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Board Meetings
Report


November 20, 2007

EDUCATIONAL ISSUES COMMITTEE
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE BOARD
TUESDAY, November 6, 2007



Trustees:
Cindy Aitken (Committee Chair), John Chapman, Marg Gaviller, Jan Johnstone, Ross King, Marilyn McComb, Natalka Pucan, Tim Reaburn, Jean Sullivan and Jennifer Yenssen
 
Staff:
Steven Reid (Co-ordinator), Mary Anne Alton, Lori Wilder, Alana Murray, Marnie Coke, Richard Gerson, Brenda Booth, and Joan Farrow (Executive Assistant)
 
Regrets:
Natalka Pucan and Jean Sullivan


INFORMATION:

The Educational Issues Committee received the following reports:
arrow_bullet.jpg        Learning From Each Other – A Tri-Board Approach
arrow_bullet.jpg        Parent Conference – Better Understanding The World of Our Students
arrow_bullet.jpg        Specialist Environmental High Skills Major


Learning From Each Other – A Tri-Board Approach
Marnie Coke provided a summary of this conference held on October 30, 2007 that included staff from six schools in Bluewater and twenty-eight schools from Upper Grand District School Board and District School Board of Niagara.  This was the fourth collaborative event undertaken by this tri-board.  The six Bluewater schools that participated were chosen from those involved with Schools On The Move, Turnaround Schools and OFIP (Ontario Focused Intervention Project).  Marnie provided an update on the three projects, including current funding and the positive results in student achievement that have been experienced.

Helen Bochar provided the keynote address at the conference in which she focussed on instructional practice as a key to upgrading student achievement.  Two schools from each of the three boards led sharing sessions where they highlighted their work as professional learning communities and their strategies around sharing successes and failures in support of student achievement.

Sponsored by the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, this Tri-Board approach was an opportunity for the participating schools to begin to develop relationships in a broad and provincial network. For the past several years, Bluewater and partner boards have experienced and benefited from the positive nature of such a relationship.


Parent Conference – Better Understanding the World of Our Students
Mary Anne Alton provided an overview of this parent conference, which was held on October 27, 2007 at OSCVI.  This very successful event was organized and sponsored by the Parent Involvement Committee and featured Katie Cole, a teacher and consultant for the Critical Literacy and Media Violence project.  She shared strategies with parents to help prevent the potential harmful effects of violent media on children and adolescents.  Her presentation was videotaped and will be made available to School Community Councils and pending approval of the Committee, will also be posted on the board website.  

Several afternoon workshops and a student panel discussion featuring students from four Bluewater schools provided an informative finish to the conference.  Mary Anne commended the Parent Involvement Committee for their work in organizing the conference and displaying positive parent leadership in Bluewater.


Specialist Environmental High Skills Major
Alana Murray introduced Jean Stephenson who provided an overview of this new secondary program currently being piloted at Bruce Peninsula District School and Grey Highlands Secondary School.  Funding in the amount of $100,000 will provide support for this year’s focus on clear articulation of the core courses in each pathway, development of contextualized activities and reach ahead experiences.  Community support continues to grow and both schools continue to expand their supply of capital equipment required for the course.  Certification training for students in First Aid, Canoeing, CPR and GPS is included.

Jean also provided an update on the second year of the Agri-Business HSM program at Chesley District High School.  Plans for this year include the formalization of an articulation agreement with University of Guelph, Ridgetown campus that would give Bluewater graduates from the program advanced standing at Ridgetown College.  New courses including Crop Science and Livestock Production have been developed and submitted for Ministry approval.  Community support for the program continues to be strong and considerable interest has been expressed by all secondary schools to become involved with the HSM program in other areas such as Hospitality, Manufacturing, Arts and Culture, Entrepreneurship, Energy, Construction and Health and Wellness.

Other boards are very interested in the achievements of Bluewater in the development of High Skills Major courses and the challenge will be to ensure quality and sustainability of new programming in the future.  Staffing issues and transportation of students within the current funding formula will be two major issues.



RECOMMENDATIONS:
THAT Bluewater District School Board receives the Educational Issues Committee report dated November 6, 2007.






Submitted to:
Bluewater District School Board
20 November 2007
For more information please contact
Chair Cindy Aitken
or Steven Reid, Superintendent of Instruction



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