June 25/18: Board Meeting: Vic High Seismic Upgrade, Classroom Pets Left Behind, Distinguished Visitor From Tanzania



Elected Trustees: Leonard (1996), Ferris (1999), Orcherton (1999), Loring-Kuhanga (2011), McNally (2011), Nohr (2011), Paynter (2014),  Watters (2014), Whiteaker (2014)

Voting Day Local Elections October 20, 2018. New rules and info here  SD61 is in the midst of many  changes and will need progressive vision,  big picture thinking, and continued commitment and close attention to to clear, understandable and accountable process at the Board table.

P. 1 Board meeting / general info
P. 2. DPAC Constitution (more interesting than it sounds – each school PAC has its own; some are posted)

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. ) Motions may be shortened but retain essential info. 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 – March 2018. Motions may be shortened but retain essential information. Will be updated to end of June 2018 asap.    Facebook: Diane McNally SD61 Greater Victoria School Trustee   Twitter: @McNallySD61BC

Board Meeting June 25/18
Chair: Loring-Kuhanga
Present: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr,  Orcherton, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker

A. Commencement of Meeting
A. 1 Agenda adopted. [Video of all Board meetings here.] A.2 Minutes May 28/18 approved (here).  Lined Paper record here .
A.3 Business Arising From the Minutes:None

A.4 Student Achievement presentation:
a) Youth in Trades: Lindsay Johnson, District Pathways and Partnerships Coordinator : Presented outstanding high achieving students in trades.

Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) is an educational program jointly supported by the Ministry of Education and the Industry Training Authority. SSA provides students the opportunity to begin an apprenticeship while still in high school, and to earn high school credits for doing so.  Students develop skills through work-based training under the supervision of certified tradespersons.  They can earn up to 16 course credits toward graduation while gaining hands-on work experience hours toward trade certification.

b) Skills Canada National: Lindsay Johnson: Congratulations to Tony Harrington, Grade 10 Vic High, Silver medal Skills Canada car painting

A.5  District Presentations:
Randi Falls, Principal, Oak Bay High School: Scott Alexander, Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence
b) Ambassador Nicholas Kuhanga, Tanzania. Kiswahili  introduction by Natasha Thompson , Mount Doug High

A.6 Community Presentations (on video on SD61 website)
Wendy Welch, Vancouver School of Art: [Paraphrased] “Runs school as a business. Want an extension to the lease [past August 31 current date to leave the building] for another two years. ”  [2 years notification was given by SD61 re vacate in August 2018.]
b) Brenda Pohl, GVTA, Shoreline Community School :[Paraphrased] “In the past Shoreline had low incidence classes which were a benefit for students. As of this yer, don’t exist. New inexperienced principals assigned; school needs experienced  administrators.  Not right for people to hone their skills on Shoreline; need to come with those skills. Concerned that targeted Aboriginal funding is providing time for vice principal.”
c) Caitlin Branch, GVTA, Shoreline Community School
d) Luke Mari,  Director of Development, Purdey Group: VISA related development [See here at #4.]
e) Ryan Painter, Fighting  Mental Health Stigma : not present
f) Sean Birdsell, parent: Website Postings of District Presentations [In favour; on video; not posted as of July 2]:

Thank you madam chair, and thank you trustees for the opportunity to present to you this evening. I would like to take this opportunity speak to you about a small change the board can ask of staff to improve the ability of parents and constituents (and voters) to participate in school division governance. But first, a story. On the morning of Monday, May 7 I received an emailed newsletter from VCPAC with a summary of the SD61 meetings for the week. It’s traditionally been my reminder to flip into the agendas and minutes to see what’s hot and happening in SD61 governance. On this particular Monday there was one agenda topic caught my eye at the Education Policy Standing Committee. Just three words, and the only three words on which I’d have to rely on to decide whether to abandon my family at bedtime and spend some quality time in the plastic chairs behind me: “French Language Review”.  Now, for some context, I’m the parent of a French immersion student who is interested, but not fanatically enthusiastic, about the happenings of our school system’s management and governance. I review agendas and minutes with imperfect regularity.  I try to attend school board and committee meetings when something important to my family is being discussed. On the Monday in question, and not seeing any supporting presentation materials available, I decided to be proactive and emailed the community@sd61.bc.ca address to see if they had a copy of the presentation for release. No response was received, or has ever been received. It was the universe telling me not to worry about it. When I returned to look a few days later and read the presentation I felt the pang of regret.  The presentation was fascinating, and the opportunity to hear it in person with commentary from Deputy Superintendent Green was lost to me. I shared the presentation on a parent’s Facebook group I occasionally wander through, and many agreed it was interesting and insightful. So what happened here?  I knew from the April 9th Ed Policy Committee minutes that a presentation was due back to address French Immersion enrollment issues in the district.   As the parent of an Ecole Marigold French Immersion student, and with two more siblings to follow in future years, this is clearly in my wheelhouse.  But the words “French Language Review” were clearly insufficiently detailed to give me a reasonable preview of what the presentation would cover. It’s also clear that Deputy Superintendent Green had, in the weeks since the April 9th Ed Policy Committee meeting, crafted a thoughtful and insightful presentation. I don’t suspect she threw the presentation together the Monday afternoon before the meeting. So I ask the Board tonight to support a motion to require district staff to include presentation slides and materials in the agenda packups.  This would give parents additional time, information and context in which to participate effectively in the governance of the school division.  I respect the time and existing commitments of district staff, but I feel strongly that this is a reasonable request to be made of them. The marginal cost of having the presentations submitted for release a few days earlier can only serve to improve the quality of the discussions they generate. My memory is imperfect, but I recall a trustee during last year’s Enrollment Priority Policy debates commenting on how the flood of comments from parents came late in the process, and how preferable it would have been for these comments to have been received during the meetings of the Ad-Hoc Committee, or later, the Operations Standing Committee. Tonight I ask you to help parents do just that.  Supporting this motion will make a meaningful improvement to the availability of quality information, and help ensure that parents have access to the information they need to participate knowledgeably and effectively at Standing Committee and School Board meetings.

B. Correspondence: SD61 Advocacy letters
C. Trustee Reports
C.1 Chair’s Report:

a) Interviewed students before making speech to Oak Bay grads. Students’ issues:  harm reduction, consent education [see C.7 here] , mental health, and sports related injuries especially concussions and sports related stress.
b) BCSTA certificates of service recognition to Trustees who did not attend the BCSTA AGM (certificates were given out there to Trustees with more than one term): Ferris, Leonard, Nohr, Orcherton and Paynter.
C.2 Trustees’ Reports

June 15, 2015 Board meeting: 

(McNally) That the Board 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 in December and June of each school year as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda packup, beginning December 2015. / Carriedas amended. For: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Leonard  Abstain: Orcherton
• McNally: Hearing requests for less than 2x a year. Motion to amend: 1 x a year. / Carried.For: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Leonard, Paynter  Abstain: Orcherton

(McNally) That the Board approve that all Trustees appointed to internal committees – the Needs Budget Advisory Committee, District Culture and Community Committee, District Gay Straight Alliance, Aboriginal Nations Education Committee and the French Immersion Advisory Committee be required to submit a written report to the Board via the Chair in December and June of each school year as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda packup, beginning December 2015./ Carried.For: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Ferris, Leonard, Orcherton

a) Watters:
Gender and Sexuality Committee Report : P 14 agenda
b) Ferris: French Advisory Committee: P 15
c) McNally: Monthly Report and Committees: Pp 16-17

June 2018 Trustee Report
Diane McNally, Trustee, SD61 Greater Victoria Board of Education
.: I’m pleased to have been able to attend once again, the annual District Retirement Tea honouring all that staff have given to SD61 student success, and the Aboriginal Students Graduation at the Songhees Wellness Centre on June 7. Will attend Nella Nelson’s retirement celebration of all that she has accomplished in almost 40 years with SD61, June 26.

Community Liaison Assignments:


  • June 7 visited Oaklands School garden – neonics free!
  • June 21 View Royal new environmental playground

Ad Hoc Committees

  • Public Engagement Ad Hoc Committee : June 1 continuing the work of the Committee; June 18 summarizing the work of the Committee for the August Trustee work group
  • Advocacy Ad Hoc Committee: Unable to attend May 28; no meeting in June

Aboriginal Nations Education Committee : Attended June 25 meeting

Trustee Professional Development / Related Community:

  • Continuing participation in International Overdose Awareness Day planning meetings (June 19) (August 1 Internationally, July 29 here as Centennial Square conflict on August 1): a memorial event for those we have lost to overdose. You are welcome to attend.
  • Continued participation at SICORN (South Island Community Overdose Response Network) meetings; developing a strategy for moving forward with a coherent structure (next June 27 )
  • Attended final of 5 information sessions Umbrella Society (providers of assistance for substance use disorders).
  • June 5: Yates Street “My Place” 2.0 version transitional home by Central Middle School continues with an additional  cohort of people who have been at First Met mats for a short while, which has opened up more mat spaces there for people on the street. Current cohort at My Place expected to move into Mt Edwards (owned by BC Housing, operated by CoolAid) soon when 2nd floor finished. Approximately 55 +  currently at My Place. Some changes in social dynamics. Shelter status may be ongoing as city has chosen different location for new Fire Hall. 9 reports last month of loitering on school grounds; unknown persons.
  • Therapeutic Recovery Community: June 12 Community Advisory Committee; June 13 attended Open House (old YDC building cow Talcott from Eagleview School).
  • June 14 attended AVI-organized panel presentation on substance use and overdose to Westshore parents at Royal Bay High School SD62.
  • June 19 View Royal Council meeting; included rezoning for Therapeutic Recovery Community on Talcott Road, close to Eagleview School. Carried unanimously, no opposition from community.

D. Board Committee Reports
D.1  Education Policy & Directions
a. Minutes June 4/18 info only (will be approved at next Ed Policy meeting). Lined Paper record of the meeting and debate here.
b. Recommended motion [Carried at Ed Policy meeting]: That the Board endorse mental health literacy and mental wellness as a priority area of focus for the Advocacy Ad Hoc Committee and task that committee with developing an action plan to be brought back to a future Education Policy and Directions Committee. / Carried. Unanimous.

  • Leonard: Is this for the whole school community or just students?
  • Watters: Focus on students.
  • Whiteaker: Whole school community.

D.2 Operations Planning and Policy Committee
a. Minutes. June 11 /18 information only Pp 21-26[will be approved at next Operations meeting]  Lined Paper record of the meeting and debate here.
b. Recommended motions: [Carried at Operations Standing Committee]: McNally: : Sever D.2 i fr debate.
i. That the Board direct the Chair to form a working group to draft the Greater Victoria Foundation for Learning Bylaws in a manner that ensures the Foundation is at arms length  from the Board and return the draft to the October 9/18 Operations Policy and Planning Committee meeting. / Carried. For:  Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: McNally, Orcherton

  • We often hear “its all about the students”. Of course it is. This is  public education. But anything about students takes place in a wider context. Everything does. So in the big picture, moving further toward funding this critical public good via private contributions thought fundraising is only expedient, not excellent. SD61 already has set up an opportunity to contribute to the School District as a charity in Bylaw 9111. SD61  is a registered charity.  That could be better publicized. Though public education being situated politically as a charity dismays me. There are also opportunities to contribute to individual schools – which enshrines inequity in a District that furthers “equity” prominently in the graphic and the content of the district strategic plan, and in Policy. I hope the Policy committee will have a look at the soon. This Policy was developed in 1985, with a rationale contained in the Policy:The Board believes that an adequate level of funding should be provided from tax revenues to ensure that an appropriate educational program is available to all students based on their needs. Notwithstanding that belief, the Board recognizes the present lack of funding and the desirability of enhancing education to whatever extent is possible.  To this end, the Board encourages donations to the District by parents and other interested parties.  Unless otherwise directed by the donor, donations will be used to provide equipment facilities or services which are additional to these provided from taxation sources. It is contemplated that the District may establish a Charitable Trust under its control, in which event donors are to be encouraged to make contributions to that Trust rather than to independent trusts, or societies.  The District will obtain a charitable status under the Income Tax Act and will issue tax receipts for all donations wherever legally permitted.
    This District did establish charitable status. The “notwithstanding” decision to override the belief  “that an adequate level of funding should be provided from tax revenues to ensure that an appropriate educational program is available to all students based on their needs.” demonstrates expedience as the working principle. Expedient decisions can have a high price over time.

ii. [Original motion carried unanimously at June 11 Operations meeting at 7.C, with McNally’s amendment  to include “remove classroom pets in the event of an emergency, or a  drill or practice”, a requirement of the SPCA in their Guidelines for Classroom Pets, Appendix A. For: Leonard, McNally, Paynter, Watters]  That the Board approve in principle the new Policy 6163.7 Classroom Pets as amended and accept in principle the new Regulation and send the draft Policy and Regulation to our stakeholders for comment, to be returned to the October  December 2018 Operations Policy and Planning Committee. /. Carried as amended. Unanimous. [I supported this motion even though it is flawed with the removal of the evacuation of pets clause, since it is an improvement over the Regulation that currently exists.]

  • Leonard: Remove “approve in principle”. Sending to stakeholders for comment so don’t want to influence opinion./ Amendment carried.
  • McNally: Appreciation to Policy Committee Trustees Nohr and Whiteaker. The  Policy is a major positive update from the previous bare bones Regulation which was not even associated with a Policy. It is  with the amendment to remove the classroom pets in an emergency drill or real emergency, congruent with the BC SPCA’s Appendix A Conditions for the Keeping of Classroom Pets and creates an environment in schools that encourages children to learn truly compassionate treatment of animals . 
  • Whiteaker / Ferris: Amendment: Remove 3.2.3 “Animals will be removed from the classroom during any emergency, drill, evacuation, or otherwise“. / Carried. For: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Orcherotn, Whiteaker Against: McNally, Paynter, Watters
  • Orcherton: Support this amendment. Fire department personnel are trained to do this.
  • Paynter: The school could evaluate the removal under the controlled circumstances of the drill, and then evaluate again. Develop a routine to make this feasible.This woudl forestall the possibility that someone might go back in.
  • Whiteaker: This is about educating students – don’t want students going back in to get the animal.We will lose pets in the classroom if we keep this requirement in.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: You get out, don’t go back in; the drill is about the staff and students’ safety, not the pets.
  • Leonard: In a real emergency, routines don’t always stay in place. SPCA’s first mandate is animals. Our mandate is students.

This initial Policy is going out to stakeholders for discussion, without the  clause requiring  animals to be removed in an emergency. This situation provides an excellent opportunity for  teachers to talk with students  about whether there should even  be be a caged “classroom pet” if the animal will be left behind, alone and subject to possible death in a fire or earthquake. Not having a caged animal resident in the classroom does not preclude visits by animals with their humans, which the SPCA encourages in their Humane Education curriculum. The issue is not “students or animals”;  the issues are humane education and compassion.
iii.That the Board direct the Superintendent to request access to $500,000 of Ministry of Education restricted capital  for the initial planning of the SJ Willis upgrade. / Carried. Unanimous. [SD61 has 4 sports based Academies now, fewer than previously.]

  • McNally: Will support this motion as parents need to know what the fees for service are in a supposedly free public education system. Does not imply support for the Academies with their competitive entry and fees to attend.

iv. That the Board review municipal committee assignments in light of the newly created municipal liaison roles, before the next Trustee assignments are made./ Carried. Unanimous.

E. District Leadership Team Reports:
E.1  Superintendent’s monthly report accepted.
a) Congratulations to Student Rep Daniel Davenport on winning the Green party Scholarship.
b) Vic High Seismic Upgrade Recommendations: That the Board direct the Superintendent to submit to the Ministry of Education as the preferred option for Vic High, the Seismic Plus Enhancements (1000) Plus Neighbourhood Learning Centre,  contingent on receiving full funding from the Ministry. / Carried. Unanimous.

  • Ferris: Would this project meet Ministry requirements for a NLC = $ grant?
  • Superintendent: Usually granted as part of the build. Believe we can make a case and have a rationale re the 200 seats of new space.

c) Operational Plans: Pp 46-58 agenda: Summary of progress for each plan area – important updates Pp 46-58.
d) That the Board make available   to the public via District website the schedules of fees approved by Parent Advisory Council for the school where the Board proposes to offer a specialty academy.
e) That the Board approve the 2018/19 Board of Education and Standing Committee meeting dates.
f) That the Board approve the revised Board Authority Authorized courses: Athletic Leadership 10, Community Leadership 10, Cross Training 10, Flexible Studies 10, Learning Strategies 10, Outdoor Education 10, Peer Tutoring 10, Principles of Sport 10, Strings Fretted Instruments Ukulele 10, Symphony Orchestra 10, Teacher Assistance 10, ELL Learning Strategies 10, Beginners ELL 10./ Carried. For: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, Orcherton, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Leonard, McNally

  • McNally: “School districts or independent schools develop Board/Authority Authorized (BAA) courses to help meet local community needs while providing choice and flexibility for students.”  It’s clear that this provision for locally developed courses could be of interest and of use across far flung districts with different urban and rural needs, and different occupational needs. But to focus on different “local communities” in school district 61, and following, to accept that Spectrum High School needs a History of Rock n Roll to meet local needs while that very interesting class does not meet the needs of Students at Vic High or Oak Bay just isn’t the case. The needs of SD61 schools have commonality. BAA courses in a school district provide school shopping opportunities pitting one school against another competing for customers in a market situation  and create transportation issues for students. As I’ve voted before on my conviction that what is good for students in one school in SD61 is good for them all, can’t support this.

g) Trustee Questions: 

  • McNally: Noticed plastic grids under grass on new View Royal “environmental” playground. Saddened to see more plastic in the environment. Why is this grid needed? / Weed control.
  • Davenport, Student rep: How does SD61 interact with other School Districts in the CRD? / Superintendent: Monthly Superintendents meeting. Chair: Online Chairs’ forum.

E.2 Secretary-Treasurer’s Report: 
a) Monthly Report: Accepted
b) That the Board appoint Joan Axford as Chief Election officer  to administer and conduct the school trustee election on October 20/18./ Carried. Unanimous.
c) That the Board agree to give all 3 readings to Bylaw 9005 Trustee Elections and By-Elections at this meeting. / Read 3 times by the Chair. / Carried unanimously. Addition of note re “at large” elections, not a ward system in SD61.
d) That the Board approve for submission to the Ministry of Education , the 2019/20 SD61 5 Year Capital Plan. / Carried. Unanimous.
e) Related Party Transactions : Pp 94-95 agenda. “Key management personnel are those individuals who have the authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the entity. For the Greater Victoria School District, key management personnel include Trustees, as well as the Superintendent, Deputy
Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, and Secretary-Treasurer.” [Trustees  filled out the form.]

F.Question Period :
a) Colleen Baty, Vancouver Island School of Art: could VISA use Uplands School? / No, in use for International Student Program.
b) Leni Helen Hoover: VISA support
c) Ann Petrie: VISA related questions. / Secretary-Treasurer: Consultants have looked at the school building. SD61 has to get into the walls. The need for space hasn’t gone away. Need to see structural support and if good will proceed. Will have initial consultants’ report in 2 weeks.

G. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None
H. New Business / Notices of Motion
a) McNally: That the Board direct the Superintendent to implement a protocol to ensure  endeavour that District leadership staff  presentation slides and / or documents are posted at the same time as the meeting agendas for Standing committees and board meetings. / Carried. Unanimous as amended.

  • McNally: We’ve heard from Mr. Birdsell how this can benefit busy parents. It’s also a recommendation from the 2016 Watson Report (p6) which all BC Boards attended to for recommendations re best practice. [Watson: Consultation and Enhanced Transparency & Ensure greater openness and transparency of Board business (e.g., conduct of Board meetings, distribution of meeting materials, protocol for responding to questions, and enhanced disclosures on the District’s website including attendance records].
  • Leonard: Any issues for staff?
  • Superintendent: This is a reasonable request.
  • Deputy Superintendent Green: From time to time may miss a deadline for reasons out of staff control.
  • Leonard: Amendment: Replace “ensure” with “endeavour”, and add “District leadership”. / Carried.

b) McNally: That the Board direct the Superintendent to report back with a plan for establish a Board meeting (Board only, not standing committees) attendance record. / Carried. For: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters   Against: Ferris, Leonard, Orcherton, Whiteaeker

  • McNally: Originally hoped for all meetings record, but simplified to Board only. Also a recommendation of the Watson Report. Sunshine Coast SD46 does this for all meetings, with fewer staff than SD61.
  • Ferris: Motions asking for our senior leadership to do extra tasks – is this necessary? No attendance issues at this District. Save staff the work.
  • Watters: Re Sunshine Coast – Board resolved to post attendance of all meetings including in camera, and who’s on which committees. Straightforward record, not onerous. See West Van also.
  • Leonard: have a record in minutes. People can look there.
  • Orcherton: I let the Board know re absence and send regrets. Could be personal business. People night question the trustee and I don’t need to explain. [One Trustee has been absent for two months + on a Caribbean cruise.]
  • Waters: We put in place some process to prevent problems, in interests of transparency and accountability to the community. Would be an easily  accessible document and staff already have the information. Time consuming to go through all minutes. / Defeated. For: McNally, Paynter, Watters  Against: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga,

c) McNally: That the current record of motions carried include motions that were defeated (in italics for easy recognition). /  Defeated. For: McNally, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters    Against: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Whiteaker

H.2 Notices of Motion: None
I. Adjournment: 10:30 pm

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