Sept 24/18: Board Meeting: Boundary Review, Audited Financials, 24 Questions From BC Ed Access parents

Incumbent Trustees running for re-election: Leonard (1996), Ferris (1999),  McNally (2011), Paynter (2014),  Watters (2014), Whiteaker (2014)

Facebook: Diane McNally SD61 Greater Victoria School Trustee   Twitter: @McNallySD61BC Instagram: diane.mcn

Voting Day Local Elections October 20, 2018. 
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

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 – June 2018. Motions may be shortened but retain essential information.

Territory Acknowledgement900

Board Meeting Sept 24/18
Chair: Loring-Kuhanga (by phone; Ferris in the Chair)
Present: Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr,  Orcherton, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker

A. Commencement of Meeting
A. 1 Agenda adopted with addition of motion from McNally at H1, on suggestion of Superintendent.  [Video of all Board meetings here.] A.2 Minutes June 25 28/18 approved (here).  Lined Paper record here .
A.3 Business Arising From the Minutes:None
A.4 Student Achievement presentation: No presentation
A.5  District Presentations:

a) Piet Langstraat: Former Superintedent SD61: Recognition: Presented with a drum created by an Indigenous artist.
b) 2017018 KPMG Financial Statements Presentation: Starts on P 36 agenda .
c) Facilities Summer Update : Ross Walker , Manager Capital Planning and Implementation (powerpoint slides)

A.6 Community Presentations (on video on SD61 website)

Matt Christie , GVTA, Inclusive Learning: Inclusive education support teacher at McKenzie School. Social-emotional learning focus. Was behavior district program teacher, mostly serving students with IBI / slash serious mental illness, behaviours too challenging from the regular classroom. [“H” designations explained at D:  Schools often operate on a behavourist model re stimulus and response for behaviour analysis and intervention but is an epigenetic response to stress, not willful behaviour. Need more funding to support the students. Need leadership to aggressively seek out the funding from the Ministry of Education.

b) Deb Swain, GVTA, Inclusive Learning: I have worked as a teacher in special education / inclusive education most of my career. President of the Provincial Inclusive Education Specialists Association and local specialists association. Local association met with the Superintendent last year in June, pleased with the information and information conduit. Language is changing, practices are changing. Authentic inclusion requires resources – time,  personnel, technology. True equity does not mean the same thing for all. Shortage of TTOCs,  teachers, EA’s. When EA is  away support calls to the inclusion support teacher who has another role. Staffing in schools varies regarding special education FTE and people leave for other positions because of the challenges.

c) Brenda Pohl, GVTA, Inclusive Learning: Was learning support teacher at Shoreline Middle School. ow “inclusive learning” teacher. Parent of child with autism and have seen what did not work. SD61 had excellent low incidence classrooms but that was not inclusion. Using Shelly Moore’s suggestions. Trauma informed practice, Aboriginal Ways of Knowing., mindfulness. Two classes have no EA, and one Aboriginal Education Assistant supports one classroom as an EA which is not the intent of the Aboriginal targeted funding. Consider that when funding schools. A District EA supports anther classroom. Time is needed to share strategies with EAs – EAs often meet at lunch or after school on unpaid time for them. 

d) Ryan Painter, Recovery Schools: Removed from agenda as is part of Painters campaign platform

B. Correspondence
B.1 : Letter from Minister of Transportation Minister: P 14:  Minister Claire Trevena denies SD61 Board’s request to add a School Trustee to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission (VRTC).

C. Trustee Reports
C1 Chair’s Report: J Message of encouragement to incumbents running for re -election: attended Board Planning Meeting with Superintendent Green and Ferris, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters. Not standing for re-election as large projects in Lytton Band education and Hazelton Band Council.

C.2 Trustees’ Reports
a) McNally: (verbal):

  • Continued to attend Eagleview School community  Therapeutic Recovery Community advisory group meetings.
  • As a member of Moms Stop The Harm, provided coffee and juice table at International Overdose Awareness Day – information tables VIHA, Umbrella Society, naloxone training from  SOLID, more. Memorial vigil  for those who have died in the overdose epidemic. All of them “Somebody’s Someone”. Was approached by a student from GNS who wants to get student-led  action and information. AVI organized life story boards, displayed at the main library.
  • Sept 4 My Place (shelter across from Central Middle School) community meeting. Improved circumstances for many people – some have moved on to jobs, Mount Edwards, other housing. Continuing, with the lower number of residents; was too crowded for a while.
  • Sept 12: Attended Eagleview PAC as member of Therapeutic Recovery Centre Advisory Committee. Saw new tech package in action!

D. Board Committee Reports
D.1  Education Policy & Directions
a. Minutes Sept 10 /18 info only (will be approved at next Ed Policy meeting). Lined Paper record of the meeting and debate here.
b. Recommended motions (motions carried at the Ed Policy meeting by Trustees assigned to that Committee – Ferris, Nohr (Chair,), Orcherton, Whiteaker; Loring-Kuhanga ex officio vote but not counted for quorum):

i.  Board direct Superintendent to strike a committee to develop a process to review the Strategic Plan in the 5th year of implementation (2019-20)./ Carried. Unanimous.

ii. (McNally, from BC ED Access) Board direct Superintendent to provide monthly report to trustees on students with special needs that specifies the number of incidents as per each point: 1. asked to stay home 2.sent home 3.  dropped off late / picked up late  4. excluded from field trips 5. sent out of regular classroom to resource room / sensory  / isolation room , or other space, if no breakout room is available. / Carried, as amended, unanimous.

  • Amendment: Whiteaker: Understood that this will be an in camera report to Trustees  to avoid identifying students /  Amended to “in camera report“. [The inform nation  would be useful for public discussion of needs for support, but stigma in regard to students who need extra support apparently remains high. Parents could change that by asking for this information to be made public but that needs work on process and content.]

iii. Board direct the Superintendent to ensure all absences recorded properly for all students with special needs including absences due to being asked to stay home , excluded from class field trips, or sent home due to lack of appropriate care. / Carried as amended below. For: Ferris, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker   Against: Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga

  • Leonard: How onerous is this for staff?
  • Nohr: Track the parent agreements and decisions made in the moment – will track both?
  • Superintendent: Conversation with parents, incorporated in IEP conversation.
  • Whiteaker: All will be on the report card.
  • Orcherton: Some district count multiple day absences in a row as one absence. [Which districts?]
  • Watters: Steps to broader accountability. Add: “withdrawals and absences“. / Amendment carried. For:  Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker     Against: Leonard, Orcherton
  • Leonard: Trustees used to get reports on withdrawals and they just stopped. We need those again.
  • Whiteaker: Can a student withdraw, come back, and withdraw again? / Super: Yes.

v. Board direct Superintendent to survey schools each November regarding space pressures and use of resource, sensory and breakout rooms.[What will report look like>? Public? In camera?] / Carried. Unanimous.

D.2 Operations Planning and Policy Committee
a. Minutes Sept 17/18 [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]:

i. Board adopt electronic meeting software [eScribe] effective Nov 2018 and direct the Superintendent to create an appropriate strategy for implementation./ CarriedFor: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters  Against: Leonard, McNally, Whiteaker

  • Whiteaker: $30,00 cost = an employee. Plus other yearly expenses.
  • Ferris: In the dark ages re recording minutes.Will save a lot of time.
  • Watters: Will save time and avoid motions for action dropping off and not acted on – improve accountability. Can’t reach level of accountability we want with current process. Will improve engagement.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: BCSTA AbEd committee used similar software, Eluminate – saved staff time and was fully supported.
  • Orcherton: Tech can cut jobs.
  • McNally: If choice between spending on tech or staff, at this point choose staff.

ii. Board accept report of Advocacy Ad Hoc Committee. / Carried as amended. Against: Leonard

  • Leonard: Can’t support this when ending private school funding is in it. This doesn’t belong in our District Advocacy [?] and who knows what the Ministry would do with the money if it happened.
  • McNally: Pleased to see ending private school funding(“elite” private schools at this time) included. This was my suggestion the committee  and was in the original document. This is indeed our  responsibility as trustees.
  • Leonard: Amend to say “elite private schools”. / Carried .

iii. Board direct Sec-Treas to request access to $80,154.59 Min of Ed restricted capital funding for completing water quality upgrade./. Carried. Unanimous.
iv. Board direct Superintendent to provide a report on privacy and security of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) at October 9 / 18 OPPS meeting./ Carried. Unanimous.

E. District Leadership Team Reports:
E.1  a) Superintendent’s monthly report accepted.
b) Trustee Questions:
McNally: In the context of staff decisions to close District programs for students wit “low incidence designations” within broader Strategic Plan “Inclusive Education” decisions, do staff have any plans or intention to close Challenge Programs in SD61, also for student in  “low incidence gifted”? In favour of keeping challenge programs open. Students can easily advocate for what is best for them, unlike students in other low incidence categories who may have great difficulty with communication and who may  not be listened to  or consulted./ Superintendent: District staff have had no discussion about this.

ii. Nohr: What happened to looking at developing a District Code of Conduct? / Superintendent: Will be looking at Committees and consolidation with Sec-Treas and could be addressed there.

E.2 Secretary-Treasurer’s Report: 
a) Monthly Report: Accepted
b. Boundary Review Update : Secretary-Treasurer: Dealing with boundary changes for View Royal area only, not a holistic view to change one boundary, Eagleview. About to follow robust consultation process re boundaries, portables and capacity. Wanted to be done by September 2019 but not realistic given consultation  requirements. Implementation in 2020. 

  • Leonard: How will we communicate this to parents? PAC? Via Principal? Tney need to know now.
  • Sec-Treas: Will make sure to communicate this.
  • Whiteaker: Dragging this out. Difficult for families especially those looking for child care. Should fast track this.
  • Watters: Could we move timeline up or delay registration?
  • Paynter: Want short update from staff on this process at every OPPS meeting.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Looking at new schools, re-opening schools. Some questions in the consultation will change the work.
  • Audrey Smith, DPAC Chair: Don’t rush this. DPAC represented on the committee – complex and takes time.Families have a year to 18 months notice for childcare etc re family impacts.
  • Superintendent: Boundary changes will start at kindergarten and be a gradual implementation.

c) District Audited Financial Statements: Five recommended motions flowing from the KPMG report on P42 agenda. All carried unanimously.  Student  device replacement reserve builds over 5 years. In year 2.

F.Question Period :
a) Ryan Painter: Letter sent by former Superintendent Langstraat stated public  consultation  in spring re catchment boundary changes. Tonight’s  discussion says public consultation  June 19 2019. Why not staying with original plan? / Secretary-Treasurer: The boundaries discussion in this meeting covered this.

G. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None
H. New Business / Notices of Motion
H.1 McNally:  That the Board of Education direct the Superintendent to distribute the BC Ed Access parent questionnaire for Trustees in a manner that does not create more than 2 hours work for any individual staff person and that the answers to the questions be provided to all Trustees at the October 22 Board meeting.[Handed out hard copy of all questions to all trustees.] 

  • Orcherton (interjects) : These questions are fro the BCTF!
  • McNally: They are not . They are parent questions.  I welcome Tracy Humphreys of BC Ed Access, who developed these questions. They are all pertinent to our work in providing the best education experience for all our students.I tried to answer them all, and found I could not, so appealed to the Superintendent for answers as required by Bylaw 9222. Developing the answers will likely take more than 2 hours for one person, but if distributed, could come in under two hours for any one staff person. Some of the questions (7, 25, 26) are obviously about individual philosophy of provision of education and I would not expect staff to answer those.These are questions that or community and parents have, and we should be able to answer them. This is not “micromanaging”. Good governance is not possible with only abstract information.  As well, if we are not currently tracking the information need to answer these questions, It’s likely that we should be. BC Ed Access suggests asking some of these questions of Trustees individually or at all candidates meetings. At this point I will have to say to quite a few of them, I’ve asked staff and am waiting for a reply. I am hoping that although the answers probably won’t be ready from staff in time for all candidates meetings – Oct 11 Vic High – at least I and all of us can say “the answers will be presented at the October Board meeting and will be on the public record.
  • Leonard: This is not a good use of staff time. Motion to postpone this to Trustee Orientation with new Board.
  • Watters: Support postponing but some need to be in public discussion. Important questions.
  • Ferris: These re the types of questions that people ask during elections. At no time would I ask the Superintendent to stop work to answer them. [My motion did not ask that, in fact asked to spread the work around amongst senior staff. And these are questions that people – parents – ask all the time, and can’t get answers to.]

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


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