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Board Meetings

December 16, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 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 Pat Luckhart (Executive Assistant)
ABA Representative:
Rosanne Gallinger

The Educational Issues Committee received the following reports:
•     Student Success - Success
•     Specialist High Skills Major Program
•     Student Success – A Brief Picture of How It Happens in Bluewater
•     Summer Activities Report

Celebration:  Student Success - Success
The Student Success ministry initiative is in its’ sixth year of operation.  Beginning with the appointment of a Student Success Leader in each school board in the province, and additional funding, the target was always improved student outcomes, increasing the graduation rate and changing the culture in grades 7 to 12.  

As a result of this initiative, today we have:

•     Student Success Teachers in each of our high schools and teams of teachers looking out for students
•     Creative programming i.e. hairdressing, masonry construction, credit recovery, continuous intake co-op programs, gender-based programming, etc.
•     New courses and revisions to the requirements for a high school diploma
•     Link Crew in every secondary school
•     Secondary Principals working together to program for students through e-learning, shared transportation
•     Transition teachers in each of our elementary schools to facilitate the tricky and potentially stressful transition from Grade 8 to Grade 9

We are progressing well toward the Ministry’s provincial graduation target of 85% by 2010-11 and have seen steady increases in the success rates in the Grade 10 Literacy test.

Thanks to John Woodley, MISA leader, for accurate data to inform our decisions.

Staff Reports – Specialist High Skills Major Program
The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM), a key initiative of Student Success, has grown significantly since first launched in twenty-seven school boards in 2006-2007.  In 2007-2008, one hundred and fifty-three SHSM projects were offered in nine employment sectors in sixty-seven school boards across the province.  For the 2008-2009 school year, almost five hundred SHSMs are approved across fourteen employment sectors with every board offering at least one SHSM.

Liz Campbell, SHSM coordinator gave a power point presentation and referred to “The Specialist High Skills Major Report” attached to the agenda.  She has been working with schools, a board level steering committee and community partners to ensure technical components are in place for reporting purposes and planning pathways to ensure students complete requirements.  Students who complete these programs will receive a diploma with a red seal that will be provincially recognized as an in-depth, sector specific program with advanced or added credibility.

Bluewater has been approved to deliver five Specialist High Skills Majors in four different sectors for the 2008-09 school year:
•     Chesley District High School – Agriculture
•     Grey Highlands Secondary School – Environment
•     Bruce Peninsula District School – Environment
•     West Hill Secondary School – Arts and Culture
•     John Diefenbaker Secondary School – Transportation

Liz and Student Success are investigating other SHSM partnerships such as Construction, Manufacturing and Energy.

Student Success – A Brief Picture of How It Happens in Bluewater
Student Success has grown much in the last six years.  It is now embedded in much of what educators do daily in Bluewater.  From teacher professional development to creative programming, the focus on grades seven to twelve is making a difference.
Jean Stephenson, Superintendent of Student Success introduced a number of key individuals who are part of this strategy in Bluewater schools and who shared what they do to promote success, improve outcomes for students and increase the graduation rate.

Student Success Teachers and Teams:  
Michael Harris, Student Success Contact Teacher, OSCVI.  
The SSCT role at each school may be slightly different but their main objective is “how can we find strategies to help students succeed”.  Student Success Contact teachers work with teachers, administrators, parents and outside agencies.  The Student Success Leadership Team meets once a month and focuses on the team – guidance, special education, coop, math and literacy.  They discuss “what are we doing well – what can we do better?”

Heather Thompson, Grade 8 Transition Teacher at Alexandra.
Mike and Heather talked about how Student Success Teachers and Transition teachers work closely throughout the year to ensure smooth transitions for every Grade 8 student.  They related the success of Link Crew day which has become invaluable to Grade 9 students and “My Blueprint” web based program that will help students when deciding on classes and mapping out their future.

Grey Highlands Secondary School – Environmental High Skills Major:
John Burton, teacher at Grey Highlands presented a video that had been created with the help of Bonnie Landry from Owen Sound.  The video was a testament from students in the program, expressing their appreciation of the courses and activities i.e. hiking, camping, sea kayaking, canoe trips etc.  Students learned about environmental issues world wide, recycling, environmental ethics and received numerous certifications i.e. swimming, leadership, navigation, first aid etc.

FLEX School:
Stewart Brown provided a handout and gave a brief overview of the Flex School Program which is a partnership with Bluewater District School Board, Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board and the Owen Sound campus of Georgian College.  This program provides an alternative for senior secondary students who are at risk of not returning to school.  Students attend a full day, 4 credit, one semester program which offers flexible hours – later start and finish times and is based out of the Owen Sound campus of Georgian College.  One of the courses offered is the Dual Credit course which counts towards a high school and college credit.  They are covering the same curriculum as regular day school.

Student Success hopes to continue the FLEX school in 2009-10 dependent on Ministry funding and will communicate with schools in the spring of 2009 to form classes for both semesters of that year.

Expanded Co-op Education:
Dennis Watson, teacher at Chesley District High School talked briefly about his experiences with the summer school co-op program.  Students who are working a summer co-op (many are paid) must complete 220 hours to obtain 2 credits.  Students apply on line through their home school and are responsible for finding their own placement.  

Dennis meets with employers and students prior to the placement and ensures that students complete the required paperwork and receive the proper Health and Safety training and other training if required.  He monitors the placements throughout the summer months.  Thirteen of the sixteen applicants last year were successful.

Jean stated that funding for the Lighthouse Programs was discontinued this year but we were fortunate to have had 17 programs funded by the Ministry over the past 4 years. Many are still in place i.e. Bervie masonry construction program, modular learning, hairdressing and hospitality programs.

Jacqui Traverse-Thomas, Principal of Program, spoke briefly about the Curriculum side of Student Success – The 4 key Pillars of Student Success: Literacy, Mathematics, Pathways and Community Culture and Caring.  Jean’s early vision has allowed the Program Team to get engaged with learning at the Intermediate - Grade 7 & 8 level.  The Program Team has been able to provide the following sessions:

•     Intermediate Literacy Contact Teachers: Collaborative Development of Shared Reading lessons
•     Unit design and co-teaching with Learning Resource Teachers
•     May 3rd Interdisciplinary Planning Session with David Booth:
•     45 intermediate teachers attended
•     Nov 10 PD day – worked within their own school and/or with other schools
•     GAINS project 2008-09 – will be bringing back the 45 intermediate teachers (have applied for funding)

Jean summarized the presentation, thanked her colleagues for coming to present and for sharing their passion.  They are making a difference.  The plan for this year is to continue the same work, stay the course and improve on program designs.

Communications – Summer Activities Report:  This item will be presented at the Board meeting.

Submitted to:
Bluewater District School Board
16 December, 2008       
For further information please contact
Cindy Aitken, Chair or Jean Stephenson, Superintendent of Student Success


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