News Item

Board Highlights (May 2018)

May 18, 2018

SECPSD logo-vertical.jpgNotes from the May 16, 2018 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Education

Early Learning Report

Jacquelene Gibbs, who in August, 2017 began her role as the division's new Coordinator of Early Learning, brought a 50-minute report to the Board on early learning programming in SECPSD.  The report focused on the Early Learning and Care Program, Kids First and school age programming, a new initiative for preschoolers in the division as well as the professionals who make up the early learning team.  Gibbs' enthusiasm for her work was clearly evident throughout her presentation.

The Coordinator launched her delineation with a salute to her predecessor saying, "It was wonderful to serve as a Consultant under Sandi Klatt's leadership" and that she considers herself lucky to pick up where Klatt, who retired at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year, left off.  

Gibbs outlined the four goals of the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) that guide the work of her department which staffs three elementary Curriculum Consultants, nine Speech/Language Pathologists, five Early Learning Consultants and one Kids First Community Liaison.  She presented a chart showing that the early learning caseload has grown from 32 in the fall of 2011 to 133 in the fall of 2017.  New to the early learning (ages 0-5) program this year is the Assessments, Evaluations and Programming System (AEPS) which is used by all Early Childhood Intervention Programs (ECIPs) across the province to report growth and development to the ministry for the children on their caseloads.  SECPSD staff have been collecting baseline data for children new to the caseload since April 1, 2017 and first test period data for 11 children.  Results indicate growth in every skill area with a comparison of the baseline (B) and testing period 1 scores (T) resulting in: Adaptive (63.9% B, 78.4% T); Cognitive (67.4% B, 80.7% T); Fine Motor (80.9% B, 88.5% T); Gross Motor (81.8% B, 87.3% T); Social (77.5% B, 81.3% T) and Social-Communication (52.9% B, 69.3% T).

Gibbs was very pleased with the considerable average "growth over 3 month intervals" results for the eleven children for whom the division has AEPS assessment data.  She shared quotes from parents who were equally as pleased with the developmental growth of their children.

The report mentioned the role of the Kids First Community Liaison which focuses on family/child connections through community baby showers, parenting programs, car seat clinics, FASD prevention events, IMPACT and newcomer events as well as the Main Mobile which will come rolling through communities bringing educational resources in the coming days. Since the fall of 2017 the Regional KidsFirst Community Liaison has worked with schools, libraries, and family centres to directly impact 808 children and parents.

Gibbs explained that there are nine Prekindergarten programs in seven locations in the division providing a total of 144 spaces for 3 and 4 year olds, with there being such a high demand that usually 2-3 times more applications are received than can be accommodated across the locations.  The importance of family engagement with school, whether through special skills and interests of parents, home visits to celebrate learning and growth or other forms of engagement, was emphasized with a really high value being placed on relationships with parents.

In late 2017 Speech and Language Pathologists were linked to the early learning portfolio.  These specialists screen all students for speech and language skills.  Gibbs also spoke to the benefit of focus school support where consultants will come alongside teachers to assist them in learning and implementing new strategies in a 6-8 week period through an "I Do, We Do, You Do" model.  It is a collaborative team process where the consultant teams are brought in to help, not to criticize, but to provide support to enhance the instruction opportunities for educators and to meet their instructional and professional development goals.

Gibbs was particularly excited to provide a pictorial report to the Board on a new initiative Pop Up Play Group.  The idea came about through the input and ideas from the entire Early Learning Team with a view to improving and achieving Early Years Evaluation (EYE) scores which, it was noted, have stayed consistent over the past three full school years, in order to meet the target of 90% of children leaving Kindergarten at Tier 1.  She outlined the strategic goals, inspiration, actualization, transparency, partnerships and potential of the play group opportunity which will enable and encourage children to play and talk to one another and develop fine and gross motor skills as well as provide an avenue for parents to engage with one another and their children through conversation, fun and creativity while transferring skills and activities into the home. Gibbs stated, "We work very hard to acknowledge and celebrate the skills and knowledge parents have taught their children (with and without our help).  When they know the importance of their role as the child's first teacher, when they know that they are capable of making a difference in their child's growth and development, parents are empowered to take an even more active role in teaching."

Preventative Maintenance and Renewal Plan

Andy Dobson, Manager of Facilities & Transportation updated the Board on the division's Preventative Maintenance and Renewal Plan (PMR) priorities stating that funding has grown to $2.5 million for projects across the school division.  The major portion of the funding will be used for roof repairs, roof replacements, heating and ventilation projects, which is consistent across the province.  Dobson explained that priorities shift on account of timelines, changing prices and priorities as well as unforeseen circumstances that arise.  If a timeline cannot be met then a project will be postponed, which is what happened with respect to a heating system that was planned for Ogema School for this year and has now been bumped to the new school year.  In addition, the 2018-19 plan was readjusted a bit from $1.7 million for a new HVAC system for the division's headquarters, to provide for an upgrade to the existing system with the remaining budgeted funds to be distributed to other schools in need.  Although PMR increased by 15% this year it cannot be predicted going forward.  Thus the division always tries to maintain a surplus around $500,000 in case of an emergent issue. Both the three year PMR plan and amendment form reflecting necessary updates were approved by the Board by motion and will be submitted to the Ministry of Education.

Monitoring Report on System Goal #4- Our Division systematically builds, strengthens and maintains two-way communication with internal and external stakeholders.

Director of Education Lynn Little presented a monitoring report on System Goal #4 and clarified that the interpretation of the goal is that communication is a conversation - a dialogue - input and discussion back and forth whether in person or through technology.  The report listed dates and data pertaining to two-way communication at the Board, School and System levels over the past year. 

Highlights of the report were that after a one year hiatus, a forum was held by the Board of Education with the MLAs that make up the school division, with one MLA joining via technology.  The MLAs welcomed the board members to talk with them about any concerns and the Board reciprocated the offer. Over the past year the Board also met with the division's teachers' association executive, hosted its President at a fall board meeting and attended three school community council engagement and information evenings with a focus on engaging with and supporting the school learning plan.

New this year was a one hour conversation between the Board of Education and the Saskatchewan Party leadership candidates and a meeting of the Board Chair and Director with the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition Education Critic to review areas of focus and direction.  In addition, the Board Chair met with the new Minister of Education.  Two board members and three senior administration members attended a public meeting in Radville where a presentation was provided outlining the delivery of public education in the community, census data and the obligation of SECPSD to provide a public education.  The presentation was followed by dialogue and discussion on the delivery of education. 

At the school level, school community council annual meetings and many parent nights were held across the division.  Through the thoughtexchange data collection tool, Weyburn Comprehensive School collected feedback and perceptions of the transition of Grades 7-9 students after the inaugural year of the new 7-12 school for the purposes of 1) using the data at the WCS level and incorporating it into their future school level plans and 2) to inform the transition process that will be implemented in preparation to transition students and staff from three elementary schools into the new Weyburn elementary school for a 2020 fall start.  Twelve samples of system level engagement were provided such as the calendar process, administrative council, administrator group, the South East Community Mobilization Steering Committee as well as a forum held between the Deputy Minister and three Assistant Deputy Ministers of Education with the Senior Leadership Team which is anticipated to be an annual event.  As well, the thoughtexchange process was utilized to engage the school communities of Haig, Queen Elizabeth and Souris schools to identify the key considerations in the development of the new elementary school and to incorporate their input into the design of the new facility which the board received a virtual glimpse of during their last public meeting held on April 18, 2018.

Celebrations

Audrey Trombley, Board Chair, was pleased to share correspondence received from the Deputy Minister of Education expressing appreciation to three SECPSD employees for their work in supporting the efforts undertaken to find efficiencies within the education sector via their input through the Education Governance Renewal (EGR) process. Director of Education Lynn Little was recognized for her support and collaboration in the role of school division co-lead of a Structural Governance Changes project working team, while Manager of Facilities & Transportation Andy Dobson and Manager of Information Systems Brian Belinsky were both recognized for their professional, collaborative and effective assistance as members of the Ad Hoc BusPlanner Working Group. The Board is appreciative of the efforts and achievements of all three leaders in their support of education in the province.

Articles by Norm Park

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

Communication, Early Learning, Maintenance Report

Upcoming Meetings

May 31 18Superannuation Supper & Celebration
June 7 18Governance/Human Resource Committee Meeting
June 7-8 18SSSBA Public Section AGM
June 20 18Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
June 20 18Regular (Public) Board Meeting
June 20-22 18SHSAA AGM

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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

Website: www.secpsd.caEmail:  contactus@secpsd.ca