March 7/16: Ed Policy&Directions/Operations Combined: Moving Strategic Plan Forward


Education Policy and Directions Committee & Operations Policy and Planning Committee
Monday March 7, 2016
Chairs: Nohr / Leonard

Territory Acknowledgement900

  1. Approval of Agenda: Approved with additions
  2. Approval of Minutes
    A. Ed Policy&Directions Feb 1/16: Official minutes here; Lined Paper report here.
    B. OPPS Feb 9/16: Official minutes here; Lined Paper report here.
  3. Business Arising From Minutes: None
  4. Ed Policy&Directions: Chair Nohr
    A. Presentation to the Committee: Gender Identity and Gender Expression Policy:  Oak Bay High School students
    B. New Business:

    1. Superintendent Piet Langstraat’s Introduction of Student Rep: Jenna Jiang, Mt Doug
    2. Measuring Outcomes of Students With Diverse Learning Needs: District Principal Kyla Cleator & District Principal Marvella Preston-Bain

Measuring Outcomes Handout

Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 1

Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 2

Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 3Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 4

Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 5


Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 7

Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 8

Measuring Outcomes of Students with Diverse Needs Presentation Slides 10


[Recently the standalone website for Victor School was taken down with no notice. Victor School provides education to students  with special needs in a separate building on entirely separate school grounds. Students attend this school with parental agreement. School District 61 has a policy entitled “Inclusion of Students With Special Needs” (5147, last reviewed 1993), and policy entitled “Alternatives To the Integrated Classroom” (5148, last reviewed 2001). The existence of these policies draws attention to the fact that inclusion, after all these years,  is not  a given. ]

Preston-Bain: How are we managing inclusion in School District 61? Students are entitled to schooling in their catchment area regardless of their special needs. Dr. Bruce Beairsto made an influential presentation in October 2015 entitled “How We Here and Where We Must Go Next”. We have been working with Shelley Moore as a consultant. School District 61 has 2000 students with Ministry designations and 25% of those students are educated in district programs. School District 61 provides parent choice for enrolment in programs. How are we doing with learning outcomes? There has been some upheaval in the transition from BCeSIS to MyEdBC. [Just one school district’s letter below.]

2016-01-12 DSkinner, SD47 to The Honr. MBernier-- re Implementation of My Education BC

Preston-Bain (continued): The plan is to create more data that will be meaningful in MYEdBC. Recently School District 61 special education files underwent a Ministry audit. All files passed the audit. Regarding graduation rates students are not moved to a modified program until grade 10. Students on a modified program will receive a school leaving certificate. When assessing students with special needs for many students the assessment is by domain. Each domain [ie. communication, tasks of daily living] has goals and specific objectives. Some teachers in district programs are beginning to use Fresh Grade. Transition planning for the next step beyond public school is very important.

  • Paynter:  What about so-called “grey area “students? There is a notable lack of access to district Education Psychologists and assessment in order to  possibly qualify for an IEP.
  • Preston-Bain: There is an emphasis on individualization for all students within the new curriculum, and an expectation for creation of system-wide supports, for example Saanich District classroom learning plans.
  • McNally: Speaking as a former teacher in special education in this district for 22 years and a member of CUPE for 10 years as a special education assistant, I hope there will not be an expectation to “build capacity” in teachers. Teachers are at capacity or above given the increasing challenges that come with class sizes and class composition. CUPE education assistants are not paid to attend individual education program reviews, yet, given the numbers of students with special needs in classes, the assistant actually delivers the education program. This is problematic.
  • Preston-Bain: The provincial Learning Improvement Fund was directed in part to CUPE so some of that money could have been used to fund CUPE 947 attendance at meetings. Teachers are simplifying reporting for communication in lieu of meeting time by providing checklists for reporting back and for data collection.
  • Superintendent: Over the next few months will be reviewing roles and responsibilities within communication with parents.
  • Nohr: Students with diverse needs come into the district or into kindergarten with no documentation regarding their special needs. What support exists for them?
  • Preston-Bain: We work closely with the Queen Alexandra Centre and with Monarch House. Or the Learning Assistance teacher is assigned to the school early in September. Sometimes in staffing a Learning Assistance  teacher isn’t started right away. District Learning Support exists for FASD or autism. Could also engage Speech Language Pathologist. [Case loads for SLPs are enormous and again, Education Assistants deliver the complex programs after brief training by the SLP.] The school-based team [teachers, school administrators, and specialists who meet before or after school] would also be involved and  the learning assistance teacher could contact district special education. A request in September will get attention in that month.
  • Nohr: Do you have staff who can go in to the school and work alongside teacher to address the student’s needs?
  • Preston-Bain: District special education would get involved through a request from the school-based team and would go to the school as a team on occasion, for example, when a referral to the Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD) or to Special Education Technology BC is contemplated.
  • Paynter: Creating inclusive environments is beyond the control of anyone in the district. Clustering students with special needs in one classroom with one Education Assistant does take place. What are the learning outcomes like for clustered students?
  • Preston-Bain: We have heard of clustering. Many districts don’t have district programs or a facility like Victor School. I don’t have the numbers regarding graduation from behaviour support programs in our district. Students tend to stay in low incidence programs if they go in around grade 9. That is a long time to be with the same teacher. In order to remain in the program there must be an annual consultation.
  • McNally: Some students with serious needs for behavioural support are designated Moderate Behaviour Support. The Ministry expects the school to exhaust all available resources before making a case for any Education Assistant support and an Intensive Behaviour Support designation. On occasion a parent or guardian will refuse to take the required step of taking the child to a psychologist or psychiatrist for diagnosis, so the child remains without support. That situation remains unchanged.

C. Notice of Motion [Motion below could be in  “New Business” as it will be debated at this meeting. A notice of motion can come from the floor or in the “call of the meeting”, ie the agenda provided a few days before the meeting. But to avoid confusion over motions that are a notice for a future meeting and motions that will be debated at the meeting the agenda was prepared for, “Notice of Motion” hopefully will be consistently  across all agenda reserved for motions intended for a future meeting. Agenda practice is inconsistent at present, as they are prepared by different individuals for each meeting.]

1. Watters: That the Board of Education accept the Policy proposal on Gender Identity and Gender Expression presented by the District Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and refer it to the Policy Subcommittee for further development and consultation with partner groups as per Bylaw 9210 (The Development of Policy) and Policy 1163 (Consultation).

  • Watters: work on this motion started last spring. There’s been comprehensive consultation involvement from staff students and community with feedback on multiple documents in support from District Principal of Student Services Harold Caldwell, Associate Superintendent Whitten, and Superintendent Langstraat. If carried, the policy proposal will go to the Policy Subcommittee for work before coming back to the Board. A recent UBC study concluded that gender nonconforming students were bullied regularly. This creates barriers to learning. We can do better and this policy is a start.
  • Ferris: The material on pages 11 to 12 really should be in a Regulation. Amendment: That the board accept this Policy and Regulation proposal. / Carried unanimously.
  • Orcherton: Raising gender awareness and promoting gender education is a process. School District 61 has a policy on LGBTQ championed by former trustee Charley Beresford but the transgender community was not vocal at the time. It’s necessary to look at that policy and align both. Don’t want to see 2 separate policies.
  • Watters: Is it the policy on Discrimination that you are referring to?
  • McNally: The new policy should stand alone.
  • Orcherton: The Regulation regarding field trips in the community in regard to transgender students is circulating in the community.

Adjournment of Ed Policy and Directions at 8:10 pm.

5. Operations Policy and Planning: Chair Leonard

A. Presentations
Rod Sim, Oak Bay Rotary Foundation : Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship Fund : This scholarship is intended to assist a student of First Nations, Inuit, or Métis descent in pursuing post-secondary training. Initially intended for Oak Bay High School graduates, the scholarship has been extended to all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students in School District 61.

  • Paynter: One of the fundraisers for the scholarship was a Frank Sinatra production in the Oak Bay High School theatre. What was the rental fee for the theatre?
  • Superintendent: Rotary was charged the actual costs, not the rental cost because the proceeds were going to benefit our students.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: The District is reviewing rental regulations.
  • Nohr: Thank you for the tremendous effort and the great result.
  • Superintendent: I am engaged in a wider conversation regarding how we can as a District work with Rotary.

B. Superintendent’s Report: None
C. Personnel Items
Director of Facilities

  • Secretary-Treasurer: The District as a new Director of Facilities, David Loveridge. At this time he and his family are in Caledon; will start on March 21.
  • Nohr: Was an executive search firm used, and if so what was the cost?
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Yes; costs will be provided to the Board.

D. Finance and Legal Affairs
2016-17 Budget Planning (Pp 19-20 agenda; dates and times for meetings p 19)

  • Secretary Treasurer: Have planned next year’s budget with a deficit position, and are having conversations regarding where the variances or to find out if there are variances that are not deficits. School District 61 experiencing increasing enrolment so the structural deficit is in decline. Financial staff will look at variances throughout the system. It will be a two-year process. Structural pressures are real but may not amount to $8.5 million. We want to identify an actual number for the deficit and develop a plan to get rid of it. It is prudent to budget with a contingency and we will be working on setting up a line item for that.
  • Superintendent: Will be talking to schools, looking at the Superintendent’s budget which will have a surplus this year and probably always will so why have we been building the budget that way? Have been building contingencies into various budgets. If we had stable, predictable funding this likely would not be the case.
  • McNally: This is a daring plan, given that the Ministry is always looking for so-called surpluses to be taken away from school districts. It sounds more comprehensible and will give clear opportunity for advocacy.
  • Leonard: Clawbacks are possible.
  • Whiteaker: it is time to deal the structural deficit but as Trustee Leonard said, go carefully. Tapping that fund must be fully disclosed.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: There won’t be a contingency fund for the foreseeable future. The government may set contingency limits. There have been BCASBO position papers on the topic.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: The budget will be presented at the March 29 board meeting. That meeting will start half an hour earlier than usual, at 7 PM to incorporate the budget presentation. Other budget meeting times are on the school district calendar. Print advertising is not getting people out to these meetings.
  • Starla Anderson (public): Suggest you advertise widely, stick with the current meeting dates. I will be reporting in the Lower Island News.
    Whiteaker: We need to use our own forms of communication, for example in School email to all accounts, not just notice in the PAC newsletter.
  • Nohr: Look at advertising in a different way and use CFAX, CBC, KOOL FM. School newsletters are also an efficient way to get noticed out. Principals could send out to all parents. This is a great opportunity to engage parents with the new leadership of our new superintendent, the district’s new strategic plan, and this new budget.
  • Leonard: The Chair could issue a press release with the meeting dates and send it to parents and to PACs.

2. Technology For Learning Strategy

  • Superintendent: Not just about technology, it’s about learning. We need to consider the time at the school level and the tools teachers need. Essential to have access for students to the tools they need for learning. Technology will not be provided at the expense of other things. Some schools may wind up with additional resources from their own fundraising, but we will ensure equity, meaning the same floor for everyone. Everyone will have the basic infrastructure in place. Estimated life of computer labs is three years. Contributions from schools to a district pool will help purchase student devices.
  • Reid Jorgensen, Principals and Vice Principals rep (McKenzie School): Technology in the district has felt like little franchise pieces. Thank you to the Superintendent for the vision and to the Board for support.
  • Audrey Smith, VCPAC President: Please explain”personal devices”.
  • Ted Pennell, Director of Information Technology: Wireless wasn’t pervasive so student devices didn’t work. Now they will.
  • Superintendent: There have been expectations on parents and PACs for provision of devices. We will issue standard devices. If a parent wants to augment, they can. But we are not asking parents to supply the devices.
  • Paynter: There are issues of information security with portability.
  • Director of Information Technology: Devices will be encrypted (SSL encryption) and information will be stored off the device.
  • Leonard: PACs are used to buying for schools. So if they still want to add value, to they have to support this platform?
  • Superintendent: Yes
  • Paynter: Has consultation being done in all schools re Wi-Fi?
  • Dir. of Information Technology: Yes, consultation has been done and Wi-Fi is in all schools. District wide access will be available by the end spring break.
  • Sec. Treas.: Some savings result from rollovers in senior administration budgets and school collaborations will lead to higher savings. In the “district wide access to wireless” point, IT gets $100,000 from the AFG (Annual Facilities Grant) year this year and next year. Looking at Point 2, “Fixed  Projection Devices”, buying in bulk and some labour costs may result in some cost savings. Local capital reserve at $4.2 million now; sourcing devices will go to RFP. Installation will begin at Esquimalt high School, and then roll out to all schools by January 2017. The classroom infrastructure devices will be a projector with speakers. We have contacted Abbotsford and other districts with wide disbursement of technology for hardware and process examination. All administrators and all teachers will have a PC laptop on a voluntary basis, and EA’s will likely get Chromebooks.
  • Leonard: In all we are looking at $725,000 that could go forward to next year’s budget and be applied to the deficit.
  • McNally: Part of the savings that will be used to finance this tech plan comes from the “teacher salary differential”. Please explain that.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Budgeting for teacher salaries was done using. Higher increments than approved necessary.
  • Paynter: There will be costs for licensing and there may be compatibility issues.
  • Superintendent: Multiple platforms and multiple devices is a costly scenario. We can supply and support one platform and it will be PC / Microsoft.
  • Dir. of Information Technology: Annual Microsoft agreement. Windows and Office will run on any device we own. Five years of use is reasonable to expect and Windows 10 was just released. Infrastructure supports Chrome browser.

E. Facilities Planning
1. Water Safety Planning

The Ministry is sent out a letter (included in  agenda) advising school districts to take steps on water safety in schools. Schools in Prince Rupert were found to have high lead content in their water.  SD61 water system washed out every morning and after weekends. Called the number provided for South Island on the Ministry of Education’s letter (pp 24-25 agenda); was a wrong number. Now in touch with Island Health who have not heard of the Ministry’s plan. Facilities is aware and is working on this.

6. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items (F on agenda, but 6-10 are  separate items and not part of the OPPS meeting section): None.

7. New Business (G on agenda,  as above)

Paynter: Motion from the floor: That the Board request that the Superintendent take such actions as are necessary to ensure that all students are provided with the minimum hours of instruction in future school years./ Defeated. For: Paynter  Against: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Watters, Whiteaker

  • Leonard: What happened with the School Act and this Regulation?
  • Superintendent: The calendar was approved by the Ministry, then was amended to include the Ministry granted 2 days for curriculum study. Collective agreements establish the rule books. The Ministry has approved averaging out hours and minutes over the next years.
  • Whiteaker: Motion is out of order because it binds future Boards. Need to have circumstances in mind.
  • Paynter: It’s our obligation to provide the hours and minutes.
  • Whiteaker: Boards are already obligated under the School Act. So would we comply with this motion or the School Act?
  • McNally: The Ministry approves the calendars set by Boards, and sometimes forces Boards’ hands with required changes.

8. Notices of Motion (H on agenda; as above)

  • Ferris: Notice of motion: That the secretary-treasurer investigate the process by which the board, in conjunction with the Vic High alumni Association, might apply for federal infrastructure money for the development of new field at Vic High.

9.General Announcements (I on agenda; as above): None.

10. Adjournment

About Diane McNally