December 4/17: Education Policy and Directions: Dress Code, Again; Grade 5 Lunch Supervisors

Lined Paper is  my personal record of and commentary on SD61 Board and  Standing Committee meetings. Official, approved  minutes are on the SD61 website, one  month after the meeting.

SD61 Greater Victoria School District includes students in Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal, parts of Saanich and the Highlands, and the Traditional Territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

District Strategic Plan here.

Sticky post: Motions and Trustee Voting Records  January 2012 – June 2017.  Motions may be shortened but retain essential information.

October 17/16, Whiteaker: That the Board amend Bylaw 9130 Standing Committees to remove the words “with voting rights” from Item #4 and Item #5. / Carried. Unanimous.  This had the effect of allowing only members of the Standing Committee to vote on motions, though other Trustees, if they attend,  can participate in  the debate. The Chair of the Board  ex officio member both Committees, with voting rights. Quorum is a majority of Trustee members on the committee.

Dialogue with the Public is welcome during Standing Committee Meetings

Ed Policy Standing Committee
December 4/17
Members: Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker;  Loring-Kuhanga ex officio (vote but not counted for quorum)
Chair: Whiteaker (elected 2014)
 Ferris (elected 1999),  McNally (elected 2011), Nohr (elected 2011), Orcherton (elected 1999), Paynter (elected 2014), Watters (elected 2014),  .
Not present: Leonard (elected 1996), Loring-Kuhanga (elected 2011)

Territory Acknowledgement900

A1. Approval [Adoption] of the Agenda (pgs. 1-2): Adopted.
A2. Approval of the Minutes a) Approval of the November 6th, 2017 Ed Policy Minutes (pgs. 3-5) Official minutes here; approved. Lined Paper report here.
A3. Business arising from the Minutes: None
B. New Business
B1. Introduction of Student Representative: Daniel Davenport – Lambrick Park
B2. Early Learning: Superintendent Piet Langstraat (pgs. 6-8)

  • Ferris: Trustees might want to have some input early on.
  • Paynter: spaces were in schools and were not protected. BCPSEA and Minister thinking of in schools…
  • Superintendent: Need purpose built spaces in growing Districts like SD61. Responsibility of MCFD if child care? Ministry of Education if early learning? Complex.
  • McNally: Implications for education of staff – what education standard do we want to see?
  • Watters: ECE diploma exists now. BCSTA a good forum for developing what Trustees want. $33 million announced today. The next 3 years wi address infant care so won’t impact SD61 yet.
  • Whiteaker: Consider developing a draft at this table, take to BCSTA Provincial Council and then AGM.
  • Superintendent: Two potentials: 1. Ministry  of Education  completely responsible for program and capital 2. School Districts provided with personnel overseeing EArly Learning. EAs might do before and after school care. EAs might get increased credentialing for more extensive involvement and benefits. More hours = attraction and retention. Question: Are we providers or coordinators?

B3. ISP Annual Report & Plan:  Director Jeff Davis (pgs. 9-35): SD61 27 countries; Camosun 80+ countries; Uvic 120+.

  • McNally: Goal #1: How to help students who can’t afford the air fare for the outbound program?
  • Noting in place yet. Have discussed Superintendent’s Scholarship Fund.
  • McNally: Strategy 1.2: Suggest collecting data on retention of homestay families  re effectiveness of that aspect of program. A lot of effort going into familiarizing 150-200  new homestay families every year. Strategy 2.2: Who teaches summer ELL at Uplands? Goal 3: Continuing to request ISP website is more clearly presented as part of SD61. Now looks like a private school with tenuous tie to SD61.
  • Davis: “Facilitators” hired at Uplands for ELL. Some GVTA, some community language specialists. Looking as aspects of website.

B4. Review of BAA Courses/Current Curriculum: Associate Superintendent  Deb Whitten (p. 36):

  • Whitten: 162 in SD61. [In October 2013 were 155. List here. Now there are more.] All to be reviewed. Some will become  Ministry courses and some will stay as BAA courses.
  • Superintendent: 40-60 are different enough to stay.
  • McNally: How are BAA courses vetted? Is there a rubric? And as I have said before, if a course is good enough and important enough for one high school, it should be offered at all high schools, so in the spirit of equity  I can’t support BAA courses.
  • Superintendent: Now go to Learning Team for vetting. Associate Superintendent Kitchen is liaison to high schools so is involved.
  • Whiteaker: How about a document for teachers on how to do this?
  • Whitten: There is a package; teacher can go through principal .

B5. Dress Code Update: Associate Superintendent Deb Whitten (pgs. 37-38)

[See 5. B here for dress code motion history:]

B. Dress Code: Associate Superintendent Deb Whitten, lead:  P 6 agenda (Interesting discussion at June 20 / 16 meeting), coming out of One Learning Community Ad Hoc Committee and Trustee Watters’ work with  the District Gender and Sexuality Alliance and updates to the District’s  related policy.

The One Learning Community Committee created a sub-committee tasked with
preparing a recommendation regarding the district’s expectation and guiding principles for dress .The sub-committee believes the following recommendation aligns with the District values identified in the Strategic Plan.

Current Statement:

1. Our School is committed to creating a learning community that values diversity and is free of all forms of discrimination. In line with the BC Human Rights Code which prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual’s: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and age, promotes a climate of understanding and mutual respect where all are equal in dignity and rights. Actions through verbal or nonverbal communication (including clothing) must not contravene the BC Human Rights Code.

2.The One Learning Community Ad Hoc Committee requests the Superintendent or designate to prepare, in consultation with our partner groups which includes, VCPAC, VPVPA, GVTA, CUPE and Student Representatives, administrative procedures that support the values and beliefs of the district with regard to dress.

  • Superintendent: Policy is Board belief. Regulations = what happens i schools to manifest the Policy.
  • Orcherton: Not sure we’ve had enough consultation.
  • Marketa Lund (Director, VCPAC) [possible 12 Directors; 5 positions filled]: Read surprise statement from Audrey Smith, VCPAC Chair. 180 from last One Learning Community Committee; Smith was [surprisingly] heard by those present in that meeting to agree with statement #1 after much discussion in the Committee.Now says “VCPAC” does not support and wants a committee. [This long statement is nowhere on the VCPAC website and was not provided in hard or e copy to anyone.]
  • Davenport (student rep): Where did this come from? Proactive? Reactive?
  • Whiteaker: From students with concerns in March 2015, which led to a motion from Watters to address gender issues.
  • Watters: Superintendent opened it up to a committee to explore non sexist dress  codes. 22 schools in SD61 have dress codes.
  • Davenport: Some interest from district student council in discussing this. Who to approach? Requesting relevant material for consideration.
  • Whiteaker: The Superintendent. Will send materials.
  • McNally: Requesting a full parent survey. VCPAC has only 5 of 12 Exec positions filled and is not representative of parents… [shouted down- “not appropriate”; intent was t continue “and rarely if ever gets quorum at District PAC meetings so no business can be conducted.”]
  • Ferris: Objective is to embrace everybody. If more consultation is needed let’s do that.
  • Nohr: Have heard from people who don’t want this statement [the statement on the agenda] as the dress code.  [And I’ve heard from many people who do.]
  • Watters: The HRC is the logical place to start.Can look at details in discussions with partner groups. Potential for HRC suit if not addressed. Can have the arguments about substantive issues when the Regulations come forward. The GVTA recently passed two motions that say teachers will not be involved in dress code issues in the classroom.

From the GVTA website (since removed), General Meeting Agenda November 21: 10 Dress Code Motions (Recommended by the EC) 10.1 Moved: (Waldron/ That teachers refuse to enforce individual school dress codes, except where there is a school uniform in place. 10.2 Moved: (Tosczak/ That the GVTA take a position that school dress codes should be eliminated and any district wide dress code should be consistent with the BC Human Rights Code and health and safety regulations and policy.

  • Superintendent: Will work on language that provides guidance to schools.
  • Orcherton: Happy that teachers passed the motions. It’s the job of senior administration.Needs to go back to the Committee for further discussion and clarification.
  • Superintendent: #1 could be the Policy, and #2 could be the requested subcommittee to develop the Regulations. Administrative procedure are more granular than Policy.
  • Orcherton: #1 is too broad for many people. And #1 should be Policy and taking only about that.
  • Watters: Started with a motion that all dress codes uphold gender equity. We all here have more common ground than not.
  • Nohr: What Marketa Lund read is from Audrey Smith (VCPAC Chair). VCPAC should have further opportunity to have input.

VCPAC has had input at several Board / Standing Committee meetings and One Learning Community meetings.  District PAC (VCPAC) Chair (sometimes called “President”; VCPAC constitution specifies “Chair”- claimed no official involvement from VCPAC in the dress code discussion in an interview with Times Colonist reporter, when the Chair was at many meetings, and at the last dress code meeting  agreed with the proposed statement. How much more official does it have to get? I followed up with the TC to check for a misquote but there has been  no retraction or correction  of the story.  The VCPAC internal consultation process is cumbersome and needs review, as any referral to VCPAC guarantees at least two months of limbo for an issue. DPAC / VCPAC is an organization referred to in the School Act as “a” voice of parents, not “the only” voice of parents.

District parents’ advisory council 8.4  (1) A parents’ advisory council, through its elected officers, may apply to the board for the establishment of a district parents’ advisory council.
(2) On receipt of an application under subsection (1), the board must establish a district parents’ advisory council for the school district consisting of representatives elected to the council under subsection (3).
(3) Each parents’ advisory council in a school district may elect annually one of its members to be its representative on the district parents’ advisory council for a term of not more than one year.
(4) There must be only one district parents’ advisory council for each school district.
Purpose and operation of district parents’ advisory council 8.5  (1) Subject to section 67 (5.1), the district parents’ advisory council may advise the board on any matter relating to education in the school district. [So may anyone else.]
(2) A district parents’ advisory council must make bylaws governing its meetings and the business and conduct of its affairs, including bylaws governing the dissolution of the council.
(3) A superintendent of schools for the school district, a designate of the superintendent or a trustee of the school district may attend any meeting of the district parents’ advisory council.
Part 6 Board, Division 1: Meetings and chair:  5.1 Without limiting subsection (5), a board may establish procedures respecting the provision of advice by a district parents’ advisory council to the board.

  • Whiteaker: #2 needs revision for clarity.
  • Jennifer Small, President, ASA: Aboriginal counsellors and ASA counsellors should be on this committee.
  • Orcherton [Related at length what VCPAC wants; McNally objected, saying Orcheron is not a VCPAC member, and that a VCPAC rep is here at the table and can speak for herself on what VCPAC wants; McNally admonished generally…]
  • Orcherton: Convene a working group on #2. Need to educate people changes are happening fast.
  • Nohr: Want something aspirational around dress codes.Minimal decency. [Aspirational: “having or characterized by aspirations to achieve social prestige and material success”.]
  • Watters: Suggest Superintendent draft Regulations and take those to the Committee; leave #1 alone and send #2 to Superintendent.
  • Nohr:  Don’t support beginning statement #1 Want something like Lord Byng in VSB.   We want a guiding principle. [ We have one. The BC Human Rights Code.]

Nohr handed out hard copy  :
December 4, 2017
[Proposed] Statement of Guiding Principle
The Greater Victoria School District, as “One Learning Community” is committed to a District  Code of Conduct that supports as a highest priority a safe, responsive and inclusive learning environment. To achieve this goal, the district code of conduct promotes clear behavioural expectations that support respectful and responsible citizenship within our schools and our communities.  This collective effort will endeavour to create a culture of safety, caring and respect amongst all members of our learning community. Students are expected to learn and mature as they move through successive grades and as such, the expectations progress towards increasing personal responsibility and self discipline for all choices and actions.
1.Dress code: Therefore, all members of our learning community will be encouraged to dress in a manner that is appropriate for learning. An individual’s manner of dress must not promote alcohol or drugs, display offensive language or images, encourage discrimination (BC Human Rights Code), present health or safety problems, or cause a disruption.

  •  Ferris: Suggested: Direct the Superintendent to some work on #1 and come back with Regulation statements for #2. All will have an opportunity to review at that point.
  • McNally: If the previous ‘create a committee” motion carries, Ferris’ motion / suggestion here will be moot, correct? [Yes, making this clear.I can’t vote at Ed Policy but would have supported Ferris’s motion.]

The dress code was referred back to a committee. Again.

B6. Elementary Lunch Monitors in Schools – Info:  Deputy Superintendent Shelley Green (pgs. 39-54) [ Chart of status of lunch supervision in all SD61 elementary schools]

  • Lund (DPAC): Grade 4 students do lunch supervision also, not just Grade 5s.
  • McNally: Some schools, because of status quo staffing shortages, set up a lunch group with all the students with special needs designations  who need help with eating moved into one room with one Education Assistant while other EA staff go from room to room to try to supervise / deal with problems or have a lunch break, creating an exclusionary situation, since Grade 4 and 5 students can’t be expected to act as EAs.
  • Watters: Sometimes a “Lord of the Flies” situation with some aspects of perceived power in some classrooms in these supervisory situations with students. Parents are told they can’t volunteer, for example at Macaulay. Want to but told no. [Likely seen by CUPE as contracting out. Ministry of Education must fund EAs for hours for lunch supervision so this is no longer an issue, with children doing work that should be paid adult work, and adults trying to volunteer time that should be Provincially funded as  part of the school  day.]
  • Superintendent: We have a working group working group working n the  the volunteer policy. Have a legal opinion on the School Act and will meet soon. Still no revised volunteer policy [ here; check  the associated Regulation developed by senior administration. ]
  • Whiteaker: Also a mental health issue. Lunchtime is a primary time when issues can surface. Lunch supervisors critical for preventing bullying.

B7. Naming School Sites : Moved Orcherton:  That the Board of Education direct the Policy sub-committee to review and revise as necessary Policy and Regulation 1421 – Naming School Sites and provide recommendations to the Education Policy and Directions Committee on potential changes and that the Board place a moratorium on the naming of schools or parts of schools until the review has occurred./ Carried. Unanimous [by Ed Policy Committee members Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton, Whiteaker]

B8. New Policy – Recognizing Significant Individual Contributions to the District: Moved   Orcherton:  That the Board of Education  direct the Superintendent of Schools to create a policy on how the Board recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the District./ Carried. Unanimous.

C. NOTICE OF MOTIONS [Notices of Motion]: None

C1. New Business [B7 and B8 should have been here on the agenda]

D. General Announcements: Whiteaker – BCSTA related motion timeline.

E. Adjournment: 9:40 pm

About Diane McNally