News Item

Board Highlights (October 2018)

October 15, 2018

logo-vertical (002).jpgNotes from the October 10, 2018 Regular (Public) Meeting of the Board of Education of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division

Monitoring Report on System Goal #2

A monitoring report on System Goal #2 "Our students achieve at high levels" was presented to the Board during the public board meeting held on October 10.

Curriculum Coordinator, Michael Graham, reported on Turning Points, a national guided writing competition piloted by SECPSD schools during the 2017-2018 school year in which 15 schools, 19 teachers and 273 students participated with a total of 65 submissions. Graham explained the six step process from online registration to the awards ceremony which was held at Westview School in June, stating that students, "work on personal narrative stories about things that have happened that have really resonated in their lives." He went on to explain that upon registration each teacher received access to an entire lesson delivery resource package which contained 14 activities and 10 mini-lessons built in for teacher use.  Feedback received from teachers was that the lessons were very well laid out enabling them to effectively teach all the required skills.

The high point of the report was when three young students each confidently read their respective award winning short story aloud to the Board: Alex Spencer (Dayna), Kiarra Biette (The Letter) and Grace Pederson (Distant Memories).

Graham emphasized that the student demographics were anonymous to the judging team throughout the process and explained that judging was done via a rubric. Essays had to be authentic and ranged between a 500 and 1,200 maximum word count according to grade level.  At the culmination of the program, students were provided the opportunity to become a published author in an annual anthology, a sample of which was passed around for Board members to peruse.  Last year the focus was mainly on grade 6 students although the competition was open to grade 6-12 students as well as homeschool families across the division.  SECPSD will participate in the Turning Points process once again starting with the registration process which is open from now until December.

Graham credited Cheri Haberstock, Principal of Westview School, for learning of Turning Points while being honoured as one of Canada's Outstanding Principals in 2017 by The Learning Partnership, the organization that coordinates and runs the program.

Rocanville School's principal Nathan Bromm and vice-principal Michael Gowan reported on the processes that are employed to support a trend towards on-time and extended-time graduation rates at their school, emphasizing that the work starts on day one with the half time Kindergarten students right up to grade 12 graduation, with it "all coming down to utilizing best practices." They shared three student success stories and spoke of the importance of student and parental engagement with good relationship building being a priority. One way that the Rocanville staff connect with students is through K-12 school family groupings, which include all staff, through activities related to team building, math and literacy and family events throughout the year.

Bromm and Gowan spoke of the various initiatives undertaken to enable student success, i.e. homework hall, homeroom teachers sharing with students about the credit system and course offerings, attendance tracking, communication with parents, apprenticeships and special credits, flexible instruction and assessment – adaptations, deadline extensions, alternative assignments as well as credit extension and recovery. Although as a small school there may be limitations in credit offerings, staff work individually with each student to establish a pathway for them to achieve graduation.  It was noted that over the past couple of years there was good success with work experience and apprenticeship for some students, although work placement is limited in the rural setting. 

Bromm explained that the 2016/17 cohort began with 23 students but that staff are actually working with 29 students in some form in grade 12 and that it is challenging to support students in varying roles. For example, there were 23 students in the original grade 10 group; two transferred in last year, two are on extended year plans and two graduates are upgrading or taking additional courses.

Presented data indicated Rocanville School's three year graduation rates ranged from 88.9% in 2011/2012 to 92.3% in 2014/2015 and 96.6% being the actual three year rate for June 2018, with most years being at or above the divisional and provincial rates.  Extended graduation rates data was also provided. A couple of challenges faced by this rural school include accessibility to options and attendance trends, both of which staff continue to work on with diligence.

Director of Education Lynn Little provided board members with an update to last year's data with respect to secondary marks, core indicators for all students with SECPSD students being above the provincial average in 18/20 subjects (90%) and self-declared FNMI students being above the provincial average in 9/11 subjects (81.8%) at the conclusion of the 2017/18 school year. Results were suppressed if there were fewer than 10 students in the course.  As well, success was evidenced through the achievement of students who participated in the Saskatchewan Music Festival, provincial honour bands and drama competitions, and athletic achievements.  Little presented reading data results for June 2015 to June 2018 for Grade 1-3 and 4-6.  Writing data for spring 2018 indicated students reading at or above grade level were at 74.9% for grade 4 students; 71.2% for grade 7 and 73.1% for grade 9. She also presented data on the Early Years Evaluation Teacher Assessment, administered twice annually, which showed that SECPSD's kindergarten children attained the goal of 90% in 3/5 domains.  Little commented that there is "lots of growth over the course of the year" and "Kindergarten teachers are doing a phenomenal job." As well, data was presented with respect to the level of achievement in each of the system's mathematical outcomes and assessments based on the percentage of students either attaining or mastering the outcomes in grade 1-9 and those achieving above a 75% average in grade 10-12.

South East Cornerstone Teachers' Association (SECTA) President's Report

A presentation was brought to the Board by Karen Kennedy-Allin, President of the South East Cornerstone Teachers' Association wherein she stated that strong positives are occurring in the division, "Teachers' convention itself was an incredible way to begin the year and thank you to the board and the senior leadership team for continually supporting a day for teacher-led PD and a big thank you for joining with us," for a day which she described as inspirational and fantastic. "I hope this presentation will help us move even closer together as I know the board and senior leadership team are always willing to consider the voice of teachers," she said.

The President spoke highly of the division funded resilience wellness program that the board approved and financed for the teachers of SECPSD. "This demonstration of care and compassion that you showed really goes a long way to strengthening relationships within the division," she stated. She provided a wellness update with respect to teachers across the system and expressed appreciation for the negotiation process that lead to the new LINC agreement.  During the presentation she also spent a few moments dialoguing with the board and director regarding matters of interest to the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation and SECTA.  Kennedy-Allin is in her third year as President of the association.

Viable Schools Report

In accordance with Board Policy 14, the Director of Education presented the Board with a Viable Schools Report in which September 30th enrolment numbers indicated that two schools once again fell under the enrolment threshold as identified in legislation.  The two schools, both K-12, are Manor School with 67 students and Pangman School with 63 students, with the established school review criteria for that grade configuration being 88 students.  The Director reported that Manor fell below the threshold in 2014/15 and that projections up to 2026 indicate 81 students. Pangman has been below the threshold since 2004/2005 with projections up to 2026 indicating 58 students. The report also provided information with respect to number of grades combined in each classroom and the distribution of enrolments by grade level.  It was noted that viable schools data was fully reviewed and discussed by the Board during their October strategic planning meeting.  The board passed a motion advising the director that the board of education will not review any schools during the 2018-2019 school year.

Student Enrolment

Chief Financial Officer Shelley Toth reported that the Ministry of Education "takes a snapshot of enrolments" across the province on September 30th resulting in the overall enrolment number for SECPSD being 8,308 students on that date, which is 47 higher than last September.  It was also 84 higher than the school division's June 30 enrolment number but 58 lower than the division had projected for September 30 which will result in a grant adjustment.  Enrolment in SECPSD continues to be on a bit on an incline. 

Correspondence

Board Vice-Chair Carol Flynn, filling in for Chair Audrey Trombley, brought to the attention of the board a recognition and appreciation letter which was received from the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) for the work that Ryan Fowler is doing as a member of the provincial executive of the association for the 2018-2019 school year.

Articles by Norm Park

Monitoring Report, School Review, SECTA Presentation

Upcoming Meetings

November 5/18School Community Council Workshop (South Service Area)
November 7/18Board Strategic Planning Meeting
November 7/18School Community Council Workshop (West Service Area)
November 8/18School Community Council Workshop (East Service Area)
November 15/18SECPSD Board/MLA Forum
November 15-17/18Saskatchewan School Boards Association Fall Assembly & AGM
November 16/18Public Section AGM
November 21/18Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
November 21/18Regular (Public) Board Meeting
November 21/18Organizational 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