Welcome back to school everyone. My first newsletter for this school year. Check the website for a more extensive back to school note.
This Wednesday, Sept 28, is our first full meeting of the Board for this school year. We have a packed agenda. For those with a sleep problem, our meeting will be on haligonia.ca from 6 p.m. until at least 10 p.m. judging by the agenda.
This is my last year on the board and the Board is working to complete as many outstanding projects/items as possible, including: Capital planning final report with estimated dates for projects; mental health awareness/ education; financial literacy programming becoming part of our curriculum; continued work on bullying prevention; strengthening the voice of parents at the board level; working with the DOE, NSTU and other stakeholders to create a more vibrant and flexible education system; special needs funding; rural school supports, French Immersion planning for the future along with many other items as they arise.
This is going to be a busy year and I am going to use each meeting to highlight what I believe are some key issues for education in HRSB. Check out below for more details.
I am looking forward to the challenge and have had at least one interested party approach me regarding my experience on the Board and advice for anyone thinking of participating in the October 2012 election.
Please follow me on twitter: @halifaxdave as I retweet many education articles from around the world. Some current and relevant topics. Feel free to forward and retweet.
I also have my ongoing website at www.davidfinlayson.ca. for more information and my views on a range of topics.
Please feel free to get in touch via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
September Board Meeting Thoughts (full agenda is here)
1) We want your feedback on STORM DAYS. We have data from other boards and people in the education sector. We want the parents VIEW asap. With every cancellation and non-cancellation, we receive phone calls/emails about why we chose to close or not and why we are wrong. It really is a no win situation. The only way to fix this is to change the policy and have 0 storm days except in extreme conditions. Parents can decide whether or not they want their children in school. If we have to shut down buses due to bad weather, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the city shuts down. Let’s look at ways to keep the schools open. Please email me your thoughts before our October meeting.
2) Boundary reviews in District 7. We will vote to review the District 7 school boundaries for all of the Bedford/ Hammonds Plains schools. This should be very straightforward for the Board as we have the only growing area in the Board.
3) Mental Health issues and awareness. Last year, Dr. Stan Kutcher presented to our Board regarding his new programming that he is testing around the globe. We are lucky to have Stan in our backyard and we will be using even more of his programming for teachers this year.
4) I floated a motion regarding capital/ maintenance planning for the meeting. The burning issue is that the Board does not receive the money it needs to do all the maintenance required on an ongoing basis to keep our schools as good as they can be as far as maintenance. If there was a capital dollar amount per student, the board could plan years in advance as to how to spend money on big and small projects alike. As it is, we need to get DOE approval for most of our big spends (new schools etc).
I would also like to think that the DOE/ Province can be responsible either for school closures and school openings, or neither. While I recognize it is a big political moment for a politician/ government to be associated with new school builds, I also believe they should be there for the tough moments if schools need to close. There is NO reason to separate this responsibility. Further, there may be ways to have communities have more responsibility for their own schools as far as making sure they are successful and the students are successful. This idea can be fleshed out over time.
That is all for this month, but feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone in the area.
See you next month.