Board meeting Recap and Results of the CPoSD76 vote.

Board meeting Recap and Results of the CPoSD76 vote.

A quick recap of the board meeting. I am writing a more thorough walk through, but due to constraints on my time, I was unable to complete it tonight, so here is the tl;dr.

  1. 622 amendments were passed, and Terry Riley stated that they will not be looking at the policies again unless legislation changes.
  2. The board has chosen to continue their pursuit of court costs from me.
  3. The budget was passed.
  4. Terry Riley gave a report on the ASBA zone 6 meeting.

As for the your vote on how the CPoSD76 should proceed.

  • 39% – 1. Host a meeting & Invite the Board, then determine next step.
  • 60% – 2. Submit amendment to the petition, and proceed according to School Act
  • 1% – 3. Select four representatives to convey concerns to the board.

Given that costs were not rescinded, even more votes from 1 would be shifted to 2.

A meeting for signatories and stake holders in the petition will be held on the 27 of May. Venue TBA.

Tags, , ,

Point out the exaggerations.

There are far fewer exaggerations in this video than you may realize. Even the one about Red Ink is actually a thing.

Study: Red ink makes students anxious

Teachers shouldn’t use red coloured pens to mark homework ‘because it’s like shouting and upsets pupils

Privilege Points are a thing.

Feelings over Facts are a thing.

Gender politics is a thing.

Equality of outcome over equality of opportunity is a thing.

Right to not be offended is a thing.

Right to ‘punch a nazi’ is a thing.

Words are violent is a thing.

Right to silence differing opinions is a thing.

And they are all mixed into education. So, if you find an exaggeration in this video, that has not played out in some western educational institution in the last decade, please let me know.

Remember, questions are offensive is a thing….really it is. Especially in regards to wanting to know who is rewriting education. Just ask David Eggen. He’ll tell you why you shouldn’t ask that.

May SD76 public board meeting…

Tonight at 6pm is the monthly SD76 public board meeting.

There are a few major items on the agenda for the meeting.

  1. A letter from the A.S.B.A. (Alberta School Board Association) with info about the October Election. Couple of highlights, “Ideally there would be as few acclimations [new candidates] as possible,” “we have prepared a package of information to assist school boards in creating their own local election campaign packages.”[The A.S.B.A is the same institution that wants to eliminate school choice, and defund all other school options.]
  2. A vote on if to pass the 622 amendments. (This is pretty much a given.)
  3. The results on if they will retract the $2300 bill that they already sent me for following the school act and appealing the petition.
  4. A presentation of the School Budget. (Presumably by the Secretary.)

The Agenda, and all relevant documents can be found here.

 

A final note: Results of the vote on how to proceed will be available Wednesday.

Tags, , , ,

Facts, Not Feelings

A choice needs to be made.

Last week I gave a report on a meeting with members of the Board of SD76.

This week, a decision needs to be made on how we should proceed post petition appeal. If option (1.) is chosen, the date of the Meeting would be Saturday, May 27th. The end of the school year is approaching, and this matter needs to be cleared up before the summer break.

Below is a very quick form that would provide us with concrete information on how parents feel we should continue. This is your opportunity. The names and e-mail of those that provide feedback will never be shared publicly. We know first hand the kind of blow back you can get from having an opinion that is not in agreement with the mainstream, and we will do our utmost to protect you from any such blow back.



I certify that I am a Public School Board Elector, who resides within Medicine Hat School District #76.


Tags, , , ,

No matter where the infraction occurs!

I have mentioned here before the concern over the Procedures for Policy 621 & 622, in regards to an overreach of authority and fiduciary duty, of Staff and Administration of SD76. I have further mentioned that the procedures allow for the district to monitor what children do outside of school, and punish them for infractions in conduct no matter where the infraction occurs.

I’ve been called a fear monger. That that is simply not true. The policy does not give the Administration that authority. It will never be used that way. The thing is, I have shared examples before about that same kind of Policy/Procedure that HAS been used to control and punish people’s children, outside of school.

But I understand, there is a need to show evidence of that claim, and so I quote from Administrative Procedure “621 P 001 Student Code of Conduct” for Policy 621.

Ahem..(emphasis mine)

“1. The District and schools’ Student Codes of Conduct, and their enforcement through consequences, shall apply to students
  • a.in school;
  • b. on the school grounds;
  • c. during any recess or lunch periods on or off school property;
  • d. at school sponsored or authorized activities;
  • e. on school busses or other forms of approved transportation; or
  • f.when the student’s conduct detrimentally affects the welfare of the members of the school community regardless of where that conduct occurs.

The very serious concern rests in what is meant by “conduct detrimentally” affecting the the school community. With other procedural points specifying that “unethical, immoral,or inappropriate” (4.l) behaviour beyond that of what is illegal is an example of a violation, without explaining who’s standard is to be followed, than anything can be an infraction if anyone says it is. (Procedure point 4 further states that violations are not limited to the examples cited.) It appears to set up the schools as the final authority on what is morally and ethically acceptable.

The intention I’m sure is to prevent bullying, and that is a right and noble intention, but without clarification, well, as they say about a road being paved with good intentions, the outcome will not be what was intended. Given that every family has their own standard of what is morally and ethically correct under the law, this leaves parents under the thumb of the whims of whoever happens to be in charge at the time. It creates strife between children, parents, and schools, with no hopes of resolution.

This kind of wording, inevitably leads to the following:

7th Grader Suspended for ‘Liking’ Photo of Airsoft Gun On Instagram

These kinds of procedures have been applied in other districts in the past, and they have repeatedly led to the ridiculous situations cited above. Schools must be safe, and they must follow the law, but they have no right or authority to dictate behaviour, morality, or ethics outside of school grounds.

Some may argue, “Ya, but they have no intention of doing that,” but that isn’t the point. If no one plans on utilizing that procedure, than why is it there? I am also aware of people who DO plan on utilizing this procedure, and have already received several different interpretations on how and for what purpose it would be implemented. There is already different standards of interpretations on it’s use, and we have not even gotten to a point of enacting it.

Tags, , , ,

On 622 report & other things.

tl;dr

  • The 622 report raised some concerns with parents. They are listed at the bottom.
  • The board has sent a bill for court costs, but are going to discuss rescinding it.
  • A few parents met with Trustees to discuss a solution to the current situation.
    • The CPOSD76 would like to hold a meeting for the purposes of deciding when to submit the amendments to the petition.
    • The CPoSD76 would invite the board to attend, and if the CPoSD76 are satisfied with the outcome of the discussion with the board, would hold a vote to cease action on the petition.
      • The Board would have to attend in majority, and be able to make official statements. (Understanding that not ALL statements would have to be official.)
      • The bill for court costs would have to be rescinded.
    • The Meeting would be open to any signatory to the petition, member of the CPoSD76 group, or resident of Medicine Hat, with concerns over the policy, or procedure.
    • Date of meeting TBA
  • We have 3 choices before us:
    • 1. Amend the petition, and follow the process of forming a committee in the school act.
    • 2. Have the meeting with the school board, and see if that satisfies the concerns.
    • 3. Select 3 or 4 people to represent the interests of the CPoSD76, and have them address the concerns to the board.
  • You can message an option number through facebook, or by using the contact form on the website.

It has been an interesting week. A report on the review of SD76 Policy 622 came out at the end of the last SD76 public board meeting. However, prior to that there was a invitation by a Trustee for a meeting with members of our group to discuss common ground and perhaps how we might come back from the brink on this policy. That meeting was set for Tuesday May 2nd.

On April 25th the board released their report, and immediately on the 26th a request for a statement was made by multiple media outlets. I Shared with the 557 members of our Facebook group that report, and requested their thoughts on it. I also met with numerous residents of Medicine Hat in person, to get their feedback. I began to write up a statement on behalf of the group.

On Friday April 28th I received an e-mail from the Lawyer for SD76, requesting I pay costs for the appeal. The stated reason being that, even though costs were not brought up during the appeal proceedings nor were they mentioned in Justice Tilleman’s decision, according to sd76’s lawyer, the Alberta Rules of Court states that SD76, as the ‘winning’ party, was entitled to seeks reimbursement for costs. This seemed to me counter intuitive to a reconciliation process. Thus I delayed the statement, and let the group know it would be delayed.

In the time between the April 28th and May 2nd I asked several signatories about the request for costs, (and consulted a lawyer.) The unanimous consensus from the signatories was that they too saw the request for costs counter intuitive to a reconciliation process. Some were more colorful in their answers than others. Thus, I held off on making any statements until after meeting with members of the board on May 2nd.

The May 2nd meeting saw a majority of the board in attendance. The meeting was not an official meeting of the board, and as such no official decisions were made. There were 2 other CPoSD76 representatives also present.

Overall the meeting seemed to be positive, with a positive outcome. There was some airing of grievances by both parties. A lot of clearing up of misunderstandings and mis-communications. Everyone conducted themselves in a professional and respectful manner, with everyone working towards the goal of coming to a consensus on how to move forward from this issue. Both the board members and the concerned parents understood that neither could make any decisions without first going back to their respective parties with the proposals.

A proposed process by a Trustee was that the concerned parents would arrange a meeting with the signatories/members of the public, and they would invite the board to attend that meeting, and address the issues and concerns that they had. The concerned parents in turn stated that they would be open to that idea, but they would have to bring it back to the other concerned parents, to decide if they wished to follow that process. It was also stated by the concerned parents that for that process to work, a couple of conditions would have to be met.

  1. If the board accepted an invitation and came, it would have to be a majority of the board, so that the board would be able to make official statements.
  2. The request for court costs would have to be rescinded, as that is perceived by the concerned parents to be a hindrance to moving forward.

The board members agreed to bring these requests up for discussion at their next available opportunity.

So, the proposal, to you the concerned parents is this:

We set up a town hall style meeting for the purposes of inviting the Board of SD76 to attend, and decide based on the feedback/participation of the board if/when we should file our amendment to the petition. We let you decide if you wish to move forward with the petition, or if you are satisfied with the feedback from the board, and that your concerns have been heard. Details on the date of the meeting will be forthcoming.


As for a statement on the 622 Review Report. Some of the concerns over it have been mentioned here before, some others have been shared with me since. To summarize those:

  1. Not all council’s had the relevant information available for parents when requested. (Particularly in regards to Admin procedures)
  2. Some council’s had expressed that they didn’t even need to consider it.
  3. One council shut down a parent that tried to raise a concern.
  4. At least one council did not have a Trustee present for their discussion.
  5. The process did not allow for proposed changes to go up to the board, but for feedback to be given to the board on proposed changes.
  6. The conflict of interest of council members, who are also staff, not being able to contradict the board, has not been addressed.
  7. A question on what the review process will be if the yearly review is removed, has not been answered.
  8. Some parent councils do not seem to have the details or understanding of what exactly their part in the process is.
  9. A lack of source information for the conclusions drawn in the report.

Due to the purpose of the meeting, I was not able to raise all of these issues. Over all the Trusstees did agree that communication between parent councils, parents, and the board was in need of a review, and that more readily available information was necessary. There was also mention of how best to engage parents, and the timing of parent council meetings.

 

Tags, , , ,

Informed Albertans Letter Campaign

I’m just sending a reminder about the province-wide letter campaign regarding the sexually graphic material that was provided to K-12 children on an Alberta government funded and recommended website.

I am hoping to reach a goal of 1000 individual letters before the deadline in a couple weeks and would appreciate your help to reach that goal.

Here are two ways you can help:

1. Write a letter, maximum of one page – watch my video and/or read the petition for ideas of what you can write: https://informedalbertans.wordpress.com/sexually-graphic-material-to-kids-in-alberta-schools-what-you-can-do/

The letters can be short, simple and to the point. If you have already sent a letter, THANK YOU!

2. Send a reminder to others in your networks to remind them to also send in their letters ASAP. Feel free to forward this message.

Tip: Maximize letters and save postage by enclosing letters from each adult in your household within the same envelope.

The deadline is quickly approaching and time is of the essence. I would appreciate your help in getting as many letters as possible. Quantity of letters will be most important.

Thank you so much for investing time today to speak out for the safety of children in K-12 schools!

Tags, , ,

April 2017 Board Meeting Breakdown

Last Tuesday April 25th was the monthly public school board meeting. I know many of you have been awaiting a summary of the meeting, and have particular interest in the 622 Review Report. There will be a separate post on that matter on behalf of the group very soon. There have been some developments in the last few days in regards to the Board that warrant the report being addressed separately.

The board meeting opened with a couple of minor addendum to the agenda, which were approved. The minutes of the previous meeting were adopted, and Trustee Terry Riley was in attendance by phone. The chair quickly went over correspondence, and then recognized recent student and staff accomplishments.

  • A student was selected to attend “MLA for Day” in Edmonton
    • Special note was made of the fact the MLA Bob Wanner was somehow involved in this program.
  • A teacher had a children’s book published, “Chinook in Winter.”
  • A mention of the Wrestling Championships going on at Hat High.

After accomplishments, a report on the New York field trip was given. This report included several statements by 4 of the students that were a part of the trip. The students were asked what was the most memorable part of the field trip. They listed the UN, Ellis Island, and the Metropolitan Museum. One student mentioned the UN Universal Declaration of Humans Rights being the most translated document in the world. Just a minor nit pick, but the UN UDHR has been translated into 502 languages. The New Testament of the Bible has been translated into 1442 different languages. I was little surprised no one questioned or corrected that statement. I’m curious by what standard the UN considers a document a document.

I found it further curious that there was so much emphasis on the visit to the UN, and the UDHR, yet the current provincial government does not seem to be concerned with it contents. It is the UDHR, in article 26, paragraph 3 that we find “(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children,” and yet we have seen a concerted effort by the ATA, ASBA, and Alberta Education to violate that right, and remove school choice via shutting down of separate home school boards, and a demand that other options be defunded. Very curious indeed.

After the field trip report, a District focus update was given. This was quite lengthy, and a copy of the presentation was included in the agenda. I will not be going through this here, but suffice to say, it contained a lot of acronyms, and creative use of corporate education speak. The main acronym I was able to get from it was FAIRR – Formative, Alignment, Informing, Reflective, Reporting. The main points I picked up on were

  • It uses the Power Teacher Pro Platform
  • Outcome based
  • Something called Freshgrade and Seesaw
  • There is a new report card prototype
  • A shift to “Feelings” (ugh)
  • Current report cards are ‘antiquated’
  • Half the schools in the district are in the pilot.
  • It involves Pedagogy (Seems a bit redundant to say this)
  • Davidson said they were establishing shared terminology.
  • GLO’s will be in the language of the competencies.
  • Forbes wanted to know what has been done to revamp the arts program, and stated that BC and Ontario have a good program.

Next they approved a field trip to Chicago, and then reports from committees were given. Massini started with a report on the National School Board conference the He, Davidson, and Wilson-Fraser attended in the U.S. He spoke of the workshops he attended, including:

  • How to become a highly effective board
  • Communicating with community
    • He thinks the board can do considerably more in this area.
    • Wants to communicate with other groups.
    • Proposed to make a plan to communicate.
  • Board evaluations
    • Massini suggested the board talk about having more frequent evaluations
    • Riley thought there was no need to go into this, as the actions of the board need to be in operation for a while before they can be evaluated.
  • Meaning of sex on title 9 (Massini was unable to attend.)
    • Title 9 is an (rule) authority brought in by Obama that deals with sex and sexuality on campuses. (This is not a Canadian, or Albertan issue. Curious as to why it would have been necessary to attend.)
  • Editor of Huffington Post
    • This apparently started strong and then fizzled. (meh, not sure why the editor of a new organization was important to American school boards.)
  • Dealing with malcontents (Gee, I wonder why this was on the list?)

Davidson also mentioned attending:

  • Use of social media
  • Overcoming poverty (as a community)

The Coordinating committee minutes were adopted.

The public school board committee(?) report was mentioned.

Riley brought up the recent decision by the Saskatchewan court to prevent non-Catholic students from attending a Catholic school. Riley wants the board to discuss the effects it will have on the district. I posted about it here.

Freeman went to the District Learning Exchange, and the Council of Councils as well as the george Davidson council.

Wilson-Fraser went to council meetings, and noted how they are getting ready for year end.

Forbes went to the Learning Exchanges and the Creswood Council. Talked about the 20 or so parents at the meeting, and just how involved the parents of that school are.

Riley went to the Wilson learning center, and brought up 5 things to report

  1. Building Playgrounds
  2. Cost of outdoor Education
  3. A soggy section of the grounds that needs fixed
  4. 1st Year of grade 9 grads.
  5. They are on board with 622 (Who isn’t, after all, they HAVE to be on board with it.)

Massini attended the student presentations at Crescent Heights. One of which was on Renewable Energy. He also went to the South View Casino event and the Ken Saur School opening meeting.

The meeting concluded with Freeman giving her 622 Review Report.

This was a marathon meeting, and a lot of ground was covered. The CPoSD76 response to the 622 report will be next.

Tags,

Pre Public Board Meeting Prep Post

SD #76 is having their regular public board meeting tomorrow, the 25th at 6pm at Board Office next to Medicine Hat High.

There are a couple of important items on the agenda. All relevant documents can be found here.

The key items of note are

  • “THAT the Board authorize the Chair to hire an external representative of the ASBA to assist in the evaluation process of the Superintendent, with the request that Terry Gunderson be the representing agent,” in regards to the new powers being delegated to the superintendent to assign students to special education programs, and to transfer staff within the district.
  • New Policy 210.1 – DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PLACEMENT
  • Changes to polices 510, 516, & 545 regarding delegating authority to the superintendent to transfer staff within the district. These changes seem to match entirely with the School Act.
  • Mrs. Freeman will be reporting on the Policy 622 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Consultation

Policy 210.1 does not seems to have anything of concern. The Board is simply giving the superintendent the power to say when a child may need special education. He must report his decisions to the board. I hope the board brings clarification as to what exactly Mr. Gunderson’s role is. If the superintendent has to report to the board any time he uses the delegated powers, then what evaluation is  Mr. Gunderson conducting.

The changes to 510,516, & 545 make it out like the staff person will be put on trial if they do not wish to be transferred. Some more information on just when and why these transfers may be necessary would be of interest. Unless the district is understaffed, I don’t see many situations where this would be necessary. The School Act does outline this, and suggests that it may be of benefit to the personal development of the staff. I think of personal development as a bit of misnomer, as forcing it would probably breed resentment and discontent. Not exactly ‘development’ you would want in a teacher.

As for the report on the 622 review, I am interested in hearing what info was collected, as I’ve said in previous posts, the process was a bit ham handed. All in all it should be an interesting meeting, and I hope I can count on a few other concerned residents showing up to witness the proceedings, and/or discussion on these matters.

Daily Tidbit

No quote today