Monthly Archives: February 2012

Social Media Initiative to Help Combat Bullying – Nanaimo

NEWS RELEASE

Today’s Topics:             Social Media Initiative to Help Combat Bullying

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SOCIAL MEDIA INTIATIVE – We have all heard news stories about social media being used to spread acts of bullying and violence. Now, the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District, the RCMP and the Vancouver Island Crisis Line have collaborated on a unique and exciting new program that will allow teens to use social media to combat bullying, violence in relationships and suicidal thoughts.  The program provides a way that the community can support youth 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

TNT – Teens Networking Together – was unveiled today as a very special way to mark Anti-Bullying Day tomorrow, February 29.

TNT is a community-developed, safe teen network that will give youth in Nanaimo-Ladysmith a pro-active way to report concerns about bullying, as well as provide them with immediate support if they are feeling scared, worried or suicidal.

TNT has a catchy web and mobile phone site: www.tntnanaimo.com that can be bookmarked and loaded onto any smart phone, tablet, and hand held device by simply scanning from colourful school-based TNT posters.  After the initial launch, once the bugs are worked out, a free mobile app will be available from iTunes, Android and BlackBerry, to further assist young people to report bullying or seek emotional help from professionally trained, community staff.

The Vancouver Island Crisis Line will respond 24/7 to support teens who are scared, worried or suicidal.  District 68 schools will respond during school hours to all reports of bullying and provide follow-up, if necessary enlisting the help of the RCMP.

School District 68 Safe Schools Coordinator Tom Piros said that a major concern for secondary schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith is the way that social networking can be used for cyberbullying.  “When someone can be bullying you at all hours of the day and night on electronic devices, the feelings of vulnerability are even more intense.  Often, FaceBook threats can build outside of school for weeks and then play out in violence at school,” he said.

“We started thinking – wouldn’t it be cool if a teen who felt scared, worried or suicidal could simply click on a local school district web site icon, on a Facebook page or an app on their cell phone and be directly connected to a local caring agency?”

The TNT organizers also plan to enlist local businesses to offer student discounts, as an incentive for teens to visit the site regularly.  By making the site a “must have” for local youth, they will already be familiar with the site when they need it.  The site also lists community resources for youth.

The TNT site was developed by Array Studios of Nanaimo who have contributed countless hours to the site, as some staff have children in school and take pride in the project.

Hand-in-hand with the TNT initiative, School District 68 has also put measures in place to more formally collect information about incidents of bullying.  An internal reporting form can be used by anyone witnessing or being the target of bullying.  All reports will be investigated and will also be included in data being collected by the district.

“Schools have always responded to reports of bullying with investigations and appropriate steps to deal with each situation,” said District Principal of Student Support Services Bob Esliger.  “Now, we are putting into place a mechanism that will provide us with better information about what has been reported and what steps were taken.”

Twitter Chat with Minister of Education

Feb. 29, 2012

Ministry of Education

MEDIA ADVISORY

VICTORIA – Education Minister George Abbott will be available to engage

teachers and parents directly via Twitter today for a noon hour “Twitter

Chat” about Bill 22, the Education Improvement Act.

This is an opportunity to provide information and to discuss the purpose

of this important legislation.

Event Date: Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012

Time:  12 noon – 1 p.m. PST

Location:

Follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag: #bced

Not a Twitter user? You can still follow the conversation here:

https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23bced

Contact:

Ministry of Education

Government Communications and Public Engagement

250 356-5963 (Media Line)

Labour Relations Board Decision – teachers and walking off the job

The B.C. Labour Relations Board has decided – teachers may strike for up to three consecutive days, if they give two days notice. After that, they may walk off the job one day a week.

The LRB decision can be found here:

http://www.vancouversun.com/pdf/62039_Int.Order.feb.28.2012.pdf

The government has put forward a bill to legislate an end to the bargaining, found here:

http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th4th/1st_read/gov22-1.htm

The government’s bill to end the bargaining impasse here.

Teachers seeking permission for full scale strike

The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation will seek approval for a full-scale strike when it appears Monday night before the B.C. Labour Relations Board.

A special hearing is to begin at 6:30 p.m. local time and continue into the night, with a decision expected as early as Tuesday morning.

http://www.canada.com/teachers+seek+approval+full+scale+strike/6217617/story.html

 

BCPSEA letter to Labour Relations Board:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/82888208/BCPSEA-Letter-to-LRB-Dated-February-24-2012

 

Parents may wish to start exploring childcare options, in case a full scale strike occurs.

Possible strike escalation

http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/documents/20120224_050911833_No%202012-05-KJ-Essential%20Services%20Update%20-%20BCTF%20vote%20-%20escalation%20of%20strike.pdf

http://bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx

On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 28 and 29, teachers across BC will vote on whether to escalate the limited “teach only” job action to a full-scale walkout. Results of the vote will be made public on Thursday, March 1.

Interesting Vaughn Palmer column:

http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=d006d1e2-3c44-4876-9141-154f5c1ee92e

Hughes report released

As widely expected, a government-appointed fact finder has concluded there is little possibility of a negotiated agreement between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-politics/no-hope-for-negotiated-settlement-in-bc-teachers-dispute/article2347620/

Actual 19 page report – http://www.gov.bc.ca/citz/down/BCPSEA_BCTF_collective_bargaining_Feb232012.pdf

 

More information:

http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/publications/bulletins/teacher-bargaining-bulletin.aspx?

http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Education/2012/02/21/BCTF-decries-second-decade-of-cuts-in-BC-schools/

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/02/22/b-c-teachers-plan-day-of-action-monday/

Background information – Victoria DPAC and School board – classroom supports, IEPs, and Discrimination

VCPAC Proposal for a Classroom Support Fund 24Jan12

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/02/13/scrap-limits-affecting-special-needs-students-victoria-school-board-says/

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/02/18/special-needs-limits-are-discriminatory-george-abbott/

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/02/19/special-needs-education-george-abbotts-words/

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/02/20/discriminatory-limits-no-solution-to-unmanageable-classes-letter/

 

Enrollment Projections

At last night’s board meeting, the board approved making their enrollment projections public.

Here is the updated DPAC report on projections and capacity:

Enrolment History and Projections – updated Feb 22 2012

The body of the report has the school district’s 2011 projections, and appendix E has the revised 2012 projections. In some areas of the district, these projections differ significantly.

Why are Enrolment Projections Important?
Projections matter.
Projections matter because enrolment projections are a factor in whether individual schools are closed or opened. They matter because they can indicate whether or not more space is needed in a particular community. They matter because they affect the attention that is paid to a particular school – if a school is projected with declining enrolment, it may get fewer upgrades than a school with rising enrolment.

Projections should be public.
Projections out to 2014 were publically given in the district closure report. The handouts given at each closure meeting had the projections for the affected schools at the top of the page. The chair of the school board has given interviews to the newspaper stating: ““Our projections are status quo, we’re not seeing increases. We’re going to lose a tremendous amount of kids out of Heather Park, we’re not seeing huge issues as far as enrollment increases at Glenview and then if we move to the western part of the city and up to the College Heights area, it’s kind of the same situation.” Given that the projections are being used for planning purposes and to answer questions from parents, and also given that this is a public school district, numbers and assumptions used towards the planning should be made public.

Projections depend on assumptions.
As the projections are critical to the future of schools, so are the assumptions critical to the projections. Any projection that does not have explainable assumptions is fatally flawed. Without an outline of the assumptions behind the projection, it is unknown as to whether or not the projection depends on out-dated data, inaccurate assumptions, or assumptions made to influence a particular course of action.

Projections should be viewed cautiously.
As with any projection of the future, it is difficult to be 100% accurate except by accident. Along with this is a requirement to be cautious about which projection is considered. For example, if the question at hand is how many elementary schools should be in a particular area, looking at the trend for total student registration would be misleading.

Projections are pivotal for planning
It is essential to plan ahead for adequate accommodation of students, and to avoid unnecessary expenses.