October 2014 Minutes

DPAC 27-10-2014 General Meeting Minutes


Burnaby Central Secondary School
6011 Deer Lake Parkway
Burnaby, B.C.
DATE: October 27, 2014
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Schools Attending: 

Brentwood North:  Alpha, Confederation Park, Gilmore, Kitchener, Burnaby North, Aubrey, Capitol Hill, Lochdale, Montecito, Parkcrest
Cariboo Lougheed:  Burnaby Mountain, Cameron, Forest Grove, Stoney Creek, University Highlands, Cariboo Hill, Armstrong, Twelfth Avenue
Central West:  Burnaby Central, Douglas Road, Gilpin, Lakeview, Moscrop, Cascade Heights, Inman
Kingsway South:  Burnaby South, Glenwood, Byrne Creek, Edmonds

District Staff:

Kevin Kaardal, Superintendent of Schools; Gina Niccoli-Moen, Deputy Superintendent; Heather Hart, Assistant Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli, Assistant Superintendent; Deborah Simak, Director of Instruction for Learning Support Services; Sue Dorey, Youth Services Manager; Brandon Curr, District
Vice-Principal of Aboriginal Education; Laurent Scaligine, Department. Head of the AP Program at Burnaby North; Cesare Martino, Vice- Principal of Cariboo Hill Secondary; Jennifer Carson, Advanced Learning Helping Teacher; Wanda Mitchell, Director of Instruction for the Brentwood North Zone; Garth Errico, Director of Instruction for the Central West Zone.

Board of Education Trustees and their zones:
Baljinder Narang, Chair (Kingsway South); Ron Burton (Brentwood North); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South); Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed); Harman Pandher and James Wang (Brentwood North)

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

Regrets: Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed)

1.  Welcome and Introductions

The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM and welcomed everyone. Jen then introduced the District Staff and Board of Education Trustees in attendance. Jen announced DPAC Executives in attendance. Before proceeding with the agenda, a door prize was drawn for those school representatives present.

2. New District Program/Initiative Updates

Jen then asked the District staff to speak on their respective programs and initiatives.

Intensive Intervention Program for Early Learners – Update from Deborah Simak
Deborah Simak advised that a new program began this year within Learning Support Services. Deborah briefly explained that her Department generally provides services for student how have difficulty managing in school, including services and support for both cognitive and physical disabilities.

Deborah went on to say that one of the things that the District has noticed over the last number of years is that some children entering kindergarten are not ready for school. Every year the District has been caught with how best to support those children. Last spring a decision was made to establish a program that would be early and intensive for these students. The aim of the program is to have these children to transition in their neighbourhood schools partway through the year; the program is not intended to span the full year.

This program began this fall and is being hosted at Morley Elementary School. The children that have been identified for the program have two or more challenges in the areas of emotional, social, behaviour and temperament, and communication. Year to date, there are five children that have been referred to the program. Deborah added that the staff at Morley are very committed to the program and they have confidence that those students currently enrolled will be included in their classes without requiring additional support. Deborah then called for questions on the program.

A parent asked if the students enrolled in the program are kindergarten age or if they are preschool age. Deb clarified that the children are kindergarten age. She added that these children do not have any Ministry designations at this time.

Another parent then asked if there is a waitlist for the program. Deb answered that there isn’t a waitlist, and went on to explain that there is a referral process with the school-based team, which then leads to an assessment through Learning Support Services.

Take a Hike – Update from Sue Dorey
Sue Dorey began by advising this program – as well as the Youth Innovation Lab – is targeted at an alternate youth population. The Take a Hike program is a full time alternative youth education program being run out of the Canada Way Learning Centre for students in grades 10-12 who are struggling to attend school and often have difficult life circumstances. These students may not have learning support needs, but they are at risk of not graduating.

The program provides a unique combination of four components: (1) adventure-based learning, (2) academics, (3) therapy, and (4) community involvement. Burnaby is the third site for this program; the program is already operational in Vancouver and Trail. For the first year of the program, Burnaby’s enrollment is open to twenty students. Currently there are twelve enrolled.

This year’s students are out once a week learning through adventure (e.g. kayaking, hiking, etc.), gaining skills and obtaining credits. However, they’re also learning the curriculum outdoors. The students are also working toward a five-day excursion this winter.

Therapy component of the program includes work with a therapist that has been supplied by the non-profit Take a Hike Foundation. The therapist works with the students and their families to deal with their specific situation that led them to their current circumstances regarding graduation. The program also includes work with a youth worker who assist the students to provide the support needed.

The community involvement component of the program involves community hours and the students’ concerted efforts to give back to the community. Every year the students decide upon a group project that they’ll work on to throughout the year to fulfill this component. Some past examples have been a beautification, mural project, work in the Downtown Eastside. Whatever the project is, it is selected by the students.

Youth Innovation Lab – Update from Sue Dorey
Sue Dorey went to speak about the Youth Innovation Lab. Like Take a Hike, this project is geared toward an alternate youth. Sue further explained that the Youth Innovation Lab (YIL) is not quite a full program, and instead is a pilot project slated to begin in January 2015. The YIL project was started with a proposal from St. Leonard’s Society that aims to provide at risk youth with employment skills. Specifically, the YIL will teach students coding skills such as app writing and website development.

The YIL will include support from an industry specialist who will work with the students and provide mentorship over the project’s five weeks. The skills learned by the students will go toward their graduation credits. Sue added that the YIL will begin with a small group of five to eight students. However, the School District hopes to grow the project. Sue then called for questions on the YIL.
A parent asked if both the YIL and the Take a Hike program are open to students in grades 8 to 12. Sue answered that the YIL is open to students in any secondary grade. Enrollment for the Take a Hike program is subject to a referral process, including self referrals. The School District is hoping to recruit students for the YIL through workshops; if there’s a high degree of student interest, future opportunities will be explored.

Sue then advised the YIL will be taught out of a downtown Vancouver loft provided by a private funder. As part of the project, students will also have the opportunity to learn through work experience at professional facilities. Sue concluded by noting that further details on the YIL will be available as the project information is finalized.

AP Capstone – Update from Laurent Scaligine
Laurent Scaligine provided a brief explanation of the AP Capstone program, which is new to the District this year. He explained that the program is a diploma program that prepares students for university level thinking and post-secondary learning. This is accomplished through the development of transferable key academic skills in practice, such as collecting and analyzing data, with accuracy and precision. It also equips students with the ability to craft, communicate and defend evidence based arguments. The program also allows for in-depth discipline study to help students become curious, independent and collaborative scholars.

The AP Capstone program is a two-year District program that any student in grade 10 can apply to. The program begins in grade 11 with the AP Seminar. The Seminar involves three components: a group research paper, and individual research paper, and a written final exam. In grade 12 students write a 5,000 word thesis paper on a research subject selected by the students. The AP Capstone program is offered as a morning class so students are able to attend their required regular, Ministry mandated classes.
Laurent went on to explain that students enrolled in the program need to complete both years of the program as well as three AP courses with the required grading to receive a diploma for their work at the end of grade 12. He added that the program is not content-based; it’s skill-based and cross curricular.
A parent asked if students need to be enrolled at either Burnaby North or Burnaby South to participate in the program. Laurent confirmed that same, noting that students enrolled in the program are transferred as required. Currently there are 41 students enrolled in the program across the two schools. Another parent then noted that neither or the two schools offer French Immersion. Laurent then acknowledged that students currently enrolled in French Immersion would have to make a decision between the AP Capstone program and French Immersion as logistically they cannot be completed concurrently.

Another parent commented that the program is already full, and wondered if there’s a waitlist available. If so, should grade 9 students begin working on their applications? Moreover, given that the program is so popular, are there any plans to expand it? Laurent explained that there isn’t a waitlist and applications are only open to grade 10 students. He added that the District is hoping to expand and grow the program. Another parent then asked if the program is open to international students. Laurent advised that it is not.

A parent then asked where to submit applications. Laurent answered that applications should be made to the School District Office. He went on to say the when the District assesses the applications they also look at where the students are coming from and use that information to place their in proximity to where they live.

Laurent then explained the criteria sought in potential program candidates: ideal candidates will have strong English skills, overall good marks, and demonstrate a good balance between academic success and socialization.

Digital Citizenship – Update from Cesare Martino
Cesare Martino talked about the importance of digital citizenship the District’s work on developing a program that will educate Burnaby students on the importance of their digital footprint and how it can have a lasting impact on their lives. Cesare then commented that the ‘digital footprint’ is now more of a ‘digital tattoo’ given that it is harder to get rid of. With that in mind, the District is currently in the process of developing a course in collaboration with subject matter expert and speaker Jesse Miller for grade 8 students called Digital Citizenship. The District is also working with group of teachers – the Learning Tech Team – to develop the course content.

Once completed, the content will be put into an online course that students will take, which will be divided into nine units. The purpose of the course to provide additional instruction that will augment the existing curriculum; it’s not meant to replace any existing curriculum. The course will span sixty hours and be a two credit course. A key component of the course for the District is parent and guardian involvement. The District is hoping to involve parents and guardians through home discussion.

The units contained within the course are: creative credit and copyright, cyber bullying, digital footprint and reputation, information literacy, internet safety, privacy and security, relationships and communications, and self-image and identity. Cesare then commented that with these units the hope is to create a cohesive course for students on the whole scope of digital citizenship. This course will then become part of a larger project that the District will undertake, involving all students in grades K through 12.

The Digital Citizenship course will roll out in the second semester of this school year for grade 8 students as well as some grade 9 students. It was hoped to have this course available sooner, but job action delayed the project. Nonetheless, the District understood that teachers needed to participate in the development of course content.

Given that the course if only being offered to grade 8s and some grade 9 students, Jen Mezei asked if older students would be able to access the materials online. Cesare answered that students can assess the materials, again reiterating that the course of part of a larger project that will involve all students. He added that the District hopes that once the grade 8 students complete the online course they will serve as mentors for younger students. Ideally, as the program grows the District will target a larger age group, including younger audiences.
A parent questioned how the unit on copyright will address that broad issue. Cesare clarified that the unit will address permissions using for online content as well as deciphering credible resources online.
Another parent asked if there were any plans to address or discuss digital humanitarianism as part of the course content. Cesare answered that it could come under the mentorship component of the course. Part of the course also speaks to developing a critical eye and determining what’s worth pursuing.

Outward Bound – Update from Brandon Curr
Brandon Curr provided an update on the Outward Bound program. He provided that it’s an aboriginal youth leadership program established through partnership with Outward Bound Canada.

A couple years ago a need was identified for aboriginal students who participant at DSAC. The School District found that there needs to be another layer for aboriginal students, to prop them up and give them leadership skills for their futures.

The School District was approached by Outward Bound Canada, which is a non-profit organization, to co-develop a leadership program targeted toward grades 10 through 12. The program includes one session per month for students. Outward Bound provides the safety certification. And, although they are not an aboriginal organization, the School District is able to provide the knowledge to assist in that capacity. The aim of the program is to cultivate leadership skills with aboriginal students who are involved with DSAC as well as other aboriginal leaders in grades 10 through 12. The program provides two spots for each of Burnaby’s high schools.

The first session this year is taking place November 4-5. Outward Bound is working with the School District in an urban environment that we have access to such as Deer Lake or Burnaby Mountain.

There is also an independent, directed studies component within the program. Students take the opportunity to gain credits toward graduation through this aspect of the program. The program also provides students with the opportunity to give something back to the community. Students take ownership of this aspect of the program, and there has been a lot of success with this in other School District that have the program.

Multi Age Cluster Classes (MACC) Program – Update from Jennifer Carson
Jennifer Carson began by explaining that the MACC program is a District program for high ability learners in grades 4 through 7. Currently there are 23 students enrolled in the program, which takes place at Capitol Hill Elementary School.

Students in the MACC program work with the mandated curriculum; however, the teacher implements instructional models that are more suited to their learning profiles (e.g. inquiry-based learning, problem-based, creative problem solving).

Jennifer went on to say that one of the key components of the MACC Program is the development of social-emotional competency for its students. What we do know about high ability learners students is that they often have complex social-emotional needs. Part of MACC program is geared toward building competency in those areas through the creation of an inclusive community of like-minded learners. Since the program started District staff have spoken with the teachers and the students to gauge the success in this area: the common theme within those conversation has been on the positive sense of community that is developing. Jennifer provided the example of the student who didn’t have any friends in her previous school where she felt need to act “dumb.” She now feels that she can like herself and feels included in the school community.

Jennifer then went on to discuss the selection process for the program and the candidate qualities sought: the selection committee is looking for candidates that demonstrate – or have the potential to demonstrate — high intellectual and creative capabilities, students who are highly motivated, and want to be in this rigorous and high-paced environment.

The MACC application process is now online and detailed program information is available in the School District website. The School District is also working on a blog for the program with parent resources, which will go live in the coming week.

Students interested in participating in the program go through a cognitive abilities test and information is sought from parents, student and the student’s current school. Applicants who move through to second stage in the process receive an interview. Jennifer noted that the selection committee also looks at marks. Students are not required to have a Ministry ‘P’ or gifted designation to be part of the program.

Jen Mezei asked if there will be two sites for the program next year. Jennifer answered that it depends on the number of qualified applicants and on the budget available. However, there is talk of there being a second location next year in South Burnaby.

A parent then asked if there is a cost for students to take the assessment. Jennifer answered that there is no cost to parents.

Another parent asked if there are any plans to deliver the program in French. Jennifer answered that there are no plans at this time.

A parent queried if there are any plans for a similar high school program. Jennifer answered that starting in September 2015 there will be a Mini School Program at Alpha Secondary for Grade 8 students. In 2016 the program will expand to grades 8 and 9. The Mini School program will not be an accelerated program; it program will have the core curriculum program compacted to provide students with additional time to pursue passion-based interests. The instructional model will be similar to the MACC program.

A parent information night on the MACC program is scheduled for November 12 at 7 PM. On November 13 at 7 PM there will be another information session on the Mini School program. The location is to be determined for both sessions.

3. Board Chair Message

The Chair then invited the Board of Education Chair Baljinder Narang to address the DPAC representatives.

Baljinder Narang began by announcing a new tentative partnership that has just been entered with the City of Burnaby for the establishment of new daycare centres. This new initiative will see the establishment of twelve new daycare centres on school property in the next few years.

Chair Narang then provided some context for this partnership. She reminded parents that the City of Burnaby went through an extensive consultative approach to establishing a social sustainability strategy. One of the strategies that was recommended by that committee was the establishment of further childcare facilities to meet the needs within the community. Currently there is still a considerable gap for families, especially those with young children. Chair Narang then noted the benefits of having children receives care in the same facilities as their older siblings.

Chair Narang went on to advise that the City of Burnaby is funding this initiative through the Density Bonus Program. She added that the initiative was the result of a developer who had offered to fund 60 daycare spaces in an existing facility. The costs associated with the offer were significant, which lead the City Council to consider working with the School District on this. Since that decision, both the City and the School District have been working extremely hard to move this initiative forward. The next step in the process is having the Board of Education formally approve the proposal at their meeting tomorrow. The City Council has already passed the proposal.

Baljinder then took the opportunity to thank parents for the support they’ve provided to the Board. She commented that the DPAC Executive works extremely hard to ensure that parents are well represented at the table and your voices are well heard.
Jen then thanked Chair Narang for her comments and for sharing the news on the childcare initiative. Jen then call for questions from parents.
A parent asked how schools will be chosen for the childcare centres. Chair Narang noted that it will not be an easy task. One of the factors that may be considered will be those school properties that already have existing providers within the school building. The aim may be to move those providers to new independent buildings on the school grounds, which would free up space for additional classrooms.

Gina Niccoli-Moen added that where there are enrollment crunches in some schools the establishment of a childcare facility may provide an opportunity for potential, additional classroom space. This will likely be considered as the initiative moves forward.
A parent asked how this new partnership would affect the existing YMCA centres already at some Burnaby schools. Chair Narang answered that the new daycare are expected to have any effect on the existing YMCA centres. However, the YMCA may decide to put in for additional daycare operation opportunities when the locations are tendered out.

Another parent asked if the Board had already earmarked funds for this partnership. And if so, what amount. Chair Narang answered that the City of Burnaby would be looking after the majority of costs; the School District would not be accountable for the capital. However, the School District would likely be responsible for operating costs, such as power, heat that would be hooked into the existing school infrastructure. However, all costs will largely be dependent on where the daycares are placed.

Given that there were more questions and answers available at this point, Jen suggested that we wait until further details are available before engaging in a full discussion. In the interim, Jen suggested that any parents with questions can forward them to info@buranbydpac.com and the Executive will ensure the Board receives them. Jen then thanked Chair Narang for providing this exciting news.

4. DPAC Chair Update

Jen began by advising that the November PIE will be postponed in light of the ongoing renovations at Burnaby Central. As such, the next DPAC PIE will take place on January 28 and will address the District’s Responsible to Intervention program. Further details and registration information will be provided as we get closer to the date.

DPAC Executive Vacancies
The Chair then reminded the DPAC representatives that there are still a few vacancies on the DPAC executive: two positions are still vacant for the Kingsway South Zone and one position for the Central West Zone. Interested DPAC representatives are asked to contact info@burnabydpac.com for more information.

School District Hiring Committee for Principals and Vice-Principals
Jen went on to say that we are also looking for a parent representative to sit on a selection committee for principal and vice-principal hires. The parent representative would be tasked with reviewing candidates’ resumes as well as attending a committee meeting on November 19 at the Burnaby School District. At the Nov. 19 meeting, the Committee will determine those candidates that will be selected for an interview. Jen added that all committee participants are expected to keep all committee discussions and the resumes reviewed completely confidential and that a high level of professionalism would be required. Interested parents are asked to email chair@burnabydpac.com. A committee orientation meeting will take place this Thursday at 9 AM at the School District Office and with provide details on the process.

DPAC PIE: PAC 101, SPC Training and Treasurer’s Workshop – Wednesday, October 29
On Wednesday, October 29 DPAC and the District are co-sponsoring the annual offering of PAC 101, SPC Training and the Treasurer’s Workshop at Burnaby Central. Along with the workshops, a vendor fair is also taking place that evening from 6 to 7 PM in the Atrium. Please note, pre-registration for the vendor fair is required, which is separate from the workshop registrations. Registrations can be made online through the Burnaby DPAC website.

BCCPAC Conference
The Chair reminded parents that the BCCPAC Fall Leadership Conference takes place this November 21-23 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo, BC. Early bird registration is now open. Additional details and online registration are available on the BCCPAC website at http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/events/bccpac-fall-leadership-conference-2014 Part of the conference agenda includes a discussion on the classroom resource fund that BCCPAC is advocating for.

Jen added that DPAC will cover half of the conference fees for Burnaby parents who attend. BCCPAC also provides a limited number of travel subsidies.

DPAC Meeting with BTA
DPAC Executive members met with the BTA earlier this month to discuss how teachers can support PACs and what that would look like. Stemming from that conversation, the group decided that it might be a good idea to organize a forum to further address this concept with a broader audience. Jen added that more details will follow as plans are made.

Questions and Answers
A parent of Morley Elementary School raised the concern that there are a number of weeds on the school’s field, which is posing a tripping hazard for students. She asked what parents can do to have this situation addressed. Superintendent Kaardal answered that parents should work through their school principals and have the request directed to the Facilities Group so that appropriate action can be taken.

Show and Tell
Gilmour Community School will be hosting its annual fireworks display on Friday, October 31. It is a free event, which begins at 8:15 PM. Hot chocolate sales will be begin at 7:45 PM and proceeds from the sales will go to the Gilmour Family Food Bank.

Mark Smith, a teacher at Byrne Creek, is launching a novel he’s written on November 7 from 4 to 6 PM at Byrne Creek Secondary. The event is being sponsored by the school’s Leo Club and proceeds from the event will go toward Byrne Creek’s PAC. Posters are available for DPAC reps to take back to their schools.

5. All Candidates Forum Prep

District staff and trustees were then asked to leave the room for the remaining of the meeting.

Jen advised that, as decided at the last DPAC General meeting, an all candidates forum is being organized for Wednesday, November 5 from 7 PM to 8:30 PM at Stoney Creek Community School. All Trustee candidates have been invited to come and answer questions from the Burnaby DPAC. The session will be moderated with questions prepared in advance. Jen advised that all but two of the fourteen candidates have confirmed their attendance.

The DPAC representatives where then asked to provide potential questions for the forum. Additional questions may be submitted via email to info@burnabydpac.com.

6. Meeting Adjournment

Before adjourning the meeting, the Chair advised that the next DPAC General meeting will take place November 24 at Burnaby Central at 7 PM. Further details will follow. Jen then adjourned the meeting at 8:48 PM and thanked all for attending.



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