Monthly Archives: December 2016

Resources for parents with issues with a school

There are a number of resources available for parents who have a concern with a teacher, staff member, or a school, and who want to address this concern in a productive manner.

School District 57:

The district lists their “GUIDELINES FOR RESOLVING PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS” here, which is an appendix to their Bylaw No. 4:

http://www.sd57.bc.ca/Lists/Publications/Guide_to_solving_problems.pdf

Their document starts off with:

  • Ordinarily, start with the person whose decision has given rise to the concern or problem.
  • Always give each step a chance to correct the problem before you proceed to the next step.

STEP 1 TEACHER/STAFF MEMBER The vast majority of problems and concerns are resolved by the person whose decision gave rise to the issue.

STEP 2 PRINCIPAL Make an appointment with the principal. The principal may include other staff members in the meeting as appropriate.

STEP 3 ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT Ask your principal for the name of the Assistant Superintendent for your school. The principal will usually advise you how to proceed.

STEP 4 SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS Let the Superintendent know what steps you have taken to date.

STEP 5 BOARD OF EDUCATION Present your case in writing, indicating the steps you have taken to resolve the problem. The Superintendent can give assistance.

STEP 6 STUDENT APPEALS BRANCH Section 11 of the School Act and BC Reg 24/08 allow appeals of decisions made by Boards of Education under specific circumstances. www.studentappeals.gov.bc.ca

BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation:

Under the Teacher Act, members of the public may submit a written complaint to Commissioner for Teacher Regulation regarding the conduct or competency of  a certified educator whom they believe has failed to maintain the Standards for educators in BC.

The following documents are a helpful guide to submitting a complaint – note that they require a person to attempt to resolve concerns with the educator, and then follow the district’s procedures before filing a complaint.

 

BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils:

This resource is a very helpful, step-by-step guide to resolution advocacy for parents who want to become better advocates for their children. This guide gives information on:

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

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

 

 

School board decides against public input on new policy

At their November 1st and December 13th board meetings, trustees adopted motions that had not been previously publicized, contrary to past practice. Further, the board approved two new policies without providing the mandatory 60 day opportunity for public comment.

The school board decided at the December 13th meeting, by a four to three vote, to waive their policy 8310 on policy and policy development that requires public input for policies, and approve a new policy 1160 on the role of the board.

They also voted unanimously to approve policy 2111 on the role of the superintendent, again with no public input sought.

The motion was not published in the board book before the meeting, as is more usual.

One trustee brought up the benefits of having public input for important policies, but that topic was quickly dropped.

Has anyone been turned down by the district for anything, and told “that’s in policy”?  Apparently, now policies can be waived with no public notice – even policies that deal with how to change policies, and have provision in them for a policy to be immediately adopted.

 

More info on policy 8310:

“Policies are developed as statements of principle and rules of action for the school district. Policies should govern and direct decision-making in all areas of jurisdiction”

4. When a new policy is developed, a review must be done to ensure that it is not in conflict with existing policies, legislation or collective agreements.

5. A new policy or major revisions to an existing policy must be reviewed by senior administration, by the appropriate committee of the Board, if applicable, and by the Policy and Governance Committee before being presented to the Board [in draft] for consideration.

6. Once a new policy or a major revision to an existing policy has been approved by the board for consideration, it must be distributed for a 60-day public consultation period prior to final approval by the Board. During this period, the policy must be posted on the district website and distributed to trustees, partner groups, schools and administrators in order for them to provide input. The policy may be distributed to other applicable standing committees, organizations or individuals for input at the discretion of the Superintendent of Schools or the Board.

7. The 60-day consultation period for a draft policy shall not include the summer break.

8. By separate motion, the Board may, if it deems necessary, approve a policy in principle, for implementation while the input process occurs. In these circumstances, the policy may be amended and must be approved by the Board following the conclusion of the consultation period.

 

More info on motions with no advance notice at board meetings:

The board publishes the board agenda package the Friday before a board meeting here: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/Board/Agendas/Pages/default.aspx

Traditionally, the board agenda package would include the text of motions being made.

At the November 1st board meeting, the board passed three motions that had not been distributed before the meeting. DPAC wrote a letter regarding some issues, including the concern with the notice:

“The board agenda package is made available to the public on the Friday before a board meeting. On the Monday preceding a board meeting, a valuable Partner Group President meeting occurs, during which the superintendent reviews the board agenda package, goes over any business that may be arising, and answers any Partner Group President questions.

The three motions arising from the long range facilities plan were not included in the board agenda package, nor were the partner groups informed of these motions. There was no notification until a few moments before the board meeting started, which did not allow for any public or partner group input on this matter.”

 

At the direction of the board, the superintendent responded: “Your concern with appropriate notification is acknowledged.”

DPAC General Meeting December 12th

 

Agenda – DPAC General Meeting
Monday, December 12, 2016, 7:00 p.m., Van Bien Training Centre
1. Call to order
2. Adoption of agenda and Adoption of Minutes
3. PAC Networking and discussion (To increase the effectiveness of this section of the agenda, we suggest that people report on ideas that may be of interest to other PACs, or concerns that other PACs could help with.)

7:30pm – Partner groups enter
4. Partner Group Presentations (five minutes each – questions may be taken about general topics, detailed and specific questions are best kept to the break)
a) District Student Advisory Council ( )
b) CUPE Report (Karen Wong) – Received communication that Karen would be unable to attend as she is in Vancouver at the moment.
c) Prince George District Teachers Association Report (Richard Giroday)
d) Prince George Principal and Vice Principals Association Report (Kelly Johansen)
e) Superintendent Report ( Marilyn Marquis-Forster )
f) Trustee Report ()
(5 – 10 minute snack break, opportunity for further partner group discussions)
5. Officer and Committee Reports
a) Executive Board Report (Gillian Burnett)
b) Treasurer’s Report (Sarah Holland)
c) Draft Budget
d) BCCPAC Report
6. PAC and Parent Assistance
a) PAC Café – February 25th
b) White Hatter Presentation
7. Advising School District
a) Education Services Committee Report (Steve Shannon)
b) Education Programs and Planning Committee Report ( Gillian Burnett)
c) Policy and Governance (Mike Gagel)
d) Long Range Facility Plan – Communications to date
e) Enrollments, Projections and Capacity DPAC Review
f) Suggestions for School Board Report
8. Election – Director positions

9. Other Business
a) Communicating Student Learning and Parent Engagement Opportunity to provide input at Ministry Community Meeting February 22nd, 2017
10. Agenda items for next meeting
11. Adjournment – Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 9th, at 7:00 pm, Van Bien.

Clarification from District regarding Duchess Park motion

DPAC recently wrote a letter to the District, with concerns around the notice of motions, the wording of the Duchess Park motion, and concerns around the method and numbers used in their analysis.
Previous posts:
Duchess Park motion:
“that the Board direct the Superintendent to enforce the existing catchment area for Duchess Park Secondary school, regular program, on a graduated basis as indicated in the Appendix, beginning with new enrolment for the 2017-18 school year, until such time as Duchess Park Secondary, regular program, enrolls catchment area students only.”
The intent of the Duchess Park motion seems to be to limit enrolment of non-catchment students, so as to have room for students at the school. An example given at the board meeting was that 135 students attended Duchess Park last year, who live in the DP Todd catchment.
However, it was unclear if students enrolled at a feeder elementary school would still be entitled to transition to Duchess Park for grade 8, if they did not live in the Duchess Park catchment. As an example, Spruceland Elementary is a feeder school for Duchess Park, and that school is physically located in the DP Todd catchment. According to policy, a student is entitled to attend either the “secondary school serving the catchment area in which the student resides”, “or the secondary school to which his or her current [elementary] school is linked”. Also according to policy, students may register at a choice elementary school no matter what catchment they live in, and may enrol at a regular school in a different catchment if there is space in that school.
We have received clarification from the district that the motion does not attempt to override policy 5119, which allows for transition to grade 8 from feeder schools. Some examples:
  • a family living in Kelly Road catchment but was granted out-of-catchment admission to Edgewood and is attending Edgewood in Grade 7-  Will the Grade 7 student be entitled to attend Duchess Park for Grade 8? Yes, Duchess Park is the designated secondary school for Edgewood.
  • family living in DP Todd catchment but was attending the school-of-choice Spruceland in Grade 7-  Will the Grade 7 student be entitled to attend Duchess Park for Grade 8? Yes, Duchess Park is the designated secondary school for Spruceland Traditional.  This student would also be entitled to attend DP Todd because of home address.
  • family living in Duchess Park catchment but was attending school-of-choice Polaris Montessori in Grade 7-  Will the Grade 7 student be entitled to attend Duchess Park for Grade 8? Yes, entitled because of home address.  This student is also entitled to attend PGSS as the designated Montessori Secondary School.
The district has indicated that they will have the company that provided them with the enrolment projection data respond regarding the assumptions that were made, to see if the analysis took into consideration all aspects of current SD57 policy on catchment and registration – that students living in a non-Duchess Park catchment may be entitled to attend Duchess Park.
DPAC has concerns around capacity for students in different schools in this district. As a district, we will all need to respond to these challenges. We need to ensure that those affected have an opportunity to provide input, that that input is used in the decision making process, the data used is accurate, and that decision making process is transparent.

Implications of BCTF win in Supreme court decision

The BCTF and their employer are currently meeting to discuss how to proceed, after the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-teachers-union-wins-landmark-appeal-at-supreme-court/article32793770/

Both the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association said the discussion went well and will continue with an all-day meeting Friday. 

“We left feeling positive and cautiously optimistic about next steps,” said BCTF president Glen Hansman. 

The employers association said in a statement on its website that the meeting was a “positive start.”

…Hansman said implementation may take some time, so districts can determine what positions are needed to fill the gaps between the 2002 language and what is in place today. After that, they will post the positions, go through an application process and finally fill them.

“This isn’t like flicking on a light switch,” Hansman said.

…Hansman said it may be difficult to find enough qualified teachers for some positions, especially in rural areas of the province or in specialty areas like French immersion, secondary school science or school counsellors. 

The BCTF estimates the restoration could mean adding $250 million to $300 million to B.C.’s $5.1-billion annual school budget — though school superintendents estimated as much as $1 billion in 2014.

 

For those interested, DPAC has a copy of the language stripped from the BCTF contract, with notes as to the SD57 staffing ratios.

20161110_language-stripped-from-bctf-contract-and-returned

Email from Fresh Slice

Passing along an email from a Prince George restaurant…

Fresh Slice Pizza is a well established BC owned and operated Franchise Corporation. We would like to support the community that has supported us throughout our record breaking first six months in business in Prince George, by offering a Hot Lunch program designed with local schools in mind. Our freshly prepared pizza, made with skim milk cheese, low fat sauces and our acclaimed Multigrain Dough can be delivered hot and delicious to your school with no delivery charge with a minimum purchase of $50.

FUNDRAISING
Freshslice is committed to working with the community and our partners to assist in generating revenue for their school programs and extracurricular activities. In this spirit we have developed a very successful fundraising program that enables schools and other institutions in raising funds to help seed new program and events.

For more details/menu items etc. please visit us at www.freshslice.com email us at 999centralst@freshslice.com or call us directly 250-563-5601.