Discussions at the Committee of the Whole

The Superintendent’s Report and the upcoming 2020-21 budget development and timeline process were discussed by the School District No. 83 Board of Education at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 at the District Education Support Centre (DESC).

Superintendent of Schools Peter Jory took the trustees through an in depth look at the report, which gives trustees an overview on progress specific to the three goals of the District Strategic Plan (Students First, Organizational Efficiency, Culture of Health and Wellness) and ongoing projects as well as an update and next steps from the district’s various departments.

Jory noted the district has made progress in its Student First goal area, which is designed to be closely associated with Renewed Curriculum, and asks for organizational change that mirrors the expected curricular change.

He noted adult learning is the key to these instructional changes, and more targeted professional development, Learner Centered Design sessions with principals, and expanded teacher inquiry work (including a group of teachers that have joined the provincial Changing Results for Young Readers inquiry project) have all added growth and confidence. The most significant change has been the creation of the Instructional Leadership Team, a group of twelve educators with 2.4 FTE of time dedicated to supporting colleagues with full and confident adoption of Renewed Curriculum.

He added there will be a greater emphasis on secondary schools as they move to full Renewed Curriculum adoption. Also of note is the use of student focused conferencing, which is in its second year of implementation and now a standard reporting practice across the SD83 in elementary schools and Carlin Middle School, with a pilot planned at Shuswap Middle School.

He pointed out the District’s Career and Dual-Credit programs have been a strength for some time, and new course offerings (Office Administrative Assistant, Aircraft Maintenance Technician, Technology Gateway, and Certified Education Assistant) are open for the coming school year.

Other areas of emphasis will include technology and student voice. Supporting teachers with effective education technology use, primarily to assist with Renewed Curriculum adoption, is identified in the Education Technology Plan. As well, a District initiative that supports balanced and appropriate use of technology is a priority, as it will help technology find a more comfortable place in the schools, and will positively impact student wellness.

Student leadership has been a strength at the school level, and the District will attempt to expand opportunities for authentic student input through increased committee participation and the use of student forums.

The organizational efficiency goal is where Jory feels the District has made the most impact, and arguably, where the District had the most potential for gain, as it received specific attention through the Watson Report and KPMG recommendations. Areas of improvement include meeting Ministry requirements on school fees and calendar regulation, setting a communications plan, increasing the teachers’ replacement roster, and introducing new technology to improve workflow between departments.

Jory noted SD83 is one of a small but growing number of school districts who are embracing wellness as a goal, and are committed to work that was not traditionally considered by school districts in the past. Some highlights include the formation of a District Wellness Committee, work on a district Wellness Plan, the student mental health literacy pilot project at Jackson, the Indigenous Equity Committee, and the ongoing work of the District’s Self Regulation and Healthy Schools Coordinator.

2020-21 Budget Development Process and Timeline

Secretary-Treasurer Alanna Cameron then discussed with the Board what it would like the 2020-21 budget process and timeline to look like.

She noted after last year’s process, which was her first in the district, she suggested starting the process earlier, sometime in January, as well as changing the number of meetings from 11 to 8, as it was a very large commitment for everyone on the budget committee.

Alanna Cameron

It was also suggested that the dates for the meetings be set before asking for people to commit to the budget committee so that people can ensure they are available for most of the dates.

A draft proposed budget development timeline will be presented for trustee consideration at the regular Board of Education meeting on December 17 at 6 p.m. at the DESC.