January 2015 Minutes

DPAC 26-01-2015 General Meeting Minutes

D.P.A.C. MEETING NOTES

Burnaby Central Secondary School
6011 Deer Lake Parkway
Burnaby, B.C.
DATE: January 26, 2015
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Schools Attending:

Brentwood North:  Alpha, Confederation Park, Gilmore, Burnaby North, Capitol Hill, Lochdale, Montecito, Parkcrest, Westridge
Cariboo Lougheed:  Burnaby Mountain, Cameron, Forest Grove, Lyndhurst, Stoney Creek, University Highlands
Central West:  Burnaby Central, Douglas Road, Gilpin, Moscrop, Cascade Heights, Chaffey-Burke, Inman, Marlborough
Kingsway South:  Burnaby South, Glenwood, Maywood, Nelson, Suncrest, Edmonds

District Staff:

Gina Niccoli-Moen, Deputy Superintendent; Heather Hart, Assistant Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli, Assistant Superintendent; Shannon Railton, Director of Human Resources

Board of Education Trustees and their zones:
Harman Pandher, Vice-Chair (Central West); Katrina Chen (Central West); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South); Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed); Baljinder Narang (Kingsway South)

Regrets: Ron Burton, Chair (Brentwood North); Gary Wong (Brentwood North)

DPAC Executive:
Jen Mezei, Chair (Cariboo Lougheed); Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed); Herman Louie, Treasurer (Central West); Kristin Schnider, Secretary (Cariboo Lougheed); Jocelyn Schonekess, Vice Chair (Brentwood North)

Regrets: Victoria Brenden, Member at Large (Brentwood North)

1. Welcome and Introductions

Before calling the meeting to session, two door prize draws were made.

The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM and welcomed everyone. Jen then introduced the District Staff, Board of Education Trustees and DPAC Executive members in attendance.

PIEs – Before introducing the guest presenters, Jen announced that in light of the ongoing renovations at Burnaby Central, the January 28 PIE had been postponed until February 25. That PIE will be on the District’s Response to Intervention model. Jen went on to advise that there is also another PIE scheduled for February 18 at Byrne Creek Secondary. That focus of that PIE is on fostering independence geared toward students receive support from Learning Support Services or for students who have EAs. Jen added that event will have limited registration as it is intended to be a more intimate; however, a waitlist will be available and if there is enough demand a second session will be offered.

Jen then reminded the DPAC reps that the District is in the middle of team visits for school plan reviews. She noted that parents are welcome to attend the team visits for other schools, adding that this is a valuable opportunity for SPC members. The visits provide a good opportunity to see what other schools in the District are doing. Team visits will be ongoing until March. Parents interested in attending a school visit should email Joanne Whalvin at the School District Office.

 

2. Teacher Regulation Branch – Presentation from Shawn McMullin and Peta Brookstone

Jen Mezei then introduced to the two speakers from the Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB), Shawn McMullin and Peta Brookstone.

Shawn McMullin began by providing a brief overview of his experience teaching and assessing teacher credentials with the former BC College of Teachers and now with the TRB.

Peta Brookstone began by advising that the structure of the former BC College of Teacher was quite simple. However, the TRB replaced the BC College of Teachers in 2012, and because it’s part of the Ministry of Education, the regulatory structure is now more complex. Based on the two foundational principles of public interest and transparency, the TRB consists of five distinct bodies:

  1. BC Teachers’ Council – Comprised of 16 elected and appointment members, the Council is the decision-making body independent from government. The Council establishes standards for education that teachers have to abide by, sets the criteria for teacher certification, evaluates and approves BC teacher education programs for the purpose of certifying graduates, and classifies teacher certificates and the training qualifications required for each certificate.

    2. Commissioner – The Commissioner is an independent statutory decision-maker. Presently the Commissioner is the Right Honourable Bruce Preston, who is a retired superior court judge. Each Commissioner has a 5-year term. The role of the Commissioner is to oversee the discipline process, to receive reports and complaints regarding possible breaches of the standards by certificate holders, and determine what processes should be undertaken to address any report or complaint.

    3. Disciplinary and Professional Conduct Board – The Board consists of nine members from the Council and eight lay persons who have regulatory and/or legal experience. The Commissioner draws from this group to sit on three-member panels for hearings. Hearing panels are independent from government and determining whether or not a breach has been committed. If they find that a breach has been committed, the panel also decides the consequence.

    4. Director of Certification – The Director has statutory power and issues the following categories of certificates, which permit an individual to teach in BC’s public and/or independent schools:

    a) Certificate of Qualification (COQ)

    b) Independent School Certificate (ISC)

    c) Letters of permission – allows an individual to teach in one-year term position where there is not an available, qualified individual within the pool of teachers with COQ

    The Director also maintains a public registry of teachers on the TRB website.

    5. Teacher Regulation Branch – The TRB provides the administrative support to the four other bodies. Currently there are approximately 50 employees within the TRB, and are in close communication with the public and other education partners.

Shawn McMullin then provided an overview of the Duty to Report under the School Act. He advised that it’s framed in the concept of the public interest and involves three main elements:

  1. Students must be protected from certificate holders who may inflict physical, emotional or sexual harm on them intentionally or otherwise;

    2. Certificate holders cannot conduct themselves in a way that harms or reduces public confidence in the teaching profession or the school system; and

    3. Students must be served by competent educators who place the achievement and welfare of their students first.

Shawn then went on to explain what Section 16 of the Act outlines what superintendents must to report to the Commissioner. Those incidents include:

  • All suspensions or dismissals of district certificate holders
  • All discipline for misconduct that involves physical hard to a student or minor, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a student of minor, or significant emotional harm to a student or minor

That School Act also provides some room for discretionary reporting for superintendents, which would include any conduct by a certificate holder considered to be a breach of the standards of education if it’s in the interest of the public to do so. Also included under discretionary reporting is any resignation that a superintendent feels is in the interest of the public to report.

Shawn then advised that the Act also requires all teachers to promptly provide a written and signed report the Commissioner if they have reason to believe that another certificate holder has engaged in conduct that involves any of the following:

  • Physical harm to a student
  • Sexual abuse or exploitation of a student
  • Significant emotional hard to a student

Any person from the public can also make a complaint if they believe a teacher has breached the standards. However, the complaint must be signed and submitted in writing. If a report is received, the Commissioner will conduct a preliminary review. Upon review, the Commissioner may determine that no further action is required. At that point, the Commissioner will respond to both parties (the complainant and the named educator) and advise the teacher who lobbied the complaint and also provide a rationale for why the matter is not proceeding further with the TRB. If, however, the complaint has merit and further action is required, the Commissioner will advise the parties and begin an investigation.

Shawn McMullin explained that in matters where a breach of the standards has been found, consent resolution process is often undertaken. However, as with formal disciplinary hearings, matters involving consent resolution are also posted on the public registry and stay on a teacher’s record. Shawn noted that the Commissioner and the TRB would always rather that matters be resolved at the local level (if possible) rather than proceeding to the Commissioner’s office.

Shawn McMullin then suggested that parents who need advice or guidance on a concern regarding a teacher and a potential breach of the standards can contact the intake office at the TRB and the TRB staff are happy to assist. While formal complaints cannot be submitted anonymously, advice can be sought without having to provide the names of the teacher(s) and student(s) involved. Shawn then provided some additional information on the TRB’s public registry available on their website. The registry is one of only two public registries in Canada. Shawn then noted that the registry will not show any discipline on a certificate holder’s file for matters that took place in another province or jurisdiction; the registry can only show discipline levied in BC. However information is shared across regulatory branches throughout different provinces, the United States, Australia, etc. for hiring purposes.

A parent asked if the TRB tracks student teacher information. Shawn McMullin answered the universities are responsible for vetting student teachers and determining if they are safe to be with students.

Another parent then asked if the public registry maintains records of non-practicing teachers. Shawn answered that the registry only lists practicing teachers unless there is a discipline record for a non-practicing teacher.

Shawn McMullin went on to review some statistics from the TRB. He noted that as of September 30, 2014 there were 70,578 licensed educators in the province of BC, including COQ, ISC, and letters of permission. Shawn then reviewed the conduct statistics for the period July 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014:

Conduct Statistics for the period July 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014

(see attached PDF for statistics tables)

Jen Mezei asked what the average timeframe is for a complaint that goes through the TRB. Shawn answered that this was an issue with the former model as it used to take several years of the concern to be fully resolved. Now the average time for report is around a year. Jen then followed up her questions with the suggestion that it would perhaps be faster to go through the District. Shawn added that the TRB will typically work with School District personnel to resolve any reports or concerns received. He then noted that parents should always be working with School District first unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Another parent then asked if other criminal activity not related to teaching or the classroom is tracked by the TRB. Shawn answered that teachers have a duty to self-report any criminal activities or infractions to their employer and the TRB whether or not they take place in a school.

After further discussion, Jen Mezei thanked both Shawn McMullin and Peta Brookstone for their presentation.

Jen then drew parents’ attention to the section on the Burnaby School District website where parents can seek information dealing with concerns and conflict resolutions: http://www.sd41.bc.ca/parents/process.htm 

 

3. Committee Reports

Policy – Jen advised that the Policy Committee is reviewing the policy book and updating it as necessary. Jen then asked that if anyone has any concerns or suggestions for updates to District policies to please being them forward to her.

Jen then reported that she, Kristin Schnider and Jocelyn Schonekess attended a meeting at the BTA Offices regarding pipeline safety. The DPAC Executive will be looking at this issue more closely and report back at the next DPAC meeting.

 

4. New Business/Q&A/Show and Tell

BCCPAC – Jocelyn advised that the BCCPAC spring conference website is now on line. Jocelyn reminded the DPAC reps that the spring conference is taking place April 30 to May 3 at the Hilton Metrotown in Burnaby. The keynote speaker will be Barry MacDonald, who will speak on the Friday. Also scheduled for the Friday are the parent workshops. The AGM will be held on the Saturday. The deadline for resolutions is January 31. Jocelyn then encouraged all PACs that have paid their annual BCCPAC membership fees to send a representative or complete a proxy form so that a DPAC executive member can vote on their behalf.

The conference also includes an entertainment evening on the Saturday night: comedian Tim Nutt has been booked. The cost of his show is included in the conference registration fee. Additional guests are welcome at a cost of $20 per ticket.

BC Education Plan webcast – BC’s Focus on Learning, January 29 – This Thursday at 8:30 AM, the Ministry of Education is hosting a live webcast on the BC Education Plan available at www.bcedplan.ca The title of the webcast is ‘BC’s Focus on Learning – Rising to the Global Challenge.’ Speakers include Andreas Schleicher, Dr. Yong Zhao and Dr. Stuart Shanker.

Family Day Matinee of The Addams Family – On Monday, February 9 there is a special matinee presentation of the play ‘The Addams Family’ at the Michael J Fox theatre. Tickets are available at a special cost of $15 each.

Fostering Independence PIE – Jen then provided a little further detail on the upcoming PIE, ‘Fostering Independence.’ The presentation will cover why independence is so critical, how we identify the skills needed for children to become more independent, how we teach those skills, and what parents can do at home to support developing independence.

 

5. Meeting Adjournment

Before adjourning the meeting, the Chair advised that the next DPAC General meeting will take place February 23 at Burnaby Central at 7 PM. Further details will follow. Jen then adjourned the meeting at 8:38 PM and thanked all for attending.

 


 

 

NOTES FROM THE CHAIR:

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