May 4/15: Ed Policy: The Record Off The Record: Genderbread

 P1: Standing Committee / Board Meeting Report
P2: SD61 Applicable Bylaws / Standing Committees / Letters from BC School Boards
P3: Disclaimer / SD61  Backgrounder
P4: District PAC (aka DPAC, VCPAC) Constitution excerpts /  School Act re DPACs

Links for more info /sources underlined.

Sticky post: Motions and Trustee Voting Records  January 2012 – March 2015. The District now posts a record of motions carried, but the motions that fail are  equally interesting. (They do appear in the minutes of meetings, along with the vote, but not for a month after the meeting.)

Next Meetings
Mon May 11/15  7:30 pm OPPS
Tues May 19/15 7:30 pm Board Meeting
Mon June1/15 7 pm Education  Policy
Mon June 8/15  7:30 pm Operations Policy
Mon June 15/15 7:30 Board Meeting
Thurs June 25: Last day of school for students

Garden snail on a boulevard daisy leaf

Garden snail on a boulevard daisy leaf

Education-Policy agenda 1Education-Policy agenda 2


Territory Acknowledgement900

 In Camera meeting before public meeting.

Education Policy Development Committee & Operations Policy and Planning Committee April 7, 2015

Full agenda with attachments here.

Chair: Nohr
Regrets: Loring-Kuhanga (left for latter part of meeting as had another meeting), Orcherton (left before vote for motion at F)  Absent:Leonard, Whiteaker (not assigned to Ed Policy)

1. Approval of Agenda: Adopted
2. Approval of the Minutes: April 7 2015: Approved. Lined Paper notes here.
3. Business Arising From Minutes: None.
4. Public Request to the Committee (was Correspondence Referred to the Committee previous agenda) : None
5. Correspondence Referred to the Committee (was Motions Referred to the Committee previous agenda) : None
6. Motions Referred to the Committee (was General Announcements previous agenda) : None
7. General Announcements (was New Business last agenda) : None

8. New Business (was Public Request to the Committee last agenda)

A.  Superintendent: Introduction of Student Representative:

  • Raven Natrall, SJ Willis Alternative

Student Representative: [September  2013 original motion for Student Trustee]

  • A different student from the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Group (newly developed by the Superintendent in 2014 and now self-identified a the Association of Students), a group of students recommended by their principals or otherwise selected at their school to work with the Superintendent as representatives of the student voice in SD61, attends Standing Committee and Board meetings each month. These nine students meet every 6 weeks with the Superintendent. [This is probably the best way to establish student engagement in governance and interest in a possible future elected Student Trustee, as student councils have long been politically inactive in SD61.]
  • In a past report the Superintendent reported that each school has a different way of selecting their student representative. The group is developing a consistent format and process. For example, one rep was nominated by a vice principal; one was drawn from scholarship group that answered a 5 question form for final selection.

B. Chromebooks Pilot: Leslie Lee, Principal, George Jay, Terri Smith, VP, Robin Lam and Sunny Jun, teachers,and students

  • George Jay was given a class set of Chromebooks as part of a Canada-wide  Outstanding Principal award given to Ms. Lee. Along with staff she developed a pilot project at the school using the Chromebooks. [ A Chromebook is designed to do most things online via WiFi, using Google’s “Chrome” browser. For an additional cost, a Chromebook can also be made to work on a mobile broadband network.]
  • Sophia (student) presented her science journal tracking her human body science fair project “How Does Smoking Affect the Human Body?”. Sophia along with 2 other students were able to simultaneously collaborate on the document over distance using the Chromebooks and Google Docs. Storage is in the cloud [a remote server, or in this case, the SD61 cloud service] so is always retrievable even in the event of a crash.   Sophia also gave a synopsis of a compare and contrast assignment she had produced using a Chromebook – compatible word processor.
  • Primary grade students used Comic Life to produce attractive booklets on science projects. [Booklets were passed around, and lucky me, I got the booklet about whales!]
  • Maya (student) explained that 2 classes were working on the same document at once and all could comment or ask questions in a sidebar. Google Docs could not handle that number of people so it crashed.  (Having that number of students on necessitated a “Chromebook citizenship” discussion amongst students and their teacher, with an agreement from students not to use the “chat” feature , and to be aware that you can’t the when another person is typing s that erases the other person’s work.)
  • Interesting comment re “boys have to have buy-in”  for an activity, after Finn (student) presented.
  • Students seemed a bit unfamiliar with the SmartBoard, and the Vice Principal explained that they don’t use the Smart Board, they  use the Chromebooks. [Smart Boards were being installed in  classrooms everywhere  over the last few years at about $7000 each  – demonstrative of the perils of trying to keep up with the leading edge  of ed tech, which drives the BYOD push in some places. Chromebooks are inexpensive, about $250 each.]
  • The teacher can send out a pop quiz and get answers back in a spreadsheet in 5 minutes. A feature can lock answers or allow the student to go back and make corrections based on feedback.
  • Sunny Jun referred to “digital literacy competencies” in the BC Ed Plan:
    Digital Literacy is the interest, attitude and ability of individuals to use digital technology and communication tools appropriately to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, and create and communicate with others”. Trustees wee given hard copy of a digital competencies outline, along with the student guide for beginning and completing a digital literacy project.
  • One teacher reported her photocopying had dropped down by half.
  • One student who avoided writing because of motor skills issues [dysgraphia] was much less reluctant to write using  the Chromebook. The word processor helps with grammar suggestions, spelling suggestions , and is helpful  for English Language Learners. [CoWriter is great for this purpose too.] Can send to anther student for proofreading.

Orcherton: Motor skills are still important.

  • It was reported that one child said her eyes hurt after a period of time using the Chromebook, “so we pay attention to screen time“.

C. Victoria Conservatory of Music Technology

  • “…VCM is helping schools with a pilot lab program  running now at George Jay Elementary School in Victoria, BC. It’s a weekly class that helps students learn about and create music using interactive music software.”
  • Breakfast With Beethoven” gives students  classical music exposure along with their  school breakfast program.The school has the use of 30 digital keyboards and software  for a limited time and is working to extend that time. Students also use “Composer in the Classroom”, and other software. The objective was to increase interest and enrolment in band, and interest in music outside school. The programs allow participation at individual levels.

D. Community Threat Assessment Protocol: Explained on pp 6-44 of full packup

  • McNally: Regarding the sharing of relevant information, are interventions or risk assessments recorded in the student’s file in MyEducationBC ?
  • Whitten: What is in student files is defined  by the Student Files Policy.
  • Whitten: Training is part of ERASE Level 2 [Lined Paper ERASE overview Ed Policy Nov 5/12 at 8 D ]
  • Paynter: Teachers aren’t mentioned. They need some familiarization with what is “worrisome behaviour”, or people could wind up reporting everyone or no one.
  • Whitten: Teachers bring students they re concerned about to School Based Team meetings that include the School Principal and counsellor assigned to that school [usually part time]. Everyone has a duty to report high risk behaviours.
  • Nohr: How many staff have been trained in the ERASE program?
  • Whitten: Level 1, about 100; Level 2, about 80-100. October 2015, a number of SD61 administrators, teachers, counsellors an community members will be able to access  training in Levels 1 and 2 combined.

“The individual charter rights of the student are lessened to protect the collective need for safety and security of the general student population. School officials hove greater flexibility to respond to ensure the safety of the general student population in an educational setting than law enforcement officials have in a public setting.Therefore,if an individual is in possession of information that may indicate that there is an imminent danger to the health and safety of any person or persons and the source of the information is reliable, the information con be shared without consent. lf information has been shared without consent, the individual shall be advised with whom the information was shared,where required by law.”

E. Concussion Committee Update

  • The Committee includes representatives from the GVTA,  VCPAC, Trustees Paynter and Orcherton, Associate Superintendent Pinkerton, and District Principal of  Student Services  Whitten. It has met 3 times and will provide a draft Policy to the Board soon.

F.Education-Policy-Packup-for-May-4-2015/ Carried. Unanimous [Ferris, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters]

  • Watters: This motion is intended to initiate development of a Policy  and will go through a SD61 process. The District Gay-Straight Alliance Advisory Committee’s role is as stated: “The committee’s role is to assist in the implementation and further development of recommendations to support our sexual minority students and ensure sexual minority families feel included.” Gender discrimination is being examined at the Federal level. SD61 was in the forefront of Policy development in 2003 with Policy 4303 Discrimination and the accompanying Regulation and attached Recommendations (2003). At this time we need proactive Policy. Discrimination Polices generally put the onus on the student and family to call out discrimination. Not every student has an advocate  and not every family wants to advocate again and again every school year. Equality and “colour blindness” didn’t work; minorities want more visibility , not less, hence the Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement in SD61. Egale reports that 79% of transgender  students feel unsafe in school.
  • Orcherton: Homosexuality is not new nor is same sex partners though people try to put this out there. We need a wider consultation. Saw what happened in Vancouver  and Ontario going through upheavals over sex ed. Student are colour blind and gender blind. Teacher may have some difficulties. Maybe include a doctor who specializes in this.
  • McNally: Transgender is not a medical condition. We do not need a doctor on this committee. This is a clear case of “nothing about us without us”. The District GSA Advisory Committee is the place for this policy draft to begin. Middle school and high s school can be difficult – difference can attract viciousness, whether young, middle aged or old demographic.
  • Paynter: There can be a pecking order and objectionable behaviour. There are all kinds of statistics that transgender kids feel bullied and harassed.
  • Cindy Graf, GVTA Pro-D Chair: We featured Ivan Coyote at the February tri–District professional development Tapestry Conference . Students expressed a desire to have gender neutral washrooms in every school.
  • Natrall: Need education in whole community. Transgender awareness is relatively new.
  • Katie (parent): What would the purpose be for a big open discussion – to hear all the dissent?
  • Ferris: Group would ask  questions.
  • McNally: If there is reaction like Vancouver’s I say bring it. The community will have time for input in public meetings and the final policy will have been  well examined. The right decision will prevail on  this.
  • Superintendent: This is a wonderful motion. The 2003 Regulation was ahead of its time, and now we have this.
  • Amy, District GSA member and teacher: The GSA Advisory Committee will be a safe place for GSA members to take this forward.
  • Watters: Policy development is not the way to do education. Once policy is developed, that is the time for education.

Ever since draft revisions were released in April [2014] , however, a firestorm has ensued, thwarting the board’s initial recommendation for approval at its May 20 meeting. Two public meetings have turned out to be so packed, and the debate so heated, that another is taking place on Thursday (May 29). ~ Georgia Straight May 27 2014

Part of students’ everyday school experience includes hearing expressions like, “that’s so gay” and words like “faggot”. Students report that teachers often look the other way when they hear homophobic and transphobic comments, and some teachers even make these kinds of comments themselves. LGBTQ students and students with LGBTQ parents do not feel safe at school and experience much higher levels of bullying, discrimination, harassment and other abuse than other students do. School is especially bad for trans (transgender and transsexual) students, who are a small but highly visible group of students. They are frequent targets of harassment and discrimination, even from LGBTQ youth. Trans youth are particularly vulnerable to bullying and in need of adult support at school. ~PrevNet Canada

9. Adjournment: 9:00 pm



About Diane McNally