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Board Meetings

June 17, 2008

TUESDAY, June 3, 2008

Cindy Aitken (Committee Chair), John Chapman, Rick Galbraith, 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, Richard Gerson, Lori Wilder, Brenda Booth and Joan Farrow (Executive Assistant)
Natalka Pucan, Trustee; Nathan Lantz and Laura Campbell (Student Senators)

The Educational Issues Committee received the following reports:

•     Targeted Supports in Bluewater Elementary Schools
•     Response to Delegation

Celebration – Targeted Supports in Bluewater Elementary Schools
The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat have expectations that all school boards will support enhanced student learning through professional development activities that support teachers, administrators and supervisory officers.  In response to this expectation, the Bluewater Change Management Collaborative (CMC) was created in 2006/2007 as a long-term professional learning structure designed to promote a school-wide approach to literacy and numeracy instruction within Bluewater schools. There are twelve schools involved in the Change Management Collaborative including Osprey Central School.  

Marnie Coke introduced Osprey principal Deborah Eaton and staff members Barbara Henry, Faye Graham-Brett and Christine Leimgardt as well as Cindy Harris, educational consultant and former Bluewater administrator.  They provided an overview of the CMC process that has taken place at Osprey over the past eighteen months. Staff have participated in an process of reviewing instructional and planning practices.  Staff have focussed efforts on providing relevant learning opportunities for students and this has resulted in a dramatic improvement in student achievement.  Area superintendent Alana Murray commended the school staff for their commitment to the change process in order to make a difference for all students.  On May 16th, all schools involved in the CMC initiative met and shared their experiences thus far.

Staff Reports – Response to Delegation
Mary Anne Alton provided a letter that was written in response to a delegation from Port Elgin-Saugeen Central School at the May board meeting.  The letter provides an overview of the focus of promoting a homeroom teacher for elementary schools, already in place in most Bluewater schools.  

Board Chair Ross King and trustee Jan Johnstone reported phone calls and emails outlining parental concerns regarding the proposed change including a perceived lack of consultation prior to the decision.  Jan expressed concern regarding what she felt was a lack of evidence-based research in support of the change.  She indicated that schools should have autonomy with regard to adopting the homeroom system. Trustee John Chapman reported contact by two parents from his area and expressed a concern that the issue has demonstrated a lack of trust amongst all concerned.  Jennifer Yenssen reported no calls voicing concern and spoke in support of the homeroom system from a parent’s perspective having had children educated quite successfully in this manner. As a recently retired school administrator, Trustee Rick Galbraith strongly supports the reduction in the rotary system at the elementary level.

Mary Anne provided a summary of evidence from Hillcrest Elementary School in Owen Sound where reduction of the rotary system has been in place for three years.  A reduction of behaviour issues was clearly evident in the information gathered at the school level.  For example, when comparing 2005-06 to 2007-08 data, ‘disrupting the learning of others’ decreased by 46% and ‘not following teacher’s instructions’ decreased 38%.  When considering the data of all intermediate students, the incident reports decreased by an overall of 30%.   

Due to time constraints, Committee Chair Cindy Aitken closed the discussion and indicated that more information could be shared with school community councils and parents in general regarding this issue.  Individual school administrators will continue to provide requested information.  Committee members agreed that communication needs to flow through school principals and area superintendents to School Community Councils and parents when such issues arise in order to keep everyone informed.

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


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