News Item

Board Highlights (February 2018)

March 02, 2018

Notes from the February 28, 2018 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Educationlogo-vertical.jpg 

Monitoring Report on System Goal #3

Director of Education Lynn Little presented a monitoring report to the Board on System Goal #3 – Our division and its schools effectively use information to measure, monitor and report continuous improvement.  She stated that collected data is used to support teachers in their instruction, to report progress to parents, to provide evidence of targets met at the school level and system level and to indicate areas where schools and the division should provide additional focus.  On a chart listing reporting tools and assessments that were completed at the schools during the last school year and to date four new assessments were highlighted:  Assessment Evaluation Program System for Infants and Children (AEPS), 4-6 Math, 4, 7, 9 Writing and Secondary Literacy Assessment Matters (SLAM). 

In addition, Little stated that each of the three Superintendents of Schools maintains a data wall which enables them to examine the data for their area schools which is then used to guide conversations with school administration. An assessment of a cohort of students in grade 1-8 to determine the impact of the "summer slide" in students' reading scores indicated that reading levels had remained steady or increased by the end of a three year period. Further, the board heard that the division is working to implement a strategy to enhance advocacy particularly in high schools in order to decrease chronic and severely chronic absences among students. 

Little shared a success story of how in the spring of 2016-2017 grade 2 students screened low in reading and that plans were strategically set in motion to make it a SECPSD wide priority for fall start-up using an "all hands on deck approach" with a goal to get the students on track to meet set targets.  After 10 weeks of intervention supports there was an overall increase of 5.5% in students screening in "green" (increased reading scores). The division continues to monitor students' progress, analyze the data looking for hot spots or trends, engage all team members in data conversations and build administrator capacity in understanding and interpreting data.

Kim Locken, Principal of Lyndale School in Oungre, provided further evidence of success of System Goal #3 through her PowerPoint presentation which focused on continuous improvement achieved at her school.  Her mantra, "We know our students!" was clearly evident.  Locken explained how she and her staff, along with the assistance of division supports, focus on each of the 55 Lyndale School students through application of the data cycle: 1) begin with a measurement of some sort to gather data, 2) review the individual needs that become apparent through the analysis of data, 3) plan accordingly, 4) monitor results, review interventions and 5) reporting findings. Afterwards there may be a need to re-measure or to go back to the planning stage.  A sample spreadsheet which was created to daily, weekly and monthly monitor and track the progress of each student in order to provide interventions and support, as required, was displayed in the presentation.

Locken pointed out that data is also used for school improvement planning, resource management, school community council supports, professional development and for professional growth plans which align with the school goals which align with the division goals and ultimately the Education Sector Strategic Plan.  After reviewing data from Review 360, for example, staff came up with the "Lyndale ROARS," which is a simplification of student expectations: Respectful, Optimistic, Accountable and Responsible which are prominently displayed in the school via a catchy image, designed by a parent, depicting a friendly lion holding a sign with the four words.  Staff incorporate lessons that explain the meaning of the four words and have recognized students caught exhibiting the expected behaviours.  Locken reported that this has effected student wellness and helped the overall climate in the school.

Ratification of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4869 Agreement

A motion was passed by the Board of Education to ratify the two-year agreement as negotiated between the Board of Education and the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4869 for the period September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2018.  CUPE encompasses school bus drivers, administrative assistants, library technicians, educational assistants, caretakers and some counsellors.

Land Transfer

The Board passed a motion to make application to the Minister of Education to amend the boundary with Good Spirit School Division to transfer several land locations from Good Spirit to SECPSD. Good Spirit is expected to pass a similar motion at their March 15th board meeting. Board Chair Audrey Trombley explained that this is to formalize the transportation of children whose families prefer to have their land in the SECPSD.

Facilities & Transportation Department Annual Report

Andy Dobson, Manager of Facilities & Transportation, presented his first high level departmental report to the Board since transportation was added to his portfolio in January, 2017, noting that there are three separate sectors within the combined department:  Caretaking, Operations and Transportation.  There are 217 employees servicing 52 buildings and 113 regular bus routes with 158 buses to maintain/safety and 49 fleet vehicles to manage.   In addition, the maintenance staff now service eight buses belonging to the Holy Family school division.  Although not without some challenges, transportation has been successfully integrated into the department and into the department's strategic plan which is reviewed and updated annually. The department theme centers around accountability, efficiency and equity. Dobson reported on successes with one being the 9th annual department in-service which was held in Arcola on October 13 with 90% of staff in attendance.  The one day event also afforded the opportunity to celebrate the October provincial bus driver appreciation day.  The next in-service will be held in Estevan, followed by Weyburn.  The department has been reviewing and amending some transportation administrative procedures and the manual with updates to be completed effective September, 2018.

Dobson outlined a number of department challenges including aging infrastructure (mostly heating systems at the end of their lifespan) and an aging bus fleet.  He reported that work can usually be carried out on a maximum of three roofs per year, which roofs are identified and prioritized through the annual inspections done by Roof Management and Inspection Services (RMIS) with whom there is an excellent working relationship.  With the average age of the bus fleet being 2010, 8-10 buses should potentially be replaced per year just to keep up.  However, the budget only allowed for five buses to be purchased over the past two years. The Ministry's Capital Procurement Pilot in which SECPSD, along with Prairie Spirit School Division, is participating has also created challenges, one being that the process is extremely onerous.

The design phase of the new PreK-6 Weyburn elementary school was reported as both a challenge and a success.  The design committee viewed other schools and are taking many lessons from Regina's Ecole Connaught Community School which he characterized as an "amazing school" and which coincidentally had the same architect as was selected for the new build.  Dobson presented several schematic design diagrams of the two-story school building (7,483 sq. meters), including photos of the Connaught school, showing elevation and floor plans, noting that it is a hybrid of a 21st century learning design. The build will include both an urban and rural transportation hub, a large gymnasium (540 sq. meters), a 51-seat child care space and a partnership with the City of Weyburn.

Further, Dobson updated the Board with respect to the SECPSD's preventative maintenance and renewal plan for 2017-2018 and provided a current chart of the school division's three-year preventative maintenance and renewal plan for 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21, both of which align with the Ministry's fiscal year (April to May).   In accordance with information provided by Dobson, the Board passed a motion identifying a new Carlyle Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 school and an upgrade to Estevan Comprehensive School as the top major capital projects to be submitted to the Ministry by March 16.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:

Continuous Improvement, Dobson Presentation, Meeting with MLAs, Reading Project

Upcoming Meetings

     March 22, 2018Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
March 22, 2018Regular (Public) Board Meeting
March 25-27, 2018National Congress on Rural Education in Canada


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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