News Item

Board Highlights (September 2017)

September 29, 2017


Notes from the September 27, 2017 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division(SECPSD) Board of Education

Monitoring Report on System Goal #1 - Our students have opportunities to learn and succeed in every school.

Director of Education, Lynn Little, presented a Monitoring Report to the Board showcasing evidence of System Goal #1.  Mrs. Little explained that while the division's learning plan focuses on overall student achievement, at the school and class level each student's individual learning is supported.  Further, the division regularly monitors student achievement and establishes plans, supported by a wide range of professional staff, to assist individual students who may not be achieving at grade level, as well as to support staff as they work with students to enable all students to learn and succeed.  Mrs. Little also provided graphs showing three years of data relating to on-time graduation rates (87.1% for SECPSD students, which is 10.6% higher than the overall provincial average) as well as extended-time graduation rates (89.6% for SECPSD students, which is 5.6% greater than the overall provincial average) with SECPSD's learning plan aiming for a 90% graduation rate in a three year window and 95% in a five year window.

Further evidence of System Goal #1 was celebrated via two presentations.

  1. Lise Bechard-Fuller, Early Learning and Care Consultant in the east service area, presented to the Board a report on her section of the division's Early Learning and Care program, which pertained to providing support to children from birth to 5 years of age and to their families. Ms. Bechard-Fuller portrayed her responsibilities which include in-home visits, referrals to outside agencies for other supports and services, transitioning to prekindergarten and/or kindergarten, support and education to parents, developmental screening and networking links to parents. Growth in her program resulted in an increase from five clients in 2011/12 to approximately 37 clients in 2017/18 with home visits climbing from 36 in 2012/13 to 431 in 2016/17 and Head Start program visits from 43 to 207 in the same time frame.  She has found that a key to success is the well-equipped tool kit that is ever present on her weekly journeys to the eight communities she services.  In addition, modelling language, play, songs, books and other appropriate resources and manipulatives utilized during the daily visits help develop the skills required for the ultimate goal of making each child and family as ready for a school system as possible.
  2. The division's three Educational Psychologists, Sharleen Iversen, Bev Magel and Pat Podjan, who were introduced by Cheryl Anderson, Coordinator of Student Services, presented the Board with an overview of their role as well as the purpose and process for carrying out educational psychological assessments for students, which although standardized, result in no two reports ever being the same. Clarification was given that the three professionals are non-clinical psychologists whose purpose is to gather information to inform teaching and to guide program (classroom) planning; to identify students' needs in order to help them maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses in order to help them learn and succeed and that it is absolutely never about labelling.  The three psychologists explained the before, during and after steps in the assessment process including the responsibilities of the Inter-Professional Collaborative Team (IPCT) whose work culminates in the completion of a Consultative Team Plan (CTP) after which there is always follow-up to monitor the student's progress.  The report concluded with data for 2016/17 indicating the total number of assessments performed was 95, with the numbers typically peaking around significant grade level transitions (i.e. grades 6 and 9), along with success stories from the three service areas.

The Lord's Prayer
In accordance with The Education Act, 1995 the Board passed a motion in support of requests from the four School Community Councils of Carievale, Gladmar, Queen Elizabeth and MacLeod for recitation of the Lord's Prayer or a moment of reflection during opening or assembly activities. 

Ad Hoc Committee Re:  Education in Radville
An ad hoc committee comprised of board members Elwood White, Warren Betker, Shari Sutter and Audrey Trombley was established by motion to discuss with the Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division the delivery of education in the community of Radville, with Mrs. Trombley being appointed chair of the committee.

Board Evaluation
The Board passed a motion acknowledging receipt of the findings and recommendations resulting from five surveys completed by the board members for the 2016-2017 school year.  The evaluations focused on: Board Self-Evaluation, Board Chair Evaluation, Audit Committee Evaluation, Governance and Human Resources Evaluation and a Board Skills Inventory Survey.  The surveys are conducted and results are analyzed by the Board on an annual basis.

Sector Wide Efficiency Bulk Fuel Purchasing
CFO Shelley Toth explained that as a result of a goal in the Education Sector Strategic Plan to find sector-wide efficiencies, the provincial committee that was struck for that purpose identified bulk fuel purchase as an area where savings could be realized. This resulted in all 28 school divisions agreeing to join the government's standing order with Federated Co-operatives Ltd. and purchase their fuel using their card lock locations wherever reasonable commencing this month. It is estimated that cost savings across the province will be approximately $1 million per year. Ms. Toth reported that 80% of SECPSD's bus fuel was already being purchased at a Co-op.

Community Use of Schools
Lynn little reported that the division's new administrative procedure (AP) for Community Use of School Facilities was created in an effort to standardize practices across the system with a view to ensuring that the resources that are intended to support children's education are used for that purpose.   The AP ensures that school and school division functions will have first priority for use of schools outside of regular school hours and that in the event of community use a fee structure is in place to recover costs (i.e. for opening/closing the school, paper products, cleaning expenses, as well as the repair and upkeep of the facility, particularly for wood floors and covers to protect the floors).  The AP was implemented at the start of the school year.

Office 365 Migration
Brian Belinsky, Manager of Information Systems, updated the Board with respect to the Office 365 project which began in the fall of 2015 which purposed to move student email and data back to Canada from the U.S., move staff email off premise, relocate any previously created staff Office 365 data and create Office 365 accounts for all staff, and to reduce the data load on SECPSD servers as well as reduce associated Information Systems staff time to support.  In addition, a domain change from to was approved and undertaken which is compatible with the majority of Saskatchewan school divisions and allows for greater ease in data migration. Mr. Belinsky provided a complete project timeline and concluded by reporting that the project is approximately one month past projected completion with the majority of the work now done.

Board Vice-Chair Carol Flynn, who chaired the board meeting, was pleased to highlight correspondence received from the Prairie South School Division wherein Superintendent of Schools Shelley Sargent, as a member of the provincial Graduation Rates Leadership Team, was praised for her excellent leadership and contribution during the 2016-17 school year in the area of graduation rate improvement related to the goals in the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) for Saskatchewan.  As well, Mrs. Flynn noted the commendation of Ryan Fowler, Vice-Principal at Weyburn Comprehensive School, by the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) for his willingness to serve on the association's Executive Council for the 2017-18 school year.

Quarterly Operating and Financial Report
The Quarterly Finance Report was presented by Marilyn Yurkiw, Manager of Finance.  The report presented was reflective of revenue and expenses received and incurred up to August 31, 2017.  As the year end process is completed to wrap up the fiscal year, both revenue and expense amounts will vary somewhat from the amounts presented.  Yearend adjusting entries to recognize taxation revenue, amortization expenses, and various payable expenses have not yet been completed.  Areas within the revenue and expense categories which will have variances from the budget amounts were reviewed and discussed.  Ms. Yurkiw shared with the Board the dates scheduled for the upcoming year end audits.  A full presentation of the Financial Statements for the year ending August 31, 2017 will be presented to the Board following the audit process.

Articles by Norm Park
Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:  Financials; Educational Psychologists; Staffing, Prayer & Partnerships; Office 365 Migration

Upcoming Meetings

October 4, 2017   - Board Strategic Planning Meeting

October 11, 2017 - Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting

October 11, 2017 - Regular (Public) Board Meeting

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For more information, please contact:

South East Cornerstone Public School Division

80A-18th Street N.E., Weyburn, SK S4H 2W4

Telephone:  (306) 848-0080