News Item

Board Highlights (March 2021)

March 18, 2021

Notes from the March 17, 2021 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division Board of Education


Monitoring Report on Board Policy 12.3 – Fiscal Responsibility

One hundred percent compliance for the fifth consecutive year in regard to six fiscal requirements outlined in the Board's policy #12.3 was reported by Shelley Toth, Superintendent of Division Services/CFO.  The report covered such areas as insurance, emergency expenditures, certain budget adjustments and security of division information management and technology assets and was backed up with appropriate supporting evidence. 

Toth stated that the division participates in the Saskatchewan School Boards Association insurance program which is renewed on an annual basis. New this year, cyber insurance coverage was added as this was an area identified as a risk by the Board and insurance is a way to mitigate that risk.  There were no emergency expenditures to report for the 2019-2020 fiscal year as well as nothing to report in terms of security incidents.

2021-2022 School Year Calendar

In collaboration with the Holy Family school division and the South East Cornerstone Teachers' Association, once again staff from both systems were offered a choice of two slightly differing calendars for the upcoming school year.  The vote resulted in staff favouring the calendar with a full two-week break at Christmas as opposed to a couple of extended weekends throughout the school year.  The winning calendar, which was option #1, will see teaching staff return on August 25 and classes commencing on September 1.  The Christmas break will be from December 20 to and including December 31, winter break from February 21-25 and Easter/spring break from April 15 to and including April 22.  The last day of classes will be held on June 28, 2022.

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 February 28, 2021.  The Statement of Operations indicates that revenue of $56,115,307 was received up to February 28, 2021, while expenses incurred up to this period of time were $56,150,776. As of the report date, the school division's year to date expenses total approximately 50.3 % of budget.  This illustrates the division is remaining on track financially, being half-way into the current fiscal year. 

The projection for the full fiscal year was presented within the report. This projection 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 $3,564,728.  With the projections from all budget managers taken into consideration, expenses have variations from budget in all categories.  At this time, the expectation for total expenses is to be over budget by $3,278,360. 

Curriculum Report

A 40-page PowerPoint presentation on curriculum and programming for grades 6-12, Treaty education, and educational supports was well received by board members.  The presenter, Michael Graham, Coordinator of Curriculum, reported on the work of himself as team lead, the curriculum team of two and the seven-person career development team who provide supports to teachers and administrators across the system.

A change this year, due to increased enrolment mostly attributed to COVID-19, was a shift of the operational portion of the home school portfolio from Graham to Maryanne Kotylak who assumed the home school support role in January. Already Kotylak has increased communication to the 150+ families, promoted reading and math assessments and has begun planning for a home school learning fair targeted for this spring.  While home school enrolments totaled 129 students in 2014-15, they had increased to 183 by 2019-20, then jumped to 291 in the current school year.  Graham stated that in general the home school population has been mimicking home school populations across the entire country. 

Educators continue to collaborate through self-determined professional learning communities, two of which are partly funded through alternative means, and have continued to support one another through collaborative-alike teams (i.e. for individual grade levels PreK-9 and for high school subjects such as math, science and arts education) which were born out of collaborative supports established during supplemental learning.  As well, mentorships are made available typically to support new teachers and teachers who are instructing in new areas of the curriculum, although this has been more challenging this year without in-person interaction.  These alliances have opened the doors to bring expertise together across the division through increased educator collaboration, co-planning and working together in general, often negating the necessity to recreate the wheel in education.

Popular especially at this time of year, "scholarship central" where 116 scholarships are listed on the division's website, has garnered over 3,000 pageviews since September.

As part of the curriculum report, the Board and administration were treated to a live view of MathUp Classroom, which is a comprehensive, online, K-8 instructional solution (championed by Marian Small who as a critical friend has worked with SECPSD in the past) that helps build teachers' knowledge and understanding of mathematics so that they can better help their students.  He explained that grade 3-6 have been using the program in a transition year and that as of fall 2021 MathUp will be the core resource for grade 1-6 math, being an approved core resource on the Saskatchewan curriculum for those grades.  He mentioned that he has received no negative feedback from staff who are currently using the program.  Completion of the grade 7-8 ties to the SK curriculum has been delayed to the end of the summer on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, after which in SECPSD there will be a one-year transition year for those two grades, and then the division will look at MathUp being the major resource for grade 3-8.

Graham stated that it has become the norm for career counsellors to conduct their work with students (individually, in groups or classes) via MS Teams, telephone conversations, virtual teaching sessions and sometimes by email, which has been a big learning curve.  Although it has increased their ability to work with more students more often, the educator cautioned that the health of the workers must be considered so they are not consumed with their work outside of the "workday".

A research project, with representation from 11 SECPSD schools, as well as White Bear and Ocean Man First Nations, which seeks a model to help facilitate teachers in addressing First Nation, MΓ©tis and Inuit ways of knowing/Treaty Education in the classroom, through voluntary participation, is underway with 24 individuals. The project will involve three learning days with elders, knowledge keepers and colleagues as well as three interviews over the year. 

Charts depicting an overview of the provincial curriculum renewal process for grade 10-12 were provided showing the current state of renewals and the renewal process itself.  There was also a graph depicting the number of SECPSD teachers looking into a particular renewal process through writing, vetting, teacher support/feedback, resource evaluation, and both implementation working and implementation support teams.

The full curriculum presentation may be accessed here.

Articles by Norm Park

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

Board News Briefs, Calendar, Curriculum, Financials, Fiscal Responsibility.


Upcoming Meetings

ThursdaysBoard Chairs RPT Update
March 19/21Board/Members of the Legislative Assembly Forum
March 28-29/21National Congress on Rural Education in Canada
April 6/21Provincial Budget Day
April 15-16/21SSBA Spring Assembly
April 21/21Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
April 21/21Regular (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







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