News Item

Board Highlights (March 2019)

April 01, 2019

logo-vertical (003).jpgNotes from the March 27, 2019 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Education

Curriculum Report

Michael Graham, Coordinator of Curriculum, presented the Board with a 50-minute report with respect to his portfolio in remaining current in effective practices to lead, review, assess and improve educational programming, support and actualize Saskatchewan curriculum in all subject areas for grade 6-12, and liaise with the Ministry of Education branches. In addition, he supports teachers through professional learning communities (PLCs), mentorships, resource management and teacher accreditation; and administrators in the areas of timetabling and alternative course offerings to name a couple.

This year there are 21 PLCs who meet to focus on such matters as writing, supporting Truth & Reconciliation or book circles to discuss topics from school administration to feedback for staff and students. The average number of PLCs over the past eight years is 28.  There were five mentorship applications received this year in addition to one large multi-school application.  Mentorships focus on such areas as supporting new teachers, senior science planning and the writing process.  A teacher accreditation seminar was held in the fall of 2018 for 13 internal applicants and 14 external applicants with another seminar expected to be held in the fall of 2020.

Supporting Graham on the curriculum side are two ELA coaches, working with the student first classroom initiative to help with mentorship and professional learning for teachers.  The Coordinator said the two coaches have been well received by all the schools and teachers with whom they have been working.  This year they have been rolling out a new resource; a hockey bag to schools containing an Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada (88mΒ² floor map) to educate teachers and students about the different treaties and cultures within our First Nations communities. It comes with a series of preplanned lessons and activities suitable for all grades.  Currently a teacher in Oxbow is piloting the resource and will be providing feedback soon.

As an aid for school wide planning, the instructional experts are also working to lay out options to schools for accessing a huge navigable mental health learning resource, mostly through English and Wellness classes, with a goal to help increase the understanding of mental health and mental disorders, decrease the stigma of mental illness and enhance help-seeking efficacy among both students and teachers.

Further to his last report to the Board on March 22, 2018, Graham updated the Board with an overview of the Saskatchewan curriculum renewal process that is being undertaken by the Ministry of Education and explained SECPSD's involvement in that work.  His presentation outlined the status of where courses are at in terms of being renewed or non-renewed, being piloted or soon to be implemented in SECPSD and brought a chuckle around the board table when he stated that some of the courses are "old in the social sciences realm that date back to the 60's." He made note of the schools and number of staff that are working with the Ministry to support the process, which takes about four years from start to completion, and involves a reference committee, writing group(s), teacher pilots and classroom implementation, all aspects in which SECPSD staff have been and are involved.

Graham stated that the new curriculum is outcome based. For example, the new Physical Education curriculum will go into play this fall.  Graham stated, "The outcomes we have now are very broad which is good because each has a number of possible indicators.  It is more giving ideas of where you can teach it as opposed to previous versions that would have objectives" which could be met through a number of activities, not skill specific. Of note, a guitar course as well as studio arts are being reviewed to make them into provincial level courses.

The Coordinator stated that the Career Team consists of one career services consultant and eight career development counsellors (3.75 FTE).  The team helps with the supervision of apprenticeship programs across the division, assists students in applying for universities, liaises with the different universities along with the students to ensure acceptance and helps students find scholarships. Of interest, scholarship information arranged by due date and including a listing of requirements for each is now available in a public document on the school division's website.

As far as graduation rate initiatives, the division continues to support schools with alternate pathways for students that include credits for apprenticeship, special projects, career and workplace experience as well as dual credit courses.  Students can work to obtain these credits over and above what is timetabled in their schools in order to fulfill graduation requirements. To date in 2018-2019 credits earned are 147 (completed) and 310 (pending). 

Graham's full PowerPoint presentation can be viewed here.

Kids First Literacy

Director of Education, Lynn Little, reported that a new position was added to SECPSD just recently as the result of an early years literacy grant that became available this past fall for which the school division applied and was accepted.  The position will go from now until the end of May which will allow for more pop-up playgroups to be offered as well as a grandparents group particularly around the three First Nations areas in the division.  Little noted, "This will be very positive when we are looking at our readiness for kindergarten."

Appointment of Auditor for 2019-2021

A Request for Proposal for audit services for a three (3) year term with an option to renew for two (2) additional years, resulted in four proposals being received, reviewed and rated by the Audit Committee with Virtus Group receiving the committee's recommendation.  The Board passed a motion accepting the proposal from Virtus Group to provide audit services commencing the 2018-2019 fiscal year. This will be Virtus Group's third term as auditor for the school division.

Quarterly Operating 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 February 28, 2019.  The Statement of Operations indicates that revenue of $50,947,603 was received up to February 28, 2019, while expenses incurred up to this period of time were $52,148,231. As of the report date the school division's year to date expenses total approximately 48.9 % of budget.  This illustrates the division is remaining on track financially as we are half way into our current fiscal year. 

The projection for the full fiscal year includes variances from budget in the grants and tuition revenue, complementary and external services, as well as other revenue areas with the net adjustment being an increase in revenue of $317,310.  With the projections from all budget managers taken into consideration, our expenses have variations from budget in all categories.  At this time, the expectation for total expenses is to be over budget by $96,777.

Monitoring Report on Board Policy 12.3 – Fiscal Responsibility

Shelley Toth, Superintendent of Division Services/Chief Financial Officer, brought a report, with accompanying supporting evidence, to the Board with respect to fiscal responsibility.  For the third consecutive year, Toth reported 100% compliance in all six fiscal areas outlined in #3 of Board Policy number 12, which are:  management, operation, insurance coverage, emergency expenditures, budget adjustments within approved categories up to an accumulated total of one hundred thousand dollars, and business continuity and security of the division's information management and technology assets. 

2019-2020 School Year Calendar

Deputy Director, Keith Keating, informed the Board that the calendar vote results regarding two calendar options that were presented to staff indicated that both SECPSD and Holy Family staff favoured calendar option #2, (SECPSD 76%). The two options contained minor variances.  Calendar option #2 provides for a start date of August 26 for staff and September 3 for students.  The last day for students will be June 26 with the last day for staff being June 30.  Keating expressed appreciation to all the groups that were involved in the creation of the calendar in terms of coming to a resolution regarding the calendar they preferred.  The 2019-2020 calendar received Board approval and can be accessed at on the front page under Documents.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:  Calendar, Curriculum, Monitoring

Upcoming Meetings

April 11 19SSBA Board Chairs' Council Meeting
April 11 19SSBA Public Section Executive Meeting
April 11-12 19SSBA Spring Assembly
April 17 19Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
April 17 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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