April 2014: Newsletter

April 23, 2014: Minister’s Response to the School Review Process Study, Report, and Recommendations

LAST CALL for this year’s “Getting to Great” survey, Halifax Regional School Board’s annual collecting of parent, student, and staff opinion on all things school. Deadline: Friday, April 11.*

And if you have any opinions left to share after that, surf on over to the Province’s report card review survey.  Deadline: Friday, April 11.

The Board has the relative luxury of heading into its 2014/15 budgeting process with status quo funding from the Province. April is all about money: choosing ten capital projects to forward to the Province for its consideration, preparing a repairs wish list for maintenance projects costing between $150k and $1m, and looking at next year’s budget line by line. Never at a loss for financial challenges, the ongoing cost pressures posed by pay raises, bussing increases, and fuel and utilities hikes will continue to command particular shoe-horning.

The provincial school board association, the NSSBA, has received resolutions from HRSB for presentation to the provincial membership. If adopted, the resolutions will be taken up for action by the NSSBA. Resolution topics include: student walking distances, Individual Programme Plans (IPPs) and African-Nova Scotian students, digital citizenship, and the cost burden of lunchtime supervision.

As we await Minister Casey’s response to Bob Fowler’s review of the school review process another process is unfolding under her direction, the Minister’s Panel on Education. Again, if you’re a person of opinion, get ready to share. This one will invite your ideas about strengthening the public education system.

Last November a group met at Halifax Central to talk about the well-being of extracurricular offerings: their present and future. In the time since then the conversation has continued. It’s taking place primarily among and between school board staff, School Insurance Programme (SIP) staff, and with the contribution of legal opinion. That the conversation continues forms the update for the time being.

Care to know what the Superintendent‘s been up to? His most recent and past monthly reports offer a firsthand glimpse. Of particular interest, his and the governing board’s current work on a Digital Citizenship policy. Interesting fact: on an average day as many as 15,000 devices may be connected to HRSB’s school-based wireless networks and that’s with implementation of wireless only nearing the halfway point in our almost 140 schools.

Policies discussed in the last two months include: Fine Arts, Employment and Supervision of Family Members, and Bomb Threats. The latter was recommended for rescinding and then rescinded at the March board meeting. Created in 1998 it has been made redundant by the Province’s comprehensive Emergency Management Planning guidelines.

Every board member fulfills the role their own way, particularly when it comes to communications. And I’m always looking to them and to you for direction. Twitter? In-person visits? Event attendance? Email or enewsletters? Have a preference? Let me know. And in the meantime please share these newsletters with your school community.

Ever hear about something going on in school and think, Didn’t that go out with the dinosaur? Herewith, a list of dinosaurs from an Icelandic elementary school teacher. Is there anything you’d add?

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