Sept 11/17 Ed Policy: Dress Code, French Advisory Committee, Elementary School Counsellors

Vic High
Vic High

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.

Education Policy and Directions Standing  Committee September 11 /17
Chair: Whiteaker
Members: Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker;  Loring-Kuhanga ex officio (vote but not counted for quorum)
Present:  McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker
Absent:  Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga

Territory Acknowledgement900


Dialogue with the Public is welcome during Standing Committee Meetings

1. Approval [Adoption] of Agenda Adopted.
2. Approval of Ed Policy & Directions Minutes:  
Lined Paper link here.  Minutes of June 5 /17 approved with corrections: Page 5 motion “deferred” should be “Motion postponed to definite time” as per RRO 11th Ed, p 179. [ 100.00 In all meetings of the Board of Trustees, procedures shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, except where provisions of the bylaws of the Board or the Schools Act may conflict, in which case the latter shall prevail.]
3. Business Arising From the Minutes: None
4. Presentations to the Committee:None

5. New Business
A. Student Representative:
Superintendent introduces Meghan Scott,  Esquimalt Secondary
Esquimalt Secondary (absent)
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.

Recommended (P 6 agenda): School Codes of Conduct will include the following 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,<insert school name> 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 demonstrate support for the BC Human Rights Code. And 2.The School Code of Conduct will not include any other statements regarding expectations of dress.

Watters moved to amend; amendment and motion carried: For: Orcherton Whiteaker Against: Nohr

The Board of SD61 (Greater Victoria) accepts the following recommendation:
The School Code of Conduct will not include any other statements regarding expectations of dress, except for the following: 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, <insert school name> 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 demonstrate support for the BC Human Rights Code.

  • Paynter: For consideration, Oregon Dress Code. Has basic requirements for dress.
  • Nohr: Recently has been concern at UVic gym re gluteal folds showing with some women’s shorts. A health issue. Concerned with scanty dress in schools on the part of some students.
  • Whitten: Opportunity for a conversation with the individual in private, based on respect and dignity.
  • Watters: Each family has its own culture and hopefully decisions will be made in the home as a team. A learning curve for young people going out into the world to present themselves well.
  • Orcherton: Thanks to Nohr for her points. This are happening quickly in the diversity area. The will be instances where someone is not dressing appropriately. If the recommendation is all there is, it takes away authority. We are preparing students for life in the workplace and inappropriate dress will not be tolerated. Respect is something we teach. First impressions powerful. May be  leaving it wide open; need some guidelines. Not just students, adults in schools need guidelines too. Can see problems, like the UVic concern with gluteal folds, otherwise known as the “butt crack”.
  • McNally: Gluteal folds are not a health issue. This is women’s body shaming disguised as a health issue. And allow me to demonstrate where a “butt crack” [“The intergluteal cleft, also known medically by various synonyms and colloquially as the “butt crack”  … is the groove between the buttocks…” (Wikipedia)]   is and where a gluteal fold is. [Does, fully clothed.]  Dress codes are aimed at women, based on very old ideas (enshrined in some religions – thinking snakes, apples, women who want knowledge,  fig leaves, clothing…) of women as virtuous, and the custodians of men’s behaviour which is fundamentally debased. Dress codes (“modesty”) bring those old ideas forward, putting women “in charge”  and responsible for men’s behaviour (though not in charge of much that counts). Dress codes  demean boys and men by characterizing them as incapable of focus on anything but a woman’s body and that they need to be protected by more or less shrouding that temptation. Men are socialized from an early age to be “manly” and to react  – as one Facebook commentator  put it – as “mindless horndogs”. It’s a great disrespect and demeaning  to male / male identifying students to think they can’t stay with the physics text if a woman / person identifying as a woman  walks by. Dress codes disrespect  sexes and genders. In Victorian times the sight of a female  ankle was thought to drive men mad with sexual desire. Now we laugh at that. Living for the day when the spaghetti strap type of issues and dress codes are laughable as well.
  • Paynter: Back to the Oregon code. Some parts have to be covered. And Human Rights doesn’t cover swearing expressions, references to drugs or alcohol. Yes has to be conversation between parents and kids.
  • Male appearing person  in public seats: Confused about body shaming.  School should be providing excellent learning opportunities.  If ankles are distracting we need to talk about that. This proposed lack of dress code is not in the best interest of the safety of my daughters. Think about what these things will do to families.Talking about people showing up naked at school – using our children as pawns in some political agenda. SD61 schools may not be a safe place for my children.

C. French Advisory- TOR (Pp 7-9 agenda): Simon Burgers

June 5, 2017: McNally:That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria):1. No longer require the establishment of an annual French Advisory Standing Committee; 2. Establish a French Advisory Committee on an ad hoc basis when considerations arise.


Recommended: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) establish a French Advisory Ad Hoc Committee to meet at least annually, or as required. / Carried. For: Nohr, Orcherton, Whiteaker.

  • Superintendent: Not an Ad Hoc Committee – Ad Hocs have a defined TOR that ends when the issue has been dealt with and reported on.
  • Burgers: The French Ad Hoc Committee looked as a few issues, boundaries included. Because of French Federal funding, need a place for stakeholders to have input into how the money is spent, and goal setting.
  • McNally: Suggestion s for changes to TOR: specify the Trustee member will be appointed by Board Chair, and change “Membership shall be renewed annually” to “Representative groups shall appoint a rep annually”.
  • Paynter: Why havng a conversation  about French programs only? Not a good use of scarce resources of the District.
  • Whiteaker:  Won’t be limited to funding.
  • Paynter: Make funding part of the mandate.
  • Turcotte, GVTA [and French Immersion teacher]: Funding comes from Ministry of Heritage in Ottawa to the School District.The Funding Guide recommends establishment of an Advisory Committee. What if the Committee members want to meet more  frequently? And some years up to now, hasn’t met at all.
  • Superintendent: TOR specifies at least twice a year. [It does;  the motion doesn’t.] Like Aboriginal targeted funding, concern on the part of the funder that funds used for targeted purpose. Yes, have same question re why Advisory Committees on some parts of the district’s programs and not others.
  • Burgers: So various stakeholder groups to provide feedback and look at models of service.

D. Elementary Counselling Services

Nohr:  That the Board request that the Superintendent provide a report on the elementary counselling services within our district for the November 2017 Education Policy and Directions meeting.

Revised motion: Superintendent provide report n and recommendations on counsellor support for elementary students and their families, by November Education Policy meeting. / Carried. For: Nohr, Orcherton, Whiteaker.

  • Superintendent: Very general motion. Please be more specific.
  • Nohr: 1:1000 students ratio. Students in need neglected and untenable working conditions for teachers. Learning compromised when emotional need not met. Equity issue – some families have benefits  and others cannot afford counsellors.Would like grid with student numbers per school and counsellor FTE, as well as some successful outcomes and some gaps  identified.
  • Watters: Want to now what the plan is to address this – agree there is a gap.
  • Orcherton: How to address the gap that exists.
  • David [public seats]: Would like action plan.
  • Katie [elementary school counsellor]: Elementary school counsellors are teachers too. An extra day at a school makes so much difference in being able to support teachers with what may be difficult for a classroom teacher ie discussions of sexual abuse prevention curriculum, other issues.Elementary school counsellors are often parents’ first contact with mental health and family support.
  • McNally:  Taught  for 22 years in SD61, and appreciated counsellors; saw the need for more service. Motion seems to be working toward putting more funding into counselling, and its needed, but money has to come from one area, so where will it be taken from to increase counsellors? Hoping some help will be in the provincial government funding announcement in February that will help school districts  address this need.
  • Superintendent: Need to re-examine what we ask elementary counsellor to do,  and the amount of paperwork, but a conversation for another time. [Possibly linked to a variety of discussions  about changing the funding formula for student with designations?  For example: Inclusive Education funding is allocated to school authorities through a formula that aims to ensure an equitable distribution of funding. Funding is not determined through coding. School authorities distribute the funding they receive based on the needs of students within their school communities. This model would cut down on paperwork and case management.] We also have YFCs  and partners in health – need to enhance participation there – child’s troubles in school often due to family breakdown, so need broader systems approach,comprehensive model.
  • David [public seats] : Has District considered working with Social Workers seconded to schools to address family breakdown?
  • Superintendent: Yes, but MCF struggles for resources and has been chronically  underfunded.
  • Nohr: Would like school population and FTE of counsellors and YFCs. Just a spreadsheet.
  • Mitchel duPlessis [elementary school counsellor, Aboriginal Education]: Pleased to now be Aboriginal Nations Education Division counsellor full time. Attention not to the child only but to the whole community.About prevention.

E. Vancouver Island School Trustees Association

  • Watters: SD61 Board has invited VISTA to gather here for March meeting. As member of VISTA Executive, part of planning for event. VISTA plans Friday might; SD61 Board does the rest. Minister of Education Fleming will be featured on  Friday night.Some ideas for workshops / sessions.
  • Superintendent: Approaching First Nations for territory  and  welcome. Student introduction of Minister. Student band, student art walk. Hotel booking research underway.
  • Orcherton: Counsellors are an issue across Districts. How to send in ideas for topics? [To Watters who will collate.]
  • Whiteaker: Invite parent group rep.
  • McNally: what opportunities for real student participation , not just food service and entertainment?
  • Scott: Yes wondered also about that.
  • Superintendent: That is built in, will be opportunities throughout. Student Rep please take back to students.

F. BCSTA Provincial Council re- Early Childhood Education: Whiteaker

  • McNally: What are pros and cons of taking motion forward to Provincial Council  vs spring AGM? [Discussion]
  • Watters: Will put this on next VISTA agenda [Sept 30.

6. Notice of Motions: None

7. General Announcements: Paynter: Send in thoughts on 3 BCPSEA questions re collective bargaining sent out to you. Have heard from McNally.

8. Adjournment: 8:45 pm

April 2/13: Education Policy Development Committee: The Record Off The Record: Student Counselling, Not Therapy

The school counsellor’s role includes counselling [though the presentation stressed “not therapy”; for that, a student is referred to an outside agency] , school-based consultation, co-ordination and education.

The Record Off The Record is my own personal record of and commentary on public meetings in School District 61 (Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal and a portion of Saanich and Highlands ).  “Official” approved minutes of Board  and Standing Committee meetings are posted on the SD61 website under the “Board of Education” menu, generally one month after the meeting. The meeting schedule is posted on the District Calendar. Trustees  are referred to by last name only for brevity; “the Board of Education of SD No. 61 (Greater Victoria) is referred to as “the Board [etc]”. No audio recordings are made of Standing Committee meetings, only of Board meetings. (No record of how the audio recording decision was made, or any debate on proposed uses of and storage of the record appears to exist.) Unless attributed, comments are my own.

No In Camera meeting before this public meeting. Education Policy meetings are generally held at schools in SD61 but although the agenda specifies  “Cedar Hill Middle School” as  venue, this meeting was held at the Tolmie Building.

Absent: Alpha (regrets), Loring-Kuhanga
Recognition of Songhees and Esquimalt Nations’ traditional territories.

Education Policy Development Committee: Chair Horsman (in Alpha’s absence)

1. Approval of Agenda: Approved.
2. Approval of Minutes: Combined Education Policy Development Committee and Operations Planning and Policy Committee Meeting Minutes March 4, 2013
3. Business Arising Out of the Minutes : None.
4. Public Request to the Committee: None.
5. Correspondence Referred to the Committee: None.
6. Motions Referred to the Committee [Surprise! A change in the agenda. On the February 4 agenda, 6 was “General Announcements”, which is 7 today. “Motions Referred to the Committee” was 8. Try and keep up.] : None
7. General Announcements: None.

8. New Business:

A. Counselling Services: (Info) Presentation by  Debra Mackie, District Principal of Special Education; Deborah Courville, Associate Superintendent; Nella Nelson, Aboriginal Nations Education; Dick Brown, District Counsellor (Regulation 2127.0630: District Counsellors, last reviewed 1979, which accounts for the quaint language in Article 5: “The above regulations are made in recognition of the fact that the principal is in charge of his school…).

Some relevant SD61 links: District Aboriginal Counsellor Policy,  District Aboriginal Counsellor Regulation (1999);  Regulation Elementary School Counsellors K-7 (1994) [SD61 moved to a middle school model with the last school reconfigured from K-7 in 2007. SD61 has no K-7 schools];  Director of Student Support Services Policy (1991);  Policy on Student Suspensions  (1993).

Special Education Services  in SD61 includes this description of Counselling Services:  “School counsellors provide a continuum of preventative, developmental, remedial, and intervention services and programs and facilitate referral to community resources. The school counsellor’s role includes counselling [though the presentation stressed “not therapy”; for that, a student is referred to an outside agency] , school-based consultation, co-ordination and education. School counselling functions include individual, group and class work to provide both an intervention and a prevention service. The focus of school counselling is enhancing the students’ development, assisting with the development of an enabling school culture and empowering students toward positive change. The counsellor:

  • Promotes personal and social development appropriate to developmental stages
  • Counsels students, their families and the community to foster growth in the students’ self esteem, individual responsibility, and in skills such as decision making and social skills
  • Ameliorates factors which may precipitate problems for students
  • Enhances students’ educational achievement through goal setting, assisting with the development of IEP’s and activities such as promotion of effective work and study habits
  • Provides appropriate interventions to assist students with school related problems and issues
  • Facilitates the goals of career education by assisting students and their families to explore and clarify the student’s career options, through developmental activities that stress decision-making, personal planning and career awareness.”

Some relevant Provincial level links: BC School Counsellors Association; Ministry of Education resources for counsellors and others;  When Words are Not Enough: Threat Assessment for School Counsellors; September 8, 2011 Tyee article “At School, More Stressed Kids, Fewer Counsellors”; Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Issue #10 July 14, 2010,Patrice A. Keats and Daniel Laitsch, Simon Fraser University (excerpt below):

  • .Keats and Laitsch in CJEAP: Contemplating Regulation of Counsellors in Canadian Schools: Current issues and Concerns [specific focus on BC schools]: “Thus, because there are no legislated qualifications for counsellors in general or school counsellors specifically, enforcement of these standards is voluntary. This is a particular concern around the master’s degree in a related discipline where there may not have been any supervised counselling practicum….Since BC school counsellors are not required to be a member of any counselling organization or association, the British Columbia College of Teachers (BCCT) stands as the only regulating body in which teacher counsellors are members.”  [BCCT is now the Teacher Regulation Branch.]

Debra Mackie, District Principal, Special Education  and Principal, Victor School (a segregated school for students with special needs):

  • SD61 has 9 counsellors (7.6 FTE / full time equivalent; some are part time); school counsellors are “particularly connected” with elementary schools.
  • All SD61 school counsellors have Master’s degrees [at time of posting, no information as to which degrees are held; a “related discipline” degree is allowed, not necessarily a degree in Counselling Psychology. The Ministry of Education website does not clarify which “related disciplines” qualify].
  • In elementary schools counsellors are itinerant. At a school of 300 students or fewer, the assignment is one day a week (.2 FTE) They work with entire classes and are part of School Based Teams [From SD39 Vancouver School District Special Education Glossary: “A School Based Team is an ongoing team of school based personnel which has a form role to play as a problem solving unit in assisting classroom teachers to develop and implement instructional or management strategies and to coordinate support resources for students with special need within the school” (Ministry of Education – July 06). The School Based Team can be different, depending on staff and school needs. Usually an administrator, a counsellor, or specialist teachers make up part of the team which can include many different personnel].
  • [Campus View School Based Team, as an example: The Learning Assistance teacher coordinates the school-based team consisting of the principal, the vice- principal, the school counselor, the Learning Assistance teacher, a Student Assistant representative, outside support staff (when students in their case load are discussed) and classroom teachers (when students in their classes are discussed). The School Based Team meets twice monthly to brainstorm ideas and formulate action plans to deal with emotional behavior, academic and social concerns. Progress of special needs students is monitored throughout the year. A student can be referred for discussion by any member of the staff.]
  • School counsellors work to address social, emotional and behaviour needs, coordinate community services [among them, community resources which must be in place for a student to receive funding and support attached to a designation of “intensive behaviour intervention” – there are 29 forms on the district internal web page in regard to Intensive Behaviour Intervention – or “students with a severe mental illness”]
  • Work in elementary and middle school classrooms delivering programs on bullying and social development
  • In secondary schools (9-12), provide career counselling and support transitions to and from secondary school, as well as interventions related to addictions, grief, loss, depression, self-harm.
  • Counsellor time is set at a ratio per student, determined using estimated student enrolment with additional information from the school principal in regard to the needs of the school. Student population 300 or less = .2 FTE = 1 day, with the District allocation of time rising with increments in student population.
  • Some schools see a need to use some of their school budget money to top up counsellor time.

Some schools have the services of a Youth and Family Counsellor (generally graduates of a four year degree program in Youth and Child Care), paid from Community Link funding (which can also be used to buy Education Assistant time, or additional teacher time).

Deborah Courville (former school counsellor), Associate Superintendent:

Dick Brown, District Counsellor:

  • Among responsibilities is conduct suspension hearings, which are significantly down, likely due to early intervention.

Nella Nelson, Coordinator, Aboriginal Nations Education Department:

  • Twelve schools K-12 have service from Aboriginal Counsellors; four of the six have Master’s degrees or are registered in a Master’s program
  • Aboriginal school counsellors are paid from Community Link funding and targeted Aboriginal Education funding One day per week equivalent is reserved for emergent referrals.
  • The Friendship Centre  provides a 1.0 FTE (full time equivalent) Education Liaison position for time in schools with provision of  links to Friendship Centre Services,  links to Surrounded By Cedar services, and Metis Community Services.

Orcherton:  What about a student who has a serious issue if the counsellor is not there? There is a team on site, correct?
Horsman: Is the counsellor the first responder?

Good questions. The District provides a School Emergency and Critical Incident Response guide available for schools, apparently, from the searchable url, through Human Resources, though no link is on the minimal SD61 Human Resources Department page. School District 61 has formed a Crisis Intervention Team made up of two principals, and a number of school counsellors.

  • Debra Mackie: Behaviour plans are in place for students who  are identified as “low incidence”, including Level 3 “serious mental illness” and “intensive behaviour support”. The School Based Team core members are the principal, vice principal and the counsellor.

[Safety plans deal with, among other things,  who will respond on school grounds (teacher? principal? vice principal? education assistant? ), a list of behaviours to watch for in terms of escalation. and possible responses including “reactive plan”, “interim strategies”, protocol for restraint if a last resort, procedures for exiting other students from the vicinity, what to do if bitten, etc. Obviously, at a school, anyone who can respond and who is part of the safety / behaviour plan is teaching, possibly providing support to other students (as Ministry-funded Education Assistant  support for students with intensive behaviour is not full time) or involved in administrative duties and needs to be called away to deal with the emergency.]

B. Revision to Regulation 5140.1 Child Abuse and Regulation 5140.2 Child Abuse and School District Employees: (Info: attached to agenda at end) Janine Roy, District principal of Learning Initiatives

The District Leadership Team reviews Regulations [not Policy, though DLT does review Policy through an “informal agreement” and presents revisions to the Board for approval, a process that has been going on for some time. this review was  to include only “housekeeping” changes and simple non-substantive updates to Policy. On occasion one might think the revisions are more than “housekeeping”. The BC School Trustees Association recognizes Policy development and review as a key part of Trustees’ duties: “Trustees also assess periodically their district’€™s compliance with the policies and goals they put in place, thus monitoring district performance.” Currently an Ad Hoc Committee is reviewing Bylaw 9360, General Meeting of the Board,and will make recommendations to the Board. The motion to establish this Committee specifically excluded Trustees].

BC Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect
BC Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect

C. Regulation 6145.02 Supervision Requirements for Secondary School and Middle School Extra-curricular Athletics: (Info; attached at end of agenda) Sherri Bell, Deputy Superintendent:

  • Met with CUPE 947. The Regulation as previously written excluded CUPE and Allied Specialists from being considered a “responsible employee” for overnight volunteer trip supervision with students; only teachers were mentioned.  As specified in the Regulation, the school principal has the ultimate responsibility for the situation.

Other applicable Policies:  Field Trips , Attachments for Field Trip Regulation , Overnight Accommodation Policy , Overnight Accommodation Regulation .

“New Business” was 8 this time, and last time 9 was “Superintendent’s Report “. Not this time. This time 9 is “Adjournment”.

9. Adjournment:   8:15

Next meetings:
Monday April 8 2013:Operations Planning and Policy, Board Room 7:30
Wednesday April 10 7 pm Special Budget Meeting SJ Willis
Monday April 15 7 pm Board Meeting: Board Room