October 19/15: Board Meeting: The Record Off The Record: Kindergarten “Program of Choice” Extended

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Motions carried at June /15 Board meeting:

McNally: That the Board approve that all Trustees appointed by the Chair to an external body be required to submit a written report to the Board via the Chair [“in December and June of each year ” was amended to “once a year”; disappointing]  once each school year as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda packup, beginning December 2015.

[Some external appointment have never in institutional memory resulted in a report to the Board. ]

McNally: That the Board approve that all Trustees appointed to internal committees – the Needs Budget Advisory Committee, District Culture and Community Committee, District Gay Straight Alliance, Aboriginal Nations Education Committee and the French Immersion Advisory Committeebe required to submit a written report to the Board via the Chair in December and June of each school year as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda packup, beginning December 2015.

Video of meeting on SD61 website. Audio files below.

Full agenda with attachments here.  94 pages! [I asked for fewer oral-only  reports and more written reports  – excellent response. ]

In Camera meeting at 6:30 pm.

October-19-2015-Regular-Packup 2October-19-2015-Regular-Packup 3October-19-2015-Regular-Packup 4October-19-2015-Regular-Packup 5

Board Meeting October 19, 2015
Chair: Loring-Kuhanga

Student Representative for October: Willow Mak, SJ Willis Alternative Ed

Process for Student Representative Selection Jan 14 2015

A. Commencement of Meeting 

Territory Acknowledgement900A 1. Approval of Agenda:Approved as amended – additions at Trustee Reports: Watters, Ferris, McNally, Paynter.

I did not make a Point of Order re speaking once to a motion at this meeting, as I did at the September Board meeting , in order to see what would happen.   Bylaw 9368 Procedure Article 104.02   states  “Trustees shall be permitted to debate only upon a motion, as herein provided, and each trustee shall be limited to the opportunity to speak once to any motion,…” What happened: everyone spoke as many times as they wanted to / as the Chair decided they could, which has been the case as long as anyone can remember.

A2. Approval of the Minutes:
a) Board Meeting Sept 28/15 : Approved. Lined Paper report here.
A 3. Business Arising From Minutes:None

A 4. Student Achievement: Tarj Mann, Principal / Barb Taylor, VP / Sarah Duvall-Hannay, EA / Student Lydia :  Braefoot Elementary

  • Have broadened school goals from  the standard “literacy/numeracy/social justice” goals
  • Self-regulation: Stuart Shanker / external motivators not al that effective
  • Mindfulness : Help children to be resilient and recognize  own emotions
  • Using sizzle seats – example of how small changes  can mean a lot for students – allowing more movement and not seated all the time – doing “heavy work” ; have sensory room that allows movement and proprioceptive input ; use Ear Defenders sound mufflers; Kilometer Club
  • School bought Calm Alert Learning  and discussed as a staff
  • Braefoot District Behaviour Program: integration of students especially in sports , drama club
  • Student report: 3 learning styles and summary of brain functions!

A.5 District Presentations: None
A.6 Community Presentations:  None

B. Trustee Reports
B1. Chair’s Report: Loring-Kuhanga : Craigflower School visit / District Strategic Plan / Interviews for new Secretary-Treasurer November 18/ Ministry has invited Chairs to meet October 22 / BCSTA Board Chairs will meet October 23  – unable to attend so McNally as Vice Chair will attend those two meetings / BCSTA Trustee Valerie Adrian is not injured after the attack at her Band Office / Attended impressive concert by Spectrum Senior Band with UVic musicians at UVic .

B.2 Trustee Reports (on audio file / Board video)
Watters : Participated as scrutineer in  student vote at McKenzie Elementary as part of “Ready to Vote” programstudents ready to vote n 2023.
Ferris: Spectrum concert at UVic/  attended UVic linguistics lecture by founder of Micro Robert and Le Grand Robert /
McNally : Attended Vancouver Island Trustees Association meeting earlier in October, on Salt Spring Island. Will be attending First Annual Board Chairs and Ministry meeting October 22, and BCSTA Board Chairs Provincial Meeting October 23.
Paynter: Attending Vic High track project, ongoing/  gifted students parents’ meeting, assessments done in house, or privately;l many students ahe associated challenges like ADHD, LD/ on Victoria Child and Mental Health Substance Abuse Committee; action teams fr each of 3 school districts; local actin teams collaborator across the province.

C. Board Committee Reports
C.1 Education  Policy
a) Minutes:   Oct 5/15 Information only (pp 11-14 full agenda packup – will be approved  at next Ed Policy meeting). Lined Paper report here.

b) Recommended motions (carried at Ed Policy October 5)

i) That the Board extend the Coastal Kindergarten pilot program of choice at James Bay and South park by one year to June 2017. / Carried.  For: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Whiteaker  Against: McNally, Watters

  • McNally: Speakers are allowed ten minutes in Robert’s Rules. This Board allows a mover to open for 5 minutes and close for 5. I will take 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Who doesn’t like children outdoors, connecting with the environment?  Nature deficit disorder” has been widely discussed since Richard Louv wrote “The Last Child in the Woods” in 2005  And importantly, we are all aware that we are on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen people.  This outdoor “Coastal” kindergarten offers an opportunity to become more aware of the traditions and language of the people whose traditional territory we’re on.

These activities should be offered District-wide. On many occasions educators and students have presented their school-developed activity or  program at an Education Policy or a Board meeting. I believe this very commendable program concept could have been developed that way, and as a great idea, essential even, it is being emulated in other schools as parents and staffs collaborate. It didn’t have to be a “Program of Choice”.

I won’t be voting in favour of extending this special program that was to run for two years. What exactly will more time to evaluate it tell us that we don’t know already? One of the big things we know is SD61 is operating on a [using very conservative budgeting ] structural deficit of  9 million a year at this point. Teachers with students with high needs for support have pleaded for more classroom assistant time while the Coastal K classes are guaranteed a half day EA – something ALL kindergarten classes should get – and is capped at 20 children, rather than the district cap of 22. This brings the adult – child ratio down to 10 for the majority of the day, which is a significant learning (and workload) advantage. If that funding were shared throughout the district, every K class could take advantage of several days of outdoor learning a year. SD61 cannot afford this admirable ideal for all kindergartens. On the basis of funding allocation,  Coastal K is inequitable .

A parent must be able to get on the list – first come first served – which means online or in person access to registration, something not all parents can achieve. This program has that built in barrier to access. Then the parent must be able to get the child to the program, dressed in the required clothing. This means two more barriers to access: daily transportation out of the catchment area and a clothing expense.

Some may want to vote in favour of extending this program because they see happy kids. But there is a bigger picture – forces that use “choice” as a stepping stone to fragmentation and competition amongst public schools, creeping fees and access barriers instead of a free universal system of public education , and an inevitable move to user pay privatization. Dr Greg Forster  was and is quoted as a support reference for this program of choice. He is a senior fellow in the Kern Foundation which funds charter schools in the US. As a member of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, he is a well known adherent of the Chicago School of Economics, and a market forces fundamentalist.

Until “school choice” and open boundary / catchment area policies came into effect in the early 2000s when the BC Liberal Party changed Sections 2 and 74.1 of the School Act [the beginning of many sudden government decrees regarding public education], students were expected to attend their neighbourhood school.

Well regarded US Education critic Diane Ravitch says in her book “Going to school is not the same as going shopping. Parents should not be burdened with locating a suitable school for their child. They should be able to take their child to the neighborhood public school as a matter of course and expect that it has well-educated teachers and a sound educational program.” (The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education)

The still-evolving BC Education Plan continues to promote increased “flexibility” and “choice”. SD61 has been enthusiastically on board: there are fifteen “Programs of choice” on the District website and 155 small-focus locally developed Board/Authority Authorized (BAA) Courses scattered around SD61 high schools. The School Act states in Sections 85 (2) (i) and 168 (2) (b): 85 (2)” … A board may..”,  do this, not that a school district must do this.

The growing emphasis on “school choice” is a market  model of public education that creates competition amongst schools just as any retail operation competes for customers. Those schools which attract enough “customers” by creating an individualized “brand” gets the student and the minimum $6,900 in Ministry of Education per-pupil funding that comes with that student, and takes it away from a neighbourhood school that may then not be able to afford “extras” like a vice principal (not always assured) or a Reading Recovery teacher. Those schools that lose “customers” lose that entire per pupil funding amount though the school’s infrastructure costs remain the same. One might think these schools may eventually face closure, after years of split-grade class restructuring in an effort to stay viable.

Middle schools and Secondary Schools schedule open houses in the second half of the school year  – aimed at enrolment decisions for the next school year –  at which they showcase their competitive “brands”.

In the Summer 2012 edition of Education Canada, a publication provided to all SD61 Trustees, the authors of “What Happened to the “Public” in Public Education?” state “We have allowed consumerist thinking – the more choice the better – to infect public policy around education….These special interest, alternate programs are exclusive in the sense that they are not accessible to all. Thus they challenge fundamental precepts of public education and ignore – and therefore contribute nothing or very little – to the achievement of our societal aspirations for public education as a community builder. …we recommend that both school boards and departments of education take a ‘time out” from approving further alternate programs and schools.”

Coastal Kindergarten takes more than its share of resources with an EA who could be supporting children who are barely engaging and who are at risk. The program is based on inequality and is a boutique program for the few. None of that will be refuted by another year of “research”.

  • Paynter: Share concerns with costs. Idea was this was a pilot looking at broader expansion across the District.
  • Superintendent: Board approved a 2 year pilot. Kindergarten registration starts in January. Have had a senior leadership conversation. Points brought forward tonight have been brought forward .
  • Leonard: Share some of McNally’s concerns, ie can we afford it?
  • Orcherton: Was funded originally by CommunityLink. [Is not now;  funding comes from regular budget.] Costs $20,000. [Citation?] . Board has asked Superintendent to provide a report.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Should be in all schools. Understand McNally’s points. 100 parents attended the information session. Don’t agree with separated programs. But it’s too early to just stop it.

ii) That the Board formally dissolve the District Gay Straight Alliance Advisory Committee in order to  reflect that the District GSA currently functions as a club. / Carried. For: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Orcherton

  • Watters: This is not a Committee of the Board. The policy will come forward but not from the GSA.
  • Leonard: This is not the way to develop policy.
  • Waters: The Board has a Policy Development policy. There are a few ways to develop policy.
  • Orcherton: Motion to refer back to Ed Policy. Invite original members of GSA [this policy was carried in 2002 ] and have a discussion about this. [October 5 Education Policy lengthy discussion and vote here.] Don’t want this shunted off where it shouldn’t be. [Not clear where that is…] Policy 4303 Discrimination is already in existence.
  • McNally: Bylaw 9210 specifies how policy is developed in SD61. There are many possible origins for policy.


October-19-2015-GSA/ Carried. For: Ferris,  Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Leonard, Orcherton

A decision was made to consider these two motions together.

  • Paynter: Support both.
  • Ferris: Need to update existing Policy . Initially supported this motion [at Ed Policy, October 5] but Orcherton’s point that we have a policy has changed my mind. Maybe we should have people come to Ed Policy. [ Policy 4303 Discrimination was developed in June 2004, so it’s no surprise that we have a policy. The real intent of the Policy is  attached to the associated Regulation as a  “Recommendation” dated 2002. It was ahead of its time in 2002. ]
  • Waters: This motion passed unanimously at Ed Policy. It is not the same thing as the existing Policy “Discrimination”. What we need is support for students. Consulted the Board’s Ad Hoc Committee Bylaw 9140 and Bylaw 9210 The Development of Policy.  For example Red Deer has a great policy. We need to form an Ad Hoc Committee for SD61. This intent  was originally brought to the GSA in March 2015. After 6 months , still no action.
  • Leonard: It’s draft policy. Why isn’t the Board directing Trustee Watters or someone to develop the policy?
  • Loring-Kuhanga: The Board has not given direction to anyone, so does the Board have to give direction to someone now or what will happen to the policy?
  • Whiteaker: Just removing the task from the GSA. Watters will work with staff next month to bring forward a draft policy as she is entitled to do – or anyone. It will come to Ed Policy and will be discussed there.
  • Orcherton: Policy 4303 does not meet needs because it is called “Discrimination”. Polices called “Discrimination and Harassment” – perceived as teaching people how to do those things? It’s a misnomer. The original took a lot of time and involved a lot of people. We don’t need a new Policy. We need to update the Regulation. Supported both motions at Ed Policy but now am uncomfortable with what is happening. Want to hear from people in the community how best to do this.
  • Orcherton: Motion to refer both to Ed Policy. / Defeated. For:  Leonard, Orcherton  Against: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  / Back to main motion (s).

C.2 Operations Policy and Planning Committee

a) Minutes Oct 13/15 Information only  (pp 18-23 full agenda packup – will be approved  at next OPPS meeting).  Lined Paper report  here.
b) Recommended motions (previously debated and carried in Committee vote)

i) That the Board direct the Secretary-Treasurer to review Board Bylaw 9360 [General Meeting of the Board] and recommend changes that would address electronic communication. / Carried. Unanimous.

  • Leonard: Developed this motion after a report (p 24 of agenda) from legal counsel Mark Walsh on email and what can be construed as a meeting. [ And pp 11-12,  October 2015 OPPS; consideration of what can be considered “Board Business” or materially moving forward business of the Board. There has been some overreaction from some parties  to conversations in email. The 2012 Ombudsperson Report on Open Meetings is an excellent resource. ]

ii) [Orcherton] That the Board receive a report at the September 2016 Operations, Policy and Planning Committee meeting [actually the Operations  Policy and Planning Committee meeting] showing the disbursements to date from the Parent Education Fund. / Carried. Unanimous.

[ iv) [May 2015 Board meeting] That the Board create a Parent Education Fund as part of the 2015-16  budget item “Parent Advisory Council Grant” in the amount of $7,000. And further, that the Board create guidelines and a process to access this Parent Education Fund. / Carried. For: McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, Orcherton ]

iii) [Nohr] That the Board formally dissolve the Culture and Community Ad Hoc Committee by no later than December 31, 2015. / Carried. For: Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Ferris, Orcherton

  • Ferris: Need to take into account the work done so far.
  • GVTA President The GVTA pulled away from this Committee as the understanding the GVTA had from the late John Fawcett was it would work on a District Code of Conduct and that was not what evolved.
  • McNally: This Committee was never set up according to the Board’s Ad Hoc Committee Bylaw 9140 and was in reality a discussion group. There was no TOR, no specified deliverables, no timeline. A discussion group can be reconstituted at any time by anyone. Or if desired, a motion can come to the Board to set this up as a true Ad Hoc Committee of the Board, adhering to the requirements of the Bylaw.
  • Whiteaker: Thanks to the Committee for its work. DASH BC / Healthy Schools did work on connectedness  and previously produced a logo that is very similar to the logo developed by this Committee. [After two years of meetings.]

iv) That the Board direct the Superintendent to complete a draft Terms of Reference for the Ad Hoc Board Standing Committee “Committee Review Committee” for the October 19, 2025 Regular Board meeting. / Carried. Unanimous. [See below]

v) Presented by the Superintendent: Motion to accept the TOR for Ad Hoc Committees of the Board. (p 94 agenda) / Carried. Unanimous.

October-19-2015- Tech TOR

  • McNally: Motion to refer to Ed Policy for study. / No seconder.
  • Paynter: Questioning deliverables, scope of responsibility and meeting schedule.
  • Superintendent: This is the wording you suggested.
  • Leonard: Can bring it back for amendments if needed.

D. District Leadership Team Reports
D.1 Superintendent’s Report: 

a) Superintendent’s Report: On audio and video files.

October-19-2015- Super ReportRestraint

b) Sno’uyutth Pole Plaque (pp 28-31 agenda)

That the Board, in recognition of the $60,000 cash contribution of the Community Association of Oak Bay, approve the expenditure of $1000 from the capital budget of the Oak Bay High School Project to purchase a commemorative plaque for the Sno’uyutth totem [welcome pole] pole project./ Carried. Unanimous.

  • McNally: The names of funders should not be on this plaque. This is not about ongoing recognition of major funders. My understanding is that this project was intended to be about respect and reconciliation , not who gave major amounts of money. My understanding is that it was not intended as publicity for anyone. It was a recognition of the original inhabitants of the land, the Lekwungen people.
  • Superintendent: Farmer Construction has donated the grouting and installation and doesn’t want their name on the plaque.
  • Orcherton: It’s a tribute to everyone who worked together to make it happen.

That the Board approve the commemorative plaque to be placed on the site of the Sno’uyutth totem (welcome pole) pole. / Carried. Unanimous.

D.2 Secretary-Treasurer’s Report:

a) Oak Bay High School Agreements (pp 32-86 agenda)
i) Framework
ii) NLC Agreement
iii) Lease Agreement
iv) Joint Use Agreement

October-19-2015- D2 Oak Bay Framework/ Carried. Unanimous.

  • Paynter: [Many questions; on audio files]

b) 2015-16 Capital Plan (pp 87-90 agenda)

That the Board approve for submission to the Ministry of Education , the 2015/16 Five Year Capital Plan. [ Includes replacement school request for Frank Hobbs and  request to increase capacity at Mt Doug Secondary.]  / Carried. Unanimous.

  • McNally: Are we caught up with the high needs seismic upgrades?
  • Director of Facilities: This plan address the last of the high risk sites.

E. Question Period  None.
F. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None
G. New Business / Notice of Motions: None

G.1 New Business

a) Whiteaker: That the Board accept the application process, selection criteria, and reporting requirements as presented [ p 91-93 of agenda] for implementation and further that these documents be distributed to PACs in the GVSD. / Carried.

b) Whiteaker: That the Board formally dissolve the Parent Education Fund Ad Hoc Committee. / Carried. Unanimous.

  • Whiteaker: The work of this Committee has been completed.

c) Leonard: That the Board direct the Chair to write a letter to the GVTA President Benula Larsen , thanking her for the invitation to attend a meeting with her executive on October 29, but declining the offer to hae the Board  meet with any one group presenting an agenda, with the intent to advance any single issue forward. The Board Chair should extend an invitation to the GVTA to place an item on our standing committee agendas to any issue(s) can be debated in the [sic] public. / Carried. Unanimous.

[Understandable concerns arose as a result of the way the invitation was worded. The Executive of the GVTA did not intend fo there to be an agenda. The GVTA president explained (on audio)  that this was intended as an informal social, that she had added  “agenda” on her own, not at the behest of the Executive, and that it was a mistake. A report by the BC Ombudsperson 2012 (Open Meetings) explains what may be or likely is not considered to be a “meeting of the Board.]

  • McNally: As an individual Trustee, not representing the Board or any “group” I have accepted the invitation , and would accept and welcome such an invitation from any employee group. There will be no materially moving forward any business of the Board. I asked contacts on other BC school boards if those Boards meet with employee groups and got these replies:
    •   Yes this  Board does. We try to meet with the executive of each of our stakeholder groups at least once per school year. We just met with our CUPE unions .
    • We have liaison commitees with the employee groups. We meet (or try to) once a month with ours. Both have it written into their local agreements. there are some times of the year where it isn’t possible or appropriate, but we try to maintain the monthly meetings whenever possible.
    • Our education committee meets once a month with all partner groups ( CUPE, teachers’ union, Principals/Vice Principals Association  and DPAC).  We had CUPE and the teachers’ local  come individually and make a presentation to the Board  during budget deliberations.
    • We are a small town and we have great communication with all our partner groups.
    • I have met with our teacher’s association president and vice president about 3 times year for coffee. In our last term our teachers’ association would host trustees for dinner.
    •  Our stakeholders also have a seat at the table at our education and business committee meetings which happen once a month. But informally, we meet through the liaison committees and for coffee etc as needed.
    •  Our board has employee group reps on each of our five standing committees, but a group (not full board) of us also meet informally with some employee groups on a monthly basis.
    •  It is severely frowned upon in my district. But I meet with whomever whenever I choose. I especially concentrate on parents and community groups, eg. NGOs.

d) Nohr: That the Board support the following  revisions to the terms of reference for the Technology Stewardship Committee: a) include two students a sitting members of the committee with voting rights to be selected from the Representative Advisory Committee of students b) Revise the date to June 2016 for the submission of the summary report and implementation plan to the Board, and c) post all agendas and minutes on the SD61 website. / Carried as amended (c is already in the original TOR)

G.2 Notices of Motion: None.

H. Adjournment: 10:45 pm


About Diane McNally