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SECPSD Return to School Plan


SECPSD Welcome Back 2020.JPG


SECPSD is preparing to return to school and welcomes students and staff back following the suspension of classes in March.

We continue to work towards ensuring a safe learning and work place that also supports success and achievement for all.  Please note plans are fluid and evolving as we develop a deeper understanding of the pandemic and take leadership from the Chief Medical Health Officer and province.

Please reference the following documents at the link below:  
  1. SECPSD Return to School Learning Options (This highlights 3 options for parents to choose for education delivery this fall.), 
  2. SECPSD Highlights of Health & Safety Response Plan (This is a high level overview of the plan to ensure safety for all in the physical setting.)
  3. SECPSD Health & Safety Response Plan (This is the entire working plan.)​
Carolyn Thompson8/5/2020 11:00 PM
Board Highlights (June 2020)

Notes from the June 17, 2020 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Educationlogo-vertical.jpg

2020-2021 Budget

An overview of the school division's proposed budget for the upcoming school year, presented to the Board by Superintendent of Division Services/Chief Financial Officer Shelley Toth, received board consent and will be submitted to the Ministry for approval.  The Superintendent reported that the budget includes total revenue of $112.5 million, operating expenditures of $111.6 million, capital expenditures of $11.6 million and total staff of 1,065.14 full time equivalents.

Toth explained that the budget is prepared in accordance with Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) standards "which requires the amortization of capital assets over their useful life and the recording of provincial grants at the time they have been authorized."  Thus, the budget includes $8.2 million that has been authorized for capital grant for Legacy Park Elementary School, which expenses will not be expensed for the building until it is complete and then will be amortized over 50 years.  The CFO explained that when PSAB is converted to a cash budget and the capital project and any restricted funding within that are separated out, the division's operating a cash deficit of almost $4.6 million. She stated that unfortunately the increase of 1.8% received in provincial funding was not enough to balance the budget and in order to maintain the level of service and support provided to students and staff the Board has chosen to run a deficit budget.  Further, she stated, "The operating deficit will be funded using accumulated surplus from prior years and we're estimating to have roughly $25 million in unrestricted surplus once the current 2019-2020 budget year is complete."

The budget includes new funding in the amount of $285,000 from the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) through an agreement between the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan. Monies will enable school divisions to reduce energy usage, achieve cost savings and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  SECPSD will receive a total of $515,782.00 from the CAIF.  Half of the funds will be advanced in the current fiscal year with a portion being applied to upgrade buildings to LED lighting.

Preventative Maintenance & Renewal (PMR)

Shelley Toth reported that each spring the Ministry requires the Board to approve a three-year Preventative Maintenance & Renewal (PMR) plan and to make any adjustments to the upcoming year's plan.  Although best projections are included at the time of submission, circumstances, prices and priorities change over the ensuing months resulting in the necessity for the annual updates.  The Superintendent said PMR is restricted funding used to maintain buildings, architectural, mechanical and HVAC systems and roofs and to carry out feasibility or assessment studies of buildings. She explained that SECPSD uses Asset Planner to report the division's information to the Ministry.  The new three-year plan showed amendments for the following two years and the new year added on covering roofs, HVAC systems and other facility upgrades.  It was noted that roof costs have dropped over the past few years, but playground structures come with enormous costs which would probably double factoring in pro bono contributions.  The amended PMR form and three-year plan received Board approval and will be submitted to the Ministry.

Facilities & Transportation Bi-Annual Report

Andy Dobson, Manager of Facilities & Transportation provided updated transportation facts and figures to the Board in a bi-annual report.  The division's three transportation shops are located in Estevan, Moosomin and Weyburn.  The brand-new Weyburn shop is slightly behind schedule as far as the substantial turnover date of June 17, which Dobson explained has now been moved to the first week of July.  Shop personnel across the division include three supervisors/foremen, five technicians, 155 bus drivers and 32 substitute drivers.  SECPSD has 112 bus routes and there are 42 routes serviced by First Student. The manager reported that statistical data indicates that the south service area fleet needs to be renewed as there are 18 regular route buses and 11 spare route buses that exceed current guidelines in that they are over 10 years old (regular) and 12 years (spare) and have exceeded either 300,000 or 350,000 kms. Data also indicates that annually ten buses should be replaced, although funding can restrict the department with such an acquisition.

The number of route cancellations from September to January was 78 and last year for the same time period there were 117. Dobson said weather can really play a factor in bus cancellations; for example, during the first half of this school year there were 17.5 days and last year 67 days on which there were cancellations due to inclement weather.  In response to a question that arose regarding bus seating capacity with respect to COVID-19, Director of Education Lynn Little explained that the matter is being studied at the provincial level by a transportation sub-committee under the Corporate Services team of Saskatchewan's Response Planning Team and the findings are being shared with the Ministry of Health.  Although an ad campaign to recruit bus drivers was undertaken last year, Dobson said the lack of spare bus drivers in Moosomin and First Student areas continues to be a challenge. He is also keeping the Carievale/Carnduff area on the radar in terms of having sufficient bus drivers as three are currently considering retirement.

Quarterly Operating and Financial Report

The Quarterly Finance Report was presented by Marilyn Yurkiw, Manager of Finance.  The report presented was reflective of revenue and expenses received and incurred up to May 31, 2020.  The Statement of Operations indicates that revenue of $76,424,164 was received up to May 31, 2020, while expenses incurred up to this period of time were $78,225,366. As of the report date the school division's year to date expenses total approximately 72.5 % of budget.  This illustrates the division is remaining on track financially at three quarters into the current fiscal year. 

The projection for the full fiscal year was presented within the report.  This projection was completed with the additional costs as well as the projected savings in various areas resulting from the changes due to COVID-19.  This projection includes variances in most areas of the revenue and expense budgets.  The revenue is projected to be over budget by $922,016, and the operating expenses are projected to be $1,324,259 under budget.

Sale of Land in Gladmar

In accordance with legislation, the Board approved the request from the Rural Municipality of Surprise Valley to purchase a small parcel of property situated adjacent to Gladmar Regional School for one dollar, with the RM covering all transfer costs. The land contains a church which is currently used as a community hall.

Emergency Community Support Fund

Coordinator of Student Services Cheryl Anderson joined the meeting via WebEx to share some of the work staff is doing to support families via a second nutritional project this year.  Anderson explained that SECPSD applied for and through the South Saskatchewan Emergency Grant Fund received a $30,000 grant from the Government of Canada's Emergency Community Support Fund which assists community organizations in helping vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis. Funding criteria included using the funds by April 2021 and applying them to a project not previously done.  In collaboration with the leadership of cafeteria staff at Estevan Comprehensive School (Curtis Hack) and Weyburn Comprehensive School (Ardelle Pearson) and school administrators a plan was put in place to deliver three meals to 250 families in June.  The plan included having the meals prepared at the two high schools and distributed via the division's transportation department to various schools.  From there principals arranged a pick-up and delivery schedule.  Anderson was impressed with the amazing teamwork and project turnaround time of roughly three weeks from application to delivery of the meals.  Using the remaining funds, more meals will be prepared in the fall for families in need.

School Board Election and Provincial Election

The Board passed a motion approving Shelley Toth as Returning Officer for the election of board members to be held on November 9, 2020.  In addition, the Board approved a slight alteration in the 2020-2021 school year calendar, which had been approved by the Board on April 22, in accordance with a government directive for October 26 to be designated as a non-instructional day across the province in order for schools to accommodate polling stations for the provincial election, resulting in October 5 now being scheduled as an instructional day in SECPSD.

Correspondence from SSLA

Appreciation was expressed for the work of Katie Bell, a teacher at Weyburn Comprehensive School, for her service on the executive of the Saskatchewan School Library Association in the role of Publication Councillor, as acknowledged in correspondence from the President of the SSLA.  Bell produced the association's yearly editions of their professional journal The Medium.  The Board commends Bell for her dedication and efforts to support the professional growth of teachers in this regard.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:  Board Briefs, Budget, Community Foundation, PMR, Transportation

Upcoming Meetings

08 19-20/20Board Annual Strategic Planning Meeting
09 02 20Board Strategic Planning Meeting
09 16 20Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
09 16 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:, Email:

Carolyn Thompson6/19/2020 12:02 PM
Board Highlights (May 2020)

​Notes from the May 20, 2020 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division Board of Educationlogo-vertical.jpg

Early Learning Report:  Jacquelene Gibbs, now in her third year as the division's Coordinator for Early Learning, shared a glimpse into the work of her department through a focus on reports, projects and service delivery.  She initially explained, "Over the past few decades there's been a growing body of research that has placed an emphasis on the importance of early childhood experiences and the long-term benefits of investing our time and energy in the early years."  She then provided highlights of economic and health perspective from and the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, being reasons known for the importance of early learning.  Gibbs explained that students with high reading levels in grade 3 are more likely to graduate from high school. As well, it is known from Saskatchewan data collection that students arriving in kindergarten possessing strong skills are far more likely to read at grade level in grade 3 than those who don't, as portrayed in charts that were presented.

Early Years Evaluation (EYE) data representing the number of SECPSD children per tier in Response to Intervention programming for fall/spring 2014/2015 to 2019/2020 showed the following averages:  Tier 1 (408), Tier 2 (109) and Tier 3 (55).  The educator stated, "It really is critical that not only are we bringing kids up to green by the end of the school year in kindergarten but its important we are supporting our families as they raise their children in those preschool years so they are actually entering kindergarten in Tier 1 in the green;" hence, the EYE reading and writing goals in the early years.

The Coordinator explained that as part of the early years instructional team plan (ITP), teachers across the division spend 45 minutes monthly with an instructional team, and the desire was for preK and K teachers to have the same support. A brief tour of a sample monthly ITP meeting was shared.  It was noted that teachers were able to participate (whenever they had the opportunity to take their 45 minutes) through readings, watching videos from the Harvard Centre of the Developing Child, and by posting and responding to reflections resulting in rich discussion and great support among the early learning educator community. 

Gibbs stated that the division has really strong teachers, so she wanted to showcase their work and have them be a support for their colleagues.  She provided video clip snapshots into what was accomplished in kindergarten pre-COVID-19 in illustrating the goal of creating focus grade support from elementary curriculum coaches.  The coaches spent their first day of the project in kindergarten classrooms observing and making plans with the teachers to gather evidence of their strengths, followed by a second day in the classrooms gathering the evidence.  The coaches then spent considerable time curating a virtual tour of all the kindergarten classrooms to support the teachers' work and so the teachers can reflect upon their own areas of strength and their need for growth which, once self-identified, will be supported by the coaches to assist them in reaching their individual goals. There were 375 items uploaded to the virtual tour portfolio, covering 13 different categories such as assessment practices, inclusion, holistic learning and teaching, use of key kindergarten resources, uninterrupted time for inquiry and play-based learning, and application of letters and sounds.  Follow up with teachers will be done in the fall.

With the early learning team having to "in a flash" become experts in online learning, they are now working to support teachers with their online delivery of supplemental learning. For example, Gibbs' shared a model learning session being conducted by a coach with two Grade 1 neighbouring students and video clips of Speech Language Pathologists meeting with families to provide service delivery through private Teams channels.  The full PowerPoint presentation can be accessed here.

Monitoring Report on System Goal #4: Director of Education Lynn Little explained that SECPSD recognizes that engagement with all stakeholders is crucial for the success and achievement of every student across the system.  In her report to the Board, which she noted is the last monitoring report of the school year, evidence of achievement of the Board's goal "Our division systematically builds, strengthens and maintains two-way communication with internal and external stakeholders" was presented.  The report illustrated engagement at three levels:  Board of Education, School Level and Division Level. Little noted that several annual meetings and events were cancelled this year on account of COVID-19 such as the Saskatchewan School Boards Association Spring Assembly, the Board's annual meeting with the SECTA Executive and their annual meeting with the Board of Education of the Holy Family school division. During the pandemic the division has been relying on the use of established social media and traditional media print formats for messaging.

The Director reported that the annual regional School Community Council (SCC) Engagement and Information meetings held each fall after the SCC elections were held in Alameda, Radville and MacLeod in November with a focus on Truth and Reconciliation. Her report also listed data regarding student led conferences, parent nights, and the division's administrative council which is comprised of two representatives from each service area, a president, and a superintendent facilitator who meet every second month and provide feedback and direction to the system. Little announced that in the upcoming year Aaron Hiske, Superintendent of Education, will assume her role as co-chair of the South East Community Mobilization Steering Committee and South East Community Protocol for VTRA.

Mosaic Extreme School Makeover: During the round table portion at the top of the board meeting agenda, Kevin Keating, Board Member for subdivision 4, congratulated Oxbow Prairie Horizons School which is one of ten schools across the province to win the 2020 Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge.  The award of $10,000 is slated to increase the frequency of their breakfast program, implement after school cooking classes and host nutrition education workshops.  The school makeover initiative began in 2006 to encourage grassroots initiatives to improve student nutrition.  In partnership with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Mosaic annually awards a total of $100,000 to support ten schools to provide healthier school environments for their students. SECPSD congratulates OPHS on their success and is grateful to Mosaic for the generous donation to the school. For information on the challenge and past recipient projects visit

Presentations: Three guests joined the Board via WebEx to be recognized for their work.

  • Krystal Fehrenbach, Community Education Liaison and Counsellor in Arcola, was pleased to report that the division applied for and was fortunate to receive a $19,000 COVID-19 emergency grant provided by the Breakfast Club of Canada (an organization with which the division works on an annual basis) for immediate distribution to families across the system to aid nutrition.  The fund was created to support children and local community organizations that support food insecure families during the pandemic.  In collaboration with schools, thus far $12,400 has been shared among 248 families (who either self-identified or were identified by schools) through a mail out of $50 gift cards purchased from local businesses, and designated solely for groceries. Families were also encouraged that if they were not currently in need of the funding at this time to pay it forward to another family that they know is in need. The remaining $6,600 is yet to be distributed to identified families.
  • Student Services Counsellor, Trina Battersby, stationed in Estevan, reported on supports and projects she and her colleagues have developed for students and families. She explained that when the pandemic struck, the counsellors were quickly organized into four main working groups (process, trauma response, self-care and anxiety) to enable them to stay connected with families to continue to offer support and to respond to hot spots that arise.  Through the blending of a webinar by a trauma expert who offered solutions to try to mitigate trauma and some social media ideas gleaned from the Good Spirit School Division the Connection Challenge was birthed and rolled out on April 27 to engage and help families mitigate trauma effects. The weekly wellness challenges cover topics such as routine, connection, moving/getting outside and anxiety. The counsellors are also currently creating "Kitchen Connections" which are short webinars to be rolled out by the end of the school year, with the initial three focusing on surviving and thriving with supplemental learning, sleep, and screen time.
  • With delivery of student driver education topping the list of questions to consider from administrators as a result of the slowdown, Curriculum Coordinator Michael Graham, at SECPSD's head office, reported that after direction was received from the Ministry of Education an online solution was devised and implemented through MS Teams to enable students to complete their in-class course requirements, much like all other schools are delivering the "in-class" portion of supplemental learning for students. Drivers Ed teams were established for each of the four contracted instructors and a level of safety and security was developed through clusters with each classroom having a specific private channel.  Instructors can assign tasks normally completed in class, have a relatively easy time marking and utilize a feedback-to-students mechanism if desired. Graham was enthused to have participated in his first ever live online driver ed training on the evening of May 19, describing it as "a most unique experience." He was also impressed with the ease of some students, who are familiar to Teams, in navigating the virtual learning environment to hop in and out of breakout rooms. Graham said the in-vehicle portion of the training is yet to be determined; however, looking ahead, using Teams is going to help students, particularly in rural settings, to complete the in-class portion of the driver course.

Board Chairwoman expressed appreciation for the presentations stating, "It is certainly good to see all the initiatives that are happening." She also thanked staff for their efforts saying, "… I am pleased that all of you have done this good work to try to address all the needs of our students throughout the system."
Articles by Norm Park:  Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links: Driver Education, Early Learning, Monitoring Report, Nutrition Grant, Student Services.

 Upcoming Meetings:

May 21 & 28 /20Board Chairs Teleconferences
June 17/20Board Committee-of-the-Whole Meeting
June 17/20Regular (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:,




Carolyn Thompson5/22/2020 4:01 PM