Board of Education Report October 18, 2017
On October the 11th at the Board of Education’s monthly Education Committee meeting, school teams presented their plans for the 2017/18 school year and beyond to address student achievement and success. All Schools are using an inquiry framework to guide their work. Schools scanned what was going on with their learners to determine priorities to address. A common theme for focus was improving academic achievement through Social and Emotional Learning (school connectedness, sense of belonging, self-regulation) and improving student engagement. It was very evident in the presentations that school learning plans are aligned with and supported by inquiry time, professional growth plans and professional learning opportunities. This kind of alignment brings coherence and meaning to school and district improvement efforts. We as a district can be very proud of all the great initiatives in our district and all the wonderful opportunities that is afforded to our students through the quality learning opportunities that are provided for the staff in SD53.
We would like to thank TD Bank Group for their sponsorship of the Grade 1 Book Give-A-Way through the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. This year, to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial, each Grade 1 student will be taking home a special edition of the book Good Morning, Canada, written and illustrated by Andrea Lynn Beck and published by scholastic Canada. It is our hope that these books will be enjoyed by parents and guardians and their Grade 1 children as they read these books together.
District staff has been working with the Union and school principals regarding the restored language and the Memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Education and the BC Teacher’s Federation. Restored language is in place for class size and composition. Despite best efforts in the spring to create more classrooms and course sections, we will have classes that are not in compliance due to student enrolment changes. As a monthly remedy, teachers in classes that are not in compliance will be eligible for additional time for preparation, non-enrolling teacher support time, enrolling teaching time, or other as agreed on between the Union and the Superintendent. Classes are reviewed at each month end to determine compliance.
The Ministry announced the continuation of the Rural Education Enhancement Funding for the 2018/19 school year. While we do not need to reapply for these funds, we can make application if we have increased costs. The district will review current costs and will submit an application before the deadline of February 15th, 2018.
Our District was also eligible to apply for the Recruitment and Retention Workforce Sustainability Fund; this fund is an initiative of BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) for rural districts. Our district applied for and received an amount of $35,000 in June 2017. To date our district has expended $17,000 to defray moving expenses of newly hired teachers and vice-principals.
September 30th is the day that districts have to submit their Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Student numbers to the Ministry of Education and this enrolment number is the basis on which the district receive funding for the 2017/18 school year. This year our district shows a slight increase in FTE student numbers – we have 2336.3750 FTE in comparison to 2316.5000 (2016) so a total increase of 19.875 FTE students. Large increases in student numbers were at YouLearn (Grad Adult/Sec Ungraded), Southern Okanagan Secondary school, Cawston and SESS and Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School.
At our Policy Committee Meeting the Board of Education reviewed a draft Budget Monitoring and Reporting Policy. This policy was developed in response to the Financial Health Working Group’s recommendation. At the Regular Board meeting this Policy (Policy C-10) was given notice of motion and will be sent to partner groups for input. This policy is also on our website and we are awaiting input from the public and partner groups before the Policy is adopted. As part of our review of policies we also discussed minor revisions to Policy A-1 (Planning Process) and Policy A-5 (Policy development, Adoption, Review, Revision and Deletion). The last two revised policies can be seen on our website as attachments to our Regular Meeting Agenda.
The Board of Education received a letter from Finance Minister Carole James informing Boards that the Minister is interested in restoring a more direct role for elected school trustees in BCPSEA (the bargaining arm for the BC School Trustee’s Association). Our district welcomes this change and has written a letter to the Minister of Education to thank them for the announcement and to request replacing the current public administrator of BCPSEA with a Board of Directors made up of Trustees to resume the oversight of BCPSEA.
Trustees also attended a Branch Meeting for BCSTA in Revelstoke on the weekend. At the Branch meeting there were discussions around the 2019 bargaining process with the BC Teachers’ Federation as well as highlights in education from all of the other Boards of Education in our Branch. Trustees benefitted from sharing and networking with other Boards from across the Branch.
This week the Superintendent, Secretary Treasurer and Board Chair, along with other Board Chairs and senior staff, will attend meetings in Vancouver with the Ministry of Education. Topics in this annual liaison meeting include vision and Ministry priorities, enhancing student learning, fostering strong leadership in support of student success, and funding for public education.
Should you have any questions, please contact me at 250-498-1333.
Submitted by Marieze Tarr, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen