Monthly Archives: November 2012

Education Jargon

The deputy Superintendent in the Surrey school district wrote a recent blog post: “I was reminded of how easily those in education jump at acronyms and often this leaves those to whom you are speaking simply in the dark. So this post is a reflection on all the acronyms we use and a reminder to just speak plainly with no jargon when talking to parents or others who don’t live in our daily world.  All that education jargon doesn’t help convey the meaning of the real message.”

We had a good DPAC meeting last week where we presented on the BCedPlan. After the meeting I met a couple of ABA parents who had questions. I reminded them that in November, there is a joint BCSTA, BCSSA, BCASBO, BCPVPA, FNESC, MoE, and BCCPAC pro-d meeting. I don’t think that the ABCDE are co-sponsors of the event but I believe the event will also be the BCSSA’s AGM.

BCPSEA and the BCTF both commented recently on the LIF monies districts have received from the MoE. Many districts will hire ESL support, LST’s,  OW’s, ICSSW’s, EA’s or SEA’s and we make sure that the focus is on students with an IEP, some who may need an SLP or OT. In our district, we met with CUPE and the STA to debrief the process.  With LIF, we think our SER will be down.

September was the end of student enrolment for funding. Likely some will be talking of the recent comments by FISA about enrolment. Speaking of enrolment and FISA, FTE versus HC is always critical in September. We need to make sure there is no GAAP as we head to spring and the time for FSA. We were watching the number of IDS courses but not so concerned about CAPP.

At our recent NID, teachers had Pro-D events on Web 2.0 technologies supported, of course, by PLN. There were no workshops on BCeSIS. There was, however, a workshop on EBS. Another workshop that would be helpful is for educators to understand FOIPPA and all the info that is held by a PEN. Perhaps if we did that on a NID, it wouldn’t require as may TOC’s.

http://www.jordantinney.org/dba-death-by-acronym/

In our Resources section, DPAC does have a document on common educational acronyms – not sure if we’ve got all of those!

Trades – It's a Smart Move

Initiatives Prince George, School District 57 and CNC, have launched an awareness campaign, in an effort to make youth aware of the excellent career opportunities available in trades.

It's a Smart Move Press Release LogoThe Trades: It’s a Smart Move campaign was created in partnership with private industry sponsors, who are looking to hire skilled help now and in the future.

“We hope to drive home the fact that trades provide an excellent career path to high paying jobs and mobility,” said Randall Heidt, CNC director of communications and development. “This message is aimed not only at students, but key influencers in their lives, such as parents, teachers and counsellors.”

Students in the Career Technical Centre (CTC) program offered by School District 57 and CNC, can earn two-for-one credit in high school and college at the same time. During the program, students attend two semesters during Grades 11 and 12 at CNC and the other semesters at high school. The students graduate with their high school diploma and a CNC trade certificate in programs such as electrical, carpentry, professional cook and dental assisting.

“It’s a smart move to attend the CTC program at CNC and then progress through to journeyman and Red Seal trades training,” Heidt said. “We are delighted by the support of local industry, whose sponsorships made this campaign possible and IPG, who realizes how vital these highly skilled youth are to the future of northern B.C.”

The campaign is built largely around physical posters that will be placed in every high school in Prince George, as well as a highly informative and engaging social media component.

“If we are to capitalize on the economic opportunities in our region, we need to address the skilled trades shortages that are holding up our northern companies,” said Heather Oland, CEO of Initiatives Prince George. “There is a significant gap in the types of programs our kids are enrolling in and the realities of market demand. We hope this campaign will help bring those two forces better in line.”

Construction of the Trades: It’s a Smart Move campaign began this past summer, as SD 57 looked to private industry to help boost CNC trades enrolment and ultimately address local labour shortages.

“Perceptions are finally changing and people are beginning to realize that today’s trades require a high level of math, chemistry and physics,” said Brian Pepper, Superintendent of School District 57. “Becoming a skilled trades person is definitely a smart move in today’s economy.”

http://www.cnc.bc.ca/CNC_Programs/ctc.htm

http://www.facebook.com/CTCSmartMove

 

Protecting Children

There have recently been worrying news reports about suspicious behaviour around two Prince George schools:

http://hqprincegeorge.com/home/news/Local/2012/11/14/PG-RCMP-Looking-For-Two-Suspicious-Drivers-Around-Schools

A reminder to parents to speak with your children about personal safety, The following article, quoted below briefly, has some excellent tips:

As unpleasant and frightening as it may be for parents to think about the possibility of their child being hurt by a predator, it’s crucial that parents talk with their kids about personal safety. Teaching your child how to protect himself against child predators is as important as other measures you use every day to keep him safe, such as making sure he uses a seat belt.

By teaching your child how to avoid possible dangers and what to do if he finds himself in a potentially threatening situation, you will empower your child to know what to do in the event you are not there to protect him. Here are some important tips every parent should know about how to keep your child safe.

Important Tips for Protecting Your Child Against Predators

Teach your child the power of “No.” Child predators are very good at seeking out children who may be afraid or reluctant to oppose an adult, or who may be easily threatened or coerced. Tell your child to trust her instincts if she does not feel comfortable or is scared around someone, to tell that person in a very loud voice, “No!” if she is asked to keep a secret or go somewhere with that person without you, and to tell you immediately about what happened.

Don’t assume your child will know what to do. In his book Protecting The Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) renowned security consultant Gavin de Becker mentions a classic segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show that aired in 1993. In the show, Oprah producers and child safety advocate Ken Wooden conducted an experiment (with the parents’ permission) in which they were able to successfully lure away every single child participating in the test out of the playground in an average of 35 seconds. Before the experiment, the parents had insisted that their child would not talk to a stranger or leave the park with someone he or she didn’t know. Needless to say, they were wrong to assume that their child would not be vulnerable.

Don’t focus on “stranger danger.” For children, especially younger kids, the concept of just who exactly is a “stranger” can be confusing. They may picture someone who is scary-looking, or who is mean. In fact, child safety experts have shown in experiments such as the one mentioned above that children will often follow someone if that person appears friendly and is persuasive enough (by asking a child to help them find a lost puppy, for instance).

Moreover, as de Becker notes in Protecting the Gift, by telling a child to not trust strangers, parents are implicitly saying that it’s okay to trust people he may know casually, such as a neighbor or a waiter at a restaurant. Most importantly, it also does not address the fact that dangers to children are greater from someone known to them or you than by a stranger, notes Nancy McBride, National Safety Director at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Instead of telling your child not to ever talk to strangers, which may in fact deter him from seeking help when he is lost, teach him to find a woman — preferably one who is with a child — and ask her to call 911 or call his parents and tell them where he is. Other options: “Tell your child to go to a sales clerk with a name tag, uniformed law enforcement officer, or a person at an information booth,” says McBride.

http://childparenting.about.com/od/healthsafety/a/Protecting-Against-Child-Predators-Beyond-Stranger-Danger.htm

ERASE Bullying website now live

http://www.erasebullying.ca/

This website includes an online tool for reporting bulling: https://reportbullyingbc.edudata.ca/apps/bullying/ and tips for talking to schools: http://www.erasebullying.ca/parents/parents-helpful-tips.php

It includes information for parents and students – the parent section starts out with this:

Bullying can be a tough topic to bring up with your kids, but it’s an important conversation to have if they are showing signs of being a victim or a bully.

Bullying and aggression is often a cry for help. It’s important to be open to the possibility that your child could be in one of these roles. The most important thing you can do as a parent is to listen and not dismiss your child when they want to talk – they may only try once.

In this section you will find some key warning signs to know and watch for, and some tips on how to talk to your child and what you can do to help.

 

 Diagram of online reporting tool:
ERASE Bullying Online Reporting Tool

Boosting Your Child’s Success at School

As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. When families are involved in their children’s learning, children have better feelings about going to school and do better.  There are many ways that parents can support their children’s learning at home and throughout the school year. Here are some ideas to get you started!
Linda Campbell
School Counsellor, School District 57
lcampbell@sd57.bc.ca

 

Making Time Count

Put specific times on your calendar each week when you will spend time with your children. During that time, focus your love and attention on your child.
Use car time to talk with your children. There is no phone or TV to interfere. No one can get up and leave. And kids know they really have your ear.
Look for things to do together as a family. Get everyone involved in choosing how to spend your time together.

winter woods robins.jpg

Reading to Your Child

Try relaxing your family’s bedtime rules once a week on the weekend. Let your child know that he can stay up as late as he wants as long as he ís reading in bed.
Help your child start their own library, paperback books are fine. Encourage your child to swap books with friends. Check used bookstores. Give books as gifts.
Want your children to be good readers? Let them see you read. More students than ever have reported that their homes contained few or no reading materials.
Try holding D-E-A-R times at your house. DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. During DEAR time, everyone in the family sits down for some uninterrupted reading time.
With young children,try reading aloud at bath time.
Use the Rule of Thumb to see if a book is on your child’s reading level: Have your child read a page of the book aloud. Have her hold up one finger for each word she does not know. If she holds up four fingers and a thumb before the end of the page, the book is probably too hard for her to read alone. But it might be a great book to read aloud. Continue reading Boosting Your Child’s Success at School

Resources for Parents in Advocating for Children

The BC Coalition of Parent Advisory Councils has a terrific resource for parents:

http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/resources/speaking

A step-by-step guide to resolution advocacy for parents, who want to become better advocates for their children. This guide gives information on:

  • details how the school system works,
  • outlines parent and students rights and responsibilities,
  • provides strategies for advocating for children, and
  • supports student self-advocacy.

The school district has “steps for problem solving” as part of Bylaw #4:

http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/Policy_Manual/Policies/Bylaw4.pdf

 

A recent presentation at the BCCPAC Northern Regional Conference by Beverly Zorn, a local consultant, contained some terrific information about navigating special needs in the school system. Some information included:

A Compass for Successful School System Survival Strategies:

  1. Learn the culture of the school
  2. Know when and who to contact and develop a relationship
  3. Learn the roles
  4. Find your advocate
  5. Plan transition
  6. Be visible
  7. Services
  8. Show positive approach
  9. Bureaucracy
  10. Individual Education Planning (IEP)

and Keep Your Cool – Be Successful:

  1. Keep your cool: Your credibility and reputation for being cooperative is very important. Stay calm and be patient.
  2. Don’t get into arguments or debates. The goal is to make a difference. There is more than one way to make your point. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
  3. Don’t rule out the impossible. Your child is capable of being very different when away from home.
  4. Don’t get personal. Don’t bring your personality to the meeting table.
  5. Keep your body language quiet. Don’t threaten. A professional attitude will work wonders. Look to your advocate.
  6. Don’t agree with things you’re not sure about and don’t rush your decisions. Take a break…

Updates – Safer Schools and ERASE bullying initiatives

From the School District – the Safer Schools online binder. “This binder is an inclusive resource for the entire community.  The resources and links in this binder are meant to help support schools, students, parents and communities in creating inclusive learning environments. ”

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=440171

 

There were recent workshops held within the school district to train staff on ERASE bullying topics. Some recent announcements from the Ministry include:

http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2012/10/erase-bullying-strategy-to-keep-children-safe-online.html

 http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2012/10/erase-bullying-in-bc-on-twitter.html

Supreme Court Decision on Special Education

A North Vancouver father scored a major victory for learning-disabled children Friday when the country’s highest court ruled that a public school district discriminated against his dyslexic son by failing to teach him to read.

Rick Moore, who began his legal battle more than 15 years ago, said his family was thrilled with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision and believes it will have a profound impact around the province, even though the court did not find evidence of systemic discrimination.

“The fact that we won against one district means that all districts have to pay attention to the needs of these kids,” a jubilant Moore said in an interview, referring to children who have normal intelligence but require specialized instruction because they learn differently.

In a unanimous ruling, the judges said special education “is not a dispensable luxury. For those with severe learning disabilities, it is the ramp that provides access to the statutory commitment to education made to all children in British Columbia.”

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/education/North+Vancouver+school+district+discriminated+against/7524870/story.html#ixzz2Bt7BpuwK

 

Read the actual decision here

Draft Minutes – November 5, 2012 – General Meeting

DPAC Meeting Minutes Nov 5, 2012

Handed out at meeting – Don Sabo – Nov 5 2012

 

DRAFT – DPAC MINUTES FOR November 5th, 2012

7:00 p.m. Van Bien Training and Development Centre

 

Attendees:

DPAC Executive:          Sarah Holland (Chair), Chris Finke (Vice Chair), Gillian Burnett (Treasurer), Jacqueline Dockray (acting Secretary)  and Darlene Campbell (Director).

Partner Groups:          Brian Pepper, Superintendent; Kate Cooke, Trustee; Matt Pearce and Tina Cousins, PGDTA; Lorraine Prouse, CUPE; Faith MacKay, PGPVPA; Jay Khatra, DSAC.

School Reps:                Maureen Schulting, Buckhorn; Darlene Campbell, Nusdeh Yoh and Duchess Park; Jacqueline Dockray, College Heights Elementary; Chris Finke, DP Todd; Shauna Connor, Lac des Bois;  Lotte Andersen, Nukko Lake; Wayne Beach, Peden Hill; Sarah Holland, Heather Park; Michelle Rolfes, PGSS and Pineview; Don Sabo, Pinewood; Ryan Clarke, Quinson; Dennis Fudge, Spruceland

 

2.         Adoption of Agenda

Unanimous consent

 

3.         Adoption of October 1st, 2012 Minutes

Adopted as amended – see 7c.

 

4.         PAC Networking  Continue reading Draft Minutes – November 5, 2012 – General Meeting