Distance education and learning encourages adaptable studying by eradicating the geographical and time affiliated constraints that hinder students from accessing training in typical school settings

Distance education and learning encourages adaptable studying by eradicating the geographical and time affiliated constraints that hinder students from accessing training in typical school settings

Pros and Downsides of Length Education

Length education and learning refers to the training and studying things to do that happen outside the house the standard classroom setting. Continue reading

Welcome Back To School 2014-2015

Trustee Nohr…Report #28 SD 61
September, 2014
Equality for All in Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed

Welcome Back to School!
We are now two weeks into the school year and I hope that you and your children are well settled.

The strike was a difficult time for everyone. Thank you to parents for your accommodation and support of the teachers who in part were striking to bring back essential funding for students with special needs. Without this funding most students are negatively impacted in the classroom.
In summary, the teachers’ contract includes: 7.25% over 6years, some improvements to extended health benefits, increase to TOC ( teachers on call ) pay, $1,200 signing bonus, $400 Education Fund* for hiring teacher specialists and classroom teachers. * This fund replaces the LIF and so this fund contains very little new money. The big difference is that this funding goes exclusively to hiring teachers. The unacceptable underfunding of our students still continues. Meeting all the necessary costs for public education would require only 1% more of the provincial gov’t budget. I think our students and teachers are worth it. Please read the following quotes for a relevant context to the underfunding issue.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-teachers-vote/article20686270/

Mr. Iker says the education fund will amount to “several hundred new teaching positions each year” – but some school districts have already indicated it won’t bring classrooms back to the pre-2002 levels the union has long been calling for. * For SD 61, it may mean 5-10 additional teachers only. This is so marginal.
Patti Bacchus, chair of the Vancouver School Board, said it would cost nearly $60-million just to restore what has been lost in the past dozen years in her school district. * For SD 61, it would be about $30M.
“If we were to have the equivalent level of services and staffing as we did in 2002, adjusted for enrolment, adjusted for inflation, it would take about $60-million to restore the equivalent level,” she said.
Here’s something else to think about…?
WE Support BC Teachers shared a link- https://www.facebook.com/supporteducationinbc
September 23
“I should not be subsidizing my child’s school. My child’s teachers should not be subsidizing their school. Teachers shouldn’t pay for the supplies they need to do their job. They shouldn’t take a pay cut so their schools can be properly staffed.”

Jordan Watters for Trustee in SD61 / Facebook
September 25
A report from the VCPAC meeting. Parent action needed to counter dangerous narrative Bird is putting forward.

BC voters supporting BC teachers and public education

I am a parent of a high school student is school district 61, Victoria. I am writing to express my concern with the information given to parents at the recent meeting held by the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Council (VCPAC, the district PAC for school dist…* great discussion on special education designations… is it help with a separate supportive and appropriate learning environment for some of the day…or is it discrimination? read more…/www.facebook.com/jordanwatters4trustee


So at this time I believe it is essential that we as a community including parents, grandparents, teachers, educational assistants, community members, administration, trustees and students must keep this dialogue alive; informing and extending our knowledge with one another and sharing our personal narratives within this vortex of underfunding.

Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights
September, 2014 
*Combined with OPPs for September.

Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights September, 2014

Special Event…our first student trustee attended this meeting. Welcome Kelsey Hoi! ( Mt. Doug HS )


Trustee Loring-Kuhanga tried to bring forward a motion to be put on the agenda about Clause E.80 of the Framework Agreement Between the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and the BC Teachers’ Association. Trustee Leonard, the Chair, refused to allow the motion stating that is is a labour relations bargaining issue that was discussed at a special in-camera board meeting and therefore not a topic for a public committee meeting. * I disagree. This issue was in the news and it was important that the lively debate be witnessed in public. We are an advocacy group and therefore we should state our perspective on issues effecting our funding and our students’ learning. We are not a bargaining committee bringing forward details to negotiations. Rather this would be a debate on the concepts within E. 80* (eliminate adherence to collective agreement language for class size and composition ) and the impact for our district…a much more open and transparent process and culture.
“*So when E80 is drafted to supersede all previous articles, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) says the government is trying to pull a fast one and nullify the Griffin ruling and the effect of any subsequent legislation. The government protests that the union is just being paranoid, it would never try such a low-down dirty trick (good idea though).” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sandy-garossino/bc-teachers-strike-e80_b_5812134.html
Motion – Moved: (Secretary Treasurer)
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) agrees to cancel regularly scheduled meetings at the call of the Board Chair in consultation with the respecttive Standing Committee Chair in the event that the strike continues unless there are agenda items that require immediate action. For: Horsman Against: McNally, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Alpha, MeEvoy, Orcherton, Leonard and Ferris

Facilities Report

Randi Falls, principal of Vic. HS gave an update on the Multi-Purpose Sports Facility project. Then total estimated cost is approx. $5.5M and the City of Victoria has approved a matching grant of $250,00. Currently, the fund raising total is $179,000.

Capital Projects
Director of Facilities, Seamus Howley, gave an update on the following projects:
- Quadra Elem. $9M seismic upgrade almost done…at the time of this blog it is now completed
- Tillicum Elem. $3M seismic upgrade was completed this summer
- George Jay Elem. $5M seismic upgrade will be completed for Sept. 2015 ( Students are at Richmond for this year )
- New Oak Bay HS project is ahead of schedule and will be open for Sept. 2015

Public Disclosure Of In Camera Items 
Chair Leonard reported out the following:
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) publicly calls upon BCPSEA to agree to binding arbitration without pre conditions in the current labour dispute between BCPSEA and the BCTF. And, further that any costs associated with an arbitrated settlement be borne in totality by the BC provincial government and that no costs be downloaded to BC Boards of Education. ( trustees votes could not be reported out ) Chair Leonard stated that there would be an Open Letter sent to the community regarding the current labour dispute.



Now for the Board Meeting

Monday, September 15, 2014 
Special Event… our first student trustee attended this meeting Welcome Kelsey Hoi! ( Mt. Doug HS )

Community Presentations
Carolina Tudela, a parent at Vic. HS spoke about her position that the trustees that voted for the transfer / closing of Sundance School ( Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy and Ferris ) were callous and unwilling to genuinely work with parents to explore options to keep Sundance open.

Ross Gilbert, a teacher at Central MS, spoke about the serious lack of respectful engagement with the public at public Board meetings

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten/music teacher at South Park vividly described the neglectful impact of underfunding in her K class last year

David Futter reminded the Board about the constitutional rights of teachers through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ( 1982 ) to freely associate and bargain ALL their working conditions

Bev Bacon, a teacher and special education teacher, presented a historic review of the cycle of funding and not funding of special education students


Trustee Report
 Trustee Nohr- I spoke about my willingness to hear from the public and employee groups on any issue at any time and to engage meaningfully especially at our Board meetings. I thanked the teachers for their sacrifice during the strike and commended the teachers for their courage to speak out and inform the public and parents about what is really happening in some of our classrooms.

Motions

#1 Motion– . 2013-2014 Audited Financial Reports
That the internally restricted surplus funds appropriation of $14,305,021 be held for school level funds $4,966,701, unspent project budgets of $2,507,438, purchase order commitments of $530,882 and previously approved budgeted surplus $6.3M be approved. Passed unanimously (Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally) Absent- Trustees Alpha and McEvoy

That the June 30, 2014 unrestricted operating surplus of $4,250,959 be carried forward to be applied towards the 2015-2016 projected deficit. ( projected forecast to be in excess of $6.3M Passed unanimously (Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally) Absent- Trustees Alpha and McEvoy

That the audited financial statements for the year ending June, 2014 be approved. 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 ) approves the schedules as required by the Financial Information Act for the period July1, 2013 to June 30, 2014
#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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr
deborahnohr.ca
deborah@sprome.com
Have a look at Trustee Diane McNally’s blog- Lined Paper

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.
*Green
 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.

Motions
#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
deborah@deborahnohr.com
deborah@sprome.com

At The Tipping Point… All Students Deserve a Proper Education…this is NOT happening

Trustee Nohr…Report #27      SD 61
May, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.
Our teachers have decided that job action is necessary…and I agree. Underfunding is a very serious problem impacting many students, families, employees and ultimately our communities. Working and learning conditions are one in the same thing. The government expects to achieve an agreement with the teachers without addressing class size and composition.
We are all waiting to hear the results of the appeal…will the government yet again be directed to re-instate approx. $3B? This issue is central to any agreement with teachers…and necessary for the proper instruction for ALL our children.

Very important to know… BCPSEA (the gov’t bargaining team) sought clarification as to what concerns the BCTF has with the basic principles involved in our proposal (that classrooms are complex, and individual student characteristics cannot be adequately assessed and supported by an inflexible formulaic approach). The BCTF clearly indicated that specific formulae and class size maxima drive funding and that is the goal the union is seeking. Teachers are trained professionals often with advanced degrees especially when teaching students with special education learning designations; they very well know that these students do better with targeted funding. It is my opinion that the government’s position that it is NOT possible to adequately assess needs is a strategy to eliminate designations and even more money from public education and our children’s instructional experience.

I am enclosing a link from a teacher about her perspective on the current job action-http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Letter+from+teacher+Christy+Clark+goes+viral/9876692/story.html
I am also enclosing a letter from a parent expressing her frustration and anger with her personal experience/ children’s experience in a deteriorating public school system
Written by a parent in SD43
The Honorable Peter Fassbender, Min Ed
The Honorable Christy Clark, Premier
Mr Douglas Horne, MLA Coquitlam-Burke Mountain

Dear Sirs and Madam,

I write today to convey my extreme disgust with the manner in which the
education system is being treated by your government. The conduct you
have displayed with regards to the future of our children¹s education is
reprehensible. You claim to put ³Families First² and to hold the needs of
the children above all else, and yet there are children in our system who
have challenges and special needs who are being lost because you won¹t
fund the help that they so desperately need. Your condescension toward
teachers is easily traceable back to 2002 when, as Education Minister,
Premier Clark removed the teacher¹s right to bargain about learning and
working conditions by enacting Bills 27 and 28 – action which has since
been deemed by the Supreme Court of BC to have been a violation of
Charter rights. Undaunted by the illegality of your position, your
government enacted Bill 22, once again removing class composition,
amongst other things, as an issue about which teachers have any say. Your
government is clearly hoping that we are stupid enough to have forgotten
that only 3 months ago Madam Justice Susan Griffin ruled that Bill 22 was
also unconstitutional, found you guilty of bargaining in bad faith, and
accused you of attempting to provoke a strike for political gain. Clearly
the children are merely pawns in your political game of chess, and I am
nauseated by the cynicism and Machiavellian ideals permeating your caucus.

When a government requires a School District to submit a balanced budget,
but makes no budgetary allowance for increases in fuel costs, electricity
costs, or tax increases, that government knows that the only way the
District can possibly submit a balanced budget is by making cuts to our
children¹s education services.
When a government announces new schools, but does not actually provide
capital funding or build them, resulting in the school district having to
use millions of dollars from their operating budget to purchase,
maintain, and service portable classrooms, that government knows that the
only way the District can possibly submit a balanced budget is by making
cuts to our children¹s education services.
When a government knows that enrolment is declining, funds schools on a
³per student² basis, and it costs virtually the same amount in fuel,
electricity, and staffing to have 480 kids in a school vs 500 kids in a
school, that government knows that the only way the District can possibly
submit a balanced budget is by making cuts to our children¹s education
services.
When a government abruptly changes policy for funding of school seismic
upgrading and announces that School Districts will have to pay for up to
half the costs of putting our children in safe structures, that
government knows that the only way the District can possibly submit a
balanced budget is by making cuts to our children¹s education services.

Your government would have us believe that teachers are demanding too
high of a wage increase, and yet in the past dozen years teachers saw a
7.5% increase from their 2002 contract, a 0% increase from their 2005
contract, and a 16% increase from their 2006 contract. In those same
dozen years, the benchmark price of real estate has increased 100-200%
(depending on the region), BCHydro rates have increased by 40% (from an
average of $70/mo to an average of $98/mo, after correction for
inflation), gasoline prices have increased by 80-100% (from fluctuating
around $0.70-0.80/L to fluctuating around $1.35-1.50/L), and the cost of
feeding a family of 4 in BC has gone up 38.7% (from $626 to $868 per
month). Clearly the increases in a teacher¹s pay are not keeping up with
the increases in the cost of living.

The BCPSEA and BCTF have failed to reach an agreement (which is hardly a
surprise considering that Carole Taylor¹s 2006 deal has been the only
freely negotiated contract that the two sides have reached in the 27
years since Mr VanderZalm¹s SoCreds gave teachers the right to strike)
and so the teachers have escalated their action to a rotating strike. The
lockout notice that the government has countered with is shocking and its
logical underpinnings are convoluted, to say the least. While maintaining
that children should not be put in the middle, the government has done
exactly that by ensuring that teachers can not provide before- or
after-school preparation or assistance to children. This does nothing BUT
penalize the children, and once again lays bare the viciousness of this
government¹s intention to provoke action by the teachers for it¹s own
political gain – leaving our children as collateral damage along the way.

Your government claims that LNG industry development will ³build a
prosperous economic future for British Columbia². I disagree. What will
build a prosperous economic future for British Columbia is adequate
funding for the education of our future generation. Provide us with
education for all children, instead of having so many kids in a class
that the teacher can¹t properly assess and supervise everyone. Provide
specialist teachers and education assistants for kids with special needs,
so that they can learn and progress with their peers, rather than
disengaging and becoming lost. Provide School Districts with budget
increases to cover utility rate increases, so that our children won¹t
suffer because the District has to pay BC Hydro and Fortis an extra
$625,000. Currently, between not negotiating in good faith, and not
providing the School Districts with an adequate annual budget, you are
failing us; you are failing our children.

A few weeks ago when the Coquitlam Board of Education was having its last
few public meetings before finalizing what cuts to make, my children
became aware that their library was in jeopardy. My seven-year-old summed
it up with ³Mum, you said that you pay taxes so that the government gives
us hospitals and schools to help us learn, but how can we learn without
books and a LIBRARY? The government doesn¹t care about us; the government
is an asshole² And while I chastised him for using an inappropriate word,
I cannot disagree with his opinion or fail to marvel at how astutely a
child can assess a complicated situation and distill it down to its core.

Kristina Lee, Coquitlam
Post Script:
I am not a teacher. I am not married to a teacher. My parents were not
teachers. I have no direct financial interest in this dispute other than
being a very, very annoyed parent.

Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     May 5, 2014


We met at Monterey Middle School. Two principals, Judy Harrison (Monterey) and Colin Roberts (Esquimalt),  shared some examples of the new emerging methodology called ‘project based learning’. The experiences were very positive and provide growth for students, teachers and community members that participated. Special APPS were used at Esquimalt to enhance engagement in the written language process. The APPS seemed to encourage shy or reluctant students to find their voice and engage much more.



MyEducationBC is the new province wide software program that is coming to all school districts in BC. The use of this program must be reviewed regularly and thoroughly. There is probably no way to calculate the extra dollars that will go into maintaining it, trouble shooting problems and determining wasted employee time when the system is not working. I will ask essential questions at the Board table providing the oversight the public expects.
LIF…extra funding for students with special Education designations..Superintendent Sheri Bell is meeting with the teachers’ union executive to review the teachers’ recommendations for the allocation of some of this funding.
Student Rep. at the trustee board table…Superintendent Bell is meeting with students from all of our high schools to determine the format for this new opportunity.

Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… Many, Many Important Issues… May 12, 2014…Well Worth the Read!

WIFI and HEALTH CONCERNS
Two parents from Margaret Jenkins, Camille Victoire and Janice Boothman, presented on the issue of the district’s responsibility to support and respond to the minority point of view on health and safety issues. They referenced the Minister of Education’s comment that Boards of Education must continually strive to create and maintain learning and working environments that are responsive to diverse community environments. 
*There are many parents concerned about the 24 hour a day, at home and now at school wifi grid. After leukemia, brain tumors are the second most common type of cancer in young people under 25 years of age. They asked for one elementary school to stay LOW EMF including:
*English/French track, * far from cell towers/antennas, no existing strong wifi signals, close to Victoria city centre.
* LEXNET PROJECT- 17 leading telecommunications institutions  launched this project to develop effective mechanisms to reduce by at least 50% the public’s exposure to EMF, without compromising the quality of service.
* In France, there is a bill being considered to BAN wit from maternity hospitals and childcare facilities, communities will be informed about potential wifi installations and in schools routers or access points will be placed where teachers can reach them to turn them off when NOT in use.
I support having one wifi free school as we do have students and employees with EMF sensitivity. The VCPAC survey (2013)  indicated that 29% of parents expressed concern about EMF and health issues.
A parent from Frank Hobbs, Peter Milne, presented on regulation, accommodation and accountability with respect to wifi. Mr. Milne stated that he had been told that he could not record this meeting. However in an effort to support democracy and transparency he would be recording the meeting. He stated, ‘ This is a public meeting; trustees are public officials who meant to safe guard the public from reasonably foreseeable health issues. 
* Mr. Milne felt that the yes/no vote at his son’s school was NOT an informed consent vote
* Mr Milne stated that the school district no longer has insurance coverage for health problems related to EMF; the insurance industry NOW EXCLUDES electromagnetic radiation and possible health effects from the excessive use of SMART technology.
QUESTIONS?
* How does the district plan to let parents know about no insurance coverage?
* What information have you been provided on this issue? ( 2010- Provincial Health Officer’s Special Report- Investing in prevention, improving health and creating sustainability….’in my mind, preventing cancer, starting in childhood, would certainly be beneficial to our national economy.’
* When can we expect to hear back from the district on this issue?
* How is the district tracking new research findings?
* Where is my non consent letter I provided to the district? Why is there no public posting? Why is there no mechanism to let parents know they can be accommodated to a school without wifi? What kind of accommodation would be provided? Having a child learn in isolation is NOT accommodation?
* Mr. Milne reminded the board that a motion was defeated 5/4 to post the health and safety guidelines for iPads and other technology. This motion should NOT have been required.    It is imperative that trustees be well aware of the employer’s duty to uphold a bare minimum for the health and safety of the district employees. How will this board ensure that employees are provided with this information?
Mr. Milne’s questions were referred to the Director of Human Resources. We will be hearing back soon.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The trustees continued to review the recommendations from this committee.
*Board meetings will be (video taped)…changed to digitally recorded by board personnel
*No other recordings will be permitted except by media outlets….this DOES NOT SUPPORT DEMOCRACY, in my opinion. Anyone who is interested and engaged in the issues should be welcome to record and use for the purpose of informing others. (There was much debate and a split of opinion on this issue) …deferred for the next meeting
*Recording will be posted on the district website as soon as possible
* The recording will stay on the district website for 30 days….it was suggested that it should then be archived
* # of site visits will be tracked
* Live streaming may be considered
* Ed. Policy and Operations, Planning and Policy meetings will NOT be recorded…to support and encourage dialogue  (There was much debate and a split of opinion on this issue)….again, these meetings are public and therefore in SUPPORT OF DEMOCRACY AND ENGAGEMENT, if someone in the public wants to record these meetings we should support their efforts.
POLICY UPDATE
SMOKING (Policy 5131.5) …now includes electric cigarettes
ATTENDANCE SUPPORT (healthy culture, learn and review return to work practices)
Katie Dragert (PhD. in neuroscience) has just recently been hired by our district to support employee attendance and other health issues. Katie report that the goal for change will be through environmental design including: wellness (eating, activity, mental wellness), disability support, attendance support
* THERE WILL BE A HAND WASHING CAMPAIGN IN SEPTEMBER…great idea!
* THERE WILL BE QUARTERLY BULLETINS
* NEXT STEP…MEET WITH STAKE HOLDER GROUPS
SEISMIC UPGRADING
* QUADRA will be completed by June
* GEORGE JAY will be the next school to start seismic upgrading…$5M
* TILLICUM is next…$3M ….a partial upgrade is needed
* OAK BAY will have universal washrooms
* $300,000 awarded back to our school district due to our carbon neutral projects…will go to the boilers at George Jay
Motion- Nohr
 That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) request that senior administration provide a detailed summary of the 2013-2014 Class and Composition Report. Motion Defeated Voted Against- Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy  Voted For- Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Alpha * I brought this motion forward last year and again this year because I think it is vitally important that as trustees we understand the specific details and patterns that emerge in a school district experiencing a chronic funding reduction.
Motion-McNally
That the Board of Education of school District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) encourage the Ministry of Education to support openStudent and abandon their commitment to MyEducationBC/Aspen.
Motion-McNally
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) express in a public statement deep concern with the privacy breach and data control implications of MYEducationBC and withdraw from further  integration with this data base. Motion Defeated Voted Against- Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga,????

Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, May 20, 2014
Student Achievement
 Students from Campus View presented on their Earthfest activity. Thank you to all the parents for their participation too.


District presentations
 Congratulations to Mohammed Abousaleh from Oak Bay HS for winning the Shulich Leadership Scholarship – $80,000
Congratulations to Robert Lee from Oak Bay HS for earning the title of National Champion in the Michael Smith Science Challenge

Community Presentations 
Camille Victore and Janice Boothman spoke again about student accommodation regarding wifi. BioInitiative Report..EMF can cause harm to human health…we should reduce exposure to chemicals and toxins


Superintendent’s Report
 Yearly Board meeting schedule was approved.

Motions
#1 Motion- revised smoking policy – passed unanimously
#2 Motion- deleted outdated policy on smoking – passed unanimously
#3 Motion– deleted outdated policy on mandatory retirement- passed unanimously
#4 Motion- That the Board of Education of School district No. 61 (Greater Victoria) express in a public statement deep concern with the privacy and data control implications of MyEducationBC – passed with one abstention ( McEvoy )
#5 Motion-  That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) ask three members of the public to establish an ongoing mechanism for the reimbursement of trustees for the duration of their term and that it be initiated in December for each new board. passed- for Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy  opposed- Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally
#6 Motion– That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) encourage the Ministry of Education to support openStudent and abandon their commitment to MyEducationBC/Aspen. failed for- McNally, Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga  opposed- Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard   abstentions- Nohr, McEvoy  * This program is well in place and has a momentum. It is not realistic to think that it would be abandoned…the cost would be great…however., it is very important for trustees to ask relevant and probing questions over the course of the next year to determine its effectiveness and additional costs to the district.
#7 Motion-That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) request the Province to reverse its decision to close the Youth Detention Custody Center in View Royal and keep it open for not only young male offenders but to open it up to include female offenders from Vancouver Island Courts passed- unanimously

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr
deborah@deborahnohr.com
deborah@sprome.com

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Trustee Nohr…Report #26      SD 61
April, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.

Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     April 7, 2014
Rugby Academy at Esquimalt H.S. Though this motion had been previously defeated in March it was brought back in April again. Some trustees were concerned that there would be a two tier rugby offering at a public high school based on the ability to pay. Students pay for sports academies all over the district. Usually it requires $1000 to be part of the year long program. In this case, there will be the regular intramural rugby program and the academy supported by Rugby Canada and the municipality of Esquimalt.  It will be interesting and informative to evaluate this two tier sports program after the first year.

The Canoe Project at Shoreline M.S. The staff have developed a morning activity program of fun group activities to get the ‘blood circulating and the brain awakened’ as well as a healthy protein snack before students settle down to engage in their academic activities. There is a strong focus on ABL (activity based learning) and in-class learning support.
#1 Motion-McNally…that all personnel under Learning Initiatives be reassigned to appropriate positions in SD 61 and the L.I. program be closed. For: McNally, Alpha  Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Nohr, Orcherton * I voted against this motion because while I felt that there should be some reduction , perhaps 30%, I did not want to see the entire program closed. To be clear, we have many classes where the students are NOT receiving necessary learning support instruction, counselling, or early intervention and that is where I had hoped the 30% reduction in funding to L.I. would go. So I could not support the full closure of this program at this time as L.I. helps many teachers learn some new methodologies to address the vast range of needs in their classrooms.
#2 Motion-McNally… halt the implementation of wifi routers in elementary schools and apply the savings to the $1.8M deficit For:Alpha, McNally Against:Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Nohr, Orcherton* I voted against this motion because most elementary schools have already applied for wifi and router installation.

Sundance School- Kira Antinuk, a parent of Sundance students, expressed her desire and the desire of many in the Sundance area to have the school building used for community purposes. The rationale is the keep the building used for positive and purposeful activities and thereby helping to keep the community vibrant.I support this recommendation and see it as vitally important. I also appreciated the time Victoria counsellor, Shelly Gudgeon, took to attend the meeting and hear the discussion that ensued. This will be helpful for any future considerations by the city of Victoria.

Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights… April 14, 2014


Bad news from the Minister Fassbender! Truly, I feel that the public education sector is being harshly penalized for managing the public funds well. The Minister stated in a Vancouver interview that boards having a surplus may have to re-direct this money to seismic upgrades!!!….wait a minute there is NO surplus! The $17M in SD 61 are funds committed to buying class sets of text books, more tech /computer equipment and school based projects. The chair and the secretary treasurer will write a letter to the Minister informing him of our concerns with this new possibility of unilaterally reassigning the use of this SD 61 funding.



#1 Motion-McNally….delay budget vote to May, 2014 and convene the Budget Advisory Committee For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally Against:Orcherton, Nohr, Horsman, McEvoy, Ferris, Leonard * I voted against this motion because the secretary treasurer reminded us that we have Collective Agreement considerations regarding ‘lay off’ notices which must be done in early May.



#2 Motion- Nohr …that there be a reduction of $266,000 in the superintendent, associate superintendents and Learning Initiatives department to address the deficit and redress the closure of Sundance….. Chair Leonard ruled my motion out of order because the motion to close Sundance School had already been passed. * I should have brought this motion forward earlier.



#3 Motion-Nohr…maximum cap of $5000 for any expenses including professional development for all exempt staff and associate superintendents. * I withdrew this motion because the secretary-treasurer explained that these line items include mileage and professional membership fees as well. If we had a budget committee, we could review and tease apart the details of these line items and perhaps then look at some appropriate reduction / cap.



#4 Motion-Nohr…That $1000 be available to teachers interested in participating in the Need2 suicide prevention program. Superintendent Bell informed the trustees that there had been a training program in the fall which cost the district $1200 and at this time no further costs would be incurred and so I withdrew my motion

Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, April 22, 2014

Student Achievement
  There was a great presentation from Victoria High students, their teacher, Stu Wheeler, and their principal, Randi Falls, about the experience the students have had this year in the trades programs and also in attending the Skills Canada Competition.Our students did very well. These students also joined with George Jay to give the elementary students an opportunity to learn about and actively participate in trade skills.Thank you to everyone for their amazing effort!

Community Presentations

Petra Eggert, a Learning Initiatives teacher, spoke about the importance of the work of Learning Initiatives within the district. She explained how transformational the training can be for teachers to increase student engagement and learning. She spoke about her own children’s positive experience.
 Cindy Graf, a GVTA rep. spoke about the broad range of professional development opportunities that are available to teachers including many programs from the BCTF. She also reminded trustees that teachers professional development funding has not been increased since 1992.
Superintendent’s Report
  Superintendent Bell reported out on Sundance School. So far, fanilies from Sundance have made the following school choices for September: 20 South Park, 9 Oaklands, 8 Willows, some Hillcrest and Rogers, 7 families have not yet made a decision or made their decision public. As I had anticipated, no families chose to go to Lakehill because it never was a viable possibility to travel all the way across town for a neighbourhood school experience.


Motions
#1 Motion–  Rugby Academy  Esquimalt H.S. For: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy, Alpha  Against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally * See my comments above for Ed. Policy for rationale.
#2 Motion- McNally Rescind motion to relocate Sundance School This motion was not accepted because action had already begun on the relocation process.
#3 Motion-McNally  Closure of Learning Initiatives For: McNally  Against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy * see Ed policy for my rationale
#4 Motion-McNally   Halt implementation of Wifi Router costs and apply savings to budget deficit For: Nohr, McNally, Loring-Kuhanga  Against: Alpha, Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris, McEvoy
#5 Motion– McNally …convene Budget Advisory Committee to further address the deficit  For: Loring-Kuhanga, Mcnally   Against: Nohr, Alpha, Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy  * see OPPs for my rationale

Special Budget Meeting        April 23, 2014
#1 Motion…approves carrying forward $6.3M to the 2014-2015 school year to be applied to the deficit For: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Leonard, Horsman, Ferris, McEvoy Abstain: McNally
#2 Motion-Horsman…$53,501 surplus to fund learning mentors for Craigflower, George Jay, Victoria West, Tillicum and Quadra For: Nohr, McEvoy, Horsman, Orcherton  Against: Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Leonard, Ferris, Orcherton This motion was defeated
#3 Motion-McNally…$53,501 surplus be directed to Craigflower to support the learning of their students    passed unanimously



#4 Motion That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) 2014-2015 Annual Budget Bylaw in the amount of $195,330,769 be:
Read a first time the 23rd day of April, 2014, Read a second time the 23rd day of April, 2014, Read a third time, passed and adopted the 23rd day of April, 2014. And that the Chairperson and secretary-treasurer be authorized to sign, seal and execute this Bylaw on behalf of the Board.
* I have NOT voted for the underfunded budget the past two years and I did NOT intend to vote for the budget this year. This budget forces our district and all other districts to seriously under serve many of our students including those that are most vulnerable and who often have parents who are unable to advocate for them as perhaps you are able to do for your children.

*I did NOT intend to vote for this budget on the third poll vote Tuesday, April 24, 2014. *Please take time to email your MLA, the Premier and the Minister of Education to advocate for fairness in funding for our children.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr
deborah@deborahnohr.com
deborah@sprome.com

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Sundance Closure…Cuts Beyond the Marrow and Into the Heart

Trustee Nohr…Report #22      SD 61
March, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.

Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     March 3, 2014
From time to time teachers will propose a new course of study for high school students. They are referred to as BAA (Board Authority Authorized) courses. I have observed that these courses originate from teachers’ graduate work or in this case from a teacher’s  personal knowledge and passion for the topic. Chris Parker, a teacher at Spectrum, presented his new course, History of Rock and Roll for consideration. The motion was passed unanimously. The students will love it and there will be so much opportunity to cover curriculum goals through this unique content area.

Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights… March 3, 2014

SD 61 will soon have a student trustee at the Board table. Superintendent Bell is working closely with the principals and the students to engage in conversation and instruct the students about the role of trustee and to then work together to create a selection process for the student trustee. Will keep you posted!
 The Board finally finished the work of reviewing the recommendations of the Public Engagement Committee. Just as a point of reference, none of the members of the public that have attended Board meetings with some regularity were selected to sit on this committee. The members of the public were selected by Chair Orcherton and this resulted in a retired trustee being selected to be a member of the public. After much debate a process has been put in place for the Q&A. All questions submitted will be included in the minutes but the answers will not. I felt strongly that the answers were equally important for the public to know. The motion to revise our meeting agenda format to now include a Q&A will be brought forward for consideration in April or May.

WorkSafe BC The district has a new Occupational Health and Safety Advisor, Christine Merner. The District will be working with Central Okanagan district staff to monitor all WorkSafeBC claims and WCAT appeals. The Director of Human Resources stated that the district is putting into place plans to support employees and to address areas of increasing claims.

Budget Deficit 2014-2015  Motion-Nohr
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) request the secretary-treasurer to provide a line item summary of each department’s 2013-2014 expenses with a focus on specific projects, initiatives and district activities and excluding staffing as well as basic operational costs to be presented at the March 24, 2014 Board meeting. Motion failed. Voted for: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally   Voted against: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy and Ferris  It is my opinion that the trustees need to have more information and be more involved in the decision process to avoid the closing of schools such as Sundance. This is  just one example of how trustees could be more proactive in fulfilling their fiduciary duty.

Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, March 24, 2014  
Lots of Motions…Take a Look!

Student Achievement– 
Students from Spectrum presented a video and explained the how and why for their random acts of kindness activity….leading to responsible citizenry:)
District Presentations- 
Leslie Lee, principal of George Jay, was acknowledged for being selected as principal of the year. Congratulations to Leslie, and the teachers, other staff and parents for their dedication, hard work and love of the students and learning. No one can accomplish their goals without others.
Community Presentations 
No community presentations that evening.


Motions
#1 Motion–  History of Rock and Roll – Motion passed. Voted for: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy   Voted against: McNally

#2 Motion– 2014-2015 School Year Calendar     Motion passed unanimously.

#3 Motion-
  A new boiler and energy study for George Jay school. ( $310,093 ) This is part of the Carbon Neutral Capital Program. Motion passed unanimously.

#4 Motion
2014-2915 Annual facilities Grant $3,176,200   This funding will be used to upgrade and maintain our facilities. Motion passed unanimously.

#5 Motion
– McNally     Student Action Plan

That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) opt out of the BCSTA Stability for Student Action Plan and announce that decision publicly. Motion failed.
Voted for: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally   Voted against:  Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy   In my opinion, there was a very clear and logical  way to re-instate the funding that had been removed ( Bill 27 and Bill 28 ) from public education. Senior admin. could have worked with the GVTA to create a plan. It could have included more counsellors, learning assistance teachers, educational assistants being hired where the needs are very great and in some cases overwhelming. The majority of the funding would be put in place for September, 2014. The spin of suggesting ‘instability’ by providing more very needed support is completely unfounded.

#6 Motion– McNally   Needs Budget
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 ( Greater Victoria ) submit to the province only a needs budget that includes remedies as needed to cancel the ongoing structural deficit in SD 61, and costs for implementing the retroactively restored language in the BCTF Collective Agreement. Motion failed. Voted for; McNally, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha   Voted against: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy
*  SD 61 has approx. $9 M structural deficit yearly to meet our current levels of instruction and support. In my opinion, our current level of support, is woefully inadequate and does not meet the needs of many of our students and often they are our most vulnerable students. I urge parents and community members to  send their thoughts on this to their MLA, Minister of Education and the Premier.

#7 Motion–  Orcherton     Providing bus transportation for students to go to Lakehill from Sundance
 Motion failed. Voted for: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris   Voted against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally    Abstained; McEvoy  * I voted against the motion because the Sundance community DID NOT want to go to Lakehill. They did not see it a viable to travel across town and far away from their neighbourhood.

#8 Motion– Leonard   Cursive writing be maintained as a skill within the BC curriculum and this is to be presented as a motion at the BCSTA AGM in April, 2014   Motion passed unanimously.

Special Board Meeting to Address the Sundance School Closure ( This is the phrasing the parents requested to be used )
Wednesday, March 27, 2014
Motion- That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) approves the relocation of the Sundance Elementary School program to Lakehill Elementary School and closure of the current facility effective July 1, 2014. Motion passed. Voted for: Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, McEvoy  Voted against: Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally   Abstained: Alpha
* A very sad day to close a neighbourhood school that supports all its students, faculty, families and community so very well. If we had a well developed strategic plan with a founding principle that neighbourhood schools are our first priority to protect then we as trustees could have made other financial decisions over the past 5 years leading to a very different result.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr
deborah@deborahnohr.com
deborah@sprome.com

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Stay of Court Decision….Lots of Motions at the Board Table!

Trustee Nohr…Report #21      SD 61
February, 2014
Equality for All in  Public Education……Fully Funded and Properly Managed.
Latest Events for the Government, the BCTF and funding for Public Education (The Canadian Press- Feb. 26, 2014)
‘A judge has granted the B.C. government’s request to put on hold a costly court decision related to its contract with the province’s teachers until an appeal is heard.The government asked the B.C. Appeal Court to temporarily stay the ruling issued last month, which struck down legislation that removed class size and composition from the teachers’ contract.The lower court ruling also permitted the teachers’ union to distribute copies of its final argument, which contained references to sealed cabinet documents.The Appeal Court has granted stays to both aspects of the ruling until the appeal is heard, which is expected by May or June.Government lawyers had argued that allowing the ruling to stand would create chaos as school boards scrambled to hire teachers and find millions of dollars.The B.C. Supreme Court decision also found the government tried to provoke a strike by teachers and awarded the union $2 million.’
I am disappointed with the Court of Appeals’ decision to stay the BC Supreme Court decision. I recognize that a massive structural change would not be reasonable or prudent. There are, however, countless students not receiving adequate support and so a gradual funding injection may look like increasing counsellor support from one day a week to three or four days per week in each of our elementary and middle  schools….more support, no disruption, some hiring. Or it may look like additional aide time in some of our classes with a very high number of students that need more one to one instruction, supportive review or encouragement…again great for all students and the teachers with less disruption than currently taking place when needs are not being met…some new hiring. I support the process of putting  the majority of the funding into the September, 2014 structure as the planning will soon be underway.  I think the ‘disruption’ framing by the government is more like Chicken Little…the sky is falling! No, not at all.
Education Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights     February 3, 2014
New rugby courses are now available for grades 10, 11. 12 at Esquimalt High…available to all students.
Foundational Skills Assessment…Further Review
The Ministry stats that I included in my January, 2014 blog caused some concern. I would like to further clarify this issue.
On January 18, 2010 the Board passed the following motion: That the Board of Education of  School District  No. 61 (Greater Victoria) continues to honour all parent requests to withdraw from the Foundational Skills Assessment testing. Less and less students have been writing the test.
In 2007,  at the grade 4 and 7 level there were 7% of the students that did not write the FSA and in 2013 there were 23% of the students not writing the test. In my opinion, there are many reasons for this including: student reading level is not yet well developed and therefore the student may not be able to demonstrate skill mastery as they are impeded by their limited reading skills yet conceptually strong so why put them through a frustrating experience, lower cognitive ability, significant test taking anxiety, no funding to support students’ needs as reflected by test results, parental philosophical difference/ not supporting big, high stakes testing, parental support for teacher assessment and more personalized learning, a significant sense of frustration for students with special education designations…to name a few.  
SD 61 removes the 23% ( students not writing the FSA tests ) from their analysis. The Superintendent’s Report on Student Achievement (2013-2014) includes the following data: gr.4-83% meet or exceed expectations in Reading, 89% meet or exceed expectations in Writing, 81% meet or exceed expectations in  Numeracy; gr.7-82% meet or exceed expectations in Reading, 92% meet or exceed expectations in Writing, 77% meet or exceed expectations in Numeracy.
It is my opinion after having taught for many years as a special education teacher as well as having discussed the composition of the 23% with teachers that a significant number of these students would score below meeting or exceeding expectations for grade 4 and 7.  Over a decade of chronic underfunding is a major factor affecting student  achievement. Hope this adds clarity to the issue.
Operations, Planning and Policy Meeting… A Few Highlights… January 11, 2014
*The 2014-2015 school calendar is on the SD 61 website now…we still have a two week spring break.
*The amended annual budget Bylaw  2013-2014 totals $207, 798, 396 and it was passed unanimously
*The Board briefly discussed WorkSafe BC issues and the surcharges to our district. Surcharges are additional costs to our district.  We have asked our secretary treasurer for more detail about the  most prevalent areas of safety concern for our employees. The goal would be to do everything possible to reduce our surcharges….resulting in more funding for the students.  I will ask for some detail on this issue at our next Board meeting. The secretary treasurer will be reporting back.
The motion to support this inquiry is as follows:
Moved-Trustee Nohr
That the Board of Education of School District No.61 (Greater Victoria) request senior administration to provide a review of WorkSafeBC surcharges for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 for the February 2014 OPP meeting. Voted for– Trustees Orcherton, Nohr, McNally and Horsman  Voted Against: Trustee Leonard and Ferris   McEvoy absent

Another great motion…….Cyber Bullying  
Moved-Trustee Loring-Kuhanga
That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) develop  policies and regulations regarding cyber-bullying that are current with the proposed federal legislation, Bill C-13 by directing the District Leadership Team to review all SD 61 relevant policies and regulations and make recommendations to the Board of Education on any additions, changes and / or revisions that align with the Ministry of Education’s Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools.  * The motion was referred by Chair Leonard to senior administration for review.
Now for the Board Meeting     Monday, February 17, 2014   Lots of Motions…Take a Look!
Student Achievement
Students from  James Bay Community School presented on Habits of the Mind / Genius Hour
The students were confident and able to speak with clarity and understanding. It was obvious that they enjoyed their activities
Stakeholder Presentations
Community Presentations
Dr. Starla Anderson reminded us that the Q&A motion began back in Feb. 2011 She noted again, that most districts in the province have a Q&A. Dr. Anderson spoke about the important considerations to keep in mind when developing a public engagement policy and the important value that comes from the public’s experience and insight. She encouraged the Board to get its work done on Public Engagement by June, 2014.
Alex Nelson spoke about the residential school experience and impact it had for him, his family and community. He informed us that approx. 5000 students attended the Truth and Reconciliation gathering. Alex also emphasized the importance for all Canadians to be committed to living better as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation process.
Monique Gray-Smith – Little Drum shared the following’ We believe in the healing of our people.’ The 1892 smallpox epidemic resulted in the loss of 90% of their community. Let us invest in our common humanity. An Aboriginal history course required for graduation would inform and create the opportunity for positive change.
Motions
#1 MotionRugby Courses at Esquimalt High School gr. 10,11, 12
Motion: Passed
 For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Ferris, Leonard, Nohr,Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga  Against: Trustees McNally  Absent: McEvoy
#2 Motion2014-2015 School Year Calendar   Passed 
For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris, Alpha, McNally, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga   unanimous
#3 MotionNegotiate at the bargaining table

That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) write a letter to Premier Clark strongly urging the Provincial Government to return to the bargaining table, in good faith, to negotiate class size and composition language and to fully fund the agreed to language. Motion Failed   
For: Trustees Orcherton, Horsman, Leonard, Ferris  Against: Trustees Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally * I could not vote for this weak motion because it does NOT acknowledge the recent decision of the BC Supreme Court to restore the funding to public education in support of class composition and class size language.
#4 MotionSurcharges by WorkSafeBC Tabled to the March OPPs meeting.
#5 Motion 2013-2014 Amended Annual Budget Bylaw  Passed- unanimously
#6 MotionSundance School

That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) move the date for consideration of Sundance School as one of the suggested cost reductions to the March 27 Special Board Meeting 2014-2015 when all other reductions will be outlined. For: Trustees Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, Alpha, McNally, Orcherton, Horsman  Against: Trustees Leonard, Ferris


#7 MotionRequired Course for Graduation- The Residential School Experience
That the BCSTA follow up on all Motions that were passed at the 2013 AGM regarding residential schools and request that the Ministry of Education develop a required high school course for all graduates in public schools similar to the 25 hour course that is provided to all graduating students in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Passed- unanimously    I am very excited about this potential opportunity for our students and their families who will learn along side each other.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Trustee Deborah Nohr

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