Board News: Tuesday, May 24, 2016
May 25, 2016
Opening Presentation: Belmont Elementary Ukulele Club
Belmont teacher and Ukulele Club sponsor Jamie “Mr T” Thomas introduced this talented group of students to the Board of Education and led the group in a few musical selections including ‘Down on the Corner’ and a Duke Ellington tune called ‘Stars in your Eyes’. Mr Thomas has instructed countless students in ukulele over the years and clearly loves the accomplishments of his students and sharing music with them.
Presentations: LFAS – Kenya Project
Langley Fine Arts School has been involved with their Pa-Moja initiative for a number of years now and they students and staff continue to build upon the program that has enriched the lives of students here in Langley as well as those in Kenya. LFAS teachers Sylvia Knittel and Donna Usher introduced the Board to their special guests from Kenya and briefly highlighted the value of this project to the school community at LFAS.
Presentations: Vanguard Update
The Board of Education had previously asked for an update on Vanguard since it had been established via the merger of Apex Secondary and the James Anderson Learning Centre. Vanguard is now in its second year of what Principal Patrick Thomas called “a journey”. Mr Thomas and Vice-principal Kurt Reynaud provided some interesting insight as to how Vanguard operates and shared some stories of struggle and success. The staff at Vanguard have established three goals for the school in the coming years that include:
- Create an advanced trauma sensitive environment
- Align executive functioning skills within Core Competencies
- Increase public awareness of Vanguard through open-houses, professional development and conferences
Superintendent’s Report: Achievement
Acting Superintendent Gordon Stewart presented the new District Learning Plan format for reporting on student achievement which is called the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning, which replaces the District Achievement Contract. Mr. Stewart commented that, “the nice part is that it is all very open-ended” in reference to the new format. With that, the District will be able to weave in the core values and visioning that the District already adheres to while adding clear, measurable goals.
Superintendent’s Report: Curriculum Re-design
Acting Superintendent Gordon Stewart provided a summary of the April 18 non-instructional day that was set aside for the purpose of preparing for the K-12 curriculum re-design. Mr. Stewart outlined some of the workshops held at BSS for middle/secondary teachers and those held at WGSS for elementary teachers. LSS hosted workshops for support staff. The Education Change Committee, Professional Services, the Framework Committee, Learning Support Services, Aboriginal District staff and Curriculum Facilitators all worked together to plan the and organize the workshops. Feedback from the sessions has been positive.
Superintendent’s Report: Refugee Update
The Board of Education asked staff to provide an update on Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and how many may have settled in Langley and possibly attend Langley schools. Acting Superintendent Gordon Stewart introduced District Vice-principal Karen Beatty who oversees District English Language Learning instruction and the District Settlement Workers – staff that work directly with immigrant families that arrive in the District. Ms Beatty indicated that though Langley was not identified as a primary site for settlement of Syrian refugees as part of government programs, some secondary migration has resulted in families coming to Langley. She said that 12 Syrian families have settled in the District as well as a family from Eritrea. Registration and placement of these students is underway, as well as support as the students begin their lives in Canada. Many individuals that come as refugees face considerable challenges and do require assistance to successfully integrate into Canadian life.
Secretary Treasurer’s Report: Annual Budget Bylaw 2016-2017
Secretary Treasurer David Green presented the Annual Budget Bylaw and the Board of Education passed motions on the first and second reading. The District is required to submit an annual budget by June 30th of each year. Three readings of the budget bylaw and the third and final reading will be presented to the Board at their Regular Meeting June 21st.
Secretary Treasurer’s Report: Lochiel School Site
The Board passed a motion indicating that the Lochiel School site is no longer needed for educational purposes and that the Board of Education intends to dispose of the Lochiel site in accordance with Board Policy No. 3601 (Disposal of Real Property). The Lochiel site previously housed the U-Connect District Program until that program moved to Simonds Elementary in September 2015. Funds from the sale of the property will be used toward the generation of funds to support the District’s Long Term Facilities Plan and the District’s requirement to contribute to capital projects.
Secretary Treasurer’s Report: Long Term Facilities Plan – Middle Schools Update
Secretary Treasurer David Green introduced former Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman to provide the report on the Long Term Facilities Plan as it relates to Middle Schools. As a part of the report, Trustees were presented two motions, number 1 indicating that the Board direct staff to begin hosting informational community meetings starting in September of 2016 on middle schools. This motion was passed and informational community meetings are being planned. The second motion ended up being amended and deferred to a fall meeting. That motion was in regard to staff undertaking a community consultation around middle schools in the D.W. Poppy, Brookswood and Walnut Grove school communities. Futher information will be provided to the Board at a later date and the possibility of community consultations will be addressed at that time.
Secretary Treasurer’s Report: Willoughby Slope Catchment Consultation Update
Former Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman also provided a report on the Willoughby Slope catchment consultation as she completes projects that started while she was superintendent. Ms Hoffman stated that a lot of information has been collected from the school communities on the Willoughby Slope and that while the actual boundaries don’t seem to raise much concern, the impact on families and communities of great importance. Most important to the community is the consideration of grandfathering the current students at Richard Bulpitt Elementary (RBES) so that they may remain there, along with any siblings, to complete their K-5 educational experience. Ms Hoffman went on to explain that early indications and possible initial steps may allow for the grandfathering to go ahead which should be a relief to families. Other areas of concern included the possible re-opening of the James Anderson Learning Centre, which will not likely need to be included at this time, and the use of Neighbourhood Learning Centres, primarily for daycare, which will likely no longer be impacted.
Education Committee Report: Kindergarten at Langley Fine Arts School
A Kindergarten program at Langley Fine Arts School has been approved for September 2017, making LFAS a K-12 school. This addition to the District program will now allow students to begin their academic career at one school and continue through to graduation without having to attend Kindergarten at another District school before transferring to LFAS for Grade 1. The arts-integrated K program has been eagerly anticipated and with the switch to all-day K programs, possible barriers to the program have been overcome. Disruptions to other District schools will also be lessened as students no longer need to attend K at a neighbourhood school, only to leave after one year for Grade 1.