News Item

Board Highlights (December 2017)

January 04, 2018

logo-vertical.jpgNotes from the December 20, 2017 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Education

Transportation Report

Manager of Facilities & Transportation, Andy Dobson, brought a quarterly transportation update to the Board informing them of quick facts as well as 2017 fleet and performance information.  SECPSD has three transportation shops, one in each of Estevan, Moosomin and Weyburn, along with 3 transportation supervisors, 5 technicians, 173 bus drivers, 39 substitute drivers, 114 SECPSD routes and 42 First Student routes as well as 53 fleet vehicles.  Mr. Dobson noted that the number of bus routes will decrease by one as the Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation is planning to provide their own bussing starting in the new year.

For the period from September to current, 2017 SECPSD transported 4,199 students on 156 regular routes. There were 61.5 route cancellations primarily attributed to there being no substitute drivers available.  The average age of the bus fleet is 2009 with the average one-way ride time being 48 minutes and the longest one-way ride time being 90 minutes (Torquay/Estevan).  Transportation challenges continue to be the lack of spare bus drivers and inclement weather (fog and ice) conditions in the south east.

Information Systems Report

A report provided to the Board by Brian Belinsky, now commencing his fifth year as Manager of Information Systems (I.S.) with SECPSD, touched on three levels: Division (Office 365 Project and Security), School (Technology and VoIP upgrades) and Department (Information Systems Plan).  He was pleased to announce that the Office 365 project has been completed and met the goals of having student and staff accounts moved to or created in Canadian tenancy, staff email data migrated from on premise to the cloud and staff OneDrive and OneNote data migrated from U.S. to Canadian tenancy. In addition, students and staff have access to the full suite of Office 365 applications, which he noted are heavily utilized, including Office Suite and Exchange Online.  Ongoing security measures will be taken to review current systems and practices with a focus on proactively taking steps to strengthen network security.

Now in year four of a five year school technology upgrade cycle, in 2017-2018 eight schools are slated for upgrades (MacLeod Elementary School and McNaughton High School in Moosomin, Lampman School, Macoun School, Spruce Ridge School in Estevan, 33 Central School in Fillmore, Ogema School and Radville Regional High School) which will focus on mobile technology for staff and students, pod growth in schools, extended device life cycle and infrastructure support.  In addition, there will be VoIP upgrades carried out at Carnduff Education Complex and at Pleasantdale School.  Currently VoIP is supported in 26/37 schools plus the division office.

An outline of the Information System Team's Technology Plan which will include the development of a 3-5 year direction for I.S. with the Senior Leadership Team and Board in the coming months was also shared with the Board.  The plan will focus on cloud expansion opportunities, federated services, shared services and cost recovery applications.

By-Election, City of Weyburn

With the receipt of the resignation of board member Warren Betker, the Board passed a motion to hold a by-election in the City of Weyburn on Wednesday, March 7, 2018.  Nomination day will be Wednesday, January 31, 2018; the same as the by-election slated for the City of Estevan.  The incoming board member for the City of Weyburn will have three years left of a four year term to fill. Board Chair Audrey Trombley expressed appreciation for Mr. Betker's time of service on the Board of Education.  Other board members mentioned that they will miss Mr. Betker's educational perspective at the board table.  "I will miss him and I think he was an excellent board member," said Elwood White, "and I wish him the best in the future."  Mr. Betker joined the Board in the fall of 2014 when he was elected to complete the term left vacant due to the passing of long time board member Len Williams.  Mr. Betker then continued in his role upon re-election to the Board in October 2016. 

Quarterly Operating and Financial Report

The Quarterly Finance Report was presented by Chief Financial Officer Shelley Toth.  The report presented was reflective of revenue and expenses received and incurred up to November 30, 2017.  The Statement of Operations indicates that revenue of $6,933,195 was received up to November 30, 2017, while expenses incurred up to this period of time were $23,899,755.  The projection shows a decrease in revenue from budget of $149,388 as a result of the Ministry's adjustment to the funding model for September 30th actual enrolments.  The expenses are currently projected to remain on budget in all areas.  One item noted that occurred subsequent to the report date was the signing of an agreement for additional support under the Federal Jordan's Principal Grant.  An additional $25,000 in support will be received and paid to families for respite care under this program. 

Student Wellbeing

Cheryl Anderson, Coordinator of Student Services, brought a report to the Board with respect to supports for student wellbeing and wellness in SECPSD and explained why the school division is focusing on this initiative, and the initial steps that have been taken thus far and future plans.

In studying Our School data we know that we have moderate to high levels of anxiety as reported by approximately 25% of students in grades 4-12, Mrs. Anderson indicated.  This was evident through students' responses, via a four point rating scale, to statements such as, "I worry about what other students think about me.  I am too fearful or nervous.  I worry about people laughing at me.  I worry about a teacher asking me a question," in the Our School survey data completed by Grades 4-12 students. A comparison of three years of data showed that the range in the anxiety data for all grade levels has remained relatively constant with Grades 4-8 ranging from 20-26% for 2014-2015 to 20-24% for 2016-2017 and for Grades 7-12 ranging from 19-26% for 2014-2015 to 19-25% for 2016-2017.  Within the system plan, it has also been determined that supports for developing a positive sense of belonging and a positive sense of relationships will be targeted.

The percentages of students in Grades 4-8 and in Grades 7-12 for the period 2014-2015 to 2016-2017 with a positive sense of belonging has been increasing with Grades 4-8 now at 75-83% and Grades 7-12 at 67-77%.  Some indicators are survey responses to statements such as:  I make friends easily at school.  I feel accepted for whom I am.  School is a place where I feel like I belong.  I feel accepted by other kids my age.

Data with respect to students in Grades 4-8 with a positive sense of relationships has seen a slight increase over the past three years with the percentage for 2016-2017 being 85-88% as opposed to 80-88% in 2014-2015.  For Grades 7-12 there has been some increase in the top end from the first year, but the bottom end continues to drop (74-78% in 2014-2015 to 72=77% in 2015-2016 to 70-80% for 2016-2017).  This relates to responses to:  Do you have close friends at school that you can trust?  I talk to a friend at school about my feelings.  I get along with others at school.  I listen to my friends when making decisions.

Mrs. Anderson stated, "In order to reach our graduation goal we know we must focus on student wellbeing.  Safety, sense of belonging and positive relationships need to be in place before impactful learning takes place."  She stated that although the general perception in community may be that graduation is grade 12, high school, we all know that it starts the minute students step into our doors in PreKindergarten and Kindergarten and that the ultimate end goal is graduation.

Some of the main actions that the division is undertaking are researching programs and promoting effective practices in developing wellness in students through looking at what other school divisions are doing, researching a system wide plan around wellness, developing a committee to discuss staff wellness and at present having three schools pilot the Canadian Mental Health Literacy Curriculum resource in Grade 9 Health or Grade 10 Wellness.

SECPSD's plan of action includes Mental Health First Aid training which was held this month for all of the Grade 9 Health teachers, through a partnership with Mental Health who provided two trainers who taught six modules including self-harm, eating disorders and anxiety.  In addition, the Ministry of Education offered school divisions a grant to a maximum of $8,000 to provide the training which will help with mileage and sub costs.  Mrs. Anderson noted that some of the east schools also got together and provided training for staff.

In addition, on January 31st Mrs. Anderson will meet with division counsellors regarding creating Wellness Walls in schools.  Further, a Professional Development Hub was provided through an online delivery model incorporating teacher choice.  The Hub has been set up for teachers to support their professional growth plans and to support school improvement plans.

SECPSD is very pleased to have the support of the Weyburn and Estevan Police Services in bringing three valuable presentations focusing on safety to students in the coming months:  Kids On The Block (for Grades K-5), Bullying Ends Here-Tad Milmine (for Grades 6-11 in March) and Before You Hit Send (focusing on Grades 4-6, 7-8 and 9-12 starting in February).

The groundwork has begun and SECPSD will continue to move forward in their commitment to creating a sustainable, solid ongoing action plan for the emotional wellbeing of students.


The Board acknowledged receipt of correspondence from the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association expressing appreciation to Jake Weidenhamer, teacher at Rocanville, and Mike Gowan, Vice-Principal at Rocanville School for their excellence in hosting the 2017 Provincial Volleyball Championships this fall.

Articles by Norm Park (Mr. Park was not available for the meeting.)

Upcoming Meetings

January 17, 2018Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
January 17, 2018Regular (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