News Item

Board Highlights (May 2019)

May 18, 2019

logo-vertical.jpgNotes from the May 15, 2019 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Education

Early Learning Report

The Board received a presentation from Early Learning program coordinator, Jacquelene Gibbs, which encompassed Early Learning's response to Early Years Evaluation (EYE) results, current research in the field of Early Childhood Development, and new initiatives the department has undertaken.  Gibbs oversees the division's early learning team which consists of three elementary curriculum consultants, nine speech and language pathologists, four early learning consultants, along with a KidsFirst Community Liaison and a short term grant-provided KidsFirst Literacy Mentor position, which services the schools and communities across the division. 

The Coordinator stated that the EYE is working as designed. The screen is used to identify the students who may need more targeted and intensive instruction as they learn to read.  Provincial results of children who left Kindergarten at the various tiers in 2014-15 who were at or above-level readers in Grade 3 (2017-18) were: 

  • 83% for Tier 1- Children are able to complete developmental tasks without difficulty;
  • 47% for Tier 2- Children experience some difficulties completing developmental tasks; and
  • 25% for Tier 3- Children experience significant difficulties completing developmental tasks.

A display of provincial data presented in pie-charts indicated that there hasn't been much growth in terms of results from school entry to Kindergarten exit. Across the province, "we have more students and less of them are doing well.  Kids are coming in less prepared in Kindergarten every year," Gibbs stated.  One way SECPSD addressed the data was to ensure that adequate professional development (PD) was in place for teachers and that they understood the EYE and how to administer the assessments.  She was pleased to report that SECPSD's Kindergarten teacher PD completion results for the EYE-TA is 90.9% and Literacy Practices in K is 75.8%, both of which exceed Ministry of Education targets.  As well, participant feedback of a Kindergarten Teachers' Professional Learning Community that focused on responding to Early Years Evaluation results highlighted benefits of sharing ideas with other teachers, and significant improvements in EYE results.

According to very preliminary reports of Early Years Evaluation (EYE) post assessment completed thus far (the window was to close on May 15), growth from Fall to Spring in SECPSD is higher than that of the provincial average growth and better than SECPSD has ever done.  Gibbs noted that the SECPSD ECIP program currently serves 138 children with home visiting services and that 192 children received full home visiting services over the past year.  

An explanation of why the Early Years staff work so hard to connect with families before children start school was provided by Gibbs. "In terms of human brain development and synapse formation, we know that foundations are very important----higher level circuits are built on lower level circuits…We know that it is biologically and economically more efficient to get things right the first time.  And, the environment experienced by a young child literally sculpts the brain and establishes the trajectory for long term cognitive and social-emotional outcomes," she explained, citing the work of C. Nelson. "We want to give parents support as they are teaching their young children skills."

The Coordinator spoke to the board about the "Welcome to Kindergarten" program (developed by the Learning Partnership) which was initiated this year.  Schools were asked to host the events in January to build relationships with families, and so they can get the services and resources needed long before their children begin Kindergarten.  She reported that attendance included 487/590 families but that the materials were delivered to all the families known to the school. She stated, "We know parents are doing a great job … They know their job is to teach.  They just don't always have the same strategies we have. Recognizing what parents do and recognizing their strengths is a really important part of our program."

Gibbs described several other initiatives targeting young children and families through community outreach and capacity building.  From December to April the KidsFirst Community Liaison met with 693 participants through IMPACT events for three year olds, another 149 through Pop-Up Playgroups and 154 through the newcomers play group.   Recent literacy grants have made new community initiatives possible across SECPSD to support parents and grandparents as they teach language and literacy skills to their young children.  

Monitoring Report on System Goal #4

Director of Education Lynn Little provided the Board with a report on goal #4 – Our division systematically builds, strengthens and maintains two-way communication with internal and external stakeholders.  The monitoring report provided evidence to illustrate two-way communication is a priority and a practice for SECPSD at three levels:  Board of Education (9 processes), i.e. MLA Forum and Board engagement with all school communities this spring to gather feedback regarding the future of education for the next decade; Division (14 processes), i.e. the school calendar process and the utilization of Thoughtexchange to engage stakeholders for voice and direction; and School (5 processes) including 25 samples at the school level such as literacy nights, parent meetings and science fairs.

Little reported that four schools in the east service area (Arcola, Carlyle Elementary and Gordon F. Kells High in Carlyle, and Stoughton) have implemented Local Advisory Councils (LAC) comprised of the First Nation Community, representative students, the Community Education Liaison for each school as well as school administration who provide a format for dialogue and solution focused discussion to address the learning needs of First Nations students.  Of note, the LAC coordinated a grade seven class field trip to Pheasant Rump (PR) to learn from a couple of biologists that were working on the wildlife survey at PR through the use of helicopter flights to carry out animal counts. As well, Stoughton Central School has implemented a Nakota word of the week, initiated by one of the few remaining fluent Nakota language speakers, along with a word wall and newsletter items around the word wall. One of two students taking Nakota classes at Ocean Man makes an announcement to the school about the word of the week, and in this way, "The student is teaching all the students in the school how to speak the Nakota language one word at a time," Little explained. 

STF Representatives

The Board of Education was informed that Nathan Bromm, Principal of Rocanville School, has been re-elected to the position of executive member of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) along with Karen Kennedy-Allin, President of the South East Cornerstone Teachers' Association and teacher at Weyburn Comprehensive School, who was elected to her first term on the STF executive.  Both staff members are wished well as they contribute to the teaching profession in Saskatchewan.

School Makeover Challenge Winner

Audrey Trombley, Board Chair and board member for subdivision 5 (which includes Midale) was excited to announce that Midale Central School is one of ten Saskatchewan schools who will each receive a $10,000 grant to support student nutrition after being selected as a winner of this year's Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge.  More than 80 submissions were received from schools across the province.  With the support of Breakfast Clubs of Canada, the Midale school recently implemented a daily breakfast program run by students, staff and community volunteers.  The grant will allow the creation of a new heathier "normal" for the students in the building and their families with the aim to growing a healthier community.  Highlights of the school's project are to renovate the kitchen, buy equipment, implement daily programming and engage parents and community.

Cathy Harvey, Principal of Midale Central School, emphasized, "Not only does this project provide students with a much needed extension to our breakfast program, it would also allow for us to educate and engage students early on in life in daily physical and educational experiences aimed at improving or maintaining their physical, emotional and mental health and overall well-being right within the course of their day."

New Elementary School in Weyburn

Audrey Trombley, City of Weyburn board representatives Melanie Sorensen and Brandon Tichkowsky, along with division office administration, were pleased to attend the sod turning ceremony and announcement at the site of the new elementary school that will be built in Weyburn with a planned opening date of September 2021.  Sorensen shared her enthusiasm for the project, stating, "It was a very well put together program and all the speakers spoke very well about the opportunities that it will provide the students and the community as a whole.  As a member of the community I am very happy to see this."  Further, the Director of Education was pleased to announce that a "name the new school" contest has been launched for the Weyburn school and will close on Monday, May 27th.  To participate, click here for details.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:  Community Meeting-ECS, Early Learning, Monitoring Report.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

May 28 19Estevan Community Meeting re Estevan Comprehensive School, at the ECS Cafeteria, 7:00 PM
May 30 19Superannuation Banquet by SECTA
June 3 19Board Chairs Teleconference
June 6-7 19SSBA Public Section AGM
June 19 19Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
June 19 19Regular (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




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