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Board Meetings

January 20, 2009

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cindy Aitken (Committee Chair), John Chapman, Rick Galbraith, Marg Gaviller, Jan Johnstone, Ross King, Marilyn McComb, Gail Nadjiwon, Tim Reaburn, Theresa Root and Jennifer Yenssen
Student Senators:
Megan Myles, Riel Warrilow   
Jean Stephenson (Co-ordinator), Mary Anne Alton, Alana Murray, Marnie Coke, Richard Gerson, Lori Wilder, and Joan Farrow (Executive Assistant)
ABA Representative:
Jacqui Traverse-Thomas

Regrets:                        Megan Myles (Student Senator), Riel Warrilow (Student Trustee)

The Educational Issues Committee received the following reports:
•     Celebration:  Student Voice
•     Engaging Learning Environments

Celebration:   Student Voice
Jean Stephenson provided an overview of a Ministry of Education initiative to elicit the student voice in Ontario.  The strategy has three components that include a Minister’s Student Advisory council which will meet several times each year and be comprised of approximately sixty students from across the province, a Speak Up Student Forum in each region of the province and special funding for student generated and teacher facilitated projects.

The Speak Up student forum was piloted in the Barrie region and a number of Bluewater secondary students  took part in an Open Space facilitated forum where they presented topics that focussed on classroom and instruction as well as social and emotional needs of students.

Eight Bluewater students have applied to sit on the Minister’s Student Advisory Council and eight student-led, teacher facilitated projects have been submitted in an attempt to assess the Ministry funds of up to $1500.00 per project.  We are hopeful that several projects will be approved and that Bluewater will have representation on the Advisory Council.
Staff Reports – Engaging Learning Environments
The purpose of this presentation is to provide an update on how the Standards of Practice shared at the September 2008 board meeting are being implemented across the system to support student learning.  Three key areas from the Standards include leadership, effective instruction and monitoring and assessment.

Marnie Coke summarized instructional leadership support being provided across the district on an ongoing basis. This included information on the August 2008 Administrator’s Symposium where administrators, union partners and department supervisors received training in Crucial Conversations resulting in common approaches and language being utilized throughout Bluewater.  The same participants will take part in a follow-up workshop, Crucial Confrontations, in August of 2009.

The work that administrators will do as part of the Instructional Leadership Apprenticeship Training project is designed to continue to build their capacity, new knowledge, skills and competencies as it relates to classroom instruction.  New administrator support is also provided to principals and vice-principals during their first two years of experience including an introduction to the role of administrator, four vice-principal meetings during the year and several one-to-one dialogues between new principals and a mentor principal. Monthly elementary and secondary principal meetings include a professional development focus that supports the goals of schools, administrators, the system and the Ministry as well as providing dedicated time for principals to meet around their school data with self-identified areas and topics to support student needs.

This kind of specific alignment of needs and goals is happening in Bluewater and is resulting in a coordinated and successful effort by administrators.  The Ministry is providing $66,000 in support of principals and vice-principals, some of which will be used for Mentoring and Emerging Leadership initiatives as well as providing occasional teacher support for administrators who also have teaching roles in order that they may continue to access all leadership support opportunities.
The Change Management Collaborative is providing instructional leadership support for administrators and teaching staffs in eighteen Bluewater schools as identified by SAT using system/provincial data.  Twelve schools are in year three of the initiative while six schools are in year two.  Secondary staffs are now beginning to share some of the learning from CMC using Student Success funding.  Work is under way with Dr. Jean Hewitt and Dr. Helen Bochar in order to create a CMC for secondary schools.

The Math Common Assessment process has received very positive feedback from teachers and they are providing leadership through Teacher Moderation.  Teachers from all elementary schools gathered for two days to write a teaching points guide and develop a new assessment.

Interdisciplinary planning was the focus for the November and December Professional Development days that included teacher and administrator leaders facilitating area sessions. Teams of three primary/junior and intermediate teachers from each elementary school were also provided additional sessions with this focus as were Literacy Contact Teachers and Math Contact Teachers.  The April 2009 Professional Development day will focus on Special Education.  Lori Wilder invited trustees to attend some of the many planned sessions for April 24th in several schools across the district.  More information regarding the event will be shared when available.

Submitted to:
Bluewater District School Board
20 January, 2009        
For further information please contact
Cindy Aitken, Chair or Jean Stephenson, Superintendent of Student Success


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