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Board Meetings

March 24, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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, Richard Gerson, Lori Wilder, and Joan Farrow (Executive Assistant)
ABA Representative:
Paul Hambleton

The Educational Issues Committee received the following reports:
•     Leaders and Learners in Bluewater
•     Partnerships in Bluewater
•     Special Education April 24th Professional Development Day

Celebration:   Leaders and Learners in Bluewater
Lori Wilder introduced a team of Student Services staff members whose professionalism and dedication to student achievement has resulted in the presentation of extraordinary professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators in Bluewater.  Area Resource Teachers Gwen Duncan, Mike Bauman, Suzanne Kennedy, Hugh Morrison and Christy Love and System Support Teacher Glenda Hayes are responsible for a number of learning opportunities during the 2008-2009 school year.  These included a highly successful Learning Resource Teacher and Administrator Symposium entitled “Strategies for Supporting Students with Mental Health Issues” and four days of training in the area of Positive Behaviour Supports for teachers and administrators.  The team plans to provide additional professional development opportunities on this subject in the Spring.

Lori thanked this team of professionals who epitomize the characteristics of the Bluewater learner. Their contributions have made a positive impact on the administrators, teaching staff, families and students of Bluewater.
Staff Reports:  Partnerships in Bluewater
This report highlights three important partnerships that currently exist in support of Bluewater students..  These include Grey Bruce Children’s Alliance, Thinking Together for Children and Youth and Children’s Aid Worker in Schools.  The benefits of these partnerships continues to be enormous for all students, their families and staff in Bluewater and also to the partner agencies that team with Bluewater.

The Grey Bruce Children’s Alliance was formed as a way for organizations to work together for the benefit of children, youth and their families.  Through a number of shared goals, the intent is to connect the variety of service provider organizations in the two Counties so that collectively they can offer a more seamless, integrated system of supports to young people and their families.

A summary of Grey Bruce Children’s Alliance Partners and their representatives’ contact information was provided as well as an invitation to participate in development of an Alliance Action Plan through a series of public meetings taking place in March and April, 2009 across Grey and Bruce Counties.

Thinking Together for Children and Youth
Christy Love and Suzanne Kennedy, Area Resource Teachers, provided an overview of this initiative and conveyed regrets from Cathy Clarke,  Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services who was unable to be in attendance.

The Thinking Together for Children (TTC) pilot initially involved Student Services staff from the South Central school group area meeting with two management level staff from Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services to participate in multi-disciplinary discussions regarding children who were experiencing mental health or behavioural difficulties within the school environment.

The rationale of this initiative was that enhanced multidisciplinary team discussions about children could help generate new ideas and new perspectives on how to support these "at risk and high needs" students.  Given the nature of the difficulties experienced by these children, it was felt that the mental health knowledge and thinking provided by Keystone staff could be very beneficial.

Based upon the experiences during the pilot, it was agreed that the TTC process was valuable and worth expanding to staff beyond the department and the South Central area. As a result, since then, TTC sessions have been expanded to include, Attendance Counsellors, teaching staff from the SALEP centres, elementary behaviour resource staff across the District and Learning Resource Teachers. The partnership will continue to build capacity board-wide in support of children’s mental health.

Lori Wilder thanked Cathy Clarke, Suzanne Kennedy and Christy Love for their leadership in this important initiative.  Grey and Bruce Counties are still considered greatly under-serviced areas with regard to children’s mental health.  Dennis Boyle, Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services and Michelle Forge, retired Bluewater Superintendent, currently working provincially and nationally in support of children’s mental health, will make a presentation to the March Board meeting regarding this important focus.  Trustees were asked to consider questions and ways to advocate for improved services prior to this presentation.

Children’s Aid Worker in Schools
In an effort to respond to the needs of children and families while maintaining service integrity, opportunities for innovative and creative initiatives have evolved.  In partnership with the Children’s Aid Society for Owen Sound and the County of Grey, Bluewater has introduced a Child Protection Worker into several schools across the district.  These include Alexandra Community School and Hillcrest Elementary school in Owen Sound, Meaford Community School and Beaver Valley Community School in Thornbury.
Rosanne Gallinger, Principal of Hillcrest Elementary School in Owen Sound introduced Navneet Gill, a Child Protection Worker who is supporting students at Hillcrest.  This includes one-on-one support for students, provision of parenting classes for families and development of boys’ and girls’ clubs during after school hours. This program that is funded by CAS provided an opportunity to initiate the school program in order to help bridge the gap for students with complex needs, link family to resources in the school and community and provide support for teachers and other school staff.  The early success of this program has prompted consideration for similar programs in Hanover schools as well as exploration of a similar partnership with the Bruce County Children’s Aid Society.

Staff Reports  - Special Education April 24th PD Day
Janice Greenwood, Principal of Student Services, provided an overview of the April 24th PD Day “ entitled Learning For All.  One hundred workshops, most with a Special Education focus, will be provided at several sites across the district, featuring Student Services staff and staff from partnering agencies across Grey and Bruce Counties.   Elementary and secondary teachers, administrators and educational assistants will all receive an invitation to register online for the first time using the Training Manager software.  Trustees were invited to take part in the day’s events and information will be shared with them via email.

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


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