The last meeting before breaking for the election period was a busy one!  Some of the highlights in order of the agenda include:

  1. a decision to amend the District capital plan to assign a year one priority to the Westlawn school redevelopment.  After extensive community consultation, the Westlawn proposal was assigned a high priority because it received the highest level of community support compared to Britannia and Rosslyn proposed redevelopments. The District has evaluated the student population trends for neighbourhoods around the south LRT line over a ten year period beginning five years before the station opened and ending five years after the station opened. The student population for Kindergarten to Grade 9 students fluctuated slightly year over year but was relatively stable over the ten year period in all neighbourhoods. The opening of the LRT stations has not significantly impacted the student population in these neighbourhoods. Based on past experiences and the uncertainty regarding the timeline for the LRT project, the District does not anticipate a significant change in enrolment in the Westlawn area in the short or long term.  Nevertheless, the District has implemented two methods that will allow us to accommodate an increase in the number of students if required: a) designed to expand with enrolment, and b) the District has projected the enrolment based on a higher retention of resident students than the current trend for the area.
  2. passage of Board Policy HG.BP Student Behavior and Conduct.  The old policy was revised to ensure compliance with the School Act.  The draft Policy was open for stakeholder review June 7 to July 5, 2017.  The District received 453 responses.  While large majorities of the responses indicated they did not have concerns, a number of amendments were made to address stakeholder concerns.
  3. I have been advocating initiatives to share our limited funds to get a better bang for taxpayers and our students.  One area identified by the District administration is for Edmonton Public to lead implementation of new provincial curricula. The next steps is for the Board to urge Alberta Education to engage with districts to identify effective mechanisms for collaboration and sharing among school districts in preparation for curriculum change, then provide support to implement these mechanisms.
  4. Good work on the District’s Energy and Environment Strategy. Next step is Board advocacy to increase access to Federal and Provincial climate change funding.
  5. The Board’s annual self evaluation.  Each year, the Board conducts a self-evaluation to assess its performance with respect to the Board’s roles and responsibilities. The purpose of the self-evaluation is to review the Board’s performance and determine:
    1. what is being done well, and
    2. what aspects of Board activity require improvement and a corporate commitment to Board development

    The data derived from the survey will be used to inform planning and process improvement. This feedback will be available to the incoming Board to inform their work as they begin their term in October.

  6. Results of the District’s 2017 Feedback Survey. To support monitoring progress toward the goals and outcomes of the District Strategic Plan (2014- 2018) and support a culture of evidence based decision making the District conducts an annual District Feedback Survey to select groups. The District received 31,542 responses to the 2017 District Feedback Survey, including: • 12,456 Grades 3 and 5 students. • 9,340 Grades 8 and 11 students. • 5,444 staff. • 3,873 parents. • 429 community members or partners. The data gathered annually through the survey will support and contribute to the following planning and reporting initiatives in the District: o Three-Year Education Plan/Annual Education Results Report (3YEP/AERR). o Catchment strategic planning sessions. o School/community engagement and reporting (Results Review and Budget Planning).
  7. Update on Engagement Efforts under the District Strategic Plan. The Report outlines initiatives to support of District Governance including establishment of the Student Senate, greater stakeholder involvement in policy review, and engagement regarding District infrastructure.  Responses to the District Feedback Survey questions on governance and engagement suggest more can be done.  For example, I would like to build on the Career Pathways focus to bring more of our parents and community partners to share their wisdom and experience with our students.  This is also a natural initiative to engage the Student Senate.
  8. Notice of Motion concerning Board Policy HFA.BP Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.  I did not support waiver of notice of motion to honour the requests of parents to not rush the discussion of this motion. While the motion simply reaffirms existing Board policy, not all parents are aware of the legal requirements the District is obliged to follow, the safeguards embedded in District practices, the engagement process the District used several years ago in the development of the policy and District experience since the policy was introduced. I have requested the District develop such a report for the next Board meeting to help inform our parents and constituents as the District affirms the existing Policy.