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Board Highlights (February 2020)

​Notes from the February 12, 2020 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Educationlogo-vertical.jpg

Monitoring Report on System Goal #3

System Goal #3 – Our division and its schools effectively use information to measure, monitor and report continuous improvement – was well evidenced through a monitoring report brought to the Board by Director of Education Lynn Little jointly with the school superintendent of each of the three service areas: Shelley Sargent (South), Kevin Hengen (East) and Gord Husband (West) who each provided an overview of a sample of data and information used to drive work and supports in separate areas.

Little began the presentation stating that, "we are sharing the data that we are using in order to make informed decisions," be they for financial, direct supports for students or programming purposes.  Gesturing towards wall walk data posted along two long whiteboards on the west wall in the board room, Little said there are many forms of data that are collected and used for the core piece of SECPSD's work which is student achievement.  The data is used for a variety of purposes, i.e. diagnostic, screening and reporting.

Sargent spoke to the Saskatchewan Alliance for Youth and Community Well-Being (SAYCW) student survey which is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the Saskatchewan population, as well as the Universal Behaviour Screen through the Review 360 program. 

The superintendent stated that Grade 7-12 students were invited to participate in the SAYCW survey entitled Thriving Youth, Thriving Communities from March 4 to April 6, 2019. Although SECPSD was to have received results back in October, due to the volume of interest across Saskatchewan, division results have just now been received, with individual school results soon to follow.  Sargent said the data will be used to move forward in building plans to put the necessary supports in place in each school, if not already in place, to best meet the needs of students.  She zeroed in on the division data pertaining to mental health where students shared information in four areas:  wellness, depressive symptoms, self-harm and suicide, noting that in the survey both teachers and students rated mental health as the most important topic. Of significance, she observed that self-injury behaviours usually start between 13 and 15 years of age and that many mental health professionals believe that in most cases youth use self-harm behaviors to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Overall survey results will be analyzed at the division level and upon receipt of school results, staff will examine the data in all categories and develop action plans.  Sargent explained that a group of school division professionals, including a recently hired mental health consultant, is working on a self-harm and suicide prevention plan for SECPSD which will focus on three areas:  prevention, intervention and postvention and outlined several other initiatives already in place in SECPSD in support of mental health.

The second portion of Sargent's report related to the Universal Screen, completed by all Grade 4 to 12 students annually in the fall. The behavioural and emotional screening system is a tool that can be used to determine a child's risk level for developing emotional and/or behavioural problems that require intervention. Students completed a self-assessment survey and teachers completed a survey on all students, with teacher/student results being very close: normal risk (81% vs 80%; elevated risk (13% vs 14%) and extremely elevated risk (6% vs 5%). The data is being examined and action plans are being established to address the needs, with re-screening of any students scoring in the red on the self or teacher survey to be done in the spring.

Hengen's segment of the monitoring report focused on some of the division work that is done around outcome data for report cards and Skopus graduation reports.  He explained, "We did a deep dive analysis into ELA and mathematics outcome data and are looking for patterns, what it tells us and what we can do with that information." He provided two sets of data for each of the two subjects.  The outcome data, which can show patterns year over year or with a specific class so that supports can be planned and implemented, is shared and discussed monthly by superintendents with their school principals, resulting in staff having detailed discussions with English and Math teachers to ascertain what they need to do in their classrooms to reach targets.

Hengen reported that the Skopus graduation reports give an immediate snapshot of credits completed as well as projected credits in accordance with the subject in which students are enrolled.  Teachers submit student marks via Gradebook which data automatically feeds into the division's data warehouse system.  It is then used to monitor individual student credit attainment and track whether a student is on track to graduate or what is yet required.  Deputy Director of Education Keith Keating stressed the importance of reporting by outcome.  Some students may only be missing one little slice of a course and staff can see that and offer the opportunity for a credit recovery through completion of that item.  Hengen explained that previously the student would have had to take the whole course over but this way if they are unsuccessful in completing a course, they can be given a 30-day window, a period currently underway from the end of January to the end of February, for example, to complete the missing component.  Hengen said there are less students in credit recovery at the end of the school year likely due to students spending more time in May and June ensuring they don't have to repeat the process.

Superintendent Husband reported on the Lexia Core 5 Reading (Tier 1 instructional platform for grade 2-5) and PowerUp Literacy (Tier 2 instructional platform for grade 6 and up) programs to support achievement for students who have been identified as needing the supports.  As described at www.lexialearning.com, the program empowers literacy educators through adaptive assessment and personalized instruction in which students are motivated by their own success and have their own personalized learning paths.

Teachers have access to the program such that as a student works through the lessons, the progress data is updated moment to moment and is available as soon as they log off.  Monitoring occurs at four levels:  division, school, classroom and student with data being organized and examined under five areas:  usage, progress, progress by usage, predictors and certificates/celebrations. Husband was pleased to explain that some schools are becoming quite creative with celebrations, for example, at Lyndale School in Oungre, they have a fun competition between classes utilizing a map of Canada which they have integrated with a "trek across Canada" for the entire school. "They get to add a car each time a student completes a unit, and it's a race between the grade 2 and 3 students vs the grade 4 and 5 students," he said.

Superintendents receive usage reports via a comparable snapshot every four weeks showing progress for each school and have access to a dashboard representing cumulative data of all schools, which results are discussed with principals.  Husband provided data monitoring piece samples for the four levels previously mentioned, with the division level pieces indicating that over a four-week period the combined usage (students' amount of time in the program) percentage was 77 covering the period January 6 to 27.  Teachers can view results for this week, last week, the year or customized data results. The students must get the target minutes in (from 20 to 80 minutes) in order to see desired results. An analysis of dashboard results gives a quick picture of how many students still need time to reach their usage minutes and allows teachers to see what the next level of intervention should be, which assists them in organizing classroom work to provide for that. 

The full monitoring report PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.

Top Major Capital Projects

A motion was passed by the Board identifying the renovation of the Estevan Comprehensive School; a new Estevan PreK-6 joint-use school with Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division; and a new Carlyle PreK-12 school as the top three major capital projects for this year's submission to the Ministry, which will be submitted by the end-of-February deadline. 

The Ministry's major capital program provides funding to school divisions for new schools or major additions/renovations to their facilities.  School division requests for major capital funding are prioritized by the Ministry of Education and are approved pending budget appropriation. The ministry ranks requests based on three components:  health and safety; efficiency and facility condition. (source:  www.saskatchewan.ca)

Facilities & Transportation Annual Report

Andy Dobson, Manager of Facilities & Transportation, walked the Board through a celebratory pictorial presentation pertaining to the three sectors (caretaking, transportation and facilities) that compose his department, stating that he wanted to "show the workmanship that we do inside our schools … redoing classrooms, science labs …"  His report included renderings of the two capital projects currently underway, which are the construction of the new Legacy Park Elementary School in Weyburn (opening date of September 2021) as well as the new Weyburn transportation shop (completion date of June 17, 2020) which are both on time and on budget.  The shop will have four drive through bays with one washing bay for two buses at a time and an outside bay for washing buses in the spring and fall.  The facility colours will be matched as best as possible with the division office building adjacent to it. As well, future planning will see the department take over the west contracted bus routes currently serviced by FirstCanada.

The new Weyburn school is actually slated to be completed by March 2021 and then commissioning will take place to ensure everything is operable.  Dobson stated that the school colours were decided via the park theme with the changing seasons and that the school will face south into a green space parking area.  He described it as "an exciting project" and said there will be lots to see, i.e. rooms and some areas - come June or September.

On March 16th Dobson will host the 10th annual departmental inservice in Weyburn bringing the entire department of 216 individuals together with sector breakout sessions incorporated into the agenda.  With a price tag of $8,000 Dobson mentioned that going forward the inservice will perhaps be offered on a biennial basis.

The manager provided listings of Preventative Maintenance and Renewal (PMR) funded projects to the tune of $2,659,500 as well as SECPSD budget funded projects ($299,000) in addition to a list of major renovation projects undertaken by the facilities department over the past roughly five years, mentioning that there is really only July and August to do a major project and usually one gets done per year with smaller projects sometimes being carried out over the February and Easter school breaks. Dobson praised the PMR program/structure stating that preventative maintenance certainly works.  For example, there was a 46% reduction in roof leaks and 62% reduction in heating system failures. He is pleased that the government recognizes that PMR funding across the province needs to increase.  The full report may be accessed here.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:  Facilities, Monitoring Report, Phones.

Upcoming Meetings

02 24 20Public Section Executive Teleconference
02 26 20Governance/Human Resources Committee Meeting
02 26 20Board Strategic Planning Meeting
03 16 20Board Chairs Council Teleconference
03 25 20Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
03 25 20Regular (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,Website: www.secpsd.ca, Email:  contactus@secpsd.ca

Carolyn Thompson2/18/2020 12:50 PM
Board Highlights (January 2020)

Notes from the January 15, 2020 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Education

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Bi-Annual Transportation Report

A report covering the period September 1 to December 31, 2019 was brought to the Board by Andy Dobson, Manager of Facilities & Transportation.  Dobson stated that the division has three transportation shops, one in each of Estevan, Moosomin and Weyburn. He was happy to report that construction of the new transportation shop in Weyburn, although currently shut down on account of the cold weather and equipment failures with the lifts, is underway, on time and on budget, and will be turned over to the division on June 17, 2020.  This will allow a transition period during the summer and then the current shop will be placed on the market.  The Weyburn shop's design will mirror the Estevan transportation shop with dimensions of 120' by 100'.

The transportation department employs three supervisors/foremen, five technicians and 155 bus drivers/32 sub drivers.  The manager said the division's current fleet of buses does not include the nine new buses that were ordered this school year and the new fleet vehicles that have been ordered, which vehicles will be amortized over 12 years.  In reference to spare buses, Dobson stated, "That's where we are running into problems." Those buses are used when a regular bus goes down and also for charter runs.  The buses are getting "tired" and in the past year three engines had to be replaced at a cost of $40,000-$50,000 per engine.  Thus, it is imperative to ensure that buses being purchased are "newer."

Spare bus drivers are a premium in Moosomin.  Although a driver recruitment incentive is in place, the challenge remains to find and retain them.  Carol Flynn, Vice-Chairwoman and representative for subdivision 1, questioned whether there is a top age when bus drivers can no longer drive, to which Dobson responded, "We have a bus driver who is 81 and has been working for 60 years."  There is no age limit as long as an individual has a valid license, a medical and recertifies every five years.   The report indicated that since September 1, 2019 4,158 students have been transported on 155 routes.  The next report will be brought to the Board in June.

Instructional Technology Report

Jeff Walters, Coordinator of Instructional Technology (I.T.), whose department provides vision and leadership regarding educational technology and global competencies, provided a report on the "world of IT for the past year."  He stated that at the end of November 2019 Cyber Stone Virtual School (CSVS) had an enrolment of 372 students with the school offering 48 courses.  In 2018-2019 students in grades 10-12 earned 650 credits which was up 67 credits from the year prior, with PAA and Math being the most popular attainment studies.

A highlight of Walters' report was a Girls Who Game pilot project which was offered to seven schools across Canada through a partnership with Dell Canada and Microsoft, with SECPSD's Souris School being one participant.  He stated, "The experience went very well."  There were 10 students in grades 5 and 6 who joined the after-school program which was spotlighted via an article on Discover Weyburn at https://bit.ly/2uZ969v.  Further, he said a piece of feedback from Jodi Abel, the teacher who lead the project which was offered in the second semester last year and wrapped up in June, was "… a couple of girls had never considered university or a career before.  They are so excited that they can learn coding and perhaps use those skills to create the life they want in the future." The opportunity was again offered to SECPSD resulting in two projects this year, one in Carlyle and the other in Pangman, both scheduled to wrap up shortly. 

Walters also showcased Seesaw, a provincially negotiated program licensed by the division for Prek-5 and hosted in Canada, which encompasses digital portfolios where students can add their work, create, draw, annotate, record and show it to their parents and teachers who can stay in instant contact and see the information that has been entered. Seesaw is a method to engage students every day through a variety of subjects.  Walters said, "Students love Seesaw and get proud of their portfolio and like to share it.  It allows them to open up and shine." The number of posts added to the free version of Seesaw https://app.seesaw.me/activities by SECPSD schools over five years or so, was 110,468 and the number of family visits was 208,849.  With the licensed version, in 28 days of usage there were 8,516 posted added to Seesaw and 14,637 family visits.

The Coordinator was pleased to announce that the division will be hosting Code Create Teach (CCT), a federally funded idea, at the Weyburn division office on January 31. CCT is a hands-on coding and computational thinking workshop for PAA 7-9 teachers thinking of implementing modules from PAA Robotics and Automation.  It is also open to grade 2-12 teachers who would like to see how coding can be used as a way "to show what you know" in other subjects.

Student Services Report

The Board received a two-part report on Student Services.  Coordinator of Learning Supports Tracey Kiliwnik who oversees the intensive needs students for the division and reports to the Ministry with student data explained that the students are identified through impact assessments based on Ministry criteria resulting in them receiving supports from the learning supports teachers, and sometimes counsellors and other professional staff, dependent on their needs. They will also receive supports through division based staff and outside supports. Last year there were 177 students identified that were being supported with special needs and this year 174.  Comparison numbers of students identified in four categories remained basically the same as last year:  LST Tier 2 (74/78); complex medical intensive needs students (44/44); complex behavioural students (12/11); and complex medical/behavourial students increasing from 18 to 22 with the addition of one family.

Another piece of data which is submitted annually to the Ministry is statistics on occasional and frequent identified diagnosis intensive supports students which this year is 114 (occasional) and 247 (frequent), encompassing such diagnosis as blind or visual impairment, deaf or hard of hearing, intellectual disability, bipolar, depressive, anxiety or related disorders, orthopedic disability, autism spectrum disorder among others; although Kiliwnik explained, "The number 247 is not our total number of students because some of them will have multiple disabilities." As far as frequency, on the impact assessment supports must be requested from the school based team, division based team and outside support; and then there is a rubric on how often they will receive support from an outside agency; however, all students will receive support from all three areas.

Kiliwnik stated, "We are covering a lot more ground" this year due to having an additional Occupational Therapist (OT), for a total of two. From September to December, 2019 34 classroom visits, 33 observations and 30 assessments were completed, with the average number of OT assessments from 2013-14 to 2017-2018 being 46.  In addition, professional development online modules for teachers are being developed to support those who have students with sensory or behavioural issues, with an anticipated result of a decrease in assessments and referrals.

A chart provided by Cheryl Anderson, Coordinator of Student Services, indicated that students enrolled in English as an Additional Language (EAL) since 2012-2013 to date has averaged 408. There have not been great influxes in the last few years; however, this year's total is the highest at 523.  Through the work of the system's EAL Consultant the teachers' capacity has increased immensely. EAL focuses on four areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing at 6 levels.  Once a student achieves level B2 student success is expected and therefore tracking ceases. The Coordinator shared that starting shortly, a team consisting of the EAL consultant and two literacy coaches will work together with groups of 13-14 senior EAL teachers in each of the three service areas to provide resources and support for a critical piece that has been identified, that being EAL students attaining five ELA credits required to graduate from high school.  SECPSD students encompass 47 different languages.

Anderson provided a one month snapshot of the work of 16 FTE counsellors who share a monthly caseload of 1,030 students and held 1,305 individual counselling sessions, 887 consults with staff and 302 parental contacts in addition to 62 school meetings and 51 classroom presentations. 

She stated that the division has started to track suicidal ideation/attempts - only what we are aware of - resulting in 86 suicidal thoughts across 23 schools, with 20 attempts by separate individuals and 31 incidents of outside agency involvement being reported.  Records are kept according to grade level so that supports for students and teachers, along with safety plans can be put into place.  Counsellors have received ASIST training to assess suicide, PD Hub webinars are available for teachers, grade 9 health teachers have been trained with First Aid and SECPSD has retained a Mental Health Consultant who is working with the system to develop a Self-Harm and Suicide Prevention Strategy for the division.

Kiliwnik and Anderson have been in their current roles respectively for 12 and five years.

Annual Report Overview

Director of Education Lynn Little shared a high level overview of the division's Annual Report for 2018-2019 which was submitted to the Legislative Assembly for tabling on December 20, 2019. She noted that over the course of the year information and data in the report has been reviewed by the Board through monitoring reports, wall walks and department reports.  Little stated that in 2018-19 student enrolment was at 8,162 which was an increase of 42 students from the prior year.  The division employed 1,027.30 FTE staff with the majority being classroom teachers.  Infrastructure projects, funded by the Preventative Maintenance & Renewal program, totaled $2,020,000 covering roof replacements, HVAC upgrades and structural repairs and across the division.  There were 4,145 students transported over 4,740,396 kilometres, including transportation services provided by SECPSD to the Holy Family Catholic school division catchment area for the cities of Weyburn and Estevan.  As part of the presentation CFO Shelley Toth, reported on Budget to Actual Revenue, Expenses and Variances while Aaron Hiske, Superintendent of Education, reported on community partnerships, programming, student attendance data, credit attainment, graduation rates and early years evaluation data.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:  Annual Report, IT Report, Student Services, Transportation

Upcoming Meetings

01 27 20 Estevan Community Meeting

02 06 20 Board Chairs Council Meeting

02 12 20 Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting

02 12 20 Regular (Public) Board Meeting

02 24 20 Public Section Executive Meeting

02 26 20 Gov/HR Board Committee Meeting

02 26 20 Special Meeting of the Board

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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.ca, Email:  contactus@secpsd.ca

 

 

 

 

Carolyn Thompson1/17/2020 2:27 PM