News Item

Board Highlights (March 2018)

March 26, 2018

​Notes from the March 22, 2018 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Educationlogo-vertical.jpg


New Board Members

Board Chair Audrey Trombley was pleased to welcome two new board members to the table as a result of the March 7th by-elections held in Estevan and Weyburn.  Jim Vermeersch, an accountant, replaces Pam Currie as one of two representatives for the City of Estevan while Brandon Tichkowsky, a contractor, will replace Warren Betker as one of two representatives for the City of Weyburn.  The Board of Education once again has a full complement, with ten members, whose current term will expire in 2020.

Transportation Report

In the second of three brief transportation reports being presented to the Board of Education this school year, Andy Dobson, Manager of Facilities and Transportation, informed the Board that the total number of students transported was 3,295 in the second period as opposed to 4,199 in the first.  In addition, there were 362.5 route cancellations as opposed to 61.5 in the same period with 317 of the cancellations being weather-related (fog/ice), 26 pertaining to mechanical issues and 19.5 on account of there being no substitute drivers.  With five new buses scheduled to arrive in a couple of weeks, the average age of the bus fleet will change from 2009 to 2010. Dobson informed the Board that the Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation will provide their own bussing service starting April 9 for a route that was formerly contracted by First Student. He put out a plea for anyone desiring to drive bus for SECPSD to contact him as there is always a need for sub drivers.  The final transportation report for the 2017-2018 school year will be presented in June.

Curriculum Report

Michael Graham, in his first year as Coordinator of Curriculum, presented a departmental report to the Board explaining that he is responsible for remaining current in effective practices to lead, review, assess and improve educational programming; lend support in ensuring our teachers and schools are actualizing the Saskatchewan curriculum in all subject areas for Grades 6-12, as well to liaise with the Ministry of Education.  He coordinates the roles and duties of both the career team and the curriculum team in providing direct support to teachers across the division. He is also responsible for budgeting for all subject resource purchases, itinerant teachers, band programming, home-school (which currently has an enrolment of 166 students, some of whom access Cyber Stone Virtual School courses) and is connected with several "side gigs," as he called them, such as sitting on the SECPSD Graduation Rate Improvement Team committee, being a member of the provincial Senior Science Implementation Support Team and coordinating the 2018 SouthEast Regional Science Festival. He was pleased to report that there are nine schools registered to participate in the Science Festival happening at Weyburn Comprehensive School during the week starting March 26, comprising over 100 students and 70 projects.

Graham is also happy to be associated with The Learning Partnership's Turning Point writing lesson based competition initiative, a character awareness and literacy program that provides opportunities for students in Grades 6-12 to read, write and think about their fundamental values. Ten SECPSD schools are participating with upwards of 300 students registered to join in the lessons.  SECPSD is working together with Holy Family school division which already had one school involved in the program.

With a focus on ELA this year the division transitioned from having three general curriculum consultants to a language arts and literacy coaching model.  The two ELA coaches (one of whom services the south area schools and some schools in the far east and the other who services the west area schools and schools as far east as Carlyle and Manor), work with a grade 10 focus with our English teachers with the goal of students achieving at a higher level in ELA.  The work is based on promising practices from My Student First Classroom resources. The coaches look after the structure while Graham helps with some of the content background.  Graham explained that SECPSD has teachers who are experts in content and may just require support in implementing the structures in the different subjects.  The Secondary Literacy Assessment Matters "SLAM" was adapted to fit into curricular areas (ELA, Social, Science and Math) and piloted assessments were done in 11 schools.  The assessment became part of the secondary literary plan focusing on instructional practices which has progressively moved from the primary grades, to make an impact early on, to put these practices in place in high school classes to see the promising practices experiences happening in all our schools, not just in ELA but in cross disciplines. Graham said, "We are putting in literacy practices in order to ensure literacy infusion in other subjects as well."  Part of the ELA strategy is that the coaches have been working with some Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and the mentorship program to ensure we are getting the promising practices out into schools so students can feel the impact.  Graham manages the PLCs and the mentorship program for the division.

With the Ministry of Education's curriculum renewal processes underway (articulated by three guiding principles for curriculum development through reference committees, writing groups, teacher pilots and classroom implementation, all currently at different stages of implementation) for secondary social sciences, secondary arts education, physical education 20/30 and secondary practical and applied arts which restarted in the fall of 2017, Graham was pleased to report that SECPSD teachers have been selected to serve on three of the four reference committees and 2 out of 11 applicants have already been selected for the writing groups with further selections from across the province to be announced shortly. Some of the courses being renewed were developed as early as the 1980s. 

The career team includes one career services consultant and seven career development counsellors (two at Estevan Comprehensive School; two at Weyburn Comprehensive School and three rural counsellors) with total staffing equating to 3.5 full time equivalents.  The team works with MyBlueprint (education planning software) in helping students be successful and to graduate by providing supports through alternative pathway courses, assisting grade 12 students with post-secondary applications and providing in-class supports for career outcomes/courses.

Graham spoke of the various opportunities afforded students to obtain sufficient or even excess credits for graduation.  He reported that since the 2010-2011 school year to date 1,710 credits have been earned through Alternative Pathways courses; 239 credits have been earned through Special Project Credits levels 10, 20 and 30; 178 credits were earned in Apprenticeship A20, B20, A30 and B30; and students earned 1,339 Career and Workplace Experience credits.  In addition, students have availed themselves of the opportunity to earn dual credits where they are able to receive credit for their high school transcript as well as credit from a post-secondary institute. Graham's report indicated that for 2017-2018 there were 54 successful credit recoveries where for grades 10-12, students and staff have a 30 day window after the class ends to work on specific pieces to achieve and submit credit recovery of marks relating to missing assignments, revisions, rewrites and individual instruction.

The report indicated that professional development for teachers was majorly accessed through technology rather than face to face learning opportunities, with principals acting as facilitators in their buildings.  The curriculum coordinator provided an update with respect to the continued joint effort between the facilities and curriculum departments on the audits of chemical labs and PAA labs across the division indicating that SECPSD is completing school-level actions to meet additional recommendations from the audits.

Graham joined SECPSD in 2012 teaching at Yellow Grass School for two years, followed by three years in the principal role before becoming a member of the division's Learning Support Team when he assumed the curriculum coordinator position at the division's head office in August of 2017.

2018-2019 School Year Calendar

Keith Keating, who commenced the role of Deputy Director on August 1, 2017, provided the Board with a report on the calendar setting process for the 2018-2019 school year pointing out that, as in the past, the calendar was established in consultation with a variety of stakeholders. The calendar vote results indicated that both SECPSD and Holy Family staff favoured calendar option #1 (SECPSD 75%, HF 58%). Option #1 provides for a longer Christmas break while Option #2 provided for two additional long weekends.  The 2018-2019 calendar was approved by the Board and can be accessed at on the front page under Documents.

Monitoring Report on Board Goal 12.3

A monitoring report on the Director's role with respect to fiscal responsibility as outlined in #3 of Board Policy 12 was brought to the Board by Shelley Toth, Chief Financial Officer/Superintendent of Division Services. Supported by accompanying evidence, Toth reported 100% compliance pertaining to the required six fiscal areas which include: 1) management, 2) operation, 3) insurance coverage, 4) emergency expenditures, 5) budget adjustments within approved categories up to an accumulated total of one hundred thousand dollars; and 6) business continuity and security of the division's information management and technology assets.

Quarterly Operating 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 February 28, 2018.  The Statement of Operations indicates that revenue of $27,117,593 was received up to February 28, 2018, while expenses incurred up to this period of time were $51,247,186. As of the report date the school division's year to date expenses total approximately 49.8 % of budget.  This illustrates the division is remaining on track financially as we are half way into our current fiscal year. 

The projection shows our revenue to be over budget by $495,893.  This is the actual enrollment grant adjustment along with the mid-year grant funding, an increase to interest revenue and proceeds from an insurance claim at Weyburn Comprehensive School.  The projected expenses show a total over expenditure of $133,577.  This is reflective of some budget reductions to travel, communication, service and supply budgets but also higher than expected amortization costs and costs associated with the upgrades to PAA and lab classrooms that were board approved late last year.  Funds for these specific projects were set up as restricted funds in our surplus at the end of the 2016-2017 year to accommodate them in the current fiscal year.​

Articles by Norm Park

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

Curriculum Presentation, Monitoring Report, Transportation Report

Upcoming Meetings

March 25-27, 2018National Congress on Rural Education in Canada
April 9, 2018Board Strategic Planning Meeting
April 12, 2018SSBA Public Section Executive Meeting
April 12, 2018SSBA Board Chairs Council
April 12-13, 2018SSBA Spring General Assembly
April 18, 2018Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
April 18, 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