May 1/17: Education Policy&Directions: Reading Recovery


Education Policy and Directions May 1/17
Chair: Whiteaker
Members: Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker;  Loring-Kuhanga ex officio (vote but not counted for quorum)
Present:  Ferris, McNally, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker
Absent:  Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, Orcherton

Territory Acknowledgement900

1. Approval [Adoption] of Agenda:  Adopted.
2. Approval of Ed Policy & Directions Minutes: Jan 9/17 & Mar 6/17, April 3/17: Approved.  Lined Paper reports here:  Jan 9   Mar 6  April 3 .
3. Business Arising From the Minutes: N/A
4. Presentations to the Committee:

A. Aboriginal Education Focus: Ken Andrews, Principal  of Monterey Middle School, introduced a Monterey student, a member of a BC First Nation,  who had recently come to the school from some distance. The student had until recently  felt deeply not at home at Monterey. The student was over come with emotion as he sang a song that held deep meaning for him and his family. With Mr. Andrews’ support he was able to continue with a Raven Mask dance. The student said when he came to the school he saw the mask on a shelf in a case. My words to him after his dance: “This belongs in your hands, not on a shelf.” It was a courageous act on the part of this student to bring his  song and a dance to us.

2017 05 01 Raven mask

B. Mitch Barnes and students: V8 group (“Just sounded cool”) presented their Hyperstudio Spindle Whorl project. [Hyperstudio is easy to learn but sadly not shareable on other platforms.]

2017 05 01 V8 Board office
5. New Business
A. Student Representative:
Superintendent introduces Fiona Luo, Spectrum Secondary

B. BAA courses: Aaron Parker, Principal, Vic High / Deb Whitten, Associate Superintendent / Louise Sheffer, Director of Learning : Recommended motions:
i. That the Board approve the BAA course Yoga For Mindfulness 10-12. / Carried. Unanimous. [ Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker]

  • McNally: In 2015  SD61 had 155 BAA courses scattered all over the District, some no longer being offered. They were reviewed and courses no longer relevant or operating were removed from the list. My question: if a BAA course is good at one school , why is it not in every school? How does that serve equity? Yoga and mindfulness can be survival skills for this  fast-paced  world, but I will not be voting in support of this motion at the Board meeting [not a member of Ed Policy so can’t vote here] because of the equity issue, and because although the School Act allows BAA courses, they  encourage school shopping and competition amongst public schools.
  • Watters: Could be an element of cultural appropriation. Want to not be moving it from its cultural location.
  • Niohr: Value of mindfulness. Seek out students whom this would benefit.
  • Paynter: There have been occasions when people equate yoga with religion.
  • Grace, teacher: Self-reflection, not taught from a religious position; philosophical.
  • Whiteaker: Hoping yoga club at noon will continue.

ii. That the Board approve the BAA course Astronomy 11. / Carried. Unanimous. [ Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker]

  • McNally: This sounds like a really interesting course, but if it’s good for Vic High, why not in every secondary school? This course can be offered because a Vic High alumnus “benefactor” is subsidizing it. This does not serve equity, a cornerstone of the SD61 strategic plan. For those reasons I won’t support this motion when it comes to the Board.
  • Paynter: Will there be liaison with UVic? (Yes.)
  • Watters: what is the process for creating these courses?
  • Director of Learning & Associate Superintendent: Director of Learning creates the template, goes to the school, then District Leadership Team, then dialogue with the Principal, then to Ed Policy.

iii. That the Board approve BAA course Travel Languages 11. / Carried. Unanimous. [ Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker]

  • Nohr: Opens eyes to travel and connection. Good for students who may not have staying power for a full year of a high school language course.
  • Paynter: How does this compare with other language courses offered? Need more info on assessment.
  • Lucas, teacher: Communication based, oral proficiency, some written exercises.No prerequisites. Universities are dropping language requirements .
  • McNally: Am personally using Duolingo to review French, but it’s not an app that can actually teach a language if you don’t have fluency, grammar and vocabulary already.  This course appears to be not in depth enough to  be really useful.
  • Watters: European focus in materials – what about Latin America? Looking to expand into Asian languages?
  • Lucas, teacher: Colonization from Spain to Latin America. Will develop more resources on Latin America. SD23 Okanagan offers German. This course is  focusing on Latin based languages.
  • Ferris: Mango is a great language website as well as Duolingo.
  • Whiteaker: Will discuss safety concerns, how to travel without getting lost?
  • Paynter: Will International students be involved – leadership hours?
  • Lucas, teacher: Will be encouraged. May have a TA or two.

Reynolds administration  presented a template proposal for Poli Sci 12, dual credit with Camosun.

  • Ferris: Lobby to lower voting age to high school.

C. Literacy / Reading Recovery Update:

i) Reading Recovery: Bev Barradell, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader: [Presentation slides would not come up on the Board room screen, so the report was made without them. They are here. Unfortunately the audio slides do not have audio.]


Reading Recovery is the most researched literacy program in the world. Studies show that Reading Recovery comes out at the top.  Research conclusions at What Works Clearinghouse.1:1 lessons deliver the most success in the shortest time.Lots of corporate lobbyists will try to make a case against that. MCHP Canada and KPMG in England have published on the benefits of early intervention, KPMG specifically on the benefits of Reading Recovery.  Psychology Today, March 20, 2017 published an article on the benefits of Reading Recovery:

[Excerpt] In a landmark study two Canadian researchers in developmental psychology, Gene Ouellette and Monique Sénéchal (2017), have mapped the powerful beginning reading-writing connection, moved us closer to being successful teachers of reading in first grade, and cleared up decades of confusion. It’s important because reading scores in first grade have flatlined for decades—especially in the United States. This study can move us forward.

As far back as 1982 Marie Clay, the late world-renowned expert in developmental and clinical child psychology who founded Reading Recovery, issued a call for educators to find the writing connection in learning to read (Clay, 1982). Could teachers and parents capitalize on the potential for beginning writing to complement learning to read? Should we be encouraging pencil and paper activity from the very beginning?

Giving children access to early intervention that brings them to grade level quickly is a social justice issue. Will we level the playing field, or not? If we know how to teach all children to read, why wouldn’t we?

SD62 Sooke has  hired its own Teacher Leader, Cara McPherson. The South Island Consortium will have two  Teacher Leaders. A Teacher leader has to have a Master’s degree and a following year of specific Teacher Leader  education. [Vancouver now has a training centre.]  Teacher Leaders plan, consult on best ways to teach extraordinary students, provide ongoing scheduled mentorship to RR teachers,  and teach students themselves. [Not to mention the massive individual, school, district data collection and analysis every year end.]  8-12 teachers take the training year each school year.

  • Paynter: 1:1 vs 1:5 – over a year, how many kids served?
  • Barradell, Reading Recovery Teacher leader: Each child is usually in RR for 12-16 weeks. Usually 4-5 children at a time for half an hour individual lessons, so 12-14 a year. These are the hardest to teach children. Full time 1.0 FTE = 25 students a year. It’s not expensive over the long run.In Saanich, Reading Recovery is a line item assuming 20% of all students will need the intervention. SD63 funding is based on that.
  • Paynter: Is data publicly available?
  • RR Teacher Leader: Yes, at

ii) District Literacy: Director of Learning and ASA President:  .5 Literacy pilot.  Oaklands is using a small group approach to guided reading. Presentation here.

Guided Reading is a teaching context in which teachers work with small groups of students reading at similar instructional levels, providing them with problem-solving support with level-appropriate texts. First developed by educators in New Zealand in the 1960’s, Guided Reading came to this country where educators including Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, developed it further over time.

D.  Presentations to Standing Committees

  • McNally: That presentations at Standing Committees be limited to 5 minutes per presenter, and that the relevant Bylaws be changed to reflect this.
  • Ferris: Refer this to the Public Engagement Committee. / Carried. Unanimous.

6. Notices of Motion:None
7. General Announcements :None
8. Adjournment:9.40 pm

About Diane McNally