Monthly Archives: January 2010

Reforming the reform? And it’s appluaded by the Minister?!

Wow!  Some big news in Education in Quebec!

Check this article out here, in The Examiner:

http://www.examiner.com/x-29335-Montreal-Parenting–Education-Examiner~y2010m1d30-End-of-curriculum-reform-in-Quebec

Recommendations include:

  • No formal evaluation of cross-curricular competences;
  • A return to report cards with percentage grades, a 60% pass mark, and in many cases a single mark rather than evaluation for two or more competences;
  • Shorter and more manageable exams, taking place for the most part in a two-week period at the end of the school year to maximize learning time;
  • Evaluation of children with special needs to reflect their progress, and not to compare them with a typical child of the same age;
  • An emphasis on basic knowledge and skills (math, spelling, grammar, etc.) as the foundation for other learning (“savoir” before “savoir-faire.”) The obligation to transmit and evaluate knowledge to be a key point in policy and law.

What’s most interesting to me is the seeming acceptance from the Minister of a school board and its main teachers union getting together to make a significant change in the teaching process.

Granted, the article does say:

And while the recommendations do emphasize a return to teaching and evaluating knowledge, rather than developing broader competences, there was no attempt made to throw out the Quebec Education Program (QEP.) The document that lays out the province’s curriculum seems to be in no danger.

This can only be good news, and can probably be attributed to the new levels of accountability that are being brought in to education.  With having to prove real measures of success, maybe everyone is ready to let the people on the front lines try a few more things that are making sense to them and their clientele.

Truly,

Steve

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Journées de la persévérance

PREL is doing a lot in the Laurentians to support keeping our kids in school.  They have a campaign that is worth checking out here:

http://www.journeesperseverance.com/

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The spokesman

Who is the spokesman for a school board?

Division III, article 155 of the education act reads:

Official spokesman.

The chairman is the official spokesman for the school board. As official spokesman, the chairman shall publicly state the position of the school board on any subject affecting it, in particular where the chairman is involved, on behalf of the school board, with the various organizations devoted to local and regional development.

The law is very clear on this one – the Chair of the school board is the spokesman.  Period.

So – let’s define “spokesman” then.

Webster defines spokesman as:

a person who speaks as the representative of another or others often in a professional capacity

So, the spokesman is the person who speaks as the school board’s representative.  Good.  But does that mean that other elected officials should not speak publicly about our school board?  No.  Other elected officials should not represent themselves as speaking on behalf of the board.  But they are 100% entitled to their opinion, and in fact, are obliged to do so.

Division III section 177.1 of the education act reads:

The members of the council of commissioners must act within the scope of the functions and powers conferred on them, and exercise the care, prudence and diligence that a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances; they must also act with honesty and loyalty and in the interest of the school board and the population served by the school board.

We must act with honesty and loyalty and in the interest of the school board and the population served by the school board.

This is an interesting one.  What if a commissioner believes that by speaking out against a decision taken by council, that he is acting in the best interest of the school board and the population that it serves?

That happens in a democracy.  And we should do everything that we can to make sure that this type of dissent is not quashed.  If we don’t, then why have elected officials?

Truly,

Steve

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PETES GB Meeting; partnership agreements

PETES GB meeting – just my second one of the year.

These are the meetings that mean the most to me.  Governing Boards are where the “real action” is.  And it’s interesting to see how things are presented and received at the GB as opposed to at standing committees.

The new principal here has been very well received, and now I can see why – he has been great for this school, and in a tough situation too, following an extremely popular principal.

Partnership agreements were discussed – and I still see this as a golden opportunity for schools and school boards.  Putting down on paper agreements that have measurable goals for all concerned is a good thing – remembering that these measures do in fact go two ways.  YES, we can reach 87% success rate.  But we will have to clearly define both the end goal and the measures we must put in place to achieve that end goal.

If we identify that special needs requires additional support in order to accomplish our goal, then we must have that additional support.  If we don’t get what we need, well, we cannot accomplish our goal either.  That is why it is so important that measures be clearly defined and that they apply not only to goals but to the specific requirements agreed upon in order to achieve those goals.

Congrats PETES on keeping what I see as one of the most functional and friendly GB’s going strong!  🙂

Truly,

Steve

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IT and ESD commitee meetings

Two meetings; one evening.

I’d say that both meetings went well.  The scope of the IT department continues to grow.  And this meeting focused on 3 major projects being undertaken by the department – some major cost savings and streamlining should be some of the results that we see.

ESD?  What can I say.   These are some of the most important pieces of the educational puzzle.

Results from some testing suggest that our board continues to do well.  Some trends don’t look that great.  But it seems that there is always a reason…

Truly,

Steve

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Live blogging from the Parent’s Committee meeting!

A first for this school board, I am fairly sure…  and maybe a first in the province?!

There’s a good turnout for the first meeting of the new year…  lots of smiles, and Happy New Year handshakes!

Both the Chair of the Board and the Director General are in attendance.

The DG will be handing out the MELS 13 Paths to Success and a paper on the new partnership agreements to be developed.

19h30 – A comprehensive report on the number of H1N1 vaccinations done through our schools is handed out.  From my own perspective, I think this was a huge success story – I didn’t hear of a single issue with it – and things seem to have gone even more smoothly than I thought possible!

19h40 – The Communication Pamphlet is almost done!  Hoping this becomes the tool that it should be – a helpful guide for new and returning parents.

19h50 – Interesting to hear that variety of opinions on the printing of the pamphlet.  There is a lot of business experience in this room!

“Whom” over “Who” – I like it!  (Inside joke?  🙂  We can forget to use proper English…   I will have to re-read my posts!

The “PPO” – what a name.  I know…  The “Parent’s Participatory Organization” – but it’s the legal name…  but it can be changed at the general assembly at the beginning of the year.

20h35 – The school board calendar.  It all seems good this year!  Last year there was an issue with the holidays being split, but it seems like it’s ok.

20h40 – The Gala!  Next week is coming … next week!  I suspect it will be a great time.  🙂  The board Chair says ticket sales are going well, and that this may be the biggest success yet!

20h42 – DG report.  Partnership agreements.  Wow…   this is a big job.  A lot of measurement.  A lot of data.  A lot of work.  But – done properly, this could be invaluable.

20h50 – Water spill!  Yes, this is live…  🙂  But it’s all cleaned up now.  🙂

Back to the partnership agreements.  The DG is going into great detail – she really is good at explaining the case.

The bottom line is success rates – we need to increase, on a provincial level, the number of students we graduate.  Targeting specific groups and directing specific measures to improve and retain.  Now … specifics?  Back to the “Big Job” comment from a couple of lines back there.

“I care about school…” – the new slogan from MELS.  Now – if we care about education, let’s hope that it’s funded as such from the province.

Website to check out – Les Effets du Decrochage.

By the way – interesting to note that this website was found using Adwords paid advertising.  It’s important that people find it, but I wonder how much Google is making out of this?

21h35 – Treasurer’s report!

21h36 – Parent Commissioners report!  A note on rezoning, and how at our last council meeting, parents expressed their thanks for the process that we followed.  True enough!  My first rezoning meeting as a commissioner and it did go very well!

21h38 – RCP-3L Report!

21h40 – SEAC report!  Rep not here…

21h45 – And we’re done.  Decent meeting.  🙂

Truly,

Steve

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