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Board Meetings

March 18, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cindy Aitken (Committee Chair), John Chapman, Marg Gaviller, Jan Johnstone, Ross King, Marilyn McComb, Natalka Pucan, Tim Reaburn, and Jennifer Yenssen
Steven Reid (Co-ordinator), Mary Anne Alton, Alana Murray, Marnie Coke, and Joan Farrow (Executive Assistant)
Nathan Lantz (Student Senator)

The Educational Issues Committee received the following reports:
•     Georgian Triangle Earth Day Sessions for Some BWDSB Schools
•     Bluewater Standards of Practice: Home Room Teacher

Celebration – Georgian Triangle Earth Day Sessions for Some BWDSB Schools
Alana Murray introduced Velvet Rollin, System Lead Teacher.  She provided some background on the Georgian Triangle Earth Days Celebration Organization and their planned environmental programming and events for students and adults during Earth Week, April 21 to 25, 2008.  Students will take part in a number of elementary and secondary workshops designed to assist them in influencing environmental changes in their communities as well as attend a showing of “An Inconvenient Truth”.

The Georgian Triangle earth Days Celebration Organization hopes to continue to support student participation in environmental programming over the next two years if a grant application to the Trillium Foundation is successful.

Staff Reports - Standards of Practice:  Home Room Teacher
Marnie Coke provided a handout (Bluewater Standards of Practice: Non-Negotiables) and introduced guests Rosanne Gallinger, Principal at Hillcrest Elementary School, Owen Sound, Brenda Calvert, teacher  at Meaford Community School and Pat Munro, teacher at Alexandra Community School, Owen Sound.  

The Standards of Practice document was created three years ago as a way of focusing on the design elements for an effective whole-school approach to education.  These standards have been implemented board-wide and have been made more precise over time.  

A key element of the Effective Instruction segment of the standards involves the expectation that homeroom teachers will teach literacy, math, history, geography, social studies and science at the elementary level.  Rosanne Gallinger outlined the transition from rotary to homeroom teachers for grade 7 & 8 students that took place in her school over a three year period.  Rosanned gathered research that connected to the concepts of homeroom vs rotary.  She also gathered evidence from the classrooms in her school that demonstrated that behaviour issues decreased and academic success increased in students who were no longer participating in high levels of rotary system.  Additional advantages to the move away from a rotary system included more opportunity for teachers to make positive connections with their students, having more time to spend with students who are struggling, and increased opportunities for unit planning and assessment by teachers as a group which has led to more consistency amongst the classrooms in terms of instruction.

Brenda Calvert highlighted the advantages of the homeroom system at Meaford Community School where grade 7 and 8 teachers have their own classrooms for the core subjects.  These included an opportunity to focus on the whole student, flexibility regarding time to present concepts, more opportunity to introduce literacy across the curriculum, better opportunities to meet the needs of IEP students, and ease of assessment and use of data for a single class rather than large groups of students.  Over the years, Brenda has taught both rotary and homeroom class structures and stated that the list of benefits was long and the she had a difficult time finding any reason to move to a rotary system.

Pat Munro demonstrated the use of a cross curricular approach to subjects that she has used very effectively in her grade 2/3 class at Alexandra Community School.  The presentation clearly showed that close connections exist across curriculum material and that making these connections across subjects facilitates learning.  This cross curricular approach is a major advantage to a non-rotary system.  With the extended time that Pat spends with her students, she is able to weave concepts and themes throughout the curriculum.  Students had the time to upgrade and produce high levels of work.  In essence, a high quality of work is always expected as extended periods of time are available for relevant investigations, experiences, and learning.

Submitted to:
Bluewater District School Board
18 March, 2008  
For further information please contact
Chair Cindy Aitken or
Steven Reid, Superintendent of Instruction


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