September 14/15: Education Policy: Updates From Senior Administration

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Education Policy Packup for September 14 2015 1

Full agenda with attachments here.

Education Policy Development Committee 
September 14, 2015
  International Program (former Uplands School)

Chair: Nohr
Absent (not assigned to Ed Policy): Leonard

Territory Acknowledgement900

1. Approval of Agenda: Adopted, with addition of Notice of Motion for the Board from Watters (at # 6).
2. Approval of the Minutes: June 1, 2015: Approved. Lined Paper notes here.
3. Business Arising From Minutes: None.
4. Public Presentations (On  June 1 agenda  was called “Public Request to the Committee”): None
5. New Business (On June 1 agenda was “Correspondence Referred to the Committee” ):
AIntroduction of Student Representative: Superintendent Piet Langstraat: Welcome to returning Student Representative Jonah Van Driesum, Oak Bay High School.

Student Representative Backgrounder: [September 2013 original motion for Student Trustee]
• A different student from the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Group (developed by the former Superintendent in 2014 and now self-identified as 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 (re District politics) in SD61 at the District level.]

Process for Student Representative Selection Jan 14 2015

[Trustees were previously updated on several initiatives, some of them the same initiatives as are on this agenda,  at the June 1/15 Ed Policy meeting, as well.  Frequent updates are appreciated.]

B. Introduction of   International Program    Staff : Director, International Student Programs (Long – time  Director Dave Scott retired last year. The new Director is Jeff Davis. )

  • Tymon Hsieh is the new Homestay Coordinator. Ministry of Education new guidelines include not more than two students in one homestay placement as Ministry of Children and families require licensing for over two students ; SD61 is working on compliance. SD61 needs more homestay families. Running surveys are in place with homestay parents.
  • Some students at orientation this year from “new” locations: Nigeria, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary.
  • 844  Full time equivalents (FTE) in long term study (6 months to 5 years). 3/4 of these students are on the graduation program. 25% are here for language development in short term programs. 683 students in short term placement (2 weeks to 3 months). 2 weeks is most common; 200 2 week students over summer at the Uplands Campus or other programs.
  • Considering an International Program  Student Council that would meet at Uplands Campus.
  • Scholarships for  study in  Japan – reciprocal arrangement; are working with the Consulate of Japan to develop scholarship.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: What is being done to address mental health concerns and related support for International students?
  • Davis: Program brings in Japanese-speaking doctor to do a seminar abut culture shock. Looking for Mandarin speaking doctor and Korean speaking doctor.

[The SD61 International Program has an attractive  page that doesn’t look much like other SD61 pages;  small SD61 logo is in the right hand bottom corner, different from the International School logo, which makes me think “private school.” Maybe that’s just me. ]

C. Communicating Student Learning Update: Shelley Green,  Deputy Superintendent

  • Report Card Working Group formed last year, looking ahead to new curriculum.   This year, use is optional. Inservice is being provided for GVTA members. Teachers can use ReportWriter, FreshGrade or the new report card format this group has developed. Most parents asked don’t want a formal report card in addition to FreshGrade reports, at least in the first two reporting periods.
  • Orcherton: Future plans for standard way of reporting?
  • Green: Hope to standardize report card and keep FreshGrade as a choice, using feedback from parents and teachers.
  • Paynter: Is there a mechanism for feedback on FreshGrade from parents and students?
  • Green: Yes. It’s an opt-in for parents.
  • McNally: Is FreshGrade in conversation with MyEdBC? Do the two platforms  work together? There will be a lot of student related information stored somewhere if these storage platforms mesh.
  • Green: Not at this point for report card or Fresh Grade but working on it.

“There’s a lot of detailed information there about each individual who passes through our education system,” said Agnew. “It is something that needs to be safeguarded at every level. This is why we believe firmly that this should be controlled by the education community…I don’t know [the government’s] agenda, and I don’t know that anyone really knows their agenda. But as a parent, as a taxpayer, I think it’s a slippery slope. I’d be very concerned about some of the potential.”  Furthermore, Ferrie pointed out that the data that MacDonald was describing is only a fraction of what MyEducation BC will capture. While developing openStudent, Ferrie said they analyzed the information BCeSIS was designed to capture and found that over 70 percent seemed superfluous to BC’s educators and education system, so they built openStudent “leaner.” And indeed, MyEducation BC is designed not just to track basic student records but also to act as a comprehensive online school administration, teaching, learning, assessment, and intra-school communications tool. In principle, with MyEducation BC, nearly every significant activity an administrator, teacher or student does could be saved to each person’s permanent record.  (Dangerous Linkages – Rob Wipond, Focus Magazine, May 6/14)

D. Well Ahead Update :  Deb Whitten,  Associate Superintendent :

  • SD61 one of 6 BC Districts in pilot program. SD61 pilot has been offered to Esquimalt group of schools. Will be coordinated  by current Healthy, Safe and Caring Schools coordinator. Focus on improving child and youth mental health using everyday strategies. This is not a new program or initiative. SD61 received a $25,000 grant to cover implementation, release time  and a salary portion for the coordinator.  Researchers are in place to help SD61 with this. Very careful to guard student privacy.
WellAhead is a philanthropic initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation that aims to improve child and youth social-emotional wellbeing by building capacity in school communities. The initiative focuses on one of a diverse range of complementary approaches to addressing the needs of schools and students: the integration of wellbeing into school culture, practices and environment (see figure 1). Over the next five years, in collaboration with partners and stakeholders, WellAhead will work with communities and provinces across Canada to advance how schools can make wellbeing part of their DNA.
  • Orcherton: How was the Esquimalt group chosen?
  • Whitten: Small group of schools; there is an existing “physician office in school ” initiative at Esquimalt  High.

From Ed Policy, June 2015: J.W. McConnell Foundation grant for SD61 pilot program to build on existing partnerships eg Friends For Life, self-regulation. Provide researchers to strengthen partnerships that do exist.

E. Early Learning Initiatives: Janine Roy, District Principal, Learning Initiatives

  • The “Early Learning” period is considered to be from birth to 8 years of age.The 2007 BC government Early Learning Framework put a responsibility on school districts to offer early learning programs.  The BC government has created a Superintendent of Early Learning position (Maureen Dockendorf). Both the Ministries of Health and Education are involved. Strong Start centres are in 6 schools, staffed by Early Childhood Education certified professionals. SD61 has 4 Early Literacy centres this year featuring the Mother Goose initiative. Early Numeracy exposure is offered in all Strong Starts. Craigflower School offers  Hulitan Family and Community Services Society‘s  Journeys of the Heart ( a ten month program for Aboriginal children aged two to five years old and their families). SD61 partners with the Intercultural Association . As well there is a Thursday morning fathers’ group.
  • McNally: Why isn’t Reading Recovery mentioned as part of Early Learning? No child over 8 will be involved in that excellent and accountable intervention for struggling readiers in Grade One.
  • Langstraat: It is targeted at a specific group of children who have been assessed, while the other offerings are open to all children.

F. Suicide Prevention Update: Janine Roy, District Principal, Learning Initiatives

  • 100% of SD61 middle schools and high schools have had a presentation from Need2 [see Lined Paper Sept 9/13 for Need2 presentation to the Board, at “B”]. All middle schools and high schools do additional work on suicide prevention.

Here’s the homework. The first two articles refer to teen suicides and a homicide.  If you are a local reader these deaths will hit close to home.  So be forewarned.

Part 1: Mad In America: Rob Wipond: The Proactive Search for Mental Illnesses in Children [“A new government-funded mental health training program for British Columbia family physicians and school staff promotes screening for mental disorders in all children and youth. Critics say the program omits key scientific evidence, seems more like drug promotion than medical education, and downplays serious potential harms. Nevertheless, programs like it are rolling out across Canada and the US.” ]

Part 2: Mad in America:  Rob Wipond:   The Algorithmic Managing of “At-risk” Children [Interesting perspectives from many researchers, including  Valerie Steeves, a criminology professor at the University of Ottawa.]

My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel [A well-known writer discusses theories of anxiety, his own lived experiences, and the beneficial effect of medication in his life.]

6. Notices of Motion (On June 1 agenda #6 was “Motions Referred to the Committee”) : Watters plans to bring a motion related to the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

7. Adjournment (On June 1 agenda was “General Announcements”, with “Notices of Motion” and “Adjournment” at 8 and 9. ) : 8:25 pm

(On June 1 agenda : 8. New Business and 9. Adjournment )

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