Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Susan Semonick On Schools - Trustees Board of Education Meeting Report of June 17, 2008

Another school board meeting under my belt. If you go to the school district web site and look at the strategic plan, the achievement plan and the district review report, you will have most of the info presented. If it’s not posted request it to be.

District Achievement Contract
One thing that struck me was the fact that it was stated that up to 200-grade eight students fail in numeracy each year because of the transition from elementary to high school. They are hoping that the middle school will reduce that number. Individual secondary school failure rates were not given.

Strategic Plan
Comments were made by one trustee about how well the district is doing and how all the documents are aligning to better improve student achievement. Interesting that unlike the District Achievement Plan which seems to be improving, the Strategic Plan document is going the other way. Why is the strategic plan a one-year plan? It used to be a document with a five-year scope – long term planning. Even the new District Achievement Plan is written to cover three years.

Why is the “development of a comprehensive plan of policy review administered by the Board” a ‘next step’ for 2008-2009 when it is already included in policy as one of the Secretary-Treasurer’s annual tasks? In fact, if I remember correctly, it was Trustee Hogeterp who was supposed to review policies during her past stint as trustee. Yes, it should have been done and still needs to be done - but isn’t it a given?

District Review Report
Dr. Keven Elder, superintendent of the Saanich School District presented his report.
http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/review/035-2008.pdf Again, a lot of back patting on the part of trustees.

Recommendations from the North Langley Consultations
There were boundary changes for West Langley and James Kennedy effective September 2009. What was stated was that it will only affect about 83 students so it is supposedly not a big deal. In my humble opinion any time anything affects students it should be considered a thing of importance. One trustee stated that she had not heard from anyone about this. There might be very good reason - they may have not known it was going to happen. Although, I do know that the PACs of the affected schools were given information beforehand that these recommendations would be going before the Board. Looking at what was done, I believe only the 40 or less now in the James Kennedy French Immersion courses will be unhappy if their child is not able to continue there. Since it is a district program, there is little chance of that though. West Langley is down in enrollment so this change may help or may not considering that the students that wish to go to WLE from this area already are.

Other Observations
There was a bit of barb throwing between Bech and Burton but other than that it was very uneventful.

Trustee Hogeterp is in full election mode, saying the same things numerous times. Considering the again jam-packed agenda with all the presentations slated, you would have thought that this trustee would have made her statements only once to allow an unhurried question period. When you become so repetitive people stop listening anyway.

Trustee McVeigh seems to be getting into election mode also with putting forward two motions dealing with energy management.

We heard from Trustee Ross more than usual also, to our disdain. He does get an ‘A’ for effort but an ‘I’ for content.

I am still working on the Indemnity review so it may be ready for September.

Hope the coming year proves to be a benefit for the children.

Respectfully Submitted
Susan Semonick...

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