Board meeting highlights - November 19, 2020

Board meeting highlights - November 19, 2020

Board approves 2020-2023 Education Plan and Annual Education Results Report
The board of trustees approved the Peace River School Division (PRSD) 2020-2023 Three Year Education Plan (3YEP) and Annual Education Results Report (AERR). The 3YEP/AERR reflects the division’s growth over the past year and outlines goals and strategies moving forward. PRSD is pleased to share that PRSD’s results increased in five of the 16 measures on the Accountability Pillar Report (APR) over last years’ results. The division also exceeds provincial averages in four measures, and PRSD’s First Nations Metis and Inuit results exceed provincial averages in four of the nine measures. Moving forward, the division continues to place a strong focus on literacy, numeracy, hands-on learning opportunities, flexible learning time for all high school students, technology in the classroom, providing students with a voice in education through PRSD’s Student Engagement Teams, professional development for staff, First Nations Metis and Inuit success, student and staff wellness and parental and community involvement. The 2020-2023 Education Plan/Annual Results Report and official media release will be released on or before November 25, 2020.

Superintendent Bennett provides COVID-19 update for the board of trustees
Superintendent Paul Bennett advised the board that due to elevated cases of COVID-19 in the province, there have been communication delays between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and individuals who are determined to be close contacts of positive cases. Bennett shared a letter and a phone script that he provided to school principals that will assist in communicating with families regarding close contacts of positive cases. The correspondence allows PRSD to be proactive in contacting impacted families as cases continue to elevate in the province. The phone script has been provided by Edmonton Public Schools who have been a great source of assistance to PRSD with COVID-19 communication.

Trustees approve 2019-2020 Audited Financial Statement
During the regular board meeting, PRSD Secretary-Treasurer Rhonda Freeman presented the 2019-2020 Audited Financial Statement to the board of trustees. Financial results of the 2019-2020 audit conducted by Meyers Norris Penny (MNP) Chartered Accountants showed a deficit of $1,261,015, an operating reserve balance of $3,646,737, and a capital reserve balance of $3,952,197 as of August 31, 2020. The division uses operating reserves to provide sufficient cash resources to operate and allow for contingencies ensuring minimal disruption to student learning. Capital reserves are targeted for board directed capital asset purchases such as school buses and repairs and maintenance to non-school buildings. PRSD has maintained staffing levels and programming for students as much as possible over the last several years resulting in operating deficits financed through operating reserves. The board approved the Audited Financial Statement and commended Freeman, the audit committee, and the central operations staff for their work with MNP Chartered Accountants during the annual audit. 

Racism sensitivity training follow up
The board of trustees engaged in a follow-up conversation regarding the racism sensitivity training in which trustees and management staff undertook in October. The board agreed that the training was helpful however deeper conversations among the board would be beneficial prior to the board taking any steps forward in developing statements in policy and administrative procedures regarding racism. The board requested that management staff explore ways for the boards consideration to facilitate focused conversations among the board and management surrounding racism to ensure steps moving forward are deliberate and impactful.

Board approves review process for Enrolment Improvement Review at Red Earth Creek School
The board of trustees approved a process outline for the Red Earth Creek School Enrolment Review as presented by Superintendent Paul Bennett. Next steps in the process include a virtual meeting with grades 9-12 students, parents and guardians, Red Earth Creek School staff and the board of trustees on December 9, 2020. The meeting will include a presentation of accountability pillar results, student enrolment and achievement results data, as well as focused questions for students, parents, guardians and staff regarding high school education delivery at the school. “What we heard” reports will be created from all input received for the boards’ review and on February 25, 2021, the board will review the final report and vote on recommendations put forth based on data collected.

Trustees approve Hines Creek Transportation Service Area Community Consultation Plan
The board of trustees approved the Hines Creek Transportation Service Area Community Consultation Plan that outlines a process to engage with stakeholders following a request from community members in Hines Creek to look at boundaries between Hines Creek and Fairview. Trustees approved that a meeting with stakeholders and the board of trustees be organized for March 31, 2021 at Hines Creek Composite School gymnasium.  The meeting will provide stakeholders the opportunity to engage with the board and the information to be shared at the meeting will include a review of transportation service areas, relevant policy and administrative procedures, historical enrolment data and current transportation boundaries.

Wrap-around services advocacy and engagement
Trustees will meet on November 30, 2020 with Tash Taylor, Leadership-Services consultant to review and discuss next steps in resuming the boards’ work in their engagement and advocacy efforts with respect to wrap-around services in PRSD school communities. Wrap-around services include areas such as, support for physical and learning disabilities, mental health, and addictions counselling. The board had been actively working on a wrap-around services advocacy and engagement plan since February of 2019 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts were put on hold. The board discussed the importance of resuming this important initiative and is passionate to advocate on behalf of PRSD students, families and communities to enhance the supports available for students and families. Next steps in the process include the finalization and distribution of a survey for students, parents and staff.

Departmental Presentation – Home Education Program “Peace Home Education Connection”  
Golda David, PRSD’s Home Education Coordinator provide the board with a departmental update on PRSD’s Home Education Program “Peace Home Learning Connection.” Information regarding teacher-directed and parent-directed home education programs, home education funding, supports and services provided to families and PRSD’s home education enrolment was shared with the board. Currently PRSD has 403 students enrolled in PRSD’s Home Education Program. In addition to ongoing support with education needs, resources and curriculum, PRSD’s Home Education Program conducts two home visits per home education family each year as per home education provincial requirements; one visit to review education planning and a final meeting to evaluate student learning. PRSD’s Home Education Program was established in 2019 and has quickly grown to be regarded as a high-quality program and recommended by The Alberta Home Education Association.

Policy reading and timeline
The board passed third and final reading of Policy 2 Role of the Board, Policy 2 Appendix A Board Annual Work Plan, Policy 7 Board Operations, Policy 7 Board Operations Appendix A – Bylaw No. 1-95, Policy 7 Board Operations Appendix B – Bylaw No. 1-2013 and, Policy 7 Board Operations Appendix C – Ward Boundary Review.