juncture we are at as a society. Would you not agree that as a society we would and should place the highest value on the education of our children and support a fair wage for every worker?  (Our teachers have fallen behind….for example Alberta teachers) Let’s not make it a race to the bottom. I think every trustee in the province should support this motion and every district should be writing a similar letter in support of proper funding for our students and a fair wage for our teachers! Isn’t that why we are sitting as trustees?

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr

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