Parent Information night – Children with Behaviour Disorders

The BC Council for Children with Behaviour Disorders (BCCCBD) is holding a day long session with Cris Rowan, BScOT, BScBi, SIPT, CEO Zone’in Programs Inc. and Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy Services Inc., on:

  • AM Workshop – Harnessing Energy – Goal: profiles the Zone’in Concept to improve self-responsibility, and offers information regarding sensory integration, tools and techniques to enhance sensory processing, attention and learning ability.
  • PM Workshop – Disconnect/Reconnect – Goal: raises public awareness regarding the damaging impact of technology on child development and academic performance, and provides initiatives for homes, schools, health professionals, governments, researchers, and technology production corporations to create ’sustainable’ children.

The full day session is $100, but a A FREE parent night will also be offered from 6:30pm-8:30 on May 11h at the Van Bien T & D Centre – 311 Wilson Crescent.

If individuals are interested in attending the parent workshop, just let the secretary at their school know, or call Student Support Services at (250)561-9235. They can also just show up, but if they pre register then we will at least have ball park numbers on how many people to expect.

Policy 5119 Update

At the most recent policy and governance meeting, by a two to one vote, trustee representatives voted to send the changes to policy 5119 to the April 29th school board for a final decision.

The draft revisions, and the comparison between the current policy and draft:

The two trustees stated that there was no need for any changes to the draft changes to the policy, and no need to finish the discussion on the matter. A trustee stated that they did not feel that they had a mandate, at this point in their term of office, to make any changes to the draft amendments to the policy (but apparently would have a mandate to change the policy itself – just not the changes to the policy). Another trustee stated that they were interested in seeing what sort of feedback they got back from parents and other partner groups, as a result of putting this policy forward.

It is important to note that this policy already went out for feedback, and that DPAC sent in a submission representing about 200 parents concerns, and listing a number of suggested changes to the policy. Our submission to the board was as follows:

Trustees did debate at a previous board meeting in 2014 whether or not siblings of non-catchment enrolled children should have any priority at school registration time over catchment children – whether or not to prioritize keeping families together, or putting catchment children in a school. Trustees decided at that time to prioritize catchment children over siblings of non-catchment children – the order of priority would be siblings of catchment children currently enrolled, catchment children, siblings of non-catchment children currently enrolled, and non-catchment children. That decision of the board is not reflected in the draft changes to the Regulations, which do not give any priority to any siblings.

It is important to note that the Regulations is the board’s responsibility, and can be changed only by the board. Anything other than a minor change must go out for public input. The Administration Procedures in the policy document is the area controlled by the Superintendent, and can be changed by the Superintendent at any time, without requiring the permission of the board. Administrative procedures cannot contradict Regulations, and are meant to go into more detail.

More information on the difference between sections of policy: http://sd57dpac.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Davies-Brickell-System-for-policy-development.pdf

 

The April 29th board meeting would be held in Mackenzie, but a video conference hookup would be available in the Prince George board office. It is possible that the board may wish to change the board meeting that this discussion will be held, as this is a policy that really is most important in situations where there is more than one school option in a community (unlike Mackenzie).

Budget shortfalls across BC School Districts

Note: DPAC expects to hear the final numbers for budget shortfalls in SD57 on Wednesday, at the expanded committee of the whole.

From the Vancouver Sun:

School boards around the province are facing at least $56 million in budget cuts and considering eliminating more than 350 jobs heading into the new school year.

And that doesn’t include some districts that have not yet released their budget figures for next year, including Surrey, the largest district in the province.

In Coquitlam, the province’s third-largest school district, the shortfall is $13.4 million on their $270-million total budget, which could mean the elimination of 163 full-time jobs including 103 teachers, support staff, special education assistants and school administrators.

The Vancouver district is faced with a $12.34-million shortfall, which could mean the loss of 70 full-time positions, including controversial decisions like cutting elementary school band or eliminating the district’s athletic coordinator. Next year could be even more challenging because Vancouver schools are facing a $26.6-million shortfall for the 2015-16 school year.

While Vancouver’s budgetary woes have been caused at least in part by declining enrolment — districts are funded by the province on a per-pupil basis — many districts, such as Central Okanagan and Delta, are facing shortfalls despite the fact enrolment is projected to increase.

Budget cuts are still necessary in many areas because the overall provincial budget for education has remained flat, while rising costs — such as support staff wage increases, hydro cost increases, Medical Services Plan premiums and other mandatory benefit costs — are not being covered by the provincial government.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/School+districts+across+planning+deep+cuts+balance+budgets/9746279/story.html#ixzz2zX6BwbBS

Field trips and Hardship Policy

There was a recent article in the Tyee about students self-excluding from field trips, due to financial concerns:

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/04/10/Students-Self-Exclude/

A public school system is intended to provide all children with an equitable education, regardless of their family’s income. That means school fees should never stand in the way of a good education.

Sometimes, however, it’s students or their parents standing in the way. Faced with having to admit poverty, or knowing that asking for their parents’ money will elicit an “I’m sorry, we can’t afford it,” students exclude themselves from field trips, courses, or other educational “extras” that come with a price tag.

 

As a reminder to parents, school district 57 has a financial hardship policy for students:

http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/Policy_Manual/Policies/5101.pdf

The Board of Education of School District No. 57 (Prince George) is committed to ensuring that no student is denied an opportunity to participate in a course, class or program because of financial hardship.

The administrative procedures as laid out in policy are as follows:

  1. All communication with students and/or parents regarding fees and deposits must include a statement that explains that fees will not be a barrier to student participation in school activities.
  2. Schools will publish, at the beginning of each school year, a schedule of fees and deposits. This schedule shall include reference to the procedures that can be followed by students, or parents on behalf of students, who would otherwise be excluded from the course, class or activity because of financial hardship.
  3. Schools will establish a hardship application process that is clear to students and parents. All staff members should be aware of this financial hardship provision and be able to advise students and parents with regard to access.
  4. The procedures for addressing financial hardship must be clearly communicated to parents and students and should be conveyed in such media as the student handbook, the parent handbook, student planners, newsletters and/or the school’s website.
  5. The hardship application process may be formal or informal. The process must always, however, respect an individual’s privacy and dignity and adhere to strict principles of confidentiality and fairness.
  6. All requests for support will be considered by the school. The school should consider, but not be limited to, the following options: deferred payment, payment over time, partial waiver or full waiver.

 

Schools that are not following these policies should be reminded of policy 5101.

Resource Materials for Parents on IEPs and Speaking Up

At last night’s DPAC meeting, reference was made to two BCCPAC resources for parents. Links to these resources are here:

http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/resources/individual-education-plans-guide-parents

JUST UPDATED in 2014 – Many parents are not sure what to expect at an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting. When they meet school staff on behalf of their child, they may feel vulnerable or even frightened. Often, they don’t know what to do and are not clear about their role in the process. In this guide, our focus is to help you understand how an IEP meeting works and how you and your child, working together with the school, can get the most out of this process for the benefit of your child.

 You know more about your child than anyone else. The school needs this information to tailor its teaching to your child’s way of learning. A good IEP brings together your knowledge about your child with the school’s knowledge about teaching. The IEP meeting will produce a plan of what the school will do to teach your child and help her succeed.

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

Call for Nominees for DPAC Executive

We are looking for willing people to step forward and be nominated for a rewarding position on our DPAC executive.  Meetings occur on the first Monday of the month with an executive meeting one week before.  Positions include the Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Directors, and District Associate.  Executive Members have the privilege of sitting on School District committees which provide an interesting insight into the operations and decision-making processes of the Board and District.
Please nominate someone you feel will contribute to encouraging and supporting parental involvement in our public education system, or nominate yourself if you would like to be involved.
Please contact either Chris Finke (cfinke@shaw.ca) or Jacqueline Dockray (jacqui@webartz.com) (DPAC Nominations Committee) with nominations before our May 5th AGM.
Thank you,
Chris and Jacqui

Last call for interested attendees for BCCPAC Conference in Richmond

Are you interested in attending the BCCPAC Conference and AGM in Richmond?

We currently have two people interested in attending, and we will be finalizing this decision for April 15th. If you are interested in attending, please let us know before April 15th - email chair@sd57dpac.ca for more information.

More information: http://conference.bccpac.bc.ca/

The full schedule and speakers list is just being updated now – please check back soon for more details and a full list of speakers and sessions.

 

BCCPAC Resolutions Meeting – April 27th

Join us at a resolutions workshop to discuss how to vote at the provincial BCCPAC Conference. We will be starting at 11am at the Van Bien Training Centre. As food will be provided, we ask that you register.

Register: http://dpacresolutions2014.eventbrite.ca
Agenda:

Nominations: http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/sites/default/files/nominationsonly2014_0.pdf

Resolutions: http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/sites/default/files/articles/resolutionsonly2014.pdf

As we will be providing food, pre-registration is required – no registration, no food, no fun.

 Why attend?

Various school PACs in this district are members of BCCPAC, and have the right to vote at the AGM. DPAC will be sending representatives, and can vote for members by proxy at the AGM. PACs may wish to give specific instructions to proxy holders on how to vote, or may wish to generally educate themselves about some of the provincial issues that PACs will be discussing.

 

Who can attend?

Any parent in the district. Your PAC can only vote if you’re a member of BCCPAC, but we encourage all parents to be informed.

 

Is my PAC a member of BCCPAC?

If you’re a member of BCCPAC, you should be receiving notices from BCCPAC.

 

Any questions?

Please email info@sd57dpac.ca

BCCPAC Conference – May 29-June 1, 2014

http://conference.bccpac.bc.ca/

The full schedule and speakers list is just being updated now – please check back soon for more details and a full list of speakers and sessions.

Note: DPAC will be sending representatives to the BCCPAC meeting in Richmond – if you’re interested in attending, please let us know in writing. Email chair@sd57dpac.ca for more information.