D.P.A.C. MEETING NOTES
Burnaby Central Secondary School
6011 Deer Lake Parkway
DATE: November 30, 2015
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Park, Confederation Park, Kitchener
Cariboo Lougheed: Burnaby Mountain, Forest Grove, Seaforth, Stoney Creek, University Highlands
Central West: Burnaby Central, Brantford, Buckingham, Douglas Road, Gilpin, Lakeview, Moscrop, Marlborough
Kingsway South: Burnaby South, Glenwood, Suncrest, Byrne Creek, Edmonds, Taylor Park
Gina Niccoli-Moen – Superintendent; Wanda Mitchell – Assistant Superintendent; Heather Hart – Assistant Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli – Assistant Superintendent;
Board of Education Trustees and their zones:
Harman Pandher – Vice-Chair (Central West); Katrina Chen (Central West); Baljinder Narang (Kingsway South); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South)
Regrets: Ron Burton – Chair (Brentwood North); Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed); Gary Wong (Brentwood North)
Jen Mezei, Chair (Cariboo Lougheed); Shamsuddin Chowdhury, Member at Large (Kingsway South); Naz Jakir, Member at Large (Kingsway South); Herman Louie, Treasurer (Central West); Kristin Schnider, Secretary (Cariboo Lougheed); Jocelyn Schonekess, Vice Chair (Central West)
Regrets: Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed); Calvin Taplay, Member at Large (Brentwood North)
1. Welcome and Introductions
Before calling the meeting to order, two door prizes were drawn.
Jen Mezei called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM and welcomed everyone. Jen then introduced the District Staff, Board of Education Trustees and DPAC Executive members in attendance.
2. Changes to the Accountability Framework and the School Planning process Dean Goodman, Director – Accountability, Ministry of Education
Jen introduced guest speaker Dean Goodman, who is the Director of Accountability with the Ministry of Education.
Dean Goodman began by thanking the DPAC for allowing him to attend the meeting and share information on the changes to the Accountability Framework, the process by which parents were able to provide input into school plans.
Dean Goodman went on to say that work on the Accountability Framework began at the end of October last year. A meeting was held at that time with the major partner groups including trustees, superintendents, principals, BCTF, students, BCCPAC, representatives for Child and Youth, First Nations groups, and special educators to look at what the Province can do differently to improve the Accountability Framework.
Dean Goodman then invited the DPAC representatives to have table discussions on what it means for students to be successful. Following the discussions, the DPAC debriefed as a group and identified for following criteria for student success:
– Self-motivated, the student takes the initiative to learn and maximize her/his learning potential
– Emotional resilience
– Student is exposed to a number of opportunities/options for future growth/development, and leaves the schools as a contributing member of society
– Academic success, marks
– Kids being part of conversation, and having their input valued
Following the debrief, Dean Goodman advised that the conversation on the Accountability Framework began last year with the question of whether or not the Province should make changes to it. He went on to explain that traditionally accountability conversations begin with data and evidence-based measures. So the conversation was flipped last fall, and the partner groups were asked what’s important when you think about student success. From those conversations, the following key ideas on the educated citizen were brought forward:
– Thoughtful able to learn and think critically, who can communicate information from a broad knowledge base;
– Creative, flexible, self-motivated who have a positive self image;
– Capable of making independent decisions;
– Skilled and able to contribute to society generally, including the world of work;
– Productive who gain satisfaction through achievement and strive for physical well-being;
– Cooperative, principled and respectful of others, regardless of differences;
– Aware of the rights and prepared to exercise the responsibilities of an individual within the family, the community, Canada, and the world.
Dean Goodman added that the above list is the basis for a lot of the changes taking place in the province with respect to curriculum, graduation requirements, assessment, communicating student learning, etc. He went on to say that with this in mind they began thinking about the different opportunities and put the words into action. One of the big opportunities is to do it together with all the stakeholders so there is a genuine collective ownership of student learning.
Dean Goodman went on to clarify how the previous accountability framework functioned with achievement contracts, district literacy plans, SPCs, superintendents of achievement, etc., which are no longer required by the Ministry. He explained that as part of Bill 11 these requirements were removed from the Schools Act. Currently, the Ministry is in the process of collaboratively developing a replacement for the former system using some guiding principles:
- All education partners are responsible for student learning, with each having unique responsibilities
- The framework creates a system-wide focus on student learning, to ensure that each student in BC achieves her or his full potential, especially where they have been gaps previously.
- The framework is meaning, impactful, flexible, realistic and sustainable
- The framework addresses difference in performance among particular groups of students, most notably Aboriginal students, children in care, and students with special needs
- The framework is strength-, support-, evidence- and results-based versus deficit-based and celebrates the great work students and districts are achieving.
- A system-wide commitment to continuous improvement and life-long learning is reflected
- The framework continues to build public confidence in BC’s education system.
Dean Goodman further explained that the framework the Ministry is working on is divided into five elements, building on what worked in the past and removing some of the items that were too prescriptive. In that vein, the framework will now have a system-wide focus on intellectual, human and social, and career development rather than solely on the intellectual.
Under the new framework, districts and school will continue to prepare multi-year plans. However, districts and schools will now have some flexibility to accomplish this requirement. Dean Goodman noted that the Ministry is aware that there must be a balance between flexibility and compliance for school plans; while there is increased flexibility for how and when school plans are carried out and who will be involved, there will still be some Ministry directed requirements.
In terms of evidence, Dean Goodman provided that the framework will require a mix of both the local and provincial values in terms of student learning. He added that the conversation on evidence is ongoing and there will be further discussions with partner groups later this year.
The fourth element of the framework is system-wide capacity building, meaning what we can do to support our education system, our communities, school districts and their school, teachers, principals, etc. so that they are working together. This will involve the use of existing structures that are working, both locally and provincially, as well as new structures that will provide additional focus to local and provincial priorities and needs (e.g. a province team to support children in care and/or aboriginal students).
The last piece of the framework is connecting the four elements with opportunities to tie in existing activities and agreements that are in place to support aboriginal learners.
Dean Goodman then reviewed the major differences between the former accountability agreement and the new framework, noting the following:
– The framework is developed in consultation with provincial education partners across the province
– Fewer reports required, but there will be a report to and for your local community
– Allows for greater flexibility to refine the provincial frameworks as necessary because it is no longer entrenched in legislation
– Greater focus on valuing the learner as a whole (going beyond the intellectual to include human, social and career development)
– A focus on each student, as well as particular populations of students
– Increased flexibility in how and when plans are developed
– Increased focus on continuous improvement and system-wide capacity building
– A shared responsibility for student learning through meaningful partner involvement
Dean Goodman went on to explain this school year is a transition year for school districts: they have the opportunity to engage in discussions, and continue collaborative efforts to make changes to their existing frameworks. By March 2016, all school districts are to develop and post their annual district and school planning process. Dean Goodman added that there is also an optional activity in April 2016 for school districts that wish to develop and refine district plans in consideration of the draft Framework (as examples that can help inform provincial policy and directions). By May 2016, school districts will be informed by education partner experiences and input received. The provincial policy will then be refined and posted on the Ministry website. By the start of the 2016-2017 school year, plans and evidence developed under the new Framework will be posted on each school district’s website.
A parent commented that the new framework appears to have considerable reference to aboriginal integration in the curriculum. She then asked what prompted that move toward the inclusion of aboriginal education with a more holistic, system-wide approach. Dean Goodman answered that historically there have been performance differences between aboriginal learners and other learners and varying needs. The new framework provided an opportunity to bring in aboriginal education and aboriginal student achievement into the accountability framework in a more integrated way. He added that the revised curriculum for K to Grade 12 is also becoming more cross-curricular in general, and has been redesigned to provide a meaningful aboriginal lens to all curricula at all grade levels, not just for aboriginal learners but for the benefit of all students.
After some further parent comments on the subject, Dean Goodman offered that the across Canada there has been a recognition of the need to redress aboriginal relationships, particularly in light of the Truth and Reconciliation report; BC’s education system is one part of this. He then stressed that a key component of the new framework is a focus on each individual learner and providing the support that the student needs to meet his or her potential.
Jen Mezei added that another factor to consider is the makeup of school districts across the province, which vary across BC in terms of aboriginal student populations. Curriculum and framework changes are not specific to Burnaby, but are reflective of what’s happening across the province, especially in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings.
Another parent added that he is heartened to hear about the changes and the recognition of the connection between school and community. He then asked if the School District is also looking at how schools can renew their connection with the greater community. Dean Goodman answered that they recognize this is an important opportunity and they understand that schools are part of the community. The challenge is to make them a vibrant part of their communities.
Herman Louie then asked how the Ministry seeks feedback from sparsely populated school districts and/or from district that may not have functioning SPCs. Dean Goodman answered that through the provincial partners group, including BCCPAC, they are able to make connections with these districts. He then explained that the Ministry has divided the province into six regions and conducted regional discussions with the provincial stakeholders. This brings the stakeholders together in a common place to engage. Provincial stakeholders, such as the BCSTA, have conducted local discussion that feed up to these regional discussions. He noted that while they make concerted efforts to speak to all communities they may not reach everyone. Nonetheless, the Ministry is doing what they can in a variety of forms, having the stakeholder take a leadership role in facilitating the discussions.
Before inviting Assistant Superintendent Heather Hart to provide a Burnaby perspective on the accountability framework and the transition year, Jen thanked Dean Goodman on behalf of the Burnaby DPAC for his presentation.
Assistant Superintendent Heather Hart began by explaining that Burnaby’s school planning process traditionally involves school visits with trustees, parents, principals, district staff members, etc. and generally runs from January to the end of April. The school visits provide the host school the opportunity to present the school plan, the evidence gathered on the established goals and celebrate the successes they’ve had over the course of their three-year plan. The visits also allow other schools to see what’s happening within the District, ask questions, and borrow ideas for their own school plans. Assistant Superintendent Hart added that the District is proud of this process and stressed that the visit does not result in an evaluation or judgment of a school’s plan. Instead the conversations that result are collaborative, open and thoughtful. The schedule for school visits is typically shared through the Burnaby DPAC email list, and parents are invited to participate in this very natural, grass-roots process.
Assistant Superintendent Hart went on to say that the District has made a couple of tweaks in the school planning process over the years: feedback from some schools indicated that the Response to Intervention (RTI) plan framework didn’t work for all schools. In response, the District is now allowing schools the option to use the RTI form or an inquiry-based reporting tool for school plans. However, the District still requires that school goals are clearly established and discussed with staff and community. School goals should also be narrow enough in scope and address specific areas that the school wants to focus on (e.g. reading comprehension for grade 3 learners) and still involve all learners within the school.
Plans have typically involved both academic and social-emotional goals. With regard to the latter, these goals are foundational for good learning. Assistant Superintendent Hart added that these lessons can spill over to the home environment where parents are able to use these same strategies at home with their families. Examples social-emotional goal focuses would be self-regulation and child anxiety.
A parent then asked whether or not SPCs are still functioning in Burnaby. Assistant Superintendent Hart answered that the school planning process is open to all parents and the school community. Jen added that if a PAC elected a SPC this year, they could request a meeting with the principal. However, if no SPC was elected the PAC would likely have assumed the responsibilities of the former SPC and may designate representatives as appropriate to meet with the principal.
Another parent commented that she liked the idea of school visits and wondered how the school plan results were aggregated and delivered to school’s community. Assistant Superintendent Hart answered that the District will be looking at this process and ways of involving the greater community. She added that school plans presentations provide a great opportunity to showcase the great work in Burnaby.
After further discussion, Jen Mezei concluded the discussion by commenting that parents really can have a meaningful impact in the school planning process. She then thanked both Director Goodman and Superintendent Hart for their presentations.
3. Table Top Activity
Before proceeding to a break, DPAC representatives were asked to discuss two questions regarding the school planning process:
- Where do you see opportunities for parents in the school planning process? Either formal (PAC or elected position or informal?
- What knowledge of your community do parents have that could inform the development of a school goal or plan? (e.g. business connections, cultural understanding/identity, gathering places within the community)
4. DPAC Updates
a. DPAC Parent Information Evenings (PIEs)
Jen reminded DPAC reps of the 2015-2016 schedule for Burnaby DPAC PIEs:
January 6, 2016 “Transitioning to Secondary for Students Who Require Support,” presented by Elizabeth Gardner
January 27, 2016 “Social Emotional Learning and School Connectedness,” presented by Bev Ogilvie
February 24, 2016 “Taking Social Emotional Learning home,” presented by Suzanne Vardy
April 27, 2016 “Self Regulation in the Early Years: Home to School,” presented by Deb Simak and Elizabeth Gardner
June 1, 2016 PAC Chair event
Jen added that a flyer had been send out on the listserve with all the PIE information. However, given the recent District email problems, the flyer will be sent out again once the email issues are resolved.
Jen then thanked everyone who attended the recent PIE with Dr. Yong Zhao. She added that Dr. Zhao provided a lot of good information for parents, and Burnaby was fortunate to have him present to parents.
With regard to the next PIE on January 6, Jen advised that the talk is geared to parents of students with exceptional learning needs. The discussion will be on the transition to high school for these students, and learning support services will be in attendance from each Burnaby high school. Jen then encouraged parents of special needs students to attend even if their child isn’t in grade 7 this year, because it’s beneficial to start the discussion on transition earlier than grade 7.
b. Committee Reports
Policy Committee – Jen Mezei advised that all PAC chairs should have received a notice of motion through the listserve regarding proposed changes to three policies: DPAC policy, Emergency Preparedness, and Admissions and Placement. PAC input on these policies changes must be received by the School District by February 5. Jen then asked that PACs copy the DPAC executive (firstname.lastname@example.org) on any input they submit to the School District as the Executive is interested in the feedback parents may have.
With regard to Emergency Preparedness policy, Jen advised that one of the changes relates to the District Advisory Committee for Emergency Preparedness, and that the DPAC Executive has requested that a parent representative be named to that committee. Kristin Schnider added that in concert with the policy changes, the District advised they would establish and circulate an emergency plan template for schools to use. However, it’s important to note that each school has individual needs and unique variables that may differentiate their plan needs from other school. Nonetheless, each school is required to file a completed plan with the School District Office. The plan template will be vetted first of the Advisory Committee before it is sent out to school principals.
Jen then asked if the Policy changes could be posted to the Burnaby DPAC website so PAC Chairs could access them and provide feedback. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen agreed, but stressed that feedback needed to be directed to the School District. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen added that the policy changes would also be posted on the School District website.
Special Education Advisory Committee – Jen Mezei advised that at the Committee’s last meeting they talked about MyEdBC, what student data that would be captured in the system, and how that information would be digitally stored. Jen reminded the DPAC reps that this same issue had been discussed at the September General meeting and had passed a motion for DPAC to request parent representation on the District’s MyEdBC Steering Committee. Since the motion, both Jen and Dave Dye have been named the Committee, which is scheduled to meet December 2.
At the Special Education Committee meeting on November 18, the conversation on MyEdBC was specific to concerns regarding students with special education needs and the management of their personal information. Student permanent files (paper copies) are retained for three-years past the student’s 19th birthday. Jen went on to explain that in the Burnaby School District information on the permanent student record is automatically populated into MyEdBC, including attendance records, report cards, etc. However, the following files are kept in paper copy, under lock and key, and will not be entered into MyEdBC: medical alert information and medical documentation, health department reports, copies of the two most recent student progress reports, IEPs, integrated case management plan, student learning plans for grade 8 and higher, school-based team recommendations, standardized individual achievement test results, copies of transfer forms, registration forms (which may including copies of birth certificates, residence and immigration information), copies of formal letters of suspension, student services reports, speech and language reports, hearing and visual reports, school district based assessment reports and reports from community agencies or ministries, court orders, parent consent forms, teacher/administrator notes. This information was a huge relief to the committee because they had heard that other school districts were including this information on MyEdBC.
Jen went on to explain that there is one area that the Committee is following up with the School District. As disciplinary data is captured on MyEdBC, the Committee asked that a list be provided with the specifics of what this data entails. Jen added that when this information is received she will report back to DPAC.
Youth and Community Services – Kristin Schnider reported that she attended the committee meeting on November 3. At that meeting the Committee received an update on the Eye See-Eye Learn program that runs annually in the School District. The program entails a partnership between the School District and the BC Association of Optometrists (BCAO), wherein kindergarten students receive eye examinations and free prescription eyeglasses (where required). During the 2014-15 school year, 183 children received an eye exam, of which 38 received prescription eyewear. The program is again available for this year’s kindergarten students and families can access this benefit until August 31, 2016.
The Committee also discussed the positive feedback the District had received from piloting the “Future Goals” program to a selection of classes, grades 6 to 9 in June. The program has now been incorporated into the District’s Digital Citizenship program for the 2015-2016 school year.
Kristin concluded by advising that at the January meeting, the Committee will be reviewing the results of the School Meals Program survey, and look at next steps. Kristin will report on that meeting at the January DPAC meeting.
Building and Grounds – Jocelyn Schonekess reported that she attended the meeting on November 17, where the committee reviewed current projects and work completed, including the following:
- Alpha Secondary School Seismic Upgrade/Renovations project funding has been approved, there is not a general contractor yet however contracts for professional services are hoped to be finalized around the second week of December. Expecting it to be 16 – 18 months to “shovel-in-ground” but the start of the large gyms might be sooner.
- Montecito Seismic upgrade project funding has been approved and at time of the meeting the contract was at the point of being awarded. This project has a tight time-frame and they are hoping to be started around spring break.
- Seaforth Building Envelope project construction/remediation should be started in November. BC Housing is overseeing this project with SD41 monitoring progress. Currently out for bids, with construction tender closing December 4th.
- Burnaby North Secondary and Stride Elementary seismic upgrade projects SPIR (seismic project identification reports) completed are the next for “Request for Proposal.”
- Aubrey and Stride Elementary schools mechanical HVAC upgrades planning funding approved. Design & costing to be completed by the spring with construction planned for summer. Funding for construction not yet in place, depends on the value of the boilers. One needs a complete replacement, and one has a boiler that can be re-used.
- 5 year capital plan summary list discussed. Current priorities include mechanical upgrades at Alpha Secondary, a Building Envelope project at Montecito elementary, HVAC upgrades at Aubrey, Stride, and Nelson, adding spaces at University Highlands elementary, Cameron elementary, Central secondary, seismic upgrades at Glenwood and Armstrong elementary. Note this list is not set in stone and is more of a wish list of items on the District’s radar as needing attention.
- Child Care Facilities update: The City of Burnaby has finished looking at several sites and it is expected that they are currently formulating a cost report to present to City Council.
Education – Herman Louie reported that at the last meeting the Committee had three presenters. The first spoke on global citizenship. The key principles of the presentation included world changes, solving global problems, differences between different cultures, and what is a business. The school district will evaluate the key principles for potential integration in the current or future curriculum.
The second presenter addressed how future assessment with non-letter grades will effect physical education classes. Herman added that PE teachers at Burnaby North and Burnaby Mountain are participating in a working group tasked with creating a marking rubric for physical education classes.
The third presenter spoke on creating a ‘Thinking Classroom.’ Herman explained the Burnaby is in cooperation with SFU regarding teacher craft in mathematics education and conveying concepts such as showing what a value is, ownership of learning, communication, and self-assessments.
Jen commented that the BCCPAC membership numbers are low for Burnaby schools, and she encouraged PACSs to renew their memberships. The deadline for membership registrations for the 2015-2016 school year December 15th. Jen added that DPAC Executive members will likely be calling PAC chairs to remind them of the upcoming deadline.
Jen went on to say that another matter for PACs to consider is submitting resolutions to the BCCPAC AGM. Such resolutions could be on issues that Burnaby PACs where they want to see provincial advocacy. Jen added that resolutions are dealt with in the order they are received so there’s an advantage to getting them in sooner than later. PACs seeking assistance with resolution writing can contact the DPAC Executive (email@example.com).
Before concluding the discussion on BCCPAC, Kristin commented that the BCCPAC acts as a voice for parents across the province. In particular it was BCCPAC who was consulted by the Ministry of Education regarding that changes to the Accountability Framework, which were presented this evening. When schools are members of BCCPAC, it provides them with a voice at the table regarding provincial changes in the education system.
5. New Business/Q&A
A parent raised a concern regarding school cleanliness at her child’s school. She noted that while her child attends one of the largest elementary schools in the District, it only has part time custodial services. Consequently, the school is experiencing a poor level of cleanliness and insufficient cleaning supplies, which has become a real concern for parents. The parent then asked what the funding model is for custodial services and how custodial shares between schools are determined.
Superintendent Niccoli-Moen answered that the District is aware of the situation at that particular school and a site visit was recently conducted. She added that the situation is not a funding issue per se. However, the School District made overall changes to the way custodial hours were allocated across the District two years ago as a means to realize budgetary efficiencies. Several schools are now sharing custodians. No further changes were made to the custodial assignments with the last budget process, but the District is aware that they may need to shift some services and/or adjust which schools are paired together. Some improvements have already made. Nonetheless, Superintendent Niccoli-Moen stressed that the District does not want to have any schools where there are concerns regarding cleanliness. Parent feedback is important so that issues can be addressed.
The DPAC rep from Forest Grove advised that their PAC is looking into an online system to assist with fundraisers order forms and payments. Specifically they are looking at Munch-A-Lunch and wanted to know if any other PACs had experience with this company. Several parents commented that they were aware of the company and their PACs did use the service.
Jen Mezei commented that PACs should keep in mind that Much-A-Lunch charges a transaction fee on the full amount paid, not just the profit amount. The costs associated with the system may outweigh the benefit. Another parent commented that the system can be helpful for PACs that have low numbers of parent volunteers. Nonetheless, there is a lot of administrative setup for the system and someone on PAC has to be responsible for this work.
After further discussion, Jen asked if what payment types Munch-A-Lunch accepts. A parent advised that accounts are paid by PayPal. However, their school had it set up such that parents could still drop cheques off at the school office and record their orders online for an additional fee. She added that their experience with Much-A-Lunch had been positive, with close to zero error rates on orders.
Herman Louie advised that PayPal is not a recommended tender for PAC financial transactions per the Ministry’s PAC finances guidelines. The reason for this is that there is no audit procedure available for PayPal transactions. Moreover, PayPal accounts allow users to perform bank transfers without secondary authorization. With PAC cheques, there is added financial security in that they must be signed by two executive members before they can be cashed. Further discussion ensued.
Another parent recommended that if PAC choose to use Munch-A-Lunch they should only be used for PAC organized hot lunches to avoid confusion for parents. All other school transactions should go through the District’s School Cash Online system.
Assistant Superintendent Robert Bombelli commented that he wasn’t aware of the online service in terms of where they host their online data. However, if Munch-A-Lunch hosts their server outside of the province that is problematic when student information is involved for field trips and school activities, etc. He added that any student information provided by parents (be it for field trip forms, etc.) needs to be done in-house so that we are in compliance with privacy regulations. The School District’s School Cash Online system is privacy compliant and can be set up with a parent portal to facilitate PAC fundraising and/or events. He added that it can be done without a fee.
6. Show & Tell
Drive for Our School
On December 12, Gilmour Community School is hosting a “Drive for Our School” fundraiser event with GM in the staff parking lot from 10 AM to 2 PM. For every licensed driver that test drives a car, the school will receive $25.
Forest Grove will be holding its annual craft fair this Saturday, December 5 from 10 AM to 3 PM. Included in the sale is the school’s salsa, harvested from the school garden.
Seaforth will be holding its annual craft sale this Friday, December 4 from 3 to 7. The event also includes children’s activities, including cookie and stocking decorating.
Bobs and Lolo Concert at Aubrey
Aubrey Elementary is hosting a Bobs and Lolo concert on January 22. Limited tickets are available at $10 each. Proceeds from tickets sales will go toward the school garden and the outside classroom. Pre-sale tickets for families attending Aubrey are available now. General tickets will be available to the public soon.
Jocelyn Schonekess reminded DPAC reps to forward their flyers and event information to the DPAC executive (firstname.lastname@example.org) so the information can be posted on the Burnaby DPAC Facebook page and shared with others in the School District.
7. Meeting Adjournment
Before adjourning the meeting, Jen reminded DPAC reps that the next DPAC General meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 25, 2016 at 7 PM at Burnaby Central. Jen then adjourned the meeting at 8:56 PM and wished everyone a happy holiday season.