September 9, 2013: The Record Off The Record: Ed Policy / OPPS Combined: Any Questions?

A public question period is proposed, but don’t think you can just get in line at the mic and ask one. A proposed draft change presented as Bylaw 9360.1 puts 14 strictures on asking a question. One of them is “The Board Chair has the discretion to call questions out of order without debate or challenge.” This package will come to the next OPPS meeting for discussion and vote, October 15. Public participation at Standing Committees is standard SD61 practice.

The Record Off The Record is my personal record of and commentary on Board and Standing Committee 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 meetings are posted on the SD61 website under the “Board of Education” menu (Education Policy Development Committee is posted as “Education Meetings”; Operations Policy and Planning Committee is posted as “Operations Meetings”) generally one month after the meeting.

Reports from In Camera meetings are posted on the Board meeting page as “Section 72 Reports”. “Section 72” refers to Section 72 (3) of the BC  School Act which states “ A board must prepare a record containing a general statement as to the nature of the matters discussed and the general nature of the decisions reached at a meeting from which persons other than trustees or officers of the board, or both, were excluded, and the record must be open for inspection at all reasonable times by any person, who may make copies and extracts on payment of a fee set by the board.”

The public 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.]

Trustee Assignments December 2012-December 2013
Trustee Assignments December 2012-December 2013

NB:

  • I am not on the GVTA Negotiations Advisory Committee. I do not  know what the SD61 Bargaining objectives are. Trustees in SD61 do not have any part in developing them, although we are publicly responsible  for them.  Discovering  what they are can be surprising. A recent public petition developed by the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association employee group is a case in point. Although they got the name of the Vice-Chair wrong (It’s Horsman, not Ferris), the points made in the petition seem aligned with Human Rights legislation.
  • Link to the petition:  http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/school-trustees-of-greater-victoria-stop-discrimination-against-teachers-taking-pregnancy-parental-leaves
  • I still don’t know if the GVTA Negotiations Advisory Committee is the same thing as the two trustees who (may or may not) sit at the table at bargaining with the teacher employee group, or if that is called something else. Two trustees are designated to sit at that table and neither of them is me, since they are Ferris and Orcherton.
  • I do know what the other table’s bargaining objectives are, as they are on the GVTA website, along with bargaining bulletins to the GVTA membership, useful for anyone.who wants to get some information about the status of District bargaining with this employee group. However, the last bulletin is dated May 2013.
  • The CUPE 382 newsletter is linked,  and the CUPE 947 is  here.

In Camera meeting before the public meeting: 5:45 – 7 pm.

Recognition of Songhees and Esquimalt Nations‘ traditional territories.

1. Approval of Agenda: Approved
2. Approval of Minutes:

1. Combined Ed Policy and OPPs June 10, 2013: Not approved as there was a request for a change. [Corrections to minutes are noted in the minutes being corrected; they’re not detailed in the minutes of the meeting at which the corrections were adopted. (The minutes of the meeting at which corrections were made should merely state that minutes of the previous meeting were approved as corrected.) ]  Approval will be tabled [referred / postponed ] to the next meeting.

  • (Lay on the) Table: Temporarily suspends further consideration/action on pending question to deal with urgent matter; may be made after motion to close debate has carried or is pending
  • Postpone to a Certain Time: State the time the motion or agenda item will be resumed.
  • Commit /Refer/Recommit to Committee: State the committee to receive the question or resolution.

3. Business Arising From Minutes: None
4. Education Policy Development Committee: Chair Alpha

A. Suicide Prevention:

B. Presentations

1. Justine Thomson, NEED 2 :

  • NEED2 Suicide Prevention Education and Support works to prevent deaths by suicide. We work to remove the stigma that surrounds suicide. We provide support to those impacted by suicide and crisis by providing emotional support to youth on-line, through support groups and community programming. We are primarily a volunteer organization and want a world free of suicide. “
  • Need 2 has been offering suicide prevention programming in schools since 1996.
  • On March 31, 2010 the Victoria-based NEED crisis line was moved to Nanaimo in a VIHA consolidation and then, in the April round of Ministry of Children and Families cuts, NEED lost all $43,356 in funding for the Suicide Awareness for Youth program.
  • After considerable upheaval, on September 7th, 2010 the NEED board approved a new name:  NEED2 .Need 2 provides YouthSpace text and chat 7 days a week from 6 pm – 11pm. (“Youth” is defined as under 30.)
  • NEED2 has reached 2390 students, 400 teachers, has made 60 classroom presentations and has presented at professional development days. NEED2 would like to present to every Grade 8 student and Planning 10 student.
  • Six SD61 schools have adopted the Whole School Model.

2. William Morris, Gathering Strength Initiative

  • This initiative came together  in the spring of 2013 when it became apparent to several people that no services for youth experiencing suicidal ideation was available from 4 pm Fridays to 8 am Mondays. This initiative focuses on intense one-on-one personal support and connections with youth, as well as providing fun events such as a dinner with a comedian, and summer camps. An objective was to counter the “presenter comes in and leaves” way of doing things. A focus on leadership is based on the premise that you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself. Outreach to communities has been part of the initiative. An Alternative Youth Program is offered by the Tsawout Nation.

3. Rob Paynter, Suicide Prevention Education

  • Mr. Paynter presented a powerpoint “Creating the Right Conditions” that addressed some myths about suicide education. Among resources referred to was the May 2013 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal  that addresses “suicide contagion”: “We found that exposure to suicide predicts suicide ideation and attempts. Our results support school-wide interventions over current targeted interventions, particularly over strategies that target interventions toward children closest to the decedent.

C. Motion: Loring-Kuhanga: That the Board [etc] adopt the Whole School Suicide Prevention Model  for all middle and secondary schools and provide annual presentations to students and staff in order to increase awareness, education, and prevention of suicide among our youth.

  • Ferris: Trustees  don’t tell schools which programs to adopt. Would like to see a more general motion that fits in with current practice.
  • Paynter (public): The Whole School Model is a worldwide approach, not just a Need 2 “package”.
  • Alpha: Needs consultation from VCPAC and other partner groups; need to consult and build support and then move forward.
  • Leonard: Amendment: That the Board [etc] support suicide prevention programs in each middle and secondary school. / Defeated. For: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy   Against: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton
  • Orcherton: Amendment: Encourage middle and secondary schools to review and consider adopting the Whole School Suicide Prevention Model as well as providing annual presentations to students and staff in order to increase awareness, education, and prevention of suicide among our youth./ Loring-Kuhanga’s motion  carried as amended,  unanimously.
  • Orcherton on the amendment: The Culture and Community Committee would be a good place to discuss this. [In the Fall of 2012, the District initiated a new structure known as the Culture and Community Committee. Comprised of representatives from all stakeholder groups, the collaborative committee meets monthly to address the question: “How do we create a culture that is more welcoming and safe for everyone in the District?” The committee worked together to submit a proposal for a Civil Forfeitures Funding grant and is continuing to have dialogue with community associations and agencies regarding student safety, belonging and inclusion.]
  • McNally: Follow-up and reporting back is needed as “encourage” and “consider” are more or less vague terms. ( Direction to senior administration to develop a report / feedback mechanism was “informally approved”.)
  • Member of the public (Self-identified as PhD, Psychology): Would like to be able to see on District website what each school is doing in regard to this issue.

5. Operations Policy and Planning Committee: Chair Leonard

A. Superintendent’s Report

1. Subcommittee on Public Engagement:

  • Deputy Superintendent Bell presented hard copy of draft proposals for changes to Bylaw and Policy. A public question period is proposed, but don’t think you can just get in line at the mic and ask one. A proposed draft change presented  as Bylaw 9360.1 puts 14 strictures on asking a question. One of them is “The Board Chair has the discretion to call questions out of order without debate or challenge.” This package will come to the next OPPS meeting for discussion and vote, October 15. Public participation at Standing Committees is standard SD61 practice.
  • [Trustee Loring-Kuhanga brought a motion to the May 14, 2012  Operations Policy and Planning meeting asking for two public question periods at every Board meeting. This motion was defeated: For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr. (Absent: McEvoy) Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard and Orcherton. ]
  • Another proposal is that District personnel video Board meetings (they are already audio recorded), with no public video allowed; media video allowed; video posted to District website with view statistics tracked. After one year of this streaming audio [McNally’s motion that was referred to this Committee] may be considered.

2. Policy and Regulation 4300: District Health and Safety Committee, 4300.1 Health and Safety, 4300.2 Site-Based Joint OHS Committees

[ Policy and Regulation review has  been given to senior administration, reportedly by the previous Board. Regulations have always been the purview of senior administration.  Trustee Loring-Kuhanga brought a motion to establish a Policy Review Committee to the Board meeting of January 16, 2012: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) establish a small working committee (consisting of 2 trustees, 1 executive member, 1 teacher, 1 administrator, 1 parent and 1 CUPE member) to review all of the policies and regulations and to report revisions to OPPS on a monthly basis. Minutes state “Motion did not get heard at the meeting and will be moved to the next Operations, Policy and Planning Committee meeting agenda of February 13, 2012”. However, at that meeting “The motion was deferred to the April Operations Policy and Planning Committee meeting.”  The motion was not dealt with and was moved to the May OPPS meeting  where it was defeated 6-3 For: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr  Against: Orcherton, McEvoy, Ferris, Leonard, Alpha, Leonard, Horsman ]

Changes to Policy 4300 (current Policy is dated 1971; proposed changes are attached to the agenda..)  / Carried: For: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McNally, McEvoy, Orcherton Against: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr

  • Alpha: How does the Board get information about Health and Safety issues?
  • Director, HR: All minutes are on the website. [They are password protected; not available to the public.]  A District H&S Committee is not required by legislation but has been set up in SD61 to advise the Human Resources Department.

Changes to Policy 4300.1 Health and Safety (Last revised 1994) / Carried unanimously.

Policy 4300.2 (New Policy re site-based Joint OHS Committees, required by WorkSafe.) / Carried. For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, McNally, Orcherton, Nohr. Against: Loring-Kuhanga

B. Finance and Legal Affairs

1. Cooperative Gains Savings Plan

The Board Chair presented a verbal report. Richmond School board has written a clear letter to Minister of Education Fassbender:

2013-09-05 D.Sargent, SD38 to P.Fassbender-- bargaining 12013-09-05 D.Sargent, SD38 to P.Fassbender-- bargaining 2

2. 2013/2014 Annual Facilities Grant: presented for information. Will come to the Board meeting for a vote.

3. Cloverdale Traditional School Capital Project Bylaw No. 114493: For information. Seismic project for school, $14,070. Will go to Board meeting for vote.

4. Tillicum School Capital Project Bylaw No. 116652: For information. Seismic project for Tillicum School, $11,865. Will go to Board meeting for vote.

5. George Jay School Capital Project Bylaw No. 115114: For information; will go to board meeting for vote. Seismic project for George Jay School, $34,270.

6. 2013-2014 Capital Plan: For information (explanatory letter from Director of Facilities appended); will go to Board for vote.

7. Summer projects: The Director of Facilities provided a slide show of Facilities summer projects, from the beautiful shining floors that greet staff and students on the first day of school to extensive seismic projects. It will be on the SD61 website  at some point.

C. Public Disclosure of In Camera items: None
D. New Business / Notice of Motions: None
E. General Announcements: None
F. Adjournment: 9:20

Next meetings:
Monday, September 16,  7:30 pm Board Meeting, Board Office, Boleskine Road
Monday, October 7,  7 pm Education Policy Development: Location TBA
Tuesday, October 15, 7:30 Operations Policy and Planning: Board Office