March 2016: Newsletter

It’s perhaps too early to start counting chicks or breathing sighs of relief but so far this winter’s been gentler than last, weather-related school closures have been few, and March break is within easy reach. We’re well on our way to Spring.

Now underway within the school board are two sets of school reviews.  Initiated in January they focus on Eastern Passage, soon to be the home of a new high school, and the northern half of the Citadel family. Both areas were identified for review based on the findings of the board-produced Long Range Outlook. Heavy lifting though the reviews are, they’re also a heartening development for the departure they mark from past process and the opportunity they present for community to play a central role in shaping their own school future, all of it taking place under the guidance of professional facilitators with access to extensive information resources. By May we’ll begin to see the fruits of their labours.

The replacement Le Marchant St. Thomas Elementary, working name Halifax South Peninsula Elementary, is well into its School Steering Team phase. SAC chairs and principal along with key staff from the Dept. of Education and Early Childhood Development, Dept. of Transportation, HRM, and HRSB are meeting to discuss appearance, features, and enhancements in order to advise the designers. Demolition will get underway in the summer  beginning with abatement. The Beaufort school site across the street from LMST will be home to students during construction of the new school.

2016/17 budgeting and business planning will get underway shortly. For detailed descriptions of 2015/16 results and a look at how it’s shaping up relative to plan, click here for the third quarter  report presented last week.

The focus on schools in the Auditor General’s November report was about oversight and management of the delivery of educational services during 2014/15. Coincidentally the Halifax board had already spearheaded its own look at governance, feeling that there were improvements to be considered. An ad hoc committee has so far looked at three forms of governance and will report to the full board on its findings in the Spring. Like the schools it oversees the board is responsible for its own continuous improvement.

Superintendent Elwin LeRoux’s monthly reports identify stories from within schools and across the board that highlight the strategic plan in action and more.

Though still relatively early it’s not too soon to start thinking about running for school board member in the next municipal election. Interested? I’m happy to share my experience with you. Elections take place in fall 2016.

The vast majority of school-related concerns that come up for students and families can be handled at the school level, working with those involved. Between teacher and principal the means exist to resolve most concerns. For the full process as captured in policy see the Parent Concern Protocol.

Feel like a visit? I can attend an SAC meeting. I can welcome you to a board meeting. Let me know your pleasure an we’ll arrange something.

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