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Get The Facts
Board Meeting Highlights

March 24, 2009

Eat and Learn
Mary Anne Alton provided an overview of the Eat and Learn organization that provides breakfast and nutrition programs in Bluewater District School Board and Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board informing everyone that research on nutrition and in particular the merits of breakfast has found that it provides scholastic benefits for children as well as improved behaviour.  Mary Anne introduced Rosanne Gallinger, principal at Hillcrest Elementary School and Chair of the Grey Bruce Eat Learn program and Bev Gateman, who acts as the Co-ordinator of Nutrition Programs.  Roseanne spoke on the merits of the program and how important it is to the children of Grey and Bruce to be able to access this program and that good nutrition is key to starting the day in a healthy way. Bev Gateman handed out the Canada's Food Guide and outlined the fantastic strides that have been made in the program over the last nine years.  Programs vary in the 66 sites across the Bruce and Grey area and would not be possible without the dedicated volunteers who maintain the programs in their schools.

Jennifer Yenssen was elected to the position of Chair of Bluewater District School Board.

Three parents, Marilyn Taylor, Karen Cameron and Lesa McDougall requested to be entered on the agenda as delegations without prior notice. Each delegation was provided with five minutes to present and each delegation's presentation consisted of complaints pertaining to communication processes and how their individual situations were handled at specific schools in the District.

Arthur Haley, presented the Legion's views regarding skills that graduates would require in the future including the ability to speak in public.  As representatives of the Legion they questioned the decision made at Bruce Peninsula Shores District School where it had been decided that the school would not be participating in the Legion public speaking contest.

Robert Trask representing the Camp Association provided rationale why they supported a school start after the Labour Day weekend.  Camps employ many students and it is imperative to their economic well being that students be able to work that last week prior to the Labour Day weekend.

Trustees received the March 3, 2009 report from the Business Committee where members received an overview of the budget components/envelopes contained in a school board budget.

The Educational Issues Committee Report from the February 17, 2009 meeting was received by the Board.   Members were introduced to a team of Student Services members who were responsible for a number of learning opportunities, including the symposium "Strategies for Supporting Students with Mental Health Issues"  Staff reports highlighting "Partnerships in Bluewater"; "Thinking Together for Children and Youth"; and "Children's Aid Worker in Schools" were also provided, as well as an overview of the April 24th PD Day entitled "Learning For All.

The Policy Committee Report from the March 3, 2009 meeting was received by the Board.   The committee reviewed a new policy "Research Requests", agreeing to refer it to the School Community Councils for review.  The committee reviewed the "Privacy Policy" referring it to SAT Councils for review.  Two new policies "Role Description - Board" and "Role Description - Director" were recommended to the Board for approval and two other policies "Emergency use of Schools During a Disaster" and Student Accident Insurance" were referred to the Board recommending that they be endorsed as previously approved.

The SEAC report from the February 23, 2009 meeting was received.  The committee heard several updates including that the Special Education Plan will require amendments only this year, the April 24th PD Day will have a Special Education focus under the "Learning for All" philosophy.  SEAC members were notified that a special presentation by Michelle Forge and Dennis Boyle pertaining to Children's Mental Health would be made at the March 24th Board Meeting.  A mother from G.C. Huston spoke on he topic of mental health from her personal perspective.

Joint Health and Safety Committee
The committee dealt with a variety of reports and concerns at there meeting, including that a flashing light system was installed in the Tech Department at Saugeen District Secondary School to rectify a fire alarm problem.

Field Trips and Exchanges
There were no Field Trips presented for approval at the March Board Meeting.

Olympic Torch Relay
Lori Wilder introduced Dan Rourke, Walkerton District and Bill King, Sacred Heart who provided trustees with a presentation on the Olympic Torch Relay that will be going through our district.  Running in the relay is a once a life time opportunity for our students and they requested that principals promote this opportunity to their students.

Environmental Education Conference
Jean Stephenson provided a power point presentation and information on an Eco-friendly conference that the Ministry of Education held to launch the "Acting Today, Shaping Tomorrow" policy document.  A team from Bluewater District School Board was in attendance and in this district we are at the forefront as we have two secondary schools with High Skills Major programs that focus on the environment.  Meagan Myles, student senator was also in attendance and stated that the student portion was exciting and that we are leaders in this sector.  Students are driving "Environmental Education"

Student Senate/Trustee Report
Student Senators/Trustees commented on their discussions held prior to the Board meeting on student voice and that part of the role is for them to bring answers and issues back to the student body.  They also discussed several options for the election of student senators for the next term as well as ways to expose future senators to the role, such as inviting possible candidates to observe a meeting.

Children's Mental Heath in Grey and Bruce
Lori Wilder introduced Michelle Forge who has been actively involved in provincial and national projects related to school-based mental health projects and Dennis Boyle, Executive Director of Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services, who provided an overview of the school-linked mental health programs and services.    Michelle thanked Bluewater District School Board trustees for thinking outside the box and having a willingness to try new things.  This approach led to the WRAP program, a partnership between Bluewater and Keystone that provides the service of six teams throughout the District.  This partnership is recognized provincially and nationally as a promising practice in the field of school-based mental health.

School Year Calendar
Trustees were provided with the 2009-2010 School Year Calendar, that has been reviewed by all various stakeholder groups within Bluewater.  The recommended calendar has a start date of Wednesday, September 2, 2009, a two week break at Christmas and one week at March break as defined by Regulation 304.  September 2nd and 3rd are scheduled as professional development days, and September 4th is a Board Holiday.  The first day for studetns is September 8th.

Nutrition Month
Alana Murray referenced the pamphlet that was provided in the Board package that outlined Dietitians top 10 list of what people need to know about nutrition.

Trustees were provided with a letter from the Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne outlining Earth Hour which takes place on Saturday, March 28, form 8:30 - 9:30 p.m., challenging all of Ontario's publicly funded school board to participate.

A second letter from the Minister of Education was also provided; this letter thanked boards for their contribution to the consultation process for the 2009/2010 Grants for Student Needs.

Director of Education
Jennifer Yenssen
Jan Johnstone
Mary Anne Alton

Next Board Meeting – April 21, 2009

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