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Board Meeting Highlights - November 16

Annual Education Results Report

Superintendent Adam Murray shared the Division’s draft Annual Education Results Report (AERR) with the board at the November 16 meeting. The AERR provides an overall summary of the progress the Division has made with relation to the three strategic goals in the Board’s three-year education plan. The AERR also highlights areas of emphasis for ongoing work.

The information contained within the AERR includes both Divisional and Provincial data on student achievement for our Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. This disaggregation of achievement results for the Division is consistent with the reporting of provincial data and helps to more accurately examine the achievement gap between our Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners. Through this approach, the Division is able to identify and implement specific strategies to help narrow any gaps. The AERR results show good progress in narrowing the achievement gaps across grade levels, which is hugely celebratory for the PRSD.

“There is a change afoot,” said Deputy Superintendent Jeff Thompson. “We are attempting to reprogram the thinking around assessments. Teaching has two components - instruction and assessment. We want to flip that order to reflect the fact that quality teaching starts with quality assessment data that includes a large amount of formative assessment to inform instruction and the learning process, and a small amount of summative assessment to measure ultimate student achievement.”

For more information, read the full news release HERE. The 2022-23 AERR can be viewed HERE

Indigenous Education

The board received a presentation from Indigenous Education Program Coordinator Holly Crumpton. Crumpton began her presentation by acknowledging that her speaking with the board coincided with a very important day in Métis history.

“Today is the heart of Métis Week,” Crumpton said. Each year, people across Canada pay tribute to the Right Honourable Louis Riel by celebrating Métis culture during the week including November 16, which is the date of Riel's execution in 1885.

Crumpton continued by highlighting some of the ways PRSD schools have embraced, celebrated, and further explored Indigenous culture this year. She thanked the board for setting in place a motion to recognize the week containing September 30 as Truth and reconciliation week in the Division.

“Having recurring annual learning opportunities is extremely powerful. Teachers know they are coming and can prepare opportunities for students to engage in and learn about Indigenous culture,” Crumpton said. 

Crumpton then spoke to the board about some of the ways she works with schools to help eliminate the achievement gap between the Division’s non-Indigenous students and Indigenous students. Providing two examples from two of the Division’s high schools, Crumpton explained how successes were achieved using individual student-targeted approaches in one school, and by focusing on relationship-building phone calls in another school.

Before ending her presentation, Crumpton confirmed that the Divisional Hand Games Tournament will return for the first year since the Pandemic. The Tournament is scheduled to take place on April 18 in Grimshaw inside the Fieldhouse at the Mile Zero Regional Multiplex.

Class 1 Driving School Update

The board received an update on the progress of the Class 1 Driving School from Secretary-Treasurer Rhonda Freeman. Freeman referenced having to navigate a considerable amount of red tape in recent weeks, but that the Division was making good progress towards the completion of the yard site and registering the two driver trainers for their own training courses. The North Peace Commercial Driving Academy has also purchased one truck and trailer that will be used for instructional purposes. Additional work is still underway regarding grant applications for specialized classroom equipment.

Fairview Value Scoping Update

In follow-up discussions regarding the Fairview Value-Scoping session that took place on October 4 and 5, Superintendent Murray reported that Alberta Infrastructure felt the consultation was very successful and have indicated they are looking forward to seeing a plan come forward from the involved parties.

The Value-Scoping session involved representatives from PRSD, Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools, Northwestern Polytechnic, and other invited guests. Together, these three partners discussed what the future of education may look like in Fairview, including the construction of new school buildings.

While work remains to finalize a plan, significant progress has been made between the three partners in terms of understanding the needs and wishes of each partner.

“The amount of collaboration was so impressive,” said Trustee Lori Leitch.

Trustee request for compensation for non-sanctioned per diem and legal fees

The board of trustees held a discussion regarding a request from Trustee Moise Dion for compensation of legal fees, as well as a per diem amount for the time he spent with his lawyer to discuss a recent legal matter.

Citing a legal recommendation received during an in-camera discussion earlier in the meeting, the board unanimously agreed to deny the compensation request on the grounds that Trustee Dion engaged with his lawyer on a personal basis, not on behalf of the board.

Trustee Dion did declare a conflict of interest and excused himself from the meeting ahead of the discussion and returned following the vote on the motion, 6-0.

Policy 15

As part of the board’s regular review of their policies, the Trustees provided first reading to a rewritten version of Policy 15, now titled School and Program Viability, previously School Closure.

The rewritten policy was renamed in an effort to better communicate to PRSD school communities that when the board is looking at a school that has triggered viability concerns, the board of trustees undergo an in-depth review before making an informed decision. The new policy states the board may: close a school permanently or for a specified period of time; close the entire junior high program or entire high school program; alter any grade configuration within one or more schools.

A school or program viability review may be triggered by one or more of the following criteria: that the costs of maintaining the school or program are extreme and it is viable to transport kids to another school; the ability to provide an acceptable program to attending students; and, the safety or integrity of the physical structure of the school.

Click HERE to view the draft policy.

The board will consider second and third reading at the December 21 meeting.

Nov 24, 2023

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