D.P.A.C. MEETING NOTES
Burnaby Central Secondary School
6011 Deer Lake Parkway
DATE: May 25, 2015
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Brentwood North: Alpha, Buranby North, Kitchener, Capitol Hill, Montecito, Westridge
Cariboo Lougheed: Burnaby Mountain, Cariboo Hill, Armstrong, Lyndhurst, Stoney Creek, Twelfth Avenue
Central West: Burnaby Central, Moscrop, Brantford, Cascade Heights, Chaffey-Burke, Gilpin, Inman, Lakeview
Kingsway South: Burnaby South, Byrne Creek, Edmonds
Wanda Mitchell – Assistant Superintendent; Heather Hart – Assistant Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli – Assistant Superintendent
Regrets: Gina Niccoli-Moen – Superintendent;
Board of Education Trustees and their zones:
Katrina Chen (Central West); Baljinder Narang (Kingsway South); Gary Wong (Brentwood North)
Regrets: Ron Burton – Chair (Brentwood North); Harman Pandher – Vice-Chair (Central West); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South); Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed)
Jen Mezei, Chair (Cariboo Lougheed); Victoria Brenden, Member at Large (Brentwood North); Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed); Herman Louie, Treasurer (Central West); Kristin Schnider, Secretary (Cariboo Lougheed); Jocelyn Schonekess, Vice Chair (Brentwood North)
1. Welcome and Introductions
Before calling the meeting to session, two door prizes were drawn.
The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM and welcomed everyone. DPAC Chair Jen Mezei then introduced the District Staff, Board of Education Trustees and DPAC Executive members in attendance.
Jen began the meeting by reading correspondence received by the DPAC Executive from the BTA’s Teacher-Librarians. The correspondence thanked Burnaby parents for their advocacy in preserving teacher-librarian services in the school district during the recent budget consultation process.
Jen then talked about the upcoming year-end thank you dinner. Jen explained that DPAC and the School District have organized an evening for PAC Executives, SPC members and school principals from 6 PM to 8:30 PM on Wednesday, June 3 at Burnaby Central. The evening program includes an appetizer style dinner and a presentation for Assistant Superintendents Heather Hart and Wanda Mitchell on innovative ways of communicating student learning. Each school is welcome to send a maximum of five attendees. Registration is encouraged at http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/17066121228.
2. Bill 11 Update
Jen Mezei provided a brief presentation on Bill 11. She noted that, once enacted this October, Bill 11 will make changes to the School Act. Jen went on to explain that concerns had been voiced in the media regarding the Bill and the lack of consultation with partner groups. However, the Bill was the Provincial Government’s response to concerns raised previously by various partner groups. With respect to SPCs, there was an acknowledgement that – while not the case in all Burnaby schools – across the province SPCs weren’t working, which warranted changes to the existing Accountability Framework.
Jen went on to say that in despite the fact that the Government has decided to abolish SPCs, school districts will continue the practice of following school plans. However, the process for doing so has not been determined yet. Per the changes to the School Act, PACs can still advise on anything pertaining to their schools and DPACs can still advise to matters pertaining to their school districts. However, Boards will no longer be obligated by legislation to consult with parents regarding the allocation of staff and resources, matters contained in the Board’s achievement contract relating to the school, educational services and programs and/or school safety.
Another concern raised by parents on Bill 11 is the issue for student privacy. Jen explained that Bill 11 establishes a definition for student information, defining it as “recorded information about an identifiable individual.” While Bill 11 brings the School Act more in line with FOIPPA, there are still some concerns with the language contained within Bill 11 also allows for student information to be shared between different government organizations or provincial ministries. This will be especially concerning with the introduction of MyEducation BC.
Jen went on to explain that the response from trustees across the province largely relates to the changes around board autonomy. Bill 11 will broaden the authority of the Minister of Education such that he or she will be able to issue administrative directives to School Boards and designate shared service providers. The management of schools and properties is now also subject orders of the Minister.
The BCTF and teachers across the province have also raised concerns regarding Bill 11 as it will also change teachers’ autonomy on their professional development.
BCCPAC has not come out with much of a response regarding the changes to the School Act. However, the Burnaby DPAC Executive did issue a response to the Ministry, which was circulated electronically, regarding the removal of SPCs. The DPAC Executive asserted that the removal of SPCs from the legislation necessarily diminishes the ability of parents to consult with school districts. Jen added that the consultation piece is much larger than just SPCs.
In terms of next steps, Jen advised that the Bill has already passed its third reading in the legislature and will be enacted in October. In the interim, the Ministry will be meeting with partner groups to discuss the new accountability framework, and they have advised that they are willing to speak directly with PACs and DPACs for input. Therefore, as a DPAC we need to consider what we want to communicate to the Ministry: What role do Burnaby PACs want in school planning? Should DPAC advocate for inclusion of language obligating boards to consult with PACs and parents regarding staff and resource allocation and educational services and programs in provincial policy or regulation?
Jen then called for questions on Bill 11. Janice Beecroft asked if the Accountability Framework would still be part of the School Act. Jen answered that at this point it is unclear where it will reside, but it will likely be separate from the legislation.
Jocelyn Schonekess commented that while Bill 11 amends the School Act, the School Act still preserves the right of PACs to advise on any matter pertaining to the school. Jocelyn then asked what happens in a school where there is no functioning PAC. How does communication between school administration and parents proceed? Jen answered that the obligation to advise rests with the PAC, not with the school. She then acknowledged it is a potential issue as PACs are volunteer organizations. Nonetheless, it would be up to the parents to engage in communication with the school.
After further discussion, Jen advised that the PAC at Burnaby Mountain was planning to send a letter to the Ministry regarding the elimination of SPCs. Jen asked if this is something other PACs would like to consider. Discussion ensued.
Janice Beecroft suggested that PACs advocate for some language around a PACs role in the accountability framework and include established deadlines. She added that the inclusion of this language would better support the role PACs and avoid the common misconception that PACs are just concerned with fundraising. Jen agreed with Janice’s comments, acknowledging that Bill 11 may present an opportunity to redefine what the role of PACs is and what they are able to do. Further discussion ensued.
A motion was made for the Burnaby DPAC to advocate for the inclusion of language by Ministerial Order or equivalent that would obligate Boards to meaningfully consult with parents in a formal process regarding staff and resource allocation and educational services and programs in provincial policy or regulation.
Moved: Dave Dye; seconded: Reece Jorgenson
After further discussion, a second motion was made for Burnaby DPAC to write a letter to the Burnaby School District Administration team, calling for the School District to implement of policy or equivalent that would the Burnaby Board of Education to meaningfully consult with parents in a formal process regarding staff and resource allocation and educational services and programs in provincial policy or regulation.
Moved: Reece Jorgenson; seconded: Dave Dye
Following the motion, Jen commented that we are fortunate in Burnaby to have the relationship we do with the School District. Nonetheless, as a DPAC we need to advocate as a parent body for the rights of parents across the province. She then urged all DPAC reps to have this discussion with their PACs.
Herman Louie then suggested that the DPAC executive provide template letter for PACs to use for writing the Ministry of Education regarding our concerns on Bill 11. Jen confirmed that the Executive would send something out to all PACs.
Further discussion ensued.
Victoria Brendan asked if the DPAC Executive had received any feedback from other DPACs on this matter, and if there were of the same opinion that we should be advocating for obligatory meaningful consultation with PACs and parents. Jen answered that she had spoken with some of DPAC Executives who agreed that it was an important issue. They also understand the importance of the obligation. Jen then suggested that we share our template for use with DPACs and PACs in other school districts.
Jen concluded the conversation by noting that Burnaby DPAC invited the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputy Minister to the year-end PAC event with the hope that this matter could be discussed, but unfortunately they are not available. Nonetheless, Burnaby DPAC will try to have them attend an event this fall. Jen added that the Ministry is aware that Burnaby DPAC wants to have a discussion on the changes to the School Act, and they have confirmed that they are willing to either meet in person or communicate with the DPAC by written feedback.
3. DPAC Budget Report
Treasurer Herman Louie began his report by advising that he has applied for the gaming grant on behalf of the Burnaby DPAC. He then reminded all PACs to complete their applications, noting that it’s a simple online process. The deadline for application is June 30, 2015.
Herman then reviewed the budget.
On the matter of DPAC PIEs, Jen confirmed that Director of Instruction Peter Dubinsky will facilitate three PIEs on social emotional learning over the course of the 2015-2016 school year. More details and dates for the series will be available in the fall.
Jen added that the DPAC Executive is also looking into scheduling a big speaker every couple years and using surplus funds from prior years to fund the associated costs. For next year, DPAC plans to bring in Yong Zhao. Yong Zhao presented at the BC Superintendents Conference last fall and speaks about 21st Century learning. If booked for Burnaby, Yong Zhao would present on the topic ‘Why high marks are not the most important part of education.’ Another possibility would be to coordinate with other Metro Vancouver DPACs for a Mandarin offering of his presentation. However, this would not be pursued unless outside funding is available.
A parent asked if DPAC would be able to host additional offerings of the ‘Parents as Career Coaches’ workshop given the demand from parents. Jen answered that DPAC could provide the workshops for high school parents as there is no cost associated with putting them on. She noted that these workshops are suited to smaller groups given the small group work done as part of the session. It was also suggested that individual high schools look into having the “Parents as Career Coaches” workshops at their own schools, as the speakers are happy to present to smaller groups.
Jen went on to say that there may also be another opportunity to bring Yong Zhao is to provide a mandarin presentation. This type of presentation would likely have to be a partnership with other Districts, and could only proceed if external funding could be sourced. Further discussion ensued.
A motion was then made to adopt the 2015-2016 budget as proposed.
Moved: Dave Dye; seconded: Janice Beecroft
Herman concluded his report by confirming that the DPAC executive would look into confirming the speaker details and provide further details in the fall.
4. DPAC Elections
Jen Mezei explained that each of the four zones need two representative and representatives must have a child in the school zones they represent. After nominated and elected, the executive committee will choose the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Members at Large.
Jen then proceeded with nominations for the four zones:
Nominations for Brentwood North: Calvin Tapley – Capitol Hill
Nominations for Cariboo Lougheed: Dave Dye – Lyndhurst; Jen Mezei – Burnaby Mountain; Kristin Schnider – Stoney Creek Community School
Nominations for Central West: Jocelyn Schonekess – Burnaby Central; Herman Louie – Moscrop
Nominations for Kingsway South: Naz Jakir – Byrne Creek; Shamsuddin (Shams) Chowdhury – Edmonds
All representatives were elected by acclamation.
5. Committee Reports/BCCPAC AGM
Policy Committee – Jen shared that the School District has a guide available for event protocols and acknowledging traditional territories. Jen advised that she would send the document out electronically to DPAC reps.
Jen then went on to report that the District will be revising the DPAC policy to reflect the changes to the School Act (once enacted).
Youth & Community Services (YCS) Committee – Kristin reported that at the last meeting, the Committee received a report on the successful co-hosted event with DPAC, the District and the Taskforce for Sexually Exploited and At Risk Youth. The event was attended by several parents and students, and the information presented was well received.
The YCS Committee also discussed the School District’s hot meal program, and has decided to conduct a satisfaction survey for families that participate in the program and also review menu and supplier options with the aim of improving the quality of the program.
LGTBQ Committee – Jocelyn reported that the School District will be sending out a notice to parents and students next week regarding the School District’s participation in the Vancouver Pride Parade. Jocelyn encouraged all to attend and show your support for equality and diversity in Burnaby schools. She added that the DPAC Executive used some funds to purchase a bubble blower for the parade, which will be available for PACs to use going forward.
BCCPAC AGM – Jocelyn reported that there was a great turnout of Burnaby parents at the recent BCCPAC AGM. Jen then reminded DPAC representative to encourage their PAC to pay their membership fees to the BCCPAC so that they can attend the BCCPAC AGM as voting members. Many resolutions and some of the executive elections were decided with just a narrow margin of votes.
Jen added that one resolution that passed at the AGM addressed private school funding. The resolution called on the Ministry to reduce the funding to private schools. However, through the debate at the AGM the resolution was amended and ‘special education’ was removed from the resolution language. Delegates acknowledged that parents of special needs students don’t necessarily chose to send their children to private schools. Often they have no other option for their children, and BCCPAC didn’t want to unnecessarily penalize parents for this reality.
6. DPAC Chair Report
For her Chair report, Jen Mezei reiterated her earlier comments regarding the plans for social emotional learning PIEs next fall with Peter Dubinsky. Jen added that the Burnaby DPAC is also looking for an October date to hold a session on special education transition. More information will follow as details are confirmed.
7. Show and Tell
Twelfth Avenue Elementary will be holding their school carnival on Friday, June 12.
Montecito Elementary would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of a volunteer parent who will be moving on to Burnaby Central after serving on the PAC since 1988.
École Westridge Elementary hosted its annual staff appreciation luncheon today, and despite the poor weather, they had a successful lunch in the school library. The school’s fun fair is taking place Friday, June 19 and will feature a DJ (parent volunteer).
A parent then raised a concern regarding car wash fundraisers. She advised that the Grad Committee at Burnaby Central had planned to hold an onsite car wash, but it was cancelled at the last minute when they were advised that, per City by-laws, soap suds cannot enter storm drains. Car washes can only be performed on gravel for draining purposes. Failure to comply with the by-law could result in City fines. It was noted that gas station car washes can proceed because they have a different water filtration system that is approved for soap suds.
École Inman Elementary recently broke ground for their new school garden, and encourages all other schools to start their own gardens. Already it’s been a great experience for the students.
Burnaby Mountain had its grad leaving ceremony least Friday and it was discovered that individuals had turned the arena heaters on as a prank. However, parents learned that they were able to shut them off with the switch at the top of the seating.
8. New Business/Q&A
Jen reminded parents to save the date for the fall DPAC Treasurer Workshop and PAC 101 Training. The tentative date is Wednesday, October 7. That evening will also include a vendor fair. More information will be sent out early into the 2015-2016 school year.
A parent then asked for an update on the PAC handbook development that had been discussed at an earlier meeting. Jen advised that the handbook has been discussed with the Superintendent and is expected to be ready this fall. DPAC is still soliciting feedback and best practices from Burnaby PACs for inclusion in the handbook.
The parent replied that she’s looking forward to its publication so it can be used a resource in addressing some issues with her own PAC. She commented that have been issues with respect to the boundaries between the principal and PAC Executive. She then asked if the PAC is generating funds, to what extent can a principal approve or not approve an expenditure? After further discussion, Dave Dye offered that if there’s an issue with a PAC and school administration, it’s best to raise it with the school principal. If there’s no success there, they raise it with the School District. Jen added that DPAC executives are also able to assist PACs with these kinds of discussions with school administration, as are District staff. Further discussion ensued.
Herman Louie asked if the District staff could provide some clarification around the cuts to Burnaby bus services that had been announced. Will the bus service be replaced with crossing guards or another alternative? Assistant Superintendent Roberto Bombelli clarified that the bus service cut through the budget adjustments was for transporting Cascade Heights students. Communication of this cut to services has gone out to parents and they are working with the school community to determine a replacement service. Roberto added that this bus route was a remnant service from years past.
Before adjourning the meeting, the Chair advised that the next DPAC General meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 28 at 7 PM at Burnaby Central. Jen then adjourned the meeting at 8:56 PM and wished everyone a great summer.
NOTES FROM THE CHAIR: