Division News

Division News

Board Highlights - February 23, 2018

Posted on March 8

Read the Board Highlights from Northland School Division's February 23, 2018, Regular Board Meeting

Superintendent of Schools presents Education Quarterly Report

A  February 21, 2018 visit by Minister of Education David Eggen to the KTCEA – NSD Winter Camp highlighted the Education Quarterly Report. The winter camp exposes students to land-based learning (trapping, dog sledding, skinning, rattle making, setting a net, storytelling) with a focus on leadership, language, and culture. Atkinson, who attended the camp with Ward 6 Trustee Silas Yellowknee, said the Minister of Education described land-based learning as the future of education. Atkinson noted NSD is planning to expand land-based learning by creating more outdoor classrooms. During the minister’s visit, KTCEA and NSD also celebrated their partnership agreement. A special thank you to KTCEA for the gifts to NSD.

Under NSD Outcomes, Atkinson specifically discussed Goals 2.5 and 5.7. Goal 2.5 talks about a formalized plan around education for reconciliation and Goal 5.7 is the implementation of a new strategic planning tool. Atkinson said NSD has work to do with respect to a formalized plan for reconciliation and the division is on track to implement a new strategic planning tool for the 2018-2019 school year. Click on the website link to view the entire Education Quarterly Report https://nsd61.ca/download/124505 (Start on page 17).

Attendance Improvement Operational Plan approved

The Board of Trustees approved NSD’s Attendance Improvement Operational Plan. The plan fits the guidelines set out by the Auditor General of Alberta to include actions, outputs/deliverables, completion dates/checkpoints, responsibility and resource requirements. The plan includes hiring a Student Attendance and Re-engagement Officer. When this leadership position is advertised, NSD will be looking for a person with collaboration skills and knowledge of underlying issues in the school communities. Click on the website link to view the entire Attendance Improvement Operational Plan https://nsd61.ca/download/124505 (Start on page 36).

Board of Trustees support the Mistassiniy School Modernization

The Board of Trustees unanimously supported and approved the modernization of Mistassiniy School in Wabasca-Desmarais. A modernization of Mistassiniy School has been on NSD’s capital plan request to the province since 2003. A value scoping workshop with the community was undertaken by Alberta Education, Alberta Capital Planning and Alberta Infrastructure in June 2016. The final report, which was delivered to NSD October 20, 2016, recommended a modernization instead of building a new school. $18.9 million is set aside for the Mistassiniy School modernization. A letter has been sent to the Minister of Education outlining the Board of Trustees support and for construction to begin as soon as possible. 

Policy updates

The Board of Trustees approved:

  • 1st reading of Policy 1 – Foundational Statements: The policy includes a new commitment statement, the vision statement “Our student love to come to school in Northland” and Values – Seven Sacred Teachings. The policy has gone out for a 60-day cycle to all stakeholders for feedback. Click on the website link to view the policy https://goo.gl/Wj3LRv.
  • 1st reading of Policy 3 – Role of Trustee, Policy 3 – Appendix A Services, Materials and Equipment Provided to Trustees and Policy 3 – Appendix B – Trustee Working Relationships Guidelines. The policy has gone out for a 60-day cycle to all stakeholders for feedback. Click on the website link to view the policy https://goo.gl/Fo6UPe.
  • 1st reading of Policy 21 – Community Voice and Community Engagement and Policy 21 – Appendix A School Council Conflict Resolution. Click on the website link to view the policy https://nsd61.ca/download/124505 (Start on page 74).
  • The housekeeping change to Policy 9 – Board Representatives. Click on the website link to view the policy https://goo.gl/JFqth5.

Long Service and Recognition Awards highlighted in Board Chair Report

Maddy Daniels highlighted a Long Service and Recognition Awards Meeting while presenting the Board Chair Report. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Board’s involvement and begin planning for the May 10, 2018 event. The ceremony recognizes staff who have served NSD for 20, 25, 30, 35 and/or over 35 years, who are retiring and staff who have received provincial awards. In addition to discussing the awards, Daniels said schools are going to recognize staff who received awards at year-end events.

She transitioned the conversation to a Public School Board Council (PSBC) Governance Seminar she attended called Managing Difficult Conversations with Maurice Fritz. While discussing the seminar, Daniels shared a book called Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen. She also talked about the PSBC Dinner and Conversation with Chris Scribe, Director of Indian Teacher Education Program, University of Saskatchewan. Scribe discussed his work with Indigenous communities and how he uses his grandfather’s teachings. 

Health and Wellness headlines the Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent of Schools Gord Atkinson highlighted his experience at the Ever Active School Shaping the Future Conference in Lake Louise. From January 31 – February 2, 2018, Atkinson along with NSD Wellness Champions, attended a number of sessions focused on health and wellness. Attending this conference helps NSD shape student and staff wellness priorities around the Comprehensive School Health (CSH) approach. CSH focuses on three specific tenets: positive social environments, active living and healthy eating.

He presented proposed welcome signage design for NSD schools. The sign includes information about visitor sign-in procedures, WiFi and thanking everyone for not smoking on school property. Atkinson also noted that NSD received compliments about improvements to housing at the Quality of Work/Life Meeting with Northland Alberta Teachers’ Association Local.

Associate Superintendent Tim Stensland presents Area 3 Report

Associate Superintendent Tim Stensland shared priority initiatives for Area 3 schools (Athabasca Delta Community School (ADCS), Bill Woodward School, Anzac Community School, Father R. Perin School, Fort McKay School, Conklin Community School, J.F. Dion School and Elizabeth School). Stensland started the report by sharing his role in implementing NSD’s new strategic planning tool Envisio. This software program is going to help NSD align strategic and departmental plans to drive accountability. He discussed a recent education program review at ADCS (Fort Chipewyan). The review process included focus groups with students, parents and staff and parent surveys. Findings from the review will be shared and developed into an action plan.

While discussing Area 3 principal meetings, Stensland said the focus has been on defining what optimal learning looks like in school and defining what they would see when students are engaged in optimal student learning.  He also talked about student learning through technology, schools involved in Moving Forward with High School Redesign and a Co-Management Agreement between NSD and Fort McKay First Nation.

Director of Student Services Stephanie Sutherland provided department update to Board of Trustees

Director of Student Services Stephanie Sutherland shared information with respect to the department’s portfolio. Student Services encompasses supporting the needs of students, Regional Collaborative Services Delivery, Program Unit Funding (PUF) and Early Childhood Services (ECS), Mental Health Capacity Building Projects (When We Are Healthy and Helping Hands), Family Wellness Workers, Wellness Grant and Fort McMurray Wildfires.

Sutherland said the department is fully staffed, a director of student services, and three assistant supervisor of student services. The team provides elbow to elbow supports for the schools as well as providing professional development. Click on the website link to view the entire report https://nsd61.ca/download/124505 (Start on page 98).

Locally developed courses approved

The Board of Trustees approved locally developed Film and Media Art courses from Calgary School District No.19. As per Administrative Procedure 219 – Locally Developed Courses, clause 7, all locally developed courses must be approved by the Board of Trustees.

Board of Trustees reaffirm transfer of land to Pembina Hills Public Schools

The Board of Trustees reaffirmed a land transfer request from Pembina Hills Public Schools. The transfer of land would allow Pembina Hills to redraw their jurisdiction boundaries to encompass the land between Barrhead and Swan Hills bringing the jurisdiction completely together. There are no Northland students residing in the area requested.

View Board Schedule, Agendas, Minutes, Highlights and Attachments on our website at: http://nsd61.ca/governance/board-meeting-agenda-minutes

Next Corporate Board Meeting is March 22, 2018 at Calling Lake School

Note: These writings do not constitute the official record of the Northland School Division No.61. They are however provided as general information relating to action taken at board meetings. For further information, please call 780-624-2060 or 1-800-362-1360.