Feb 5/18: Ed Policy&Directions: Career Programs Annual Report; Consent Curriculum; Classroom Pets As Disposable Objects – Left Behind In Fire/EQ Drills

Territory Acknowledgement900


P1: Education Policy and Directions  Standing Committee Meeting notes

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. Board meetings are video’d and audio recorded; Committee meetings are not.

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 –December 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  & Directions Standing Committee
February 5/18
Members: Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker;  Loring-Kuhanga ex officio (vote but not counted for quorum)
Chair: Nohr (elected 2011)
 Ferris (elected 1999),  McNally (elected 2011), Nohr, Orcherton (elected 1999), Paynter (elected 2014), Watters (elected 2014), Whiteaker (elected 2014) .
Not present: Leonard (elected 1996), Loring-Kuhanga (elected 2011)

Agenda approved; C7 to C3, and C3 to C 7. Minutes of Jan 8/18 approved. Official minutes here; Lined Paper report here. No Business Arising.

B. Presentations to the Committee
a) Elicia Loiselle, Project RespectGender based violence problem needs systemic  fix. In support of Trustee Watters’ motions re consent education and gender based violence prevention strategy [that were at C7, now at C3]. Offering assistance to school district in developing strategy.

  • Ferris: How might that begin to be a conversation at the District level?
  • Superintendent: Nicole Quast can share on that later in the meeting. Mandated by government in many post secondary environments. SD61 can learn from that. Beginning considerations  of how best to apply to our K-12 system.
  • McNally: People often ask about more financial education  for students, and yes they need that. But this is fundamental to our lives.
  • Nohr: We have a starting point with Deb Whitten’s presentation on this agenda.

b) Ryan Sligotsky, parent: Issues with Eagleview catchment area for the Thetis Lake area. Asking for a review- catchment schools are not always the closest school. With the catchment and enrolment area changed, it’s trickier. Eagle view is the closes but View Royal is catchment, and is farther away and across a highway, more dangerous for cycling. Would like time commitment for the review and “how to fight the case”.

  • Superintendent: Logical that students  with these concerns go to to Eagleview. Transfer and registration priorities changes have been completed. Thetis Lake community and other anomalous bubbles need work – need to understand patterns and projected enrolment, look at catchment again. Sympathetic to needs of this community; will be work of the District going into summer and fall. Don’t see a need to push the issue in a more public way. Will be sharing information and data  with community in a working group.
  • Sligotsky: When can we attend meetings / get some info?
  • Superintendent: Will put timeline together and send to you as contact person within 2 weeks.
  • Orcherton: Will need to  review all catchment areas not just a few.
  • Whiteaker: Can’t this wait and do the langues review and this concurrently?
  • Superintendent: Will be recommendations coming from French Immersion and Languages review – that has to come first, with projections. April initial report to Board, May draft, June final.

C. New Business
C.1 Student Representative Nicole Quast, Oak Bay High School: Presented memo from Student Representative Council in support of Watters’ motions on consent and a strategy for prevention of gender based violence.

  • Quast: Working on consent education ion our school for two years in our own school. In depth conversations on this topic may not happen in homes.
  • Superintendent: Associate Superintendent Whitten, Deputy Superintendent Green , Associate Superintendent Kitchen, myself have been working on identifying how the revised curriculum provides opportunities for this education .
  • Deputy Superintendent: Revised curriculum has multiple entry points K-12 – PE, healthy lifestyles…difficulty is, this is not always a comfort zone for educators, but SD61 has multiple partnerships with expertise who are willing to work with us on this.
  • Whiteaker (to GVTA rep Turcotte): Is the BCTF working on this?
  • Turcotte: Is supporting teachers in creating curriculum to share with others. [Also provides w two facilitated workshops on sexual education  for teachers.]
  • Watters: Excited to see memo from Student Council.  SD61 has a 1998 staff-focussed harassment policy. Gender Policy does touch on this. Will bring motion to next Education Policy Committee meeting that pulls the pieces together.
  • McNally: When I brought the original motion to have a Student Trustee at the table, this kind of student involvement is exactly what I hoped for. [September 16, 2013 Notice of Motion here.]
  • Loiselle (Project Respect): We have some curriculum to share.
  • Associate Superintendent Kitchen: Ministry mandates post-secondary  to have policy.Have talked in SD61 with school administrators and with UVic and Camosun.

students re consent

C.2 Healthy Relationships and Sexual Health: Associate Superintendent Whitten (Pp 6-7)

  • Watters: Island Sexual Health has  Man Made program – how do we get it into schools? Up to each school?
  • Superintendent: We don’t have a systematic way to have the learning occur K-12. One day or one week event won’t get us where we want to go. Next step is to design something that happens in every school. Right now, school by school; not where we want to be. So, teachers? Counsellors? Community partnerships? Probably all of those.
  • Watters: Requires resource allocation. Funded by Board.
  • Ilda Turcotte, GVTA: Are there targeted funds for schools?
  • Superintendent: Not currently, which is why different schools do different things. Needs work.
  • McNally: Have been concerned with the “one off” individual school based presentations on various important topics, mostly mental health related, for some time, not vetted by the District. Pleased to hear moving in a more cohesive  direction with reviewed and known  “go to ” partners.

C.3 Watters: That the Board direct the Superintendent to review Regulation 1163 Consultation . / Carried. Unanimous

  • Watters: In the duties of the School Board, what does consultation look like? Need notes for municipalities, parent groups re what meaningful consultation really looks like. Superintendent to come back with recommendations. Hoping to move this to the front of the line.
  • Ferris: Move it to the back of the line.Already have quite a bit on the go.
  • Nohr: Superintendent?
  • Superintendent: Exceedingly busy as Ferris says. No standard procedure or timeline for partner feedback. Areas where would like more detail. That kind of detail would improve things.
  • Orcherton: Policy Subcommittee has a long list.Don’t want a review of consultation as we will be doing a lot of it. 
  • McNally: That is exactly why a review is needed as soon as possible. Consultation is fundamental to the work of the Board.we pride ourselves on being consultative.
  • Watters: Hoping for clarity of process. Will save work in the long run.

C4. Truth and Reconciliation Presentation : Sarah Rhude: The Sacred Circle – A Collaborative Cultural Presentation  (A few photos Pp 10-14 agenda)

This is a profound and beautifully presented event, based on a work by Chief Wedlidi Speck of ‘Namgis First Nation, and a  significant accomplishment for the students and adults involved. Rhude says the story is about bringing together different peoples into a shared community and draws upon traditions and stories from several Vancouver Island First Nations. I attended last year for the first presentation. It will be presented again this year, and if you missed it last year, you have a chance again on June 1 and June 2, both at 7 pm.

C.5 Pathways and Partnerships Annual Report: Associate Superintendent Greg Kitchen & Lindsay Johnson : (Comprehensive report Pp 15-28 agenda)

  • Lindsay Johnson, District Careers & Transitions Coordinator: All new Department personnel. Values and beliefs based: Who do you want to be?  Over 1/4 of secondary students Grades 10-12 impacted. Next year every high school will have a non enrolling career teacher.
  • McNally: Obviously lessening the angst of transition from high school; undoubtedly positively changing lives.
  • Watters: Concerns with equity and keeping women in trades – can be difficult environments.
  • Whiteaker: How can we address the need for employment for students with autism and other diverse learning needs?
  • Johnson: Many students in SD61 career programs with IEPs. Have partnerships with Camosun. Significant support from CAL at Camosun.

C.6 McNally: That the Board direct the Policy SubCommittee to develop Policy in regard to animals kept as “classroom pets”, and that the Committee take into account the BC SPCA’s statements on animals  in classrooms, and the possibility that classroom pets are not desirable at all, in the development of the Policy, and that the Superintendent draft a Regulation to implement the Policy when finalized by the Board. / Defeated. For: Nohr, Orcherton  Against: Ferris, Whiteaker  [ I will put this this motion on the Board meeting agenda though it will not appear as an Ed Policy “recommended”motion.]

  • McNally: Have discussed emergency evacuation of animals in the classroom with Associate Superintendent Kitchen previously; the BC SPCA has provided a letter on the topic [below].  A noisy, busy classroom is not  a good home for any animal. Visits can work, but being resident in a cage in a classroom is difficult for animals. some are left alone over the weekend and all are alone at night. In my teaching career I have seen animals being less than well cared for – an egregious example is a hamster being tossed back and forth – and have had to intervene, to take the hamster away, to stop the “experiment” to see if the hamster would run off the edge of a  desk and fall to the floor, to put mice back in their cage when the cage was not secured and the mice were on top and no one seemed to be looking out for them, to stop a “student helper” from stirring up the significant layer of fish feces at the bottom of a fish tank as the tank was never cleaned; given clean water to animals who had none or had only dirty water.  In every fire drill or earthquake drill, the animals were and still are left behind to die in a (theoretical)  fire or to be crushed in a (theoretical) collapse of the room. This is not teaching compassion. This is teaching children that animals are ultimately just disposable objects. The BC SPCA Policy [below]  requires animals to be evacuated in disaster drills and in real disasters. SD61 doesn’t even have a Policy, just an inadequate Regulation with no Policy.
  • Ferris: We don’t need a Policy. This is a management issue.
  • Orcherton: Support Ferris. The 5 Freedoms would be a good example.
  • Watters: Policy statement would be what our values are, a general statement with the Regulation attached.
  • Paynter: Echo recommendation for Policy being the basis for a Regulation.
  • Whiteaker: Animals in classrooms are nothing but a positive  experience for kids. [For the animals though?] Fish are calming. Some families can’t have pets.
  • Orcherton: Value in having animals in classrooms but need to recognize  the Five Freedoms.
  • Nohr: The SPCA document is detailed and thoughtful. Brings awareness to the relationship.


SPCA Policy 1SPCA Policy 2SPCA Policy 3SPCA Policy 4SPCA Policy 5

i. Watters: That the Board call on the BCSTA to urge the Ministry of Education to embed consent as a key concept in the K-12 curriculum. / Carried. Unanimous.

  • Watters: Looking to establish specific and clear expectations for instruction.

ii. Watters:  That the Board call on the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Child and Family Development, Ministry of Public Safety, and Ministry of Mental Heath to work together to develop a Gender-based Violence Prevention Strategy For Youth.

D. Notices of Motion
E. General Announcements
F. Adjournment
: 9:40 pm

About Diane McNally