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Message from the Chair – March 2015

Thanks to all members of our communities who took the time to attend our "Visions for Learning" forum on March 9th.  We had very rich discussions on the future of student learning on the Sunshine Coast and some themes are beginning to emerge.  A huge Shout Out! of thanks to Diane Wagner and board office staff for pulling together a great event.  Please remember that the survey on our website is open until March 23rd for further input to our strategic plan.

Superintendent Bocking and I completed our visits to all school Parent Advisory Councils this week.  We have been able to share the strategic planning process and gather ideas from parents that are unique to each school and community.  What wonderful,  engaged parents we have in our district!  There was active participation and great questions at every meeting and regardless of the size of the school, each meeting had eight to 18 parents attending. We didn't do an official count, but my best guess is that we spoke to at least 150 parents!

The next step in the process will be an examination of the data at the March Committee of the Whole and working on the rough draft of a new plan in April.

International students and opportunities were a highlight of our March 10th board meeting.  We heard personal stories from two students from Germany who are studying in our schools this term. They are having a wonderful time and are very appreciative of the support of their host families and fellow students.  For local students there is an opportunity for several scholarships to study abroad for five months in the coming year.  Check with your school principal about the Student Travel School scholarships.  The application deadline is March 31, 2015.

The Board of Education passed the calendar for the 2015/16 school year. For the first time it will include a two-week Spring Break in March 2016.  In the coming weeks,, the District will be working to prepare a balanced budget for the coming school year.  Funds are very tight and the Board of Education has directed the Chair to write a letter to both the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education expressing our dismay with the cuts outlined in the provincial budget. Rising costs and mandated cuts will make it very difficult to balance this year's budget without negative effects on programs.  Look the the Advocacy Page on our website for copies of those letters in the coming days.

Until next month, I hope you all enjoy a wonderful spring on the Sunshine Coast.

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