Subscribing to school calendars

At the last DPAC meeting, it was mentioned that people can get school calendars to show up on their own electronic calendars, which can be a very useful way to keep track of what is going on.

To do so, you’ll need to go to your school’s website, and find the Calendar page.

On the upper right hand side, you’ll see Subscribe, next to a little icon of a calendar. If you click on that, you’ll see a link, an address that starts out webcal://www.sd57.bc.ca/school  (and then it will continue).

Depending on your system, clicking on the link may set it up in your calendar. If not:
* copy the link address onto your clipboard
* go to your current calendar – I’ll give the example for Google calendar
* on the left, you’ll see Other calendars, and a little drop down icon
* if you click there, you’ll see a list of options, including Add by URL. Paste the webcal address there.
* you’ll now see that schools’ calendar listed under your other calendars, and you can even change the colour of those events.

If you have a different calendar program, try googling for “webcal” and the calendar name.

News release: New concussion resource for teachers helps children and youth with recovery

Vancouver – BC Children’s Hospital is launching a new evidence-based tool for educators to help prevent, recognize and respond to concussions in the classroom.
 
The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online, free resource that school professionals can use to help children as they return to school after time off from a concussion or if they sustain a concussion while at school.
 
Outdoor activites and sports like hockey, soccer and football are a fun way for children and teens to stay active. But if an impact happens that involves a direct blow to the head or other part of the body, it can result in a brain injury known as a concussion.
 
Developed by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia (UBC), the CATT provides educators with recommendations about classroom adjustments to help students as they recover and to avoid potential life-long complications.
 
After a head injury, a lot of ordinary things at school can bring back concussion symptoms. Stimulation from other kids in the classroom, loud noises on the playground, and the stress of school work can trigger headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion.

Teachers can go to www.cattonline.com to find out about modifications they can make for a concussed student such as reducing reading and homework, shortening the school day or adjusting deadlines for projects and tests. The tool features short, five-minute videos with sports stars like pro hockey player Sidney Crosby that provide kids with tips about staying safe during play.

The CATT also has specific information for medical professionals, parents, players and coaches. Smartphone-accessible forms and tools help parents and coaches track symptoms in order to respond to a head injury and record information that may be helpful to medical professionals.
The resources in the CATT are updated on a monthly basis. The tool was developed based on the latest research and best-practice recommendations by researchers provincially, nationally and internationally, with funding from the Ministry of Health, Child Health BC and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
 
Quotes:
 
Health Minister Terry Lake –
 
“Keeping kids safe from injuries is a priority for our government. Tools like this equip all people who care for children – including parents, coaches and educators – with knowledge on how to prevent head injuries and tips to help kids recover fully, if they suffer a concussion.“
 
Carl Roy, President & Chief Executive Officer, Provincial Health Services Authority 
 
“CATT is a direct result of PHSA’s commitment to innovative research for better health. This new resource will provide educators and parents a more effective way to monitor the recovery process of a child suffering from a concussion.
 
Dr. Shelina Babul, associate director and sports injury specialist at the BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit and BC Children’s Hospital 
 
Parents and teachers often question when its safe for a child to go back to school after a concussion, or if children should be pulled out of sports. We developed the CATT to help them educate themselves on how to help a child recover and get quickly back to their usual routines.
Quick Facts:
 
·         A concussion is a traumatic brain injury.
·         Symptoms of a concussion can include headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion. They may appear immediately or after hours or days. Serious complications can include brain damage, disability and death if not recognized immediately.
·         When properly managed, 85% of concussions resolve uneventfully after approximately two weeks.
·         1,541 children were admitted to BC Children’s Hospital ER with a concussion or mild head injury in 2015.
·         Children are more vulnerable to concussions because their brains are still developing, their heads are bigger relative to their body size, and their necks are weaker.
Learn More:
 
Funded by the Ministry of Health, Child Health BC and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is available at www.cattonline.com. It is made up of three components:
1.       For medical professionals: to learn about the latest care and management techniques for patients who have had a concussion
2.       For parents, players and coaches: to learn how to recognize and respond to a concussion and help a player recover
3.       For teachers and school professionals: to learn how to support a student who is returning to school after a concussion or who has sustained a concussion at school
 
BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides expert care for the province’s most seriously ill or injured children, including newborns and adolescents. It is an academic health centre affiliated with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the Child & Family Research Institute. Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children is the provincial facility that offers specialized child development and rehabilitation services to children and youth.
 

Continue reading News release: New concussion resource for teachers helps children and youth with recovery

Movie license information

In response to some recent questions about movies shown by PACs, there is information available here:

http://acf-film.com/en/index.php

ACF is the exclusive Canadian public performance rights representative for numerous studios and 1000’s of films, and only our license allows you to present movies for leisure purposes legally. We offer short term and annual public performance licenses that protect you against copyright infringement.

Frequently Asked Questions

•  Do I need a license if I show movies during lunch or as part of kindergarten programs? YES
•  Do I need a license if movies are free or just for a few students? YES
•  Do I need a license if movies are personally owned or purchased from retail stores? YES
•  Do I need a license for charity fundraiser events? YES
•  Do movie events organized by parents associations require a license? YES
•  Are the movies and studios listed here covered by other vendors? NO
•  Do copyright laws allow me to show movies for leisure purposes without a license? NO

 

All ACF licenses allow for the unlimited presentation of regular commercially available movies from the studios we represent during and after school hours, including fundraisers, family movie nights, and school community events. Movies can be obtained from any legal source, such as video rental/retail stores, personal collections, public libraries and online vendors.

Pre-release titles are exclusively available from us and are shipped directly to you for your event. Booking requests must be sent by email or by using our quote request form, and confirmed by one of our representatives.

 

PACs will want to check with your school administration to check on whether or not you can obtain pre-release movies.

Talk With Our Kids About Money Day

April 20th is Talk With Our Kids About Money Day. This is a new initiative in BC that features a free and fully developed website for parents in addition to a free and fully developed website for teachers. The topic is financial literacy.
Last year, 2020 schools and 400,000 students participated in Talk With Our Kids About Money Day across Canada. Research shows the importance of starting early in order to promote the development of positive skills, attitudes and behaviours towards money.
Please encourage your school to register and explore the free lesson plans and activities. If the teachers don’t have time, please share this information with your parents. Most people agree that our graduates need to be more prepared for their financial futures. Our non-profit, non-partisan organization has a plan to create meaningful impact in this area and TWOKAM Day is our start in BC.

Prince George Pro D Day Flyer

The flyer is produced as a community service by the City of Prince George and promotes recreation, fitness, culture and education and is a valuable resource for parents and teachers that are looking for activities for kids to be involved in on April 22nd & 25th Pro D Day’s.  This is the sixth edition of the flyer for the 2015-2016 school year: a flyer is distributed prior to each Pro D Day, Spring break and Summer break.

The flyer is also available on the City Of Prince George website at www.princegeorge.ca (look under City Living>Recreation>Youth Programs).  The flyer changes from one Pro D Day to the next but the link to access it on the City website is the same.

This is the direct link: http://princegeorge.ca/cityliving/recreation/YouthPrograms/ProDDay

Please feel free to link to this site on your school websites and list it in your monthly newsletter.  A link in the school monthly newsletter is the best way to reach most students and parents/caregivers.  Please also feel free to share the flyer or link with staff, administration as well as parents and students.

Thank you for your time in sharing this resource.

 

Paulette Wilson, Community Coordinator

Community Partnerships, City of Prince George

Fraser Institute Report for Elementary Schools

The Fraser Institute has published their yearly, controversial, ranking of BC elementary schools:

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/report-card-on-british-columbias-elementary-schools-2016

While parents want data about schools, and to see how schools are doing, this is not a terribly useful, accurate, or helpful report. 

There is a BC government website that allows parents to access data about elementary schools:  http://www.discoveryourschool.gov.bc.ca/

 

Here are two web posts that give some background information on how these results are calculated:

http://donaldgutstein.com/eight-distortions-and-other-problems-in-the-fraser-institutes-report-card/

“…

2. Twenty percent of a school’s ranking comes from differences between the results achieved by boys and girls. This artificially depresses the scores of schools with students of lower socio-economic status where, typically, gender differences are more pronounced.

Worse, and inexplicably, the Fraser gives more weight to gender differences than to the actual results. Gender differences in Grade 7 numeracy and reading tests (what happened to writing?) account for 10 percent each. The actual test results account for only 7.5 percent each.

3. Twenty-five percent of a school’s ranking comes from the percentage of tests “not meeting expectations.” This result penalizes low-performing schools by accounting for their low scores twice.

4. Ten percent of a school’s ranking comes from the percentage of tests not written in a school. This indicator was added in 2007 “to encourage schools to ensure a high level of participation in the FSA testing program.” It is a not-so-veiled attack on the BC Teachers Federation and parents who don’t want their children to write the tests.

That punishing the BCTF is the purpose of this component of the rankings can be seen by comparing the Fraser Institute’s BC and Alberta elementary schools rankings. This component does not exist in the Alberta report card where the union is not as activist in opposing mandatory testing.

…”

 

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/jack-knox-fraser-institute-school-rankings-fail-the-test-of-utility-1.888744

The annual Fraser Institute ranking of B.C. elementary schools is out, showing that — shock! — private schools perform better than those where the kids arrive hungry and get stacked up like cordwood in the classroom.

Of course the Saint Whoever schools rank well, is the standard response. Children are screened before being accepted, special-needs kids have better support and, as a retired teacher pointed out in a letter to the editor, class sizes “are smaller than most grade-school birthday parties.” If a parent is paying both taxes and tuition, the results better justify the extra outlay.

Sure enough, this year’s report showed that 19 of the 20 schools that tied for first place — including Victoria’s Saint Michaels University School — were independents. West Vancouver’s Cedardale was the lone public institution. The other end of the scale was just as predictable: inner city and remote schools that might as well be named Sisyphus Elementary, the students destined to push uphill boulders that always rolls back on them.

If the Fraser Institute results never vary, neither does our reaction: we all A) complain that the rankings are statistics-twisting nonsense, then B) rush to see how our kids’ school placed. Nature abhors a vacuum; parents know the report’s methodology leaves a lot to be desired, but in the absence of a more comprehensive way to measure the quality of their children’s education, they’ll seize on this one. To which Helen Raptis says “Don’t.”

Ditto for David Johnson.

Raptis is associate dean of education at UVic. Johnson is an economics prof at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., and the education policy scholar at another think tank, the C.D. Howe Institute.

Both think the standardized testing on which the Fraser Institute rankings are partially based is useful — just not in the way the Fraser Institute is using it. The tests were never meant to be used as the education equivalent of TripAdvisor.

The rankings rely in part on the Foundation Skills Assessment taken by all B.C. students in Grades 4 and 7 to test their knowledge of numeracy, reading and writing (though note that in Greater Victoria, most elementary schools don’t go to Grade 7). If a parent really wants to use a yardstick to measure school performance, go to the Education Ministry website to look up that data, Raptis says.

But those tests account for just 45 per cent of an elementary school’s Fraser Institute ranking, she says. The balance of the weighting is based on indicators that haven’t been proven to affect school performance, but that are skewed against schools with a lot of kids of lower socio-economic status. The result is that a school full of poorer kids can be ranked below one with inferior test results.

Forget all the public-versus-private school talk, Raptis says. This is just an Orwellian exercise that pulls down good schools by measuring them with tools of uncertain usefulness. The low rankings of low socio-economic schools are inevitable, discouraging progress. It’s actually counter-productive, which is why the Times Colonist decided to stop publishing the Fraser Institute list a few years ago, she notes.

Johnson’s objections are different — and somewhat contradictory. He developed a more complete measuring system for the C.D. Howe Institute that incorporates socio-economic variables that the Fraser Institute ignores, he says. That allows schools in similar circumstances to be compared, allowing improvements can be made. “What you really want to do is look at schools that outperform similar schools and see what you can learn from that.”

Even then, forget saying with a straight face that School X, in 132nd place, is better than 445th-ranked School Y. We all like Top 10 lists, and there’s a sexiness to ranking schools one through 982, but Johnson scoffs at the idea of rating them that finely, particularly when doing so by focussing on year-to-year changes in the average FSA scores. In a small school, a handful of students who test particularly poorly or well can shift the marks dramatically. Better to put more weight on longer-term trends and the percentage of students who achieve at an acceptable level.

As it is, Johnson simply doesn’t find much value in the annual fuss. “I think it just annoys people.”

General DPAC Meeting April 4th

The meeting will be held starting at 7pm at the Van Bien Training and Development Centre, on Monday, April 4th.

A weblink will be posted for attending the meeting remotely – which we’re very pleased to say worked well in March:

https://ca-sas.bbcollab.com/m.jnlp?sid=7345&password=M.4A4ABFDECDFC1AD35666A7B4353AAC

This webconference is set up through LearnNowBC’s Blackboard Collaborate service. A participant guide for this service can be found here:

http://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/v12/Participant

Agenda – DPAC General Meeting
Monday, April 4th, 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) DSAC Presentation (Josh Nycholat )
b) CUPE Report (Karen Wong)
c) Prince George District Teachers Association Report (Richard Giroday)
d) Prince George Principal and Vice Principals Association Report (Dan Watt)
e) Superintendent Report ( )
f) Trustee Report (Brenda Hooker)
(5 – 10 minute snack break, opportunity for further partner group discussions)
5. Elections –Vacant Secretary position
6. Officer and Committee Reports
a) Executive Board Report (Sarah Holland)
b) Treasurer’s Report (Gillian Burnett)
c) BCCPAC Report
7. PAC and Parent Assistance
a) Grant requests
b) Digital and online safety workshop – Thursday, April 14th, at Vanier Hall
8. Advising School District
a) School District Budget Consultation Committee, meetings April 4th and April 20th
b) Superintendent Job Interview Panel, May 5th
c) Calendar Committee report
d) Education Services Committee Report (Steve Shannon)
e) Education Programs and Planning Committee Report ( Mike Gagel)
f) Policy and Governance (Sarah Holland)
g) Suggestions for School Board Report

9. Other Business
a) BCCPAC Resolutions – workshop and proxies – Sunday, April 10th
b)
c)
10. Agenda items for next meeting
11. Adjournment – Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May ____ at 7:00 pm, Van Bien.

BCCPAC Proxies and Resolution workshop

Join us at a resolutions workshop to discuss how to vote at the provincial BCCPAC Conference. We will be starting at 11:00am at the Van Bien Training Centre, on Sunday, April 10th.  As food will be provided, we ask that you register.

Agenda:

Review resolutions and nominations: http://bccpac.bc.ca/news-blog/2016-bccpac-resolutions

 

Resolutions include radon, capacity, proper funding for quality public education, and Ministry funding formulas.

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?

Confirm your membership status and voting rights HERE 

Don’t forget – we will take your proxy to vote, and refund your BCCPAC membership fee if you want!

http://bccpac2016.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/4/3/26435764/2016_proxy_form.pdf

 

Any questions?

Please email info@sd57dpac.ca

Modified curriculum – background information

What is the provincial curriculum?

The British Columbia provincial curriculum defines for teachers what students are expected to know and be able to do in their grade and area of learning. It provides the learning standards for students in BC schools.

Why is BC’s curriculum changing?

  • In today’s technology-enabled world, students have instant access to a limitless amount of information. For all students, the great value of education is in learning the skills to successfully locate, analyze, and apply the information they need in their work and personal lives after they graduate.
  • Experts from BC and around the world advise that curriculum should put more emphasis on concepts, competencies, and processes.
  • The existing curriculum can restrict student learning because it has so many objectives to cover. The highly prescriptive nature of the existing curriculum puts it at odds with the vision of a more personalized learning experience set out in BC’s Education Plan.

How is curriculum changing?

Drawing on extensive research and ongoing consultations with educators across the province, the Ministry of Education is redesigning curriculum to fit with the modern education system that is needed for today’s world. The curriculum redesign aims to:

  • reduce the prescriptiveness of the existing curriculum while ensuring a consistent focus on the essential elements of learning
  • allow teachers and students the flexibility to personalize the learning experience to better match each student’s individual strengths and needs
  • balance the foundational skills that students need to learn with the “big ideas” or concepts that they need to understand to succeed in their education and their lives

Curriculum is being designed to support development of critical thinking, communication skills, and personal and social competence.

 

What will be the same?

  • There will continue to be rigorous learning standards in each area of learning.
  • There will continue to be an emphasis in all grades on the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy. Subjects such as Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies will remain at the heart of every student’s education. But with the redesigned curriculum, students will be able to develop a deeper understanding of those subjects and their fundamental concepts.
  • Curriculum is now and will continue to be designed for the majority of students; classroom teachers will continue to adapt or modify standards for selected students as appropriate.

 

What will be different?

  • All areas of learning are being redesigned at the same time using a common framework.
  • The structure of the redesigned curriculum is more flexible to enable teachers to develop cross-curricular learning experiences for students and take advantage of current topics of interest to students.
  • In the redesigned curriculum framework, core competencies — such as critical thinking, communication, and social responsibility — are made explicit.
  • Each area of learning features Big Ideas that are important for students to understand.
  • The curriculum is balanced: it emphasizes core foundational skills while focusing on higher-level conceptual understandings.
  • Standards remain rigorous; however, the new learning standards are more open in nature, making them less rigid, less detailed, and less focused on minor facts.
  • Aboriginal perspectives and content have been authentically integrated into every subject.

What are the implementation timelines?

  • K–9 curriculum is available for voluntary use by teachers in the 2015/16 school year. It will become the official curriculum in the 2016/17 school year.
  • Grade 10–12 curriculum will be available for voluntary use in the 2016/17 school year. It will become the official curriculum in the 2017/18 school year.

Can I get details on each subject and grade’s curriculum?

Yes – visit here: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum