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Get The Facts
Board Meeting Highlights

May 19, 2009

Declaration of Office

The Declaration and Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance was administered to Paul Wehrle who was appointed through an application and interview process to represent The Municipality of Meaford and Blue Mountains for the duration of this term of office.


Awards of Excellence

Mary Anne Alton welcomed everyone to this special meeting where Bluewater recognizes outstanding contributions made by members of the community to education in Bluewater.  The program recognizes the extraordinary efforts and significant contributions of one individual from each family of schools and is nominated by others within that same family of schools.

Award winners for 2009 are:
Robert (Bob) Sear, Bruce Peninsula District School Family/Peninsula Shores District School Family of Schools
Joy Johnson, Chesley District High School Family
Brenda Foster, Georgian Bay Secondary School Family of Schools
Sue McPherson, Grey Highlands Secondary School Family of Schools
Jaime Fleet, John Diefenbaker Secondary School Family of Schools
Chandra Tripathi, Kincardine District Secondary School Family of Schools
Maryanne McMillan, Saugeen District Secondary School Family of Schools
Gail Fullerton, Walkerton District Secondary School Family of Schools
Mary Bax, West Hill Secondary School Family of Schools


Karen Cameron provided trustees with a brief statement, expressing that it was wonderful to listen to the presentation of Awards of Excellence but that it was concerning that the recipients were not present to hear those who had a different opinion of the board.


Several parents from the Kincardine and Port Elgin area provided trustees with a presentation on rotary.  The presenters provided their perspective of issues, questions asked of administration, responses given, meetings held.  The presenters concluded by requesting that the Board reverse the decision to reduce rotary in our schools.
Lesa McDougall informed trustees that she was present to represent the Bluewater Citizens for Education Group, a group of concerned citizens committed to public education that puts students first.  Concern was expressed that the Board had indicated on March 26, 2009 that they would undertake a complete review of information related to parent concerns and that in April this review apparently was concluded without any involvement of the citizens who had expressed concerns.  They are concerned that the Board's announced Education Outreach is flawed as they have not been allowed a partnership.

Joe Grieco presented to the trustees his concern that the Director of Education was present during the interview process for the trustee replacement and wanted a written guarantee that the Director did not directly or indirectly influence the outcome of the selection.  He also stated that the meetings of the board should be in the evening and that the timelines provided to delegations for presentations were not adequate and that other boards provide more time for the public.

Tammy VanVelden as a parent of a child who used to attend Bluewater provided trustees with a statement that her child's teacher psychologically and emotionally damaged children in her class including her child.  It is her belief that Bluewater District School Board did not listen to the parents' complaints about this teacher and did not take appropriate action which forced her to withdraw her child.


Trustees received the May 5, 2009 report from the Business Committee where members received a report on the grant announcement for the Ministry to improve energy efficiency in schools.  A financial report showing projected revenues to August 31, 2009 with an anticipated surplus of $822,702 was provided.  Members also received a first draft of the 2009-2010 budged that indicated a substantial gap between anticipated revenues and expenditures that needs to be eliminated in order to approve a balanced budget.


The Educational Issues Committee Report from the April 21, 2009 meeting was received by the Board.  Members celebrated e-learning in Bluewater which gives secondary students more learning opportunities.  E-Learning Bluewater, Velvet Rollin, System Lead Teacher, Jeff Rosenburg, ICT contact and students Andrew Loucks, Chris Walker, Kayla Swigger and Peter McCombie who have taken e-Learning courses were introduced and challenges and successes experienced were shared.

The Policy Committee Report from the May 5, 2009 meeting was received by the Board.  The committee reviewed Policy BP 3862-D "Pesticides, Insecticides and Herbicides" recommending that this policy be rescinded.  The rental schedule attached to Policy BP 5902-D "Community Education and Community Use of Schools" was reviewed through an annual cyclical review and it was approved as amended.  The committee tabled discussion on Policy BP 2105-D "Environmental Sustainability" and provided staff with direction on revisions to the policy.  Policy BP 6601-D "Student Awards and Recognition" was recommended to the Board for approval and Policy BP 1404-D "Dress Code" was also recommended to the Board for approval as amended pending further review in one year. Two other policies, Tobacco Free Environment and Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment - Disposal were deferred to the next meeting of the committee


The SEAC report from the April 27, 2009 meeting was received.  The committee received updates on the April 24th PD fday, that Dr. Jane Gillete has been tentatively booked for the LRT/Administrators' Symposium in September, Section 23 at G.C. Huston will be relocated to Saugeen District, and that funding for Special Education is decreasing due to declining enrollment.  Leslie Hastie provided an update on the Ontario Psychological Association project with positive results based on the objectives (reduced wait times; enhanced teacher capacity; improved student literacy & numeracy; sustained assessment process and improvements for the long term).  The Special Education Plan was reviewed and recommended for approval.


Field Trips and Exchanges

John Diefenbaker Secondary School - Performing/Visual Arts Tour - Europe - March 11 - 21, 2010
Cam Revington, Student Senator presented this trip to the Board requesting approval for students from Grades 9 to 12 from John Diefenbaker Secondary School to participate in the Performing/Visual Arts Tour - Europe - Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and Prague from March 11 to March 21, 2010.

Georgian Bay Secondary School - Peru: Discovering a Lost Civilization Trip - April 22-29, 2010
Alexandria Nickels, Student Trustee presented this trip to the Board requesting approval for students from Grades 9 to 12 at Georgian Bay Secondary School to participate in the Peru: Discovering a lost Civilization Trip from April 22 to April 29, 2010.

Kindardine District Secondary School - Art History Trip to Italy and France - March 10 - 23, 2010
Jean Stephenson, Superintendent Student Success presented this trip to the Board requesting approval for students from Grades 11 and 12 to participate in the Art History Trip to Italy and France from March 10 to March 23, 2010.

Georgian Bay Secondary School - Pursuits Program Trips - 2009-2010
Alexandria Nickels, Student Trustee presented these trips to the Board requesting approval for students who are enrolled in the Pursuits Program at Georgian Bay Secondary School to participant in a series of field trips scheduled for students participating in this program.
- Bruce Peninsula National Park Cyprus lake Adventure, from September 14-17, 2009
- Killarney Canoe Trip, from September 29-October 8, 2009
- Bruce Trail Hiking Trip, from October 27-29, 2009
- 24 Hour Experience Trip, from December 16-17, 2009
- Winter Camping Trip, from January 18-22, 2010

Student Senate/Trustee Report

Alexandria Nickels congratulated Sammi-Jo Thomson, 2008-09 Saugeen District First Nations Student Senator and Richelle Ritchie, 2009-10, Saugeen District First Nations Student Senator on winning national gold award honours at the National E-Spirit Business Plan Competition in British Columbia.  Meagan Myles provided trustees with her insights on the e-Learning courses provided to students and recommended that if possible they be made more interactive for students and in doing so that will create personal connection and engage students.

Student Senate Recognition

Jean Stephenson congratulated the 2008-2009 student senators and three student trustees recognizing their contributions made during the year.  Each one was given a letter recognizing this contribution and they were also presented with Bluewater chocolates and given their official name plates.

Bluewater District School Board Student Trustees and Senators - 2009-2010

Jean Stephenson outlined the meeting that took place on April 27th where the student senators who were elected by their peers voted on who would be the three Student Trustees.  The three students elected to represent Bluewater as trustees are:  Brett Coburn, West Hill Secondary School; Hilary Holmes, Kincardine District Secondary; Dorothy Johns, Georgian Bay Secondary School.


Special Education Plan 2008 - Amendments

Ontario Regulaion 306 requires an annual review of the Special Education Plan and as directed by the Ministry of Education this review was for amendments to the existing plan only.  The nature of the amendments were housekeeping in nature, dates were changed, names were changed to reflect accurate department terminology, the intent and purpose of the plan was not changed.

Budget 2009-2010 - Possible Areas for Reduction

Trustees were presented with a list of possible areas to be explored for budget reduction to enable the board to approve a balanced budget.  Trustees are responsible for making the final decision of how the Board will achieve a balanced budget and with the reality being that much of the budget is fixed there are few areas that can be considered.

Response to SEAC Recommendation - Wordprocess Software

The Motion presented at the last Board Meeting as recommended by SEAC was put back on the floor.  The motion pertained to worprocessing software program selection, and suggested the board would adopt "Word Perfect" as a word processor for the entire school board with the exemption of business, payroll and purchasing departments.  The motion as it was presented was thought to produce a significant cost savings of potentially $100,000. that could be returned to Student Services.  Michael Morgan addressed the recommendation explaining that the cost for the licensing last year was $13,000.  The licensing costs will end in 2010 and we will not be purchasing another platform as we will be moving away from this type of communication to a web based one.  The purpose for selecting "Word" was to provide one platform and reduce incompatibility problems.  Word is considered a standard and allows us to communicate effectively and share files with the Ministry of Education and other boards. The move to a standardized platform has alleviated many problems and reduced ICT costs that were applied to dealing with the issues prior to moving to one platform.  

The motion put on the table was defeated and trustees requested that the information be relayed back to SEAC that the recommendation was investigated and it was determined that there was not significant cost savings for the Board in changing from "Word" to "Word Perfect" at this time.

Response to Association for Bright Children - Gifted Education

Lor Wilder provided the trustees with a report to address the issues raised by the delegation from the Association for Bright Children at last month's Board meeting.  The two questions asked by the delegation were:  Was the spirit of Ontario Regulation 612 followed when one TRAIL teacher was eliminated in last year's budget; and if not then will the board reverse that decision.  It was reported that there was consultation with TRAIL staff, psychology staff, student services staff and the Special Education Advisory Council prior to implementation.  The change to program was also discussed at all IPRC meetings of identified gifted students.  Grade 4's continue to be assessed, programming continues for grade 5-6 as do supports for grade 7-8 students in regular classroom.  Trustees questioned if the process followed the spirit of Ontario Regulation 612 which provides that the consultation with parents is through the School Community Council and not through staff.
Early Dismissal 2009-2010

Trustees approved a request to continue with the four early dismissal days for the 2009-2010 school year to provide an opportunity for school staff to dialogue and work together on school program goals and to improve student learning.

Notice of Motion

Trustee Jan Johnstone provided the following Notice of Motion that will come forward at the June 16th, 2009 meeting of the Board:
1.  That starting for the 2009-2010 school year principals may timetable so that classes receive up to one-half of their program in a rotary delivery model
2.  That the Policy Committee develop a policy on Consultation in order to provide school communities with clear direction on the board's expectations for when consultation will occur and what forms such consultation will take.
3.  That Bluewater Standards of Practice Non-negotiables be revised to reflect this change in practice.
4.  That any further mandatory reductions of a rotary component at the intermediate level not take place until adequate comparative data is or will be compiled and the results assessed before any decision on the organization of Grade 7 and 8 instruction is made.



Trustees were provided with a letter from Deputy Minister Ben Levine, Ministry of Education.  In this letter the Deputy Minister addresses recent media commentary about student assessment policies in secondary schools.

Director of Education

Jennifer Yenssen
Jan Johnstone
Mary Anne Alton



Next Board Meeting – June 16, 2009

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