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Board Highlights (January 2020)

January 17, 2020

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


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  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 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:, Email:





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