Monthly Archives: February 2014

January 2014 Minutes

2014-01-27 DPAC General Meeting Minutes

 

D.P.A.C. MEETING NOTES

Schou Education Centre
4041 Canada Way
Burnaby, B.C.
DATE: January 27, 2014
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Schools Attending:

Brentwood North: Alpha, Confederation Park, Gilmore, Lochdale, Montecito, Sperling
Cariboo Lougheed: Burnaby Mountain, Cameron, Forest Grove, Lyndhurst, Stoney Creek, University Highlands, Twelfth Avenue
Central West: Burnaby Central, Buckingham, Lakeview, Moscrop, Cascade Heights, Inman, Marlborough
Kingsway South: Burnaby South, Nelson, Suncrest, Byrne Creek, Edmonds, Taylor Park

District Staff:

Kevin Kaardal, Superintendent of Schools; Gina Niccoli-Moen, Deputy Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli, Assistant Superintendent.

Board of Education Trustees and Their Zones:

Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed); Harman Pandher (Central West); Baljinder Narang, (Kingsway South); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South).

DPAC Executive: 

Katherine Robertson, Chair (Central West); Romy Bacchioni, Member at Large (Kingsway South ); Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed); Herman Louie, Member at Large (Central West); Kristin Schnider, Secretary (Cariboo Lougheed); Jocelyn Schonekess, Treasurer (Brentwood North).

Regrets: Jen Mezei, Past and Vice Chair (Cariboo Lougheed); Gjoa Andrichuk, Secretary (Central West).

1. Welcome and Introductions

The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm and introduced the District Staff, Trustees and DPAC Executive members present.

2. School Calendar – Kevin Kaardal, Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent Kaardal advised that the District is soliciting input from DPAC on the drafted framework before they set the calendar process for this year and post any future calendars in the next few weeks. The current process for the 2014 spring break was derived through consultation process that took place last year. During that engagement, staff promised to work with community to
support childcare programs and services during the two-week break to offset some parent community concerns regarding childcare spaces, etc. during the additional week of spring break.

Gina Niccoli-Moen further provided that the District is currently working with childcare providers that offer spaces within the School District to determine which facilities will be open and have additional spaces for students during spring break. Once the list of providers is completed it will be posted on the District website. The District is also working with Burnaby Parks and Rec in offering additional programming throughout the two weeks in Community Centres. The District is also looking at possibility of opening one of the District’s community schools and teaming with the City of Burnaby and More Sports to offer day camps. Additional information on programs will be posted by the website as soon as it’s available.

Superintendent Kaardal then acknowledged that another provision of the current calendar pilot was a commitment from staff to conduct a review in April after the first two-week spring break so that adjustments could be made for subsequent spring breaks. Last year, following the consultation process, staff were unable to recommend the second year of the pilot two-week calendar to the Board due to lack of consensus within Metro Vancouver Districts on the alignment of dates. Consequently, the Ministry deadline to submit next year’s school calendar is March 31, which comes before the conclusion of this year’s spring break. This makes an April review problematic as 2015 dates will have already been submitted. Kevin then affirmed that the District can do the review regardless, and if there’s a recommendation that the Board has already accepted for the 2014-2015 school year (and potentially beyond) the District can then reassess and either affirm that decision or reopen the calendar consultation process for 2014-2015 school year based on the results of that review.

Last year there were two primary reasons for the two-week spring break: (1) cost pressures and the budget savings resulting from the two-week spring break, and (2) alignment with Metro Schools Districts, which assists with recruitment and retention of staff. This year, the District determined that a one-year cycle with uncertainty afterward makes it challenging for community partners to set business plans and service plans (e.g. childcare and additional programming during
spring break). A three-year plan is more conducive for their needs and also fits the District’s budget cycle, creating some stability in understanding savings based on cost pressures, including negotiated salary increases, infrastructure, etc.

Process for 2014-2015 school calendar:

  • February 1 – post proposed calendar to District’s website (3-year calendar to be proposed)
  • Conduct a survey February 11 to 28 via DPAC and PAC listserves
  • A date is still to be confirmed for an open community discussion, like the one conducted last year
  • March 11 – recommendation to the Board on a three-year calendar
  • Calendar review to take place April 22 – May 3, which the provision to reopen the discussion for following year if results warrant
  • Affirm Board decision or plan for new 2014-2015 calendar

Superintendent Kaardal then reviewed the tentative three-year calendar, noting that 7 of 10 Metro Vancouver districts will have aligned dates in 2014-2015 and in 2015-2016 all districts will be aligned. For the 2014-2015 year, spring break is tentatively scheduled for March 9-20.
For the 2015-2016 year, spring break is tentatively scheduled for March 14-25, which includes Good Friday. So an additional school closure day is proposed for Feb 5.

A parent then asked about the additional closure day noticed in November ’14. Superintendent Kaardal acknowledged that there may be an additional closure day in the 2014-2015 year for the purposes of alignment with the other Metro Districts, who included it to allow for a long weekend in conjunction with Remembrance Day.

Another parent then asked why the 2014-2015 spring break occurred a week earlier than in the following year. Superintendent Kaardal answered that it was a matter of alignment with other Metro Districts.

Superintendent Kaardal noted that they have not included any PRO-D days in the proposed calendar yet. These dates will be provided in the finalized calendars. A parent then asked if there was any intention to align PRO-D days with other districts. Kevin answered that is not a priority. Instead the aim is for internal alignment of at least 4 days to allow for staff development opportunities within families of schools in zones. 

Table discussions were then conducted and DPAC reps provided feedback on the previous consultation process as well as concerns/questions for moving forward with the proposed three-year proposal.

3. District Programs in Burnaby – Gina Niccoli-Moen

Gina Niccoli summarized the January parent information sessions on District Programs:

• Jan. 15- a parent information session was held on multi-age cluster class (MAC) program, which will be offered next September at Capitol Hill for grades 4-5 and 6-7. Session was well attended, and the Power-Point presentation from that session is available on the District website. Application deadline is Feb. 19.

• Jan. 16 – information session was held on the French Immersion program. The registration process for all District language programs begins Feb. 1-28. Applications are available online.

• Jan. 23 – information session was held on the Mandarin Language program. The program is now in its fifth year at Forest Grove. The program continues to have strong enrolment. The presentation from that session is also available on the District website.

• Jan. 29 – information session on the AP Capstone program at Schou. Presentation materials will be available on the District website following the session. The program is for students going into grades 11 and 12 in the 2014-2015 school year.

Questions on District Programs can be directed to Wanda Mitchell or Ron Hall at the Burnaby District School Office.

Career Night also took place at Burnaby Central regarding the ACE-IT and apprenticeship programs. The event was well attended by parents and staff. Program and registration information is available on the District website. Questions on the ACE-IT program can be directed to Donna Scott at the School District Office.

4. Digital Literacy and Citizenship – Roberto Bombelli, Assistant Superintendent

Roberto provided detail around the preliminary discussion and planning around digital literacy: the District Learning Tech Team and the Burnaby Online Team have come together to discuss how Burnaby can work with kids and parents around digital literacy and citizenship. This discussion is tied to improvements to the network. These plans are still in a draft form. By June the District anticipates having a more solidified plan for implementation next fall.

First stage of the planning looked at the definition of digital literacy (DL) and digital
citizenship (DC) to create a common vernacular:

  • DL – being able to use technology in the work kids are doing both at school and at home
  • DC – demonstrating appropriate behaviours and responsibility when using technology

The team aims to engage kids using technology. The team acknowledged that there is a bridge between what students do at home and what they do at school, and more importantly that kids are already using technology on their own.

Plan goals include:

  • Have parents and students sign and understand the District Network Acceptable Use Policy
  • Have staff and parents understand their roles and responsibilities in supporting this with kids
  • Engage students in understanding DC through meaningful activities at home and at school
  • Provide cross-curricular units and lessons to address DL
  • Provide access to these resources both at school and online

Core topics that will be included in DL and DC education materials:

  • Safety
  • Information Literacy
  • Self Image and Identity
  • Cyberbullying
  • Creative Credit and Copyright
  • Relationships and Communication
  • Privacy and Security
  • Digital Footprint

Proposed implementation strategies will be broken into two sections: one for K-6 and one for 7-12. The rationale for this breakdown is that there is a real shift in how kids use technology when they get to grade 7 versus earlier school years. In addition the resources tend to be different for one group versus the other.

For the 7-12 section, the team is looking at developing an interactive course in partnership with SFU. The District is also in consultation with Jesse Miller to look at various resources to address social media safety with kids. The online courses will begin in grade 7 through Burnaby Online and will involve modular pieces that can be exchanged or adapted to new and merging media technologies. Credit will be granted for completed courses.

The team is also developing a layout for the scope and sequence so that materials aren’t repeated year after year. This will allow for a much more intentional delivery of DL and DC.

The plans for DL and DC involve a partnership with Microsoft and the use of Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft has agreed to provide a user account for all students free of charge. The user accounts will provide students with an email address and cloud storage on Microsoft servers. However, the plan is not to give email addresses to students. Each student will first have to understand online
safety and parental consent will be required.

Another component of the DL and DC plan is to incorporate parent and community involvement, such as school websites, newsletters, etc.

Following a table talk session, Roberto call questions on the proposed plans for DL and DC:

Question: When will cloud storage be implemented for students (via Microsoft Office 365)?
Roberto answered the while the infrastructure will be ready in the next few weeks, implementation will not begin until at least September so that the deployment can coincide with the delivery of the DL and DC education.

Question: Where are the Microsoft servers located?
Roberto confirmed that Microsoft’s servers are in the States, which does involve some other issues. As a result, staff will not be permitted use the software due to privacy issues.

Question: Does the current network upgrade in involve a bandwidth expansion?
Roberto answered that the upgrade has entailed a number of different infrastructure upgrades, including new switches, the Provincial Learning Network (PLNet) in partnership with TELUS. That said, some of the schools are already have the existing bandwidth required whereas some schools will also receive this upgrade.

Question: Will students be able to work on the online courses during school hours?
Roberto answered that time will be allotted during school hours in grade 7 for students to work on course materials with school equipment. This should address any concerns on students with limited or no access to the internet at home. Some thought has also been given to using some of the study time available to high school students to facilitate online instruction/learning.

Roberto concluded, noting that the District will continue to provide DPAC with information as it develops.

5. Chair Report

Katherine was pleased to report that there are several parent education events ongoing throughout the District. In part this is due to a number of schools taking advantages of the DPAC grant for parent education. Katherine then quickly reviewed the grant guidelines and procedures and reminded parents that further details are available on the Burnaby DPAC website. A number of the parent education events are also the result of PACs finding free speakers and opening attendance up to other Burnaby School District parents. Katherine then reviewed some upcoming events for parents, including:

  • F.O.R.C.E. Society webinar on parenting and ADHD at Byrne Creek from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm on January 28
  • “Balancing Our Minds: Tools for Youth Wellness” – A free one-day workshop for high school students, organized by BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services in partnership with the Vancouver Canucks from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Tuesday, February 11 at Rogers Arena. For further details, please visit: http://canucks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=95567
  • “Rethinking Dyslexia” – movie night for parents and teachers regarding dyslexic learning styles from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on February 13 at Heritage Woods Secondary in Port Moody (1300 David Ave). Advance registration required. Admission: $3 for one person, $5 for two. For further details, please visit: http://www.nwdpac.ca/?author=21
  • “The Gift of Dyslexia” – free information talk by Sue Hall who will explain the cause of a multitude of so-called learning disabilities for teens and adults, the dynamics and the solution from 6:45 pm to 8:15 pm on February 11 at McGill Library (4595 Albert St). For further details, please visit: http://www.burnabynow.com/events#/?i=1

 

6. Correspondence/Committee Reports

DTAC – DPAC representative at last meeting was Herman Louie
DTAC received several questions from parents, which were addressed at the last meeting. Herman then summarized the answers for these questions received:

• WIFI in schools – some new articles were sent to DTAC regarding WIFI in schools. The District will review these articles and add them to the District’s report, which is available online.

• Technology upgrades – upgrades in all elementary schools were supposed to be implemented by January. However, there have been some delays as a result of hardware issues with certain suppliers. Implementation in elementary schools is now expected to take place by spring break.

• FSAs – questions were raised with regard to computers that had been moved around to facilitate the FSAs. When these machines moved and rebooted, the initial log–on took considerably longer than expected. However, subsequent logons did not experience the same delays.

• iPads – PACs forwarded questions to DTAC and what the District provides for iPads. DTAC answered that they are decentralizing, allowing schools to control some of those accounts. Therefore some of the software at individual schools are being shared through those iTunes accounts. Parents were also asking for technical recommendations on approved applications for personal iPads. However, there are no District approved applications. DTAC suggests that parents
speak to the school’s administration on what aps are used within the child’s school to seek guidance. Of note, the District Learning Tech Team also has blog that goes out to teachers. Part of the blog reviewed applicable aps and good aps available for classroom use. There is no District recommendation per se, but this blog information is made available to teachers and administrators.

Metro DPAC Dinner last Thursday – Attended by Katherine Robertson and Dave Dye
Dave reported that the discussion was on Parent engagement discussed. They Metro DPACs also discussed best practices for engaging different cultural communities within schools and soliciting their involvement. Going forward the DPACs will continue to share best practices in these areas:
One school seeks contact information from all kindergarten parents during intake interviews, but instead of assigning responsibilities to these parents, they wait until the following year to seek their support. During the kindergarten year, these parents are provided with information on programs in the school and activities of the PAC so that they have a good understanding of what roles they can take on in subsequent years.

Burnaby DPAC is also working on way to engage ELL parents in DPAC and the schools. DPAC encourages any PACs that have had success in this area to share their strategies with DPAC and other schools.

Youth and Community Services – Jocelyn Schonekess advised that there have been no committee meetings since the fall. The next meeting is scheduled for early February.

7. Show and Tell

Lochdale Elementary – Hosting a parent education evening on February 11, 2014 at 6pm
Anti-Bullying: A Parent’s Guide by Sue Dorey. Advance registration is required via EventBrite. Childcare is also available.

Gilmore Elementary – hosting a free parent education evening on social media awareness with Jesse Miller on January 30th 6:30 to 8:30 pm (geared to elementary students) RSVP to gccpacsd41@gmail.com

Gilmore Elementary – hosting an anti-bullying seminar on February 18th at 7:00 to 8:00 pm

Kitchener Elementary – hosting “Literacy Strategies & Resources for your Child” with Teacher-Librarian Patricia Finlay on January 27 at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

Alpha Secondary – hosting an open house for incoming grade 8 parents and students as well as students and parents interested in AP programs for grades 9-12 on January 29 at 6:30 pm

Burnaby Mountain – hosting a free parent on social media awareness with Jesse Miller on March 4 (geared to high school students). Advance registration is required through EventBrite. Link will be posted to DPAC website shortly

DPAC – as discussed last May, DPAC has purchased the Emergency Preparedness materials from the North Van. School District. The materials have come on CDs, which are only to be used internally by Burnaby School District’s PACs and the materials cannot be posted online. PACs requesting the
information can contact the executive and a copy of the materials will be provided.

Forest Grove – hosting an information evening on social media with different speakers. Seating is limited. Further details to follow. Forest Grove is also organizing Chinese New Year celebrations to take place Jan. 31 at the school, show-casing the students in the Mandarin Immersion program.
Forest Grove has been approved for District funding to construct a labyrinth, which will be installed this April. Forest Grove will be hosting their first emergency mock drill with parents and students in April (including parents signing out students).

Stoney Creek – selling tickets to a Vancouver Giants game on Feb. 16 against Kamloops to raise funds for the school. Tickets are $16 each and are available through the school’s community office. Orders and payments must be received by Feb. 5.

8. New Business/Q & A

Question: Problems with School Heating During Weekend Activities
A parent from Alpha advised that she is a volunteer with Canadian Blood Services, who hold blood clinics in the school every 8 weeks on weekends. However, the past two blood clinics have been hindered by the lack of heat in the cafeteria. She asked who she needs to contact to ensure that the heat is turned on earlier as the school’s custodian has no control over this matter. Superintendent Kaardal advised the parent to outline the issues in an email and send them to him and Greg Frank at the School District Office.

Question: Training for Head Lice Screening Volunteers
A parent advised that the school is forming a volunteer head lice screening committee. He asked where other schools seek the training for these volunteers. Katherine advised that at her school it is parents training parents. Dave added that this training is not provided through the Public Health Unit and they’re not able to assist. However, the Fraser Health Authority website has some training materials available on their website to assist parents.

Question: Future of Letter Grades in Burnaby
A parent asked if the Burnaby School District is considering dropping letter grades. Superintendent Kaardal answered that at some point, yes; it is on the radar. The Ministry is currently considering other options to communicate learning to parents. As a District, no strategy has yet been adopted. However, before doing so there will be consultation with the BTA and parents. Presently there is a joint conversation underway with the teachers’ union, but there will be no practice changes this year.

Question: Implementation of New Curriculum
A parent asked if there was any update on the implementation of the new curriculum. Superintendent Kaardal answered that they are still taking input at this point with set determined end date. However, he anticipates that this process will continue into the next school year. He added that he will provide DPAC with any timelines if received.

Question: Metro Vancouver School District Merger
A parent referenced recent media attention on the possibility of merger of New West, Coquitlam and Burnaby school districts and asked if there was any potential for such a merger. Superintendent Kaardal answered that the media story was based largely on a few comments made by parents, which new spun to create media hype. Currently there is no position or thought on such a concept by either Burnaby or the Ministry.

Question: District’s Non-Renewal of the Movie Screening License
A parent asked about the District’s recent decision to allow their movie screening license to lapse with ACF. She asked why the decision had been made as it has significant financial impacts on PACs’ abilities to organize family movie nights at schools. Superintendent Kaardal answered that license formerly held was based on the intention of both the licensee and the licenser that it would be used for
classroom use or free use. It was not intended to be used for fundraisers, which has often been the case when used by PACs (either for admission or concession revenues). If used for the movie screening as a fundraiser, there is a cost associated, which will now be incumbent upon PACs to fund. Kevin Kaardal suggested that District staff could provide further details at the next DPAC meeting.

Based on information from ACF website, all licensing options allow for the unlimited presentation of commercially available movies from the studios they represent … Movies can be obtained from any legal source. This means, you do not have to rent or buy the movies through ACF.

ACF offers three pricing options for licenses:

  • Option A (12 Month License) involves a fee of $0.75 cents per student, with a minimum charge of $350 + taxes. This option includes one complimentary pre-release movie rental during the term of the license.
  • Option B (12 Month License) involves a fee of $0.95 cents per student, with a minimum charge of $650 + taxes. This option includes three complimentary pre-release movie rentals during the term of the license.
  • Option C (12 Month License) involves a fee of $1.30 cents per student, with a minimum charge of $1,050 + taxes. This option includes unlimited rentals of any pre-release movie rental during the term of the license.

Question: BC Supreme Court Decision Regarding Class Size and Composition
A parent asked when the changes will take effect with respect court’s order to return class sizes and composition to the 2002 limits. Superintendent Kaardal answered that the court’s ruling determined that the Province’s legislation was no longer in effect. However, school districts are waiting on the responses for the lawyers for both parties. He added we’ll need to wait and see what happens between the Government, the BCTF and teachers. The implications of this decision could take months or years.

With the recognition that class sizes have been kept relatively low in Burnaby, a parent then asked what impact of the ruling would have in Burnaby. Superintendent Kaardal answered that if the ruling is upheld there may be challenges in terms of class composition in the Burnaby school district.

9. Next Meeting – Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7 PM

10. Meeting Adjourned
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:00 PM and thanked everyone for attending.

 

NOTES FROM THE CHAIR:

  • Connect! – www.burnabydpac.com – email your events to be published.
  • Communicate! – Email info@burnabydpac.com or chair@burnabydpac.com
  • Follow us on Facebook: Burnaby District Parent Advisory Council
  • Follow us on Twitter: Burnaby DPAC
  • Please bring your coffee mug or water cup.