Technology Update, Enhanced Services Update, Draft Use of Technology Policy, Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement – Mar 9

Highlights from the Education & Student Services Committee (III) of March 9.

Technology Update
New ways to use digital technology in the classroom were demonstrated, supports for teachers wanting to explore technology options were presented, as well as our systems for providing digital devices in schools.

Report:  Verbal update

Enhanced Services Update
Two years ago staff were asked to undertake a comprehensive examination of existing services and programs in the Inner-city Schools Program.  This program is now called Enhanced Services but the intent is still to support our most vulnerable students.  Appendix A gives an update on progress over the last year, with 11/14 recommendations completed.  The next steps are:

  • Review Social Services Index annually – make any necessary changes to support as required
  • Ensure service continues to be delivered in appropriate ways
  • Follow through on initiatives that arise as a result of the revisioning process (e.g. Attendance Supports)

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar09_op_commIII_item2.pdf

Draft Policy – Acceptable Use of Technology
This draft policy outlines the expectations of the district for our employees, students and stakeholders when using technology, giving clarity and direction for use in acceptable and legal ways.
An online process is being developed to administer and record the review and acknowledgement of the policy by students, employees and trustees.  The anticipated timeline for current users is September 2016 and new users will review and acknowledge as they join our district.
Thank you to all our stakeholders who raised concerns and provided feedback during the development of this draft policy.  The committee supported moving the draft policy to the board for approval.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar09_op_commIII_item3l.pdf

Second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (AEEA)
An Enhancement Agreement (EA) is a working agreement between a school district, all local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education designed to enhance the educational achievement of Aboriginal students.  EAs highlight the importance of academic performance and more importantly, stress the integral nature of Aboriginal traditional culture and languages to Aboriginal student development and success.
The proposed new agreement was created, and will be implemented and monitored, by the AEEA Implementation & Monitoring Committee.  The three goals will remain the same as in the first agreement: belonging, mastery, and culture and community.  Attached to each goal are indicators and targets that will be used to measure individual, school and district growth in each area.  Strategies and structures are outlined for each goal.
The members of the AEEA Implementation & Monitoring Committee have been able to work together to ensure that the participation of and collaboration with the Aboriginal communities has been a genuine and integral part of the process and that the best interests of the school district’s Aboriginal students is always at the forefront of all plans and decisions.
The committee supported moving the draft agreement to the board for approval.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar09_op_commIII_item4.pdf

For full agenda and minutes (when posted) see:
http://www.vsb.bc.ca/board-committees

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Board/Committee of the Whole Meeting – Mar 7

Highlights from the board meeting of March 7:

General Gordon old schoolhouse (Committee of the Whole)
Thank you to all the people who wrote to trustees or came to speak on this issue.  After much discussion trustees voted unanimously to retain the old schoolhouse so that proposals can be submitted, by April 20, for its reuse. Any proposal must assume full responsibility for all costs of planning, restoring and future maintenance.  Further, the Board authorized demolition of the old schoolhouse if retention jeopardizes students moving to the replacement school in September 2016, if no acceptable proposals are received by April 20, or if a signed agreement for a selected proposal that is acceptable to the VSB is not finalized by May 10.
Our board does not have a heritage policy to guide decision making although this is being considered as we develop our long range facilities plan.
However I saw some parallels with our child care policy  which includes: The Board recognizes that its primary obligation is to provide school age educational programs.  The Board may grant the use of its district facilities and grounds provided that there are no additional costs to the Board.
I voted for the motion because I value heritage preservation, while also recognizing our board’s primary obligation to the Gordon students’ education and that we cannot incur any costs that do not directly support students’ education.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar07_op_COW_board_agenda_Item%20II.2.pdf
Press release: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/district-news/vbe-open-proposals-preserve-general-gordon-old-schoolhouse

Maquinna Annex (Superintendent’s Update)
There are no students at Maquinna Annex as after years of declining enrolment parents chose to send all remaining students to Maquinna Elementary, with which it shares a catchment.  The district is now considering the formal closure of the Annex as this would allow the option for community use of the buildings.  The formal school closure process will be followed even though there are no students attending the school and as such information about this process has been posted to our website.

Post: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/school-closure

Medical Marijuana-Related Businesses
The board unanimously supported: That the Chair of the Vancouver Board of Education write to Mayor Robertson and Vancouver City Council on behalf of the Board calling on the City of Vancouver to increase the distance between retail medical marijuana-related stores and schools from the current 300 metres to 500 metres to better mitigate the negative impacts of marijuana-related businesses on the youth of Vancouver.
All trustees expressed their desire for students to have a safe learning environment.

Committee I report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar07_op_COW_board_agenda_Item%20VI.A1.pdf

Centre for Aboriginal Education, Culture and History
The board unanimously supported: That the VSB initiate a consultation with the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations, in addition Aboriginal Focus School parents and Vancouver Aboriginal community members and organizations (including the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council), to determine if there is support for making a request to the federal government for infrastructure funding for the construction and development of a Centre for Aboriginal Education, Culture and History along with a new building for the Aboriginal Focus School at the MacDonald School site.

Committee I report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar07_op_COW_board_agenda_Item%20VI.A1.pdf

2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 School Calendars
This board unanimously supported the full school calendar proposed for 2016/17, as well as the calendars for the next two school years – these are complete except for the 6 professional development days that will be added later.  In approving these three calendars families can plan ahead knowing when school will be in session.

Committee I report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar07_op_COW_board_agenda_Item%20VI.A1.pdf

For full agenda and minutes (when posted) see:
http://www.vsb.bc.ca/board-committees

Emergency Response Procedures, Class Size & Composition (Choice Programs)

Highlights from the Personnel & Staff Services Committee (IV) of March 2:

Emergency Response Procedures
Staff reported on schools’ current emergency response procedures and outlined modifications to ensure sound and consistent practices maximize student and staff safety at our sites.  Working with the VPD, RCMP, MoE and other agencies the following changes are proposed:

  • Use the wording Hold and Secure in place of Code Yellow
  • Use the wording Lockdown in place of Code Red.  Add the potential for all available notification methods and that adults/mature students could leave the school if no secure area is readily available.
  • Use the new procedure Shelter in Place when an environmental/community hazard might impact a school.  Students and staff would stay indoors, close windows/doors, turn off ventilation systems and monitor people coming and going.

Staff reviewed the timeline for implementation and for Principal/Vice Principal guidance and training.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commIV_item%201.pdf

Class Size & Composition for Choice Programs 2015/16
A class size and composition report was provided at the February 3 committee meeting and at this meeting a similar report for choice programs was discussed.  The class sizes are comparable but there are fewer classes with more than 3 designated students in a class. In elementary classes 11% of regular classes have 3+ designated students whereas it is only 4% in choice programs.   For secondary, 17% of blocks have 3+ designated students whereas it is only 3% in choice programs.
This information will be considered as we develop our new Strategic Plan.

Original Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Feb03_op_commIV_item%201.pdf
Choice Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commIV_item2.pdf

For full agenda and minutes (when posted) see:
http://www.vsb.bc.ca/board-committees

 

Child Care, VSTA, Medical Marijuana, Centre for Aboriginal Education, School Calendar, Strategic Plan, Vancouver Learning Network (VLN)

Highlights from the Committee I meeting of March 2:

Child Care Administrators Network (CCAN)
The presenters provided context for childcare provision in the province and the VSB, and emphasized the benefits of working together on planning and implementing early care and learning. Requests were for a positive, consistent approach to child care operations, and that CCAN be a stakeholder in facilities planning, with a reminder that CCAN can be a resource for the VSB.

VSTA
The Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ Association presented a brief on Spare Blocks and Funding.  Trustees and stakeholders asked many questions and staff will report back on these issues.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commI_item%202.pdf

Medical Marijuana
All trustees expressed their concern for student safety and this committee supported Trustee Fraser Ballantyne’s motion “That the Chair of the Vancouver Board of Education write to Mayor Robertson and Vancouver City Council on behalf of the Board calling on the City of Vancouver to increase the distance between retail medical marijuana-related stores and schools from the current 300 metres to 500 metres to better mitigate the negative impacts of marijuana-related businesses on the youth of Vancouver.”
This will come before the Board on March 7, as will the revised motion “That the Vancouver Board of Education direct senior staff to monitor, as appropriate, the City of Vancouver development permit process regarding marijuana-related businesses currently underway and those that may arise in the future. Staff will report back to the Board as appropriate, on approved permits and appeals in progress on medical marijuana-related permits.”

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commI_item%203.pdf

Centre for Aboriginal Education, Culture and History
This committee supported the motion “”That the VSB initiate a consultation with the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations, in addition Aboriginal Focus School parents and Vancouver Aboriginal community members and organizations (including the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council), to determine if there is support for making a request to the federal government for infrastructure funding for the construction and development of a Centre for Aboriginal Education, Culture and History along with a new building for the Aboriginal Focus School at the MacDonald School
site.”
This motion will come before the Board on March 7 and it is anticipated that consultation will begin at our Aboriginal Education Education Enhancement Agreement Implementation and Monitoring Committee.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commI_item%204.pdf

2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 School Calendars
This committee supported the full school calendar proposed for 2016/17, as well as the calendars for the next two school years – these are complete except for the 6 professional development days that will be added later.  After Board approval parents and staff will be able to make long range plans around school dates.

Report:  http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commI_item%205.pdf

Strategic Plan Update
The Strategic Plan questionnaire is now closed and more than 1,000 (updated from the 900 in the report) student and public responses are being reviewed and themes will be analysed. Student voice events were held at each secondary school.  VSB stakeholder responses will also play an important role in developing key theme areas.  Input was also received at the Ideas Fair hosted by Prince of Wales Secondary.
Many thanks to everyone who has taken part as input from many perspective will help create a robust plan – the next phase is “Setting Direction, Making Choices”.

Report:  http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commI_item%206.pdf

Vancouver Learning Network (VLN)
This program provides K-12 students and adults distance learning opportunities that are either online or paper-based.  The report proposes a different operational model, focusing on VLN Secondary, touching on VLN Elementary and not affecting the Home Learners program at Beaconsfield Elementary.
Student enrolment for VLN Secondary has dropped over the last four years and the average completion rates (57-60%) are below the provincial figures (70-73%).  It is proposed that the program be reorganized by placing teaching staff in four neighbourhood secondary schools to provide students with a greater opportunity to connect with teachers.  Teachers will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues, including implementation of the redesigned curriculum. The intent is that teachers will teach both regular secondary face-to-face classes as well as distance learning students.  The restructuring would mean some teachers become surplus and details of the surplussing process would be discussed with the VTF.  In addition to the four neighbourhood school sites there would be a VLN Core site for administration, counselling, and core high enrolling classes such as Planning, Mandarin, Math and Science.
It is proposed that VLN Elementary will move to an elementary school so that the program has an elementary administrator and VLN staff can collaborate with other elementary teachers.
Reorganisation is proposed for this summer and the minor costs will be covered internally by VLN.
Trustees and stakeholders asked many questions about the proposals.  Staff will respond to these questions and provide further information at the next Committee I meeting on April 6.

Report:  http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Mar02_op_commi_item7.pdf

For full agenda and minutes (when posted) see:
http://www.vsb.bc.ca/board-committees

Board meeting – Feb 29

Highlights from our board meeting of February 9th:

First we had a wonderful presentation from Thunderbird Elementary WE Day Group about how they made a positive impact in their community with a bottle drive to support the cancer ward at Children’s Hospital.  The students and the whole school community learnt a lot about recycling and the program continues to grow.

95% Capacity Utilization Motion
I am very pleased that the Board voted to support my motion – that the VBE Board has agreed to work towards achieving 95% capacity as a Ministry requirement, not because it will support our education mission.
I proposed this motion after our board unanimously passed the 11 motions relating to the Long Range Facilities Plan, including a commitment to work towards achieving a district wide average of 95% capacity utilization.  I wanted to reflect the feedback received from VSB stakeholders, the public and trustees that the Ministry requirements were acceptable in getting students into seismically safe schools as soon as possible, yet education had barely been part of this discussion.

Kingsford-Smith Elementary Capital Project Bylaw
Our Board unanimously passed this bylaw to move forward the seismic upgrade and planning work is now underway.  Thank you to everyone who has worked on this project, including the PAC, school community and our staff, and I’m hoping for a successful and on time project.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Feb17_op_commII_for%20approval.pdf

2015/16 Budget
Our budget for this financial year has been amended to reflect actual revenues and expenditures in the first six months (Jul – Dec 2015) and submitted to the Ministry.  The estimated operating surplus is $1.23 million, one quarter of one percent of the annual budget.
Our Board approved that any operating surplus be appropriated to help offset the 2016/17 projected budget shortfall.

2016/17 Budget Projection
The current budget shortfall estimate is $24.38 million.  This has increased due to lower than forecast enrolment, higher operations costs and no Ministry holdback funds/funding protection.  Budget proposals will be presented at the Committee III/V meeting on March 31.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/2816Feb24_op_commV_for%20approval.pdf

Trustee Motions
Our board supported motions to:
1.  Request a meeting with the Premier and Minister of Education to discuss the estimated 2016/17 shortfall of $24.38 million and the implications for Vancouver’s students.
2. Write a letter to the Minister of Education to explain why the 2015/16 accumulated surplus cannot be used to address the 2016/17 budget shortfall.
3.  Request meetings with the Vancouver-area MLAs to discuss the estimated 2016/17 shortfall of $24.38 million and the implications for Vancouver’s students.

Report: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/16Feb29_item%20XI_Notices%20of%20Motions.pdf

For full agenda and minutes (when posted) see:
http://www.vsb.bc.ca/board-committees