BCCPAC Membership update

Membership Update

RE: Budget 2018 Update and Follow Up Information on Playgrounds, SMP, and Early Learning

On February 20th, BCCPAC participated in the Budget 2018 Lock Up, represented by President, Jen Mezei, and 2nd Vice President, Andrea Sinclair.

The budget included three announcement that could have significant impact on the K-12 Education system:

  • $1 billion toward universal childcare and inclusive early learning over three years
  • Commitment to reducing portables and expediting the Seismic Mitigation Program (SMP)
  • $15 million dollars for an ongoing $5 million Playground Equipment Program

Below you will find excerpts from the media releases we sent out Feb 20, and follow up information we have received from a meeting with Deputy Minister, Scott MacDonald, and conversations with Ministry of Education staff.

Media Release: Strong Commitment to Inclusive Early Learning Benefits All Families
The Budget released on February 20th included significant commitment to universal child care and early learning. These changes could bring about dramatic and significant benefits for families with vulnerable children who require additional support. By reducing waitlists for Supported Child Development and Aboriginal Supported Development, families and children would be able to access much needed supports sooner. The potential for cohesive early identification and assessment is what parents of special needs children have been missing for decades.

“A strong commitment to inclusive early learning is better for all families,” says Jen Mezei, President of BCCPAC. “The investment and commitment to universal access to childcare and inclusive early learning is a positive indication that improved inter-ministerial cooperation could support the needs of children of all ages, especially those who require extra support.”

Universal access to quality early learning will enable all students entering Kindergarten to be better prepared and potentially better supported. The announced changed to the Early Learning Framework to include children up to eight years old will enable more seamless transition between early learning and the K-12 system. Early intervention and supports will result in better student outcomes long term.

Follow Up Information on Inclusive Early Learning:
In addition to advocating with the Ministry of Education and participating on the Early Learning Framework committee, we have set up a meeting with Minister of State for Childcare, Katrina Chen in the coming weeks to discuss the importance of inclusion and support for parents of special needs children in early learning. The potential inter-ministerial cooperation to ensure that children are supported in early learning through the transition to the K-12 education system, would immensely help with early identification and earlier supports for students.

Media Release: Reducing Portables and Increasing Safe Buildings Key in Budget
This Budget includes funding to maintain, replace, upgrade and expand schools including new school space due to increasing enrollment in growth districts. The strengthened commitment to expedite the Seismic Mitigation Program (SMP) ensures all children across the province will be learning in safe buildings. The reduced use and replacement of portables in fast-growing communities and crowded schools districts is welcome news to families.

“Parents have struggled to be heard in their demands for new safe, accessible schools and permanent buildings for their children’s learning; they are pleased to see accelerated seismic improvements to our schools and the capital funds allocated to continue this trend,” says Jen Mezei, President of BCCPAC.

More information on the acceleration of the Seismic Mitigation Program:
We asked the Ministry of Education for an explanation as to how projects can be accelerated if the capital funding amount in the 2018/19 budget is less than in the 2017/18 budget.

There are a number of stages that capital projects go through:

  • Approval Stage
  • Business case/Planning stage
  • Tendering
  • Construction

Projects are “announced” once they have passed the Approval Stage.  The majority of capital spending happens when projects get to the construction stage. Without acceleration, there were not enough projects in the Business Case Stage to meet capital expenditure targets. By accelerating the SMP there will be more projects in the pipeline and ready for construction sooner.

Media Release: Capital Funding to School Playgrounds Recognizes Inequities in Parent Fundraising
For the first time, a new ongoing Playground Equipment Program recognizes the pressure on parents to fundraise. This new $5 million annual capital expenditure will help to alleviate some of the inequities in parent fundraising and enable Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) to strengthen their advisory and advocacy roles.

“Parents have been advocating for funded playgrounds for over a decade; it’s long overdue for a government to finally recognize this,” says Jen Mezei, President of BCCPAC. “Parents believe that safe and accessible playgrounds should not be dependent on a school community’s ability or inability to raise funds,” she added.

Further information for BCCPAC members regarding the Playground Equipment Program:
The new $5 million Playground Equipment Program announced in the 2018 Budget will be an annual ongoing capital expenditure.

District will be applying for a flat allocation amount of money for either “regular” playgrounds and/or “accessible” playgrounds. The Ministry standard allocation is meant to include the equipment and installation of a standard playground. Schools may opt for larger equipment if supplemental funds are found elsewhere. BCCPAC will continue conversations with the Ministry of Education and forward more details as they are communicated to us.

For the coming 2018/19 school year, school districts will be identifying priorities in consultation with DPACs and PACs. The Ministry of Education will be giving priority to schools with:

  • No playground
  • No community playground in close distance

In future years this will be part of the Capital Plan process where districts submit their priorities. BCCPAC will be working with the Ministry of Education to help develop guiding criteria. Once again, DPACs and PACs will be part of the process in determining local priorities. Each district consultation process will most likely be different. It is important that DPACs and PACs ask their district administration what the process will look like in their district and what roles parents will have in the process.

General Meeting March 5, 2018

To be held at the Van Bien Training Centre at 7pm.

Agenda package to be posted.

Agenda – DPAC General Meeting
Monday, March 5, 2018, 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. Presentation – Northern Health Family Mediation
5. Partner Group Presentations (five minutes each – questions may be taken, once all reports are complete, about general topics, detailed and specific questions are best kept to the break)
a) District Student Advisory Council ( )
b) CUPE Report (Karen Wong)
c) Prince George District Teachers Association Report (Joanne Hapke)
d) Prince George Principal and Vice Principals Association Report (Kelly Johansen)
e) Senior Administration Report () –
f) Trustee Report (Sharel Warrington)

(5 – 10 minute snack break, opportunity for further partner group discussions)
6. Elections
a) Nominations committee
7. Officer and Committee Reports
a) Executive Board Report (Gillian Burnett)
b) Treasurer’s Report (Sarah Holland)
c) BCCPAC Report (Gillian Burnett)
8. PAC and Parent Assistance
a) Lunch hour survey/district surveys
b) Traffic issues
c) Guest Speaker/Seminar
9. Advising School District
a) Education Services Committee Report (Steve Shannon)
b) Education Programs and Planning Committee Report (Gillian Burnett)
c) Policy and Governance (Trudy )
d) Calendar Committee (Mike Gagel)
e) Suggestions for School Board Report –
10. Other Business
a) Policy 3541 – Student Transportation Home and School
11. Agenda items for next meeting
12. Adjournment – Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 9th, 2018, at 7:00 pm, Van Bien.

Catchment and Capacity Review

At the February 27, 2018 school board meeting, the board passed the following motion:

That the Superintendent of Schools be directed to review the recommendations of the Catchment and Capacity Stakeholder Review Advisory Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Long Range Facility Plan, and develop a plan for consultation with students, families, school staffs, and the wider community, for feedback to be brought forward to the Education Programs and Planning Committee related to education programs and the Education Services Committee related to the catchment and capacity of schools for the 2019-2020 and subsequent school years.
* * * * * * * *
RATIONALE:
1. At its meeting held January 8, 2018, the Education Services Committee received the reports of the Catchment and Capacity Stakeholder Review Advisory Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Long Range Facility Plan.

2. Each Committee presented recommendations to the Education Services Committee.

3. Recommendations related to student enrolment for the 2018-2019 school year were approved by the Board of Education at its meeting held on January 30  2018.

4. At its meeting held on February 5, 2018 the Education Services Committee discussed recommendations from both the Catchment and Capacity Stakeholder Review Advisory Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Long Range Facility Plan that required further broad input and consultation. The Education Services Committee is requesting that the Superintendent of Schools review the recommendations made for the 2019-2020 and subsequent school years, and develop a plan to consult with the students families, and staffs of schools, and the wider community to obtain feedback to inform recommendations that will be brought forward, through the Education Programs and Planning Committee and the Education Services Committee.

5. The recommendations that require further review and wider consultation include:
(1) Duchess Park Secondary – consideration of the programs offered at the school and the elementary schools that are part of this secondary school family

(2) Prince George Secondary – consideration of the programs offered at the school and the elementary schools that are part of this secondary school family.

(3) Prince George Secondary – consideration of a Capital Project for a new elementary school to be located on the site of the former Blackburn Junior Secondary School

(4) Mackenzie – a commitment to consider any proposals for the use of surplus space at Mackenzie Secondary School received from the District of Mackenzie or the Regional District of Fraser Fort George.

(5) Robson Valley – a commitment to continue to monitor enrolment in both schools in McBride in accordance with motions adopted by the Board of Education in November 2016 and January 2017.

(6) Hart Area Elementary Schools – consideration of a review of school catchment boundaries for all Hart Area elementary schools.

A question was asked of the Superintendent what she anticipated consultation looking like, and the response was that they anticipate surveying families affected and staff affected, and some mechanism for wider community input, as well as some opportunity to ask students for their opinions. This will involve paper as well as electronic methods for input, and likely a plan for some live meetings as well. They anticipate bringing forward a timeline to the Education Services committee in April, and a survey process taking place in April and May, with information for trustees to take a look at June and then September.

 

White Hatter – at Vanier Hall Monday, Feb 19th

Back by popular demand!

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online: Internet Literacy and Education for Parents with the White Hatter, Monday, 19 February 2018 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PST)

The Prince George District Parent Advisory Council, in cooperation with the Prince George School District, invites all parents to attend an evening educational session regarding online safety and children. Regular admission is $5, parents can also select a free ticket, or by donation. We want everyone to be able to attend.

The sessions will be presented by The White Hatter of the award winning organization Personal Protection Systems Inc.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see the White Hatter before, you’re in for an interesting and useful session. If you have seen the White Hatter before, come out for technological updates, and tell your friends!

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation runs from 7pm to 9pm on Monday, February 19th. Register now to reserve a seat!

Eventbrite - Keeping Your Kids Safe Online: Internet Literacy and Education for Parents with the White Hatter

School district draft policies

DPAC encourages parents to send comments to the district on the revisions to the student transportation policy.

On January 30, 2018 the Board of Education approved Draft Policy 3541 Student Transportation – Home and School for distribution to reference groups for input. A copy of the policy is below:

2017.11.07 3541 Student Transportation, Home and School – Sr. Admin

  •  Policy 3541 Student Transportation – Home and School has been revised to include the current school district practices regarding student transportation to and from home.

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR DRAFT POLICY 3541 STUDENT TRANSPORTATION – HOME AND SCHOOL IS APRIL 1, 2018.

 

The district also has several other draft policies out for input, including policies on budget development, accumulated operating surplus, and audit committee, as well as energy and sustainable conservation:

http://www.sd57.bc.ca/Board/Policies/Draft/Pages/default.aspx

 

General meeting February 5, 2018

The February DPAC meeting is Monday, February 5th at 7pm, at the Van Bien Training and Development Centre.

The agenda package will be posted soon.

We will offer web conferencing for people unable to attend in person (although the quality will depend on the internet connection quality that day).

Web conference link: https://hangouts.google.com/hangouts/_/sd57dpac.ca/dpacmeeting?authuser=0

If you encounter any difficulty logging in, please text 250-565-4949.

We ask that you send at least one person to represent your school – this is a way that your voice can count in the district. We need representation; we need to know what you want for parents in this district in order to be effective.

It’s important that parents have a strong and effective parent voice, and in order to do this, we need to have representatives from our PACs.

We also need new leadership in this DPAC, as a number of current Executive members will be leaving at the end of their term due to term limits, children graduating, or other commitments.

School catchment closings in some schools

At the school board’s January 30th meeting, the board voted to restrict new enrolment in the following schools to catchment area students only for the 2018/19:

  • Malaspina Elementary
  • Southridge Elementary
  • College Heights Secondary
  • Heritage Elementary
  • Glenview Elementary
  • Hart Highlands Elementary
  • Springwood Elementary
  • Edgewood Elementary
  • Duchess Park Secondary (regular program)

Note: this would not affect current out of catchment students, but may affect siblings of current non-catchment students attempting to register or transfer into the school.

The board also approved that kindergarten registration at the following schools be restricted (capped):

  • College Heights Elementary (French immersion, 40 students)
  • Spruceland Traditional (40 students)
  • Polaris Montessori (40 students)
  • Ecole Lac de Bois  (60 students)

 

Lastly, that for the 2018/19 school year, that both McBride Centennial and McBride Secondary schools operate in their current configuration.

Lunch Survey Report

DPAC presented the results of THE lunch survey to the school board at the January 30th board meeting:

2018 jan 30 DPAC parent lunch survey

We are pleased and encouraged by the paper based surveys the district has sent out at various elementary schools. These surveys give information on the current lunch time arrangements at each particular school, and ask parents if they are satisfied with lunch time provisions, ask for concerns, and what could be done differently.

We urge parents and parent advisory councils to continue this conversation with the staff at their child’s school, and to remember that purpose of parent advisory councils, according to the school act, is to advise the board and the principal and staff of the school respecting any matter relating to the school.

Should any PAC or principal wish to see results for their particular school, please email info@sd57dpac.ca, and we can provide you with this information.

District Administration – Response to preliminary lunch survey report in January 30th school board agenda package: 2018 Jan 30 District Admin Report

 

White Hatter in Prince George February 19

Back by popular demand!

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online: Internet Literacy and Education for Parents with the White Hatter, Monday, 19 February 2018 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PST)

The Prince George District Parent Advisory Council, in cooperation with the Prince George School District, invites all parents to attend an evening educational session regarding online safety and children. Regular admission is $5, parents can also select a free ticket, or by donation. We want everyone to be able to attend.

The sessions will be presented by The White Hatter of the award winning organization Personal Protection Systems Inc.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see the White Hatter before, you’re in for an interesting and useful session. If you have seen the White Hatter before, come out for technological updates!

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation runs from 7pm to 9pm on Monday, February 19th. Register now to reserve a seat!

Eventbrite - Keeping Your Kids Safe Online: Internet Literacy and Education for Parents with the White Hatter