Notes from the September 16, 2020 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Education
Monitoring Report on System Goal #1
The first SECPSD public board meeting of the 2020-2021 school year kicked off with a monitoring report showcasing opportunities for students to learn and succeed in every school, whether virtual, physical or at home. Considering the current setting, this year's report focused on processes that were developed to continue to support students, staff and families in unprecedented times, starting with a move to remote education offering supplemental learning from March to June, facilitated through the Microsoft Teams platform. Staff developed on-line procedures to support teachers with delivery of programs and supports, and all children with their learning. The division distributed 984 legacy laptops to support students in accessing the platform and paper learning packages were delivered to families who were without internet access. At the end of June schools reported that 5,792 students out of a potential 7,959 students were still participating in supplemental learning to some degree.
SECPSD was pleased to welcome students and staff back into the buildings on September 8 to resume face-to-face learning after a near 6-month absence. Procedures and processes, including supports for students and families struggling with mental health or challenges created by the pandemic, have been carefully developed and implemented at the division and school levels in accordance with provincial guidelines and local context to ensure safety for all, with higher levels established in the plan for quick transition at the lead of the local and provincial Medical Health Officers, should the need arise. Director of Education/CEO Lynn Little explained that school plans align with the system plan and are reflective of local circumstances, varying slightly due to factors such as the size of the school and the ages and number of students.
Little explained what SECPSD's four level plan for implementation during COVID-19 looks like at each level with the first level allowing for the return to school as close to normal as possible, including additional health measures and precautions. Level two includes mask usage for students and staff, as per guidance provided to school divisions by the provincial Chief Medical Officer on August 11 and level three provides for school capacity to be reduced, which will include a hybrid learning model. The fourth level would see a transition to mandatory remote learning for all which, she noted, is different from supplemental learning. In accordance with provincial recommendations, the division is currently at level two. The division plan is housed on the school division website at www.secpsd.ca and school plans are posted on individual school websites.
The Director emphasized the importance of working on Maslow's hierarchy of needs (self-actualization, esteem, love and belonging, safety needs and physiological needs), especially as it pertains to safety needs and mental health, to ensure they are addressed first so Bloom's Taxonomy (create, evaluate, analyze, apply, understand and remember) can then be actualized.
Further, Little reported that the division's online school, Cyber Stone Virtual School, expanded to include K-12. As of mid-September, 238 students were enrolled in CSVS in grades K-9 and an additional 130 students are enrolled in full on-line grade 10-12 offering with an additional 570 credit hours being distributed to 342 students at the 10-12 level. As well, home-schooling enrolments rose by 107 to a total of 279 since June 2020. Enrollment numbers continue to fluctuate as everyone is finding their place of comfort and need.
In spite of the challenges faced, Little stressed that although we are in a world-wide pandemic, we need to remember that, "We are together again ….We're connected. We're teaching and learning. We're better when we're together." View the PowerPoint presentation here.
Assisting with the report was Superintendent of Education Aaron Hiske who shared an electronic departmental report on adjustments rolled out by the Coordinator team, division and school staff as a result of the pandemic, to provide supports across the division under the umbrellas of early learning, student services, learning supports, curriculum and instructional technology during supplemental learning.
There were many highlights in the report. Support provided to teachers to provide online instruction as well as time and space for collegial support was very well received. One hundred families engaged in regularly scheduled virtual speech therapy sessions with the division's eight speech and language pathologists. There were 23,744 views of the Literacy Challenges on Facebook, and literacy challenges were carried out in the communities of Ocean Man, Pheasant Rump and White Bear. As well, 200 literacy packages were delivered to 40 families.
Schools were supported through Returning to School modules created for administrators to use with their staff for planning the return to school in the fall. In addition, modules were created with Trauma Sensitive Schools as the focus, which were delivered to Educational Assistants, Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Consultants and Coordinators. Further, two book studies are underway across the division: 1) Fostering Resilient Learners and 2) Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Support programs and learning delivery continued through various PD opportunities for staff and the utilization of MS Teams as a delivery platform to students and families and for collaboration purposes. Students were thrilled when Driver's Education resumed, albeit virtually, on May 11 with in-car instruction following shortly afterwards, enabling them to successfully complete course requirements by the end of June. During supplemental learning, licenses were activated for all students in SEPCSD from grade 1-12 to support supplemental and learning-at-home through an engaging math resource, Mathletics.
The Jordan's Principle program continued through weekly phone call check-ins with families, literacy packages, Teams meetings and resources posted to a Facebook page. Theory training and PD modules were made available to staff through online delivery by Quality Behaviour Solutions (QBS) trainers. In addition, staff such as educational assistants and learning support teachers continued their work through PD opportunities, interaction with students via Teams, and the creation of activity buckets for students for return to school.
The Superintendent of Education presented several graphs pertaining to the reading programs provided through Core 5 (Fidelity of Usage), and PowerUp (program usage details, and progress of all students). In Core 5, for example, across the division during the 2019/2020 school year up to June 5, 72% of all students advanced at least one grade level of material. For the same time period, the average number of students using PowerUp from grade 6-12 was 209 and the average weekly minutes per student across all strands was 43.
Hiske reported that National Indigenous Peoples Day was recognized virtually with a resource package being shared through collaborative teams at all grade levels. Also, teachers new to SECPSD received orientation in a virtual format.
With digital communication being paramount, the Instructional Technology (I.T.) prepared staff for digital supplemental learning for 8,300 students, served as the home base for over 500 staff for training, updates, tips and discussions, and supported schools in moving online for school communication and content delivery. The I.T. video presentation can be viewed here.
Delegation to the Board
Stacey Wempe appeared before the Board to present her concerns around students wearing masks.
Quarterly Operating and Financial Report
The Quarterly Finance Report was presented by Manager of Finance Marilyn Yurkiw, who has been employed with SECPSD since 2011 and has worked in school division finance for over 20 years. The report presented was reflective of revenue and expenses received and incurred up to August 31, 2020. As the year end process is completed to wrap up the fiscal year, both revenue and expense amounts will vary somewhat from the amounts presented. Year end adjusting entries recognize amortization expenses, and various receivables and payables have not yet been completed. The Manager highlighted the areas within the revenue and expense categories which will have variances from the budget amounts. Yurkiw also shared with the Board the dates scheduled for the upcoming year end audits. A full presentation of the Financial Statements for the year ending August 31, 2020 will be presented to the Board following the audit process.
The Lord's Prayer
The Board passed a motion in support of requests from the School Community Councils of Carievale, Gladmar and MacLeod for recitation of the Lord's Prayer or a moment of reflection during open or assembly activities, in accordance with The Education Act, 1995, for the 2020-2021 school year.
Articles by Norm Park
Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:
Board News Briefs, Delegation, Election, Financials, Monitoring Report
- October 7/20 – Board Strategic Planning Meeting
- October 14/20 – Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
- October 14/20 – Regular (Public) Board Meeting
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: firstname.lastname@example.org