May 6/13: SD61 Education Policy Development Committee: School Literacy Presentations (No Policy Development)

An entirely marginalized group everywhere is sentient self-aware non human beings (notably primates, elephants, parrots and cetaceans, so I suggested a speaker from the Non Human Rights Project for next year’s Human Library Day. The Human Library Day at Spectrum is an interesting and vital project with fundamental value to community. I hope it continues. Kudos to all involved.

The Record Off The Record is my own record of and commentary on public meetings in School District 61 (Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal and a portion of Saanich and Highlands ).“Official” approved minutes of Board and Standing Committee (Ed PolicyOPPS)  meetings  are posted on the SD61 website under the “Board of Education” menu,  generally one month after the meeting. The meeting schedule is posted on the District Calendar. Trustees are referred to by last name only for brevity; “the Board of Education of SD No. 61 (Greater Victoria” is referred to as “the Board [etc]”. No audio recordings are made of Standing Committee meetings, only of Board meetings. (No record of how the audio recording decision was made, or any debate on proposed uses of and storage of the record appears to exist.) In Camera reports (the Board has to take a vote to report out on motions or discussions that take place in secret non-public In Camera meetings, which are called to deal with issues including – but not limited to-  “land, legal and personnel”) are posted under “Section 72 Reports“. (Section 72 of the School Act refers to In Camera meetings.) 

In a majority vote decision made in September 2012, this Board  outsourced policy review dealing with public interaction to senior management. All policy review (termed “housekeeping “) was turned over to senior administration via an “agreement” previous to the current Board taking office.  Policy 2105 District Leadership Team states that “Members of the District Leadership Team provide and receive initial feed back on departmental initiatives, review regulations, and discuss current management, leadership and education issues.DLT shall provide advice and information to the Board of Education.”

  • Orcherton: That the Board [etc] directs [sic] senior management to review all Board practices , policies and bylaws with respect to the Board’s interact with the Public with the view to clarify, educate and if necessary, recommend any improvements to these practices and policies. Carried 5-4.  For: Orcherton, Horsman, McEvoy, Leonard, Ferris  Against: Alpha, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally
  • Speakers against the motion noted that continual outsourcing of policy and bylaw review and revision is an abrogation of Trustees’ responsibilities. Both the BC School Trustees’ Association, and the District’s own Bylaw 9210, part 2 specify that Trustees are to be involved in all stages of policy development. It has been said at the Board table that “involvement” is now, through a decision of the previous Board,  to outsource to senior administration. Creation of a Policy Review and Development Committee has been proposed, and dismissed [by the majority] ….

On to the Education Policy Development Committee meeting, May 6, 2013, Spectrum Community School Library.

Article 4 of the Education Policy Development Committee Bylaw (9130.1) states : “The Education Policy Development Committee shall meet in accordance with the provisions of Bylaw 9360.2 (Meetings of the Standing Committees) for the purpose of providing direction to administration on the development of new educational policies and to review Board motions which require translation to educational policy. In addition, the Committee shall, from time to time as it sees fit, make recommendations to the Board in respect of educational policy for the District.”

Senior administration (the District Principal of Learning Initiatives, for this Committee)  develop the agendas for Board meetings and Standing Committee meetings, with input from the Chairs.

All the presentations that follow in the agenda for this meeting were worthwhile accounts of wonderful public school initiatives, but keep the stated  purpose  of this Standing Committee in mind in regard to every Ed Policy agenda.

Education Policy Development Committee: May 6, 2013, Spectrum Community School Library
Chair: Alpha
Absent: Leonard; regrets, Nohr.

Recognition of Songhees and Esquimalt Nations’ traditional territories.

1. Approval of Agenda: Approved. / Adopted
2. Minutes of April 2, 2013: Approved
3. Business Arising Out of the Minutes : None
4. Public Request to the Committee: None
5. Correspondence Referred to the Committee: None.
6. Motions Referred to the Committee: None
7. General Announcements: None

8. New Business:

During discussion, Horsman noted that she was  elected as School Trustee in 1986. (Former SD61 Trustee John Young held a Trustee position until he was 90.)

A. Success By Six Early Years Awards : Information presented by Janine Roy, Principal of Learning Initiatives.

  • [Although I have been  assigned to be Success By Six liaison, the umbrella group I have met with once since January 2012 has not met this school year. Not a demanding liaison position.Some of these liaison committees never meet.]
  • The Early Years Awards is a celebration in support of Success By 6 and the initiatives they advocate, while at the same time acknowledging those groups and businesses in our community that share the same vision. … The Early Years Awards gather community feedback [via “invited” survey – number of participants is not stated] on our region’s most child and family friendly services, businesses, workplaces, programs, parks and more.”
  • Strong Start Centres were recognized as the favourite free child/ family community programSD61 offers six Strong Start locations (George Jay, James Bay Community School, Macaulay School, Tillicum, View Royal and Craigflower) in schools.
  • From the SD61 website: “StrongStart BC is a free drop-in early learning program for all preschool-aged children. Children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver while attending the program.These wonderful programs are conducted by qualified early childhood educators who lead a variety of learning activities designed to help children get ready for success in kindergarten. Parents and caregivers attending a StrongStart BC center can expect organized sessions like story time, play activities, and a healthy snack. Come to one of our StrongStart BC programs. Discover new ways to support your child’s learning. Make connections with others parents and caregivers who attend. Gain important information about additional services and resources in our community. StrongStart BC programs have been extremely well received in all our six locations. “
  • A unique award was given in recognition of “Individuals who make children feel most respected and welcome”. The recognized individuals were teachers and principals, which is lovely, but the unlovely part is, CUPE support workers  in schools weren’t included.
  • The Board Chair accepted the Award previously on behalf of SD61.

B. Reading Celebration Week: Presented by Campus View K-5 School staff members David Hovis (Principal), Josee Paris (VP),  Katie Simmonds and Kelsey Anderson (teachers), along with students. This sounds like a very enjoyable annual event at Campus View. Perhaps the interesting  Animoto presentation will be uploaded to the Campus View website in the future.

C. Literacy Week: Presented by Lakehill School  (K-5) Vice Principal Cindy Harte and a student.

D. Battle of the Books: Presented by Monterey Middle School Teacher-Librarian Keeley Thornton, and Rockheights Middle School Teacher-Librarian Nicole Aerts, along with students from both schools.  (I attended the 2012 Battle of the Books and was 100% engaged. One of the books chosen for teams to read that year was Carl Hiaasen‘s HOOT; Carl’s one of my favourite YA and adult writers, with his often darkly humourous comments  on environmental destruction, and his development of ingenious actions to thwart it in the context of engaging mystery novels.)

E. Human Library Day : Presented by Sharoyne Gaiptman (Vice Principal)  and Alan Clarke (Teacher-Librarian)  Spectrum Community School.

  • Students had an opportunity to confront stereotypes and prejudices  on Human Library Day. Spectrum Community School is the first school to adapt the Human Library concept for a school setting. “The Human Library must ALWAYS aim to reflect the challenges of people and groups in the community, that are or have been, exposed to stigma, discrimination, stereotyping or prejudice, based on their lifestyle, sexuality, religious beliefs, social background or status, occupation, ethnicity and so forth. It is not intended as a story telling event for interesting people who already have a voice in the community and media. But rather to give a voice, space and visibility to those of often have none or are overlooked as part of their marginalization. “
  • Speakers at Spectrum’s Human Library Day included, among others, Julia Norman, founder of the Didi Society; Scott Heron, Peer Support Worker at Spinal Cord Injury BC; and a member of Our Place‘s administration team.
  • An entirely marginalized group everywhere is sentient self-aware non human beings (notably primateselephants,  parrots  and cetaceans,  so I suggested a speaker from the Non Human Rights Project for next year’s Human Library Day.
L pod orca Lolita Tokitae in Miami Seaquarium 43 years
L pod orca Lolita Tokitae in Miami Seaquarium 43 years

The Human Library Day at Spectrum is an interesting and vital project with fundamental value to community. I hope it continues. Kudos to all involved.

9. Adjournment: 8:20

Next Meeting:
Operations Policy and Planning Committee
7:30 Monday May 13 Board Office

Board Meeting: 7 pm Tuesday May 21 (Monday Victoria Day )

Agendas are posted on the District website each Friday before meetings,
under “Board of Education” drop-down menu.Call (250) 475-3212
if you’d like to make a public presentation. Standing Committees at present offer much more opportunity for questions and answers / direct public engagement.

Tilikum (once captive in Oak Bay) in Sea World Orlando
Tilikum (once captive in Oak Bay) in Sea World Orlando