Board News: Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 14, 2017

Opening Presentation: R.E. Mountain Secondary Chamber Choir

The R.E. Mountain Secondary Chamber Choir under the direction of Choir Director Jen Williams performed a number of Christmas songs for the Board of Education before the opening of the meeting. Enjoy a sample below.

Announcement: Naming of the new Willoughby area secondary school

Board Chair Rob McFarlane announced that the new secondary school being built in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood will be named R.E. Mountain Secondary School when complete. The current R.E. Mountain Secondary School, adjacent to the new construction, will be renamed when it is converted to a middle school. Board Chair Robert McFarlane expressed his thanks to all those that provided suggestions and said, “that name [R.E. Mountain Secondary] was selected out of 76 submissions based on feedback and overwhelming community support, to maintain the connections built over many years that R.E. Mountain has been in existence”. The announcement was made in the presence of the REMSS Chamber Choir and was met with applause and cheers from the students, staff and public present.

Secretary Treasurer’s Reports

Action Items: Long Term Facilities Plan

The Langley School District adopted a Long Term Facilities Plan in 2012. Subsequently, the District applied for and received capital approvals as a result of its annual Five year Capital Plan submissions. The intent of a Long Term Facilities Plan Update is to provide a strategic framework and direction for the District’s annual review of its Five Year Capital Plan and proposed capital projects.

Highlights from the updated LTFP:

  • Since 2012, the District has undertaken a comprehensive consultation process around implementation of the middle school model in the Brookswood, DW Poppy, Walnut Grove and Fundamental communities. Work continues in these communities as transition committees have been formed to continue the dialogue.
  • Enrolment at ACSS has declined over the past several years and the school has had significant underused space based on the Ministry of Education’s operating capacity for the school. This is likely to continue.
  • Willoughby area housing development and resulting enrolment growth continues at a high rate and this is projected to continue. Growth will continue to place capacity pressure on existing Willoughby area schools.
  • The James Anderson facility is currently being used for District support services.
  • An eight classroom addition is currently being constructed to RC Garnett Elementary School.
  • Housing development is continuing to occur in the area surrounding the James Anderson site. There is a need to determine how the James Anderson facility fits within the District’s future facility plans.
  • The District would benefit from a Portable Classroom Asset Management Plan that assessed variables such as movement of portables as area schools and expansions are complete, discontinuing use, etc.
  • The Lochiel U-Connect School site has been closed and the program has been relocated to Simonds Elementary School site. The Board of Education has an adopted bylaw to dispose of the site.
  • The new Willoughby area secondary school is scheduled for completion by September 2019. The existing R.E. Mountain facility is planned to be converted to a middle school on the same date. Consequently, boundaries will be need to be established been Yorkson Creek and the new middle school facility.

Superintendent’s Reports

Middle School Update

Assistant Superintendent’s Mal Gill and Woody Bradford provided updates on the transition committee work that has been undertaken in the Brookswood, DW Poppy and Walnut Grove communities. The transition committees will be integral in the implementation of the middle school model in those communities and are comprised of parents, students, administration and staff. Transition committees will report back to the Board of Education around priorities for the community, concerns, timelines and other topics as implementation of the middle school model moves forward. Implementation of the middle school model includes the addition or creation of a middle school, converting K-7 schools to K-5 and making secondary schools 9-12.

Framework for Enhanced Student Learning: Current Issues in Mental Health

Student Support Services District Principal Renge Bailie began the presentation outlining the continued work supporting students in the Langley School District around mental health issues. With the recent redesign of the curriculum, a student’s overall well being, including the topic of mental health has become a more prominent and explicitly taught concept starting in kindergarten. Mental health, along with physical and social emotional health, are found in the Physical and Health Education curriculum. Students are more actively taught about emotions, how to problem solve effectively, the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to recognize when mental health issues are problematic.

While students are engaging in these topics with their classroom teachers, the District is continuing to provide further supports to those who require additional help through school-based counsellors. Counsellors can provide a safe and confidential environment for students to work on any barriers they may have which prevents optimal mental health.

All too often, students are dealing with both mental health and substance use challenges in a complex and intertwined way. Substance use and misuse are areas that are similarly introduced and supported through the Physical and Health Education curriculum. To provide up-to-date information on the current fentanyl crisis and the impact on our community, Dr. Schwandt the regional Medical Health Officer, was invited. As the Medical Health Officer, his primary mandate is to prevent disease, protect health and promote wellness in populations and communities in the Fraser region. While much of the information is based on adult statistics, Dr. Schwandt provided data relevant to Langley students where possible.