June 26, 2017: Board Meeting: District Facilities Plan & Enrolment Priorities


About 20 people were in the public seats.

Board Meeting June 26/17  (video here)
Chair: Loring-Kuhanga
Ferris (elected 1999), Leonard (elected 1996), Loring-Kuhanga (elected 2011), McNally (elected 2011), Nohr (elected 2011), Orcherton (elected 1999), Paynter (elected 2014), Watters (elected 2014),  Whiteaker (elected 2014)

Board work plan here.

Territory Acknowledgement900

A. Agenda adopted; Minutes May 23 approved. Official minutes here.

A.3  Business arising from the minutes: Third reading of amended Bylaw 9360 General Meeting of te board needed. (Didn’t get done last time. ) (Pp 14-18 agenda) Change at 11C: Trustee verbal reports not to be more than  2 minutes, anything longer, submit in writing.  / Carried. For: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Watters, Whiteaker    Against: Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter

A.4 Student Achievement: Renee Pick, Principal, Cloverdale “Traditional” School: 10 year anniversary “Traditional”, 100 year anniversary for the school. Renee and Sandra Jost, VP, have travelled to 15 “Traditional” schools. Strong homework policy. 51/51 Grade 5s in strings program. [Cloverdale ranks in the middle of the pack in the (dubious) Fraser Institute rankings. ]

  • Student 1: My dad chose this school for me because it has a good reputation and the uniform was a positive.
  • Student 2: I like this school because we could form a club and it is  a school of respect, and it is a convenient location.

A.5 District Presentations: a) District presentation of appreciation to Melanie Houston, outgoing President  of Allied Specialists.

Houston: Appreciate Trustee support of ASA.Exciting time in ASA- using best research to be efficient because of scarce resources. [With a new government in BC hopefully public education won’t be struggling in the ‘”scarce resources”  scenario much longer. The “resources” are there – your taxes – but private schools you can’t afford are funded with public money – no party seems to have a a problem with that, sadly – and the BC Liberal  government made deliberate budget decisions year after year to  under-fund public education since 2002.] Appreciate Secretary-Treasurer Walsh finding space for ASA professionals as this is a difficult time to find space in school buildings. Appreciate Associate Superintendent Whitten’s meeting with ASA every month. Thanks to partner groups – there is a new collegiality. Thanks to Lisa Armitage, new Vice President, and Sue Stepaniuk, past president. Thanks to new President Jeannette Alexander. (Melanie was presented with flowers and congratulated on her long and patient advocacy for ASA at the Board table.)

A.6 Community Presentations (5 minutes each) :

a. Jason Gammon, President , GVTA: Restored contract language (Darren Companion, 1st VP): Language was restored last November.  Still problems in Civics 11 not being deemed Social Studies, and Creative Writing  not being deemed English for class size limits. Hoping for a remedy that will lead to lower class sizes. Alternative education teachers must be classified as enrolling teachers. Inadequate space in schools with new classroom pressures. Asking Board to demand adequate funding from the Ministry of Education.

b.  Joyce Preston (parent):  Enrolment Priorities: Understood that the enrolment priorities recommendations would simply pass as a motion as they were developed by a representative committee’s deliberations. SD61 no longer in declining enrolment. Pro-catchment; no need for grandfathering. French Immersion should be offered to anyone who wants it.

c. Katy Smith: Enrolment Priorities: Speaking in defense of the new recommendations / revised priorities.  Families who move into an area assume they will have their children go to the neighbourhood school.

d. Suzette Goldsworthy (parent, Macaulay School): Computer lab: Halt closure of the computer lab.Discussed at Macaulay PAC; concerns with this change.Consultation with Board and District needed. No opportunity to discuss alternatives to a portable.PAC purchased all the computers  in the computer lab – will we have to purchase again? Issues with dispersal;. Want a hold on dismantling the computer lab.
e. Winona Waldron, GVTA: Student lunch monitors
f. Rob Klassen, CUPE 382: [Hard copy handed out, below]

B. Correspondence
B.1 Letter from Mayor of City of Victoria (P 19 agenda): encouraging child care spaces on School District property.

  • McNally: Is the Mayor aware of the space crunch School Districts are facing with new staffing levels?
  • Paynter: Looking forward to cooperation with zoning or site use issues.

B.2 2015-16 Burnside Gorge Annual Report: Pp 20-24 agenda.

C. Trustee Reports
C.1 Chair’s Report (on video): Thanks to McNally and Ferris for work as Vice Chairs. Appreciate the work of Trustees in ad hoc committees. Thanks for the work of senior administration, all staff, stakeholders.

C.2 Trustees
ANEC: McNally (report below) b. French Immersion Advisory Committee: Ferris. No report; committee didn’t meet all year. c. Needs Budget Committee waiting for Classroom Enhancement Funding before  meeting. d. Saanich Arts, Culture, Heritage: McNally: below e. Saanich Parks,  Trails, Rec : Whiteaker, p 25 f. Victoria  Family Court / Youth Justice: Watters (see April Board meeting for report) g. Public Engagement Ad Hoc: Orcherton, McNally (report submitted by Orcherton, p 26) h. Monthly Trustee Report: McNally (below)

Aboriginal Nations Education Division and Aboriginal Nations Education Council
Assigned Trustee Representative Report to the Board:
Diane McNally June 2017

As per McNally’s  motion carried by the Board: “TTB  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 once per school year, as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda pack-up, beginning December 2015.”

Aboriginal Nations Education Division :  History and Purpose:

“In 1979, the Greater Victoria School District in partnership with the Victoria local of the United Native Nations formed a Commission to review and make recommendations regarding the education and cultural needs of Aboriginal students.  The findings of this Commission led to the creation of the Native Indian Education Division, which has since become known as the Aboriginal Nations Education Division (ANED).

“ANED through the funding provided by the Ministry of Education Aboriginal Education Fund enables our school district to deliver enhanced education programming and to provide support for Aboriginal students.  This enhanced funding also provides culturally appropriate program and services to support the success of Aboriginal students and to provide opportunities for students and teachers to experience and to learn about Aboriginal history and culture in the Greater Victoria School District.

“The Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement The Spirit of Alliances: A journey of good hearts and good minds, provides the foundation for the work that we do in Aboriginal Education with the Greater Victoria School District and the Aboriginal community.  The vision and goals for Aboriginal Education cannot be achieved without the alliance of all groups.  The guiding principles and goals of The Spirit of Alliances provides the framework that can bring systemic change to our education system and provide students with opportunities to learn in an enhanced environment that honors and acknowledges the history and culture of Aboriginal peoples.”

“ANED provides a variety of courses, programs and services to meet specific needs. We aim to strengthen cultural and individual identities and provide academic support for students.”

The Aboriginal Education Division makes periodic presentations to the Board about its work. It is not clear that a Trustee rep needs to be assigned as a liaison to this internal Division, though as the assigned representative and liaison, I have had excellent learning opportunities presented to me and have sought some out, and as a result deepened my awareness of what the ANED library has to offer, as well as increasing my awareness of issues that still surface in our schools and how ANED staff assist teachers with such issues in a helpful, patient and open manner.

On February 17 met with Coordinator of  Aboriginal Nations Education Nella Nelson as Board Representative to ANED and ANEC. Reading from the ANED library: K-5 titles:  ShiShietko (Nicola Campbell), Home to Medicine Mountain (Chiori Santiago),When I Was Eight (Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton), Not My Girl (Jordan-Fenton and Pokiak-Fenton),The Secret Path (Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire). Middle school titles: Goodbye Buffalo Bay (Larry Loyie); They Called Me Number One: Bev Sellars. Currently reading an external title, Incorporating Language and Culture, A Holistic Approach to Head Start Programs (Edith Loring-Kuhanga).

On April 6 attended  SJ Willis ANED Showcase and Sharing: “How did we meet our goals for weaving Aboriginal worldviews into the curriculum?”

On June 14, attended the profound and deeply affecting Sacred Circle presentation at Esquimalt High School, a collaborative presentation based on the writing of Wedlidi Speck, which involved many students, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, and SD61 staff.

Aboriginal Nations Education Council: History and Mandate

The Council is made up of a diverse group of individuals. The Council grew out of a group that met to contribute to and steer the development of the SD61 Aboriginal Education  Enhancement Agreement. The first Agreement was signed on June 21, 2005. The mandate of the Council has, from my perspective, shifted since then, but that may not be the case, and it is not my place or role to define that.

From the SD61 ANED website: “On June 30, 2010 the existing EA expired and an EA Focus Group Committee was formed to implement its renewal.  Through a series of meetings with community agencies, school administration, ANED staff, students and parents, feedback and input was collected to explore the impact the EA has had over the past five years.“

The Council meets at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, and is chaired by Janice Simcoe (Camosun College). Participants include members of Aboriginal communities, organizations, family members (including author Monique Gray-Smith), students, and elders (currently Constance O’Leary, Metis Nation of Victoria) No SD61 student attended for the January to June meetings.  The Education officers from both the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations are members; Dorothea Harris, Esquimalt Education Officer began attending in April.

Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee
Assigned Trustee Report to the Board: Diane McNally
June 2017

As per McNally’s  motion carried by the Board: “TTB  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 once per school year, as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda pack-up, beginning December 2015.”

Saanich Arts, Culture & Heritage Advisory Committee

Purpose: The Arts, Culture & Heritage Advisory Committee advises Saanich Council and recommends policies on:

  • Community Arts
  • Culture
  • Heritage Promotion

This includes advising on services, facilities and specific community interests. 

Mandate from the Committee TOR: The Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee will, consistent with the purpose described above, undertake the following:

  • Develop and recommend policies to Council and respond to Council requests for advice and information.
  • Review and provide feedback on the Strategic Plan.
  • Provide a community perspective on services, programs, events, and facilities related to arts, culture, and heritage promotion, education and awareness.
  • Foster public awareness, recognition, and support for local artistic talent, heritage, and archival preservation.

Since January 2017, Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee has met
five times (one meeting was cancelled), once a month on a Thursday at 9:30 am, chaired by Susan Brice. The last meeting this school year was on June 22.

Minutes will show that I attended four of the five meetings. I have asked questions about local First Nations involvement in the arts, heritage and culture aspects of plans the committee makes. Involvement seems minimal or non existent, but the context and consultation protocols are not apparent.

Discussions are generally interesting in meetings of this friendly Committee but only one event had any relevance for SD61, the June multi-district student art show at the Cedar Hill Rec Centre.

Given the purpose of the Committee stated above, and the Mandate in the TOR document, liaison between SD61 and this Committee might be better served by a request from the SD61 Board to the Committee Chair requesting that the Committee send a representative to present to the SD61 Board or a SD61 Standing Committee, or send an email to the Chair with information  if there is a topic of mutual interest.

Ongoing Trustee presence at the Committee meetings  appears to have  little if any relevance for the SD61 Board, and Trustee presence does not help the Committee move its advisory business forward. My recommendation is to no longer assign a Trustee representative to the Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee.

June 2017 Trustee Activity Report
Diane McNally

May 24: Public Engagement Committee; Lansdowne PAC (Vic High group of schools)
May 25: Farm to School Food Network / Youth Food Network presentation and meal (Vic High garden) Colquitz
May 26: Met with Winnie Lee, Director of Operations Intercultural Association Refugee Services and Immigrant Welcome Centre – many services for immigrants and refugees’ settlement workers in schools
May 30: Public Engagement Committee; Leadership meeting SJ Willis
June 1: Aboriginal student and family  grad picnic George Jay Elementary School – speech representing Board of Education; attended Aboriginal Student Graduation,  Songhees Wellness Centre
June 2: Appreciated  lentil soup at Vic High Community Soup Day, sponsored by Harbourside Rotary and Shellie Gudgeon – meals are all vegan and gluten free so everyone can eat
June 5: Education Policy Standing Committee– although not a voting member of the Committee, attend all Ed Policy meetings for invaluable information about District programs and discussions that provide background for votes at Board meeting
June 6: Pleased to represent the board as Vic High Graduation  speaker
June 7: Public Engagement Committee
June 8: Attended District Retirement Tea to honour  the years of dedication to public education of retiring  SD61 employees
June 9: Represented SD61 Board at Oaklands Elementary (Vic High group of Schools) during Lt. Gov. Guichon’s visit to the school
June 12: Attended Operations Policy and Planning Standing Committee as voting member
June 13: One Learning Community meeting; Rockheights year end concert
June 14: Sacred Circle presentation, Esquimalt High School; profound collaborative presentation based on writings of Wedledi Speck, involving ANED, Songhees elder Butch Dick, SD61 Aboriginal educator Sarah Rhude, Jen Treble, music teacher, many more; many students from several Nations and non-Indigenous students as well
June 19: Public Engagement Committee; Board Planning meeting
June 21: Attended Aboriginal Day events – made my first cedar rose
June 22: Attended Craigflower year end feast (correction: was unable to attend)
June 26: Public Engagement Committee; Board meeting
June 27: Attended Choices Transitional Shelter meeting (near Eagleview Elementary)

D. Board  [Standing] Committee Reports
D.1 Education Policy and Directions Committee
Recommended motions: [Means these motions carried in the Ed Policy Committee meeting  June 5 ]: No motions.

D.2 Operations Policy and Planning Committee
a) Minutes June 12/ 17:
Info only; will be approved at next OPP meeting. Lined Paper notes here.
b) Recommended motions: That the Board approve motions i – v  from OPP June 12.

i) (Nohr requests individual consideration) That the Board amend the Equity Ad Hoc Committee TOR to extend thorgh 2017-18 school year, and that the committee provide recommendations before the 2018-19 budget process.  / Carried. Unanimous.

  • Nohr: Want to see a place on SD61 website to show meetings of Ad Hocs.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Summer work. Yes. Would be under Ad Hoc Committees of the Board menu.

ii) That the Board direct the Superintendent to review the Greater Victoria Foundation for Learning mandate and bring recommendations back to the OPP Committee. / Carried. Unanimous. [See debate 5.b ii June 12 OPP here. I believe there are potential problems, but information is needed.]
iii) That the Board delete Policy 2127.060 Psychologist, Policy 2127.062 Speech & Language Specialist, Policy 2127.063 District Counsellors./ Carried. Unanimous. [Job descriptions do not belong in Policy. Looking forward to a publicly accessible handbook with all job descriptions.]

iv) (Watters requested individual consideration) That the Board accept the Long Term District Facilities Plan report in draft format. (Pp59-73 agenda) / Carried. Unanimous.

v) That the Board accept the recommendations of the Student Registration and Transfer Ad Hoc Committee as follows:  / Carried. For: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton Watters  Against: Leonard, Paynter, Whiteaker

  1. Enrolment priorities beginning  2018-19 : 1. re-enrolling students 2. catchment sibling 3. new catchment child 4. non catchment sibling 5. non catchment child 6. non school district child
  2. Superintendent revise appropriate Policies and Regulations to reflect above changes. 1. English and French program families that could not get into catchment school have 1st right of refusal at catchment school when / if eat becomes available. If seat refused or does not become viable, student treated as catchment student at the non catchment school and pathway.  2. Student leaving French Immersion at a school not their English catchment area school have to apply for transfer to attend the English program . Also applies to any student attending program of choice at non catchment school .
  • Enrolment priorities apply on transition from elementary to middle school  and middle school to high school. If a school space cannot accept all non catchment student requests, priority given to non catchment students currently in pathway over non catchment non pathway students.
  • Growing student population / equitable placement of International students across District, # of International students capped at 1,050 for 2017-18, reviewed annually by Superintendent and Director of International Student programs.

3. Superintendent review registration process to improve information and documentation requirements as well as possible options for online registration.

  • Loring-Kuhanga: Any input from stakeholders at the table.? [None.]
  • Superintendent: Additional information Pp 74-103 agenda. Committee dealt with many variables.
  • Ferris: Was on committee; great representation from parents. People on committee asked all the questions Trustees got in email. Happy with the result. No perfect solution. Will make efforts to accommodate families.
  • Paynter: What about students transferring in from private schools?
  • Superintendent: They will go to catchment schools.
  • Paynter: Will policy give authority to address specific cases?
  • Superintendent: Superintendent currently has authority to do that in policy. Can place a student in any school.Cold write it into the Regulation.
  • Leonard:Bringing back motion that failed at OPP: 1. Re-enrolling and sibling cohort 2. Catchment sibling 3. New catchment student 4. Non  catchment sibling 5. Non-catchment student 6. Non-district student . All 2017 – 2018 enrolments will have children grandfathered until no more siblings enter school, for pathways K – 12. [ Defeated at OPP. For: Leonard  Against: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Watters Abstain: Paynter ]
  • Whiteaker: Amendment: Take out priorities apply to middle school transition from grade 5.
  • Superintendent: This would be in effect for about 5 years becasue of new enrolment.
  • McNally: How woudl this affect the Facilities planning?
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Lansdowne and Central would have space issues.
  • Nohr: How would that be addressed?
  • Superintendent: New students would not be able to get into catchment school.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Against the amendment. Hasn’t been considered by the committee.
  • Amendment re middle school : Defeated. For: Paynter, Whiteaker  Against: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Watters
  • Back to main motion (Leonard’s)
  • Nohr: Appreciate survey; have talked with parents and overwhelming support for catchment.
  • Orcherton: Lots of emails on this. Life is about change. Help kids so they will not fear it.A lot of work has gone into this. Will be unique circumstances that need consideration. Will support.
  • Watters: Support. Difficult. Have to privilege neighbourhood schools and community. Supports equity. My own child is enrolled out of catchment but I trust the process.
  • McNally (4:28): No decision tonight that will satisfy everyone invested. Communities and neighbourhoods anchored by neighbourhood schools that children and youth can easily access without parents having to drive them across town. If SD61 commits to the recommended protocol, there is room for all students at their neighborhood school. When catchment areas were firm, students still graduated and became artists, lawyers, electricians, doctors. Competition  amongst public schools for customers and for the $7000 each student brings to the school was introduced in 2002 by a government that has based its social policies on market forces.  This retail model is a vicious cycle – schools that areperceived  as less desirable by people who can afford to drive their children elsewhere get less funding and have a hard time keeping programs and affording staff like a vice principal and specialty teachers like a Reading Recovery teacher.This Board has heard many speakers asking for grandfathering of the current system. But there are success stories in all our schools. Teachers,administrators and support staff are working very hard in all SD61  schools to meet the educational, social and emotional needs of all our students.I recognize the issues associated with French immersion as it currently works in SD61. I also recognize the difficulties in finding out of school care for children.As a single parent many years ago,  trying to find adequate daycare for my son so I could get off welfare and return to the workforce was a nightmare. It’s not much better now, it seems. Regarding French immersion, there are many international figures very capable of communicating at high levels in a language that is not their first language. Here in Canada we have speakers in politics and civic life who speak one of our official languages very capably but  with a recognizable accent. I do not care if they have an accent. It does not get in the way of understanding.   I would like to see French immersion begin in every middle school in  grade 6. Research shows that a high level of achievement is very possible with that enrolment protocol. Several parents have presented to the Board about the threats to mental health and social well-being for their children if those children need to change schools in elementary school. One individual implied that there is research support for the contention that changing schools can lead to psychosis. For children with exceptional learning needs and social challenges I believe this school district will rely on our commitment to equity which does not mean the same thing for every person. For a child on the autism spectrum for example change may be extremely difficult and I would expect such challenges to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. My personal experience: by the time I was at the end of grade 2 as a child of a military family I was 6 years old,  had attended 8 schools in 6 cities. By the time I graduated from high school and entered University  at 16, I had gone to 10 schools in 3 countries. My degrees are from 3 universities in 2  provinces.  My siblings had much the same experiences with education.  I was an education assistant in public schools for 10 years and a teacher in Alberta and the South Island for  25 years. My sister is a Telus draftsperson. My brother is a lawyer. We learned that potential friends are everywhere. Life is not a straight line. I have confidence that children in SD61 are generally resilient – a word that we don’t hear much any more – and will be able to cope with changes that come their way. I support the recommendation of the enrolment and transfer committee.
  • Leonard: Any way to delay for a year?
  • Superintendent: This protocol does not begin until the 2018-19 school year.
  • Paynter: Support neighbourhood schools. Look forward to everyone being able to go to neighbourhood school. Managing transition is the challenge, from preference to catchment.Out of school care issues. Housing issues.French Immersion transfer issues. STayin not to leave pathway, or leave and have to change pathways. I don’t know what the committee knows. I’m supposed to trust the committee’s work. No problem with that. But.  Telling people who elected me to trust me doesn’t work for me.
  • Whiteaker: What about some reference to vulnerable students in the Regulation? Struggling with  separating middle school students from cohort at middle school entry.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Diffiuclt decision, many variables including the Supreme Court decision. If we don’t do this now we will have to do it later.Eventually some will get caught up in the process but do not want to shrug it off to future trustees to  deal with. Support the recommendation of the committee.



E. District Leadership Team Reports
E.1 Superintendent’s Report
Superintendent’s Report: P 35 agenda: Committees, meetings, events. Making a case for UVic summer course offerings in special education.

b. Student Enrolment Priorities Report: Pp 36-43 agenda. Updated info June 12 OPPS.

c.  Trustee Questions:

  • Nohr: Explain the GVTA’s reference to SD61 and 20 Districts being under special scrutiny.
  • Superintendent: This is because of varying local language in the collective agreements.

E.2 Secretary-Treasurer’s Report: P 45 agenda: space in schools, child care providers, more.

F. Question Period :

  • Companion, GVTA: Is the GAP program being phased out?
  • Superintendent: No.

G. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None
H. New Business /Notice of Motions:
H.1 New Business: None
H.2 Notices of Motion: None
I. Adjournment: 10:45 pm


About Diane McNally