Superintendent’s Report to the Board – September 8, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to the Board – September 8, 2015

1.    Students

a.     Early Years Centres: Our future students and their families have taken full advantage of our EYCs through the summer. We are all set to have an exciting year of early learning throughout the year!

b.    Music – Elementary: Four district music teachers are ensuring that every primary child receives an hour of music with a professional music educator every week, and that we have an active band program for all grade seven students and most grade six students. A music teacher supports students at Elphinstone and Chatelech Secondary Schoolswith a number of exciting band classes.

c.     Secondary students have been into our schools already to be all set for the first day of classes with lockers and schedules arranged, meetings with counselors and greeting old and new friends.

2.    Staff

a.     The district is fully staffed for the first day of school. Schools are glistening and ready for learning. Many staff have taken part in professional development activities during the summer and are excited to apply their learning to the education of children and youth.

b.    The district is very pleased that the Aboriginal Education Team is fully staffed this year. Amongst many other resources, the team will be utilizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations to plan for further awareness of Canadian aboriginal issues for students and staff.

3.    Community

a.      Regional Round Table on Sustainability:  This Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) committee has a mandate to, “To implement, facilitate action, monitor and report on actions of the (lower) Sunshine Coast’s Regional Sustainability Plan entitled, We Envision: One Coast, Together in Nature, Culture and Community”. The district monitors the work of this Table and provides input as appropriate.

b.     The district website has been updated to include complete and detailed information regarding emergency preparedness.

c.      District staff meets regularly with Vancouver Coastal Health and other community agencies to develop strategies to support child and youth mental health.

d.     The SCRD and the district are meeting to consider further partnerships in the future.

e.      District staff met recently with Staff Sergeant Vishal Mathura of the Sunshine Coast RCMP detachment. A school liaison officer has been appointed to continue the close relationship between the RCMP and schools.

f.       The district was well represented by staff and board members at the recent Grand Opening of mem7iman Child Development Centre for the shíshálh Nation. We respect and appreciate our long-standing association with the shíshálh Nation.

 

Strategic Plan Report: Communication

Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill. – Buddha

Background:

Public education is a complicated endeavour. In spite of this (or because of it) everyone has opinions about how education should be “done.” Communication requires that we hear from those who receive their education, those who provide it and those who are impacted by a successful public education as parents or as community. As providers of public education it is also our responsibility to confidently speak of the accomplishments and challenges of our work in as broad a sphere as we can.

Discussion:

Currently, social media is topical. Many students, parents and staff communicate using Twitter, Facebook, email, websites and other programs. Some district staff are investigating student reporting using Freshgrade (Freshgrade.com). The potential reach of technology for communication is challenging to anticipate. The district actively utilizes social media (Twitter, Facebook, email, website) to share messages of student and staff success and celebration, as well as to inform the community of important events.

Face-to-face communication is frequently required for the complex issues of learning and the social world of education. While social media, newsletters and student planners are superb for detailed homework assignments and simple reminders, staff, students, parents and community members also meet together to discuss challenges and opportunities to support student learning.

District committees ensure that we have the right people in the room at the right time to make excellent, student-focused decisions that work for staff and the community as well. Currently, our district committees are: Program (all things curricular), Management (operational items that require various managerial perspectives), Reading, Environmental Education, Parent–Teacher Communication, Educational Leadership, Education Implementation, District Student Leadership, Senior Management, Finance Team, Labour-Management and other union/management meetings and countless interactions between district employees and other employees and external agencies. Staying connected is a challenge due to time and personnel constraints, but critical to our ongoing work of delivering an organization that is showing remarkable progress for student wellbeing and academic growth.

Regardless of the situation, our communication always begins with a district that values the human being in every situation with every child, youth and adult.

Next Steps:

The district will maintain an ongoing “gap analysis” of interactions with key questions:

·      Are we good listeners?

·      Are we sharing our stories?

·      Are we missing anyone?

·      Are we acting on what we hear?

·      Are others acting on what we say?

The district’s communication plan will align with the strategic plan and other priorities across our many committees, social media and other dialogue opportunities.

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