The Chairs of Sun West’s School Community Councils (SCCs) gathered virtually the evening of February 10 for their annual meeting. The meeting featured remarks from Sun West Board of Education Chair Karen Itterman and Director of Education Randy Emmerson as well as presentations from Superintendents, Kelli Boklaschuk, Carole Butcher, Vicki Moore and Shari Martin. A question and answer session followed the presentations.
Director Emmerson spoke about the important connection between SCC’s and the division’s 2019-22 Education Plan and its focus on the priority areas of achievement, engagement and well-being. Director Emmerson explained: “The work of SCCs is a key component of the Education Plan.”
Superintendent of Learning Boklaschuk highlighted the parallels between Sun West’s vision statement of “Success for all” and the goals of Sun West’s Personal electronic Blended Learning (PeBL) philosophy. She described Sun West’s goals and progress related to graduation rates, early years, engagement, Grades 1-9 math, reading and writing. She indicated that focusing on foundational outcomes in reading, writing and math as well as students achieving their personalized goals and use of cross-curricular learning supports will be critical in meeting required outcomes.
Superintendent Boklaschuk also explained the importance of parental support for student achievement of personalized goals. This included using the Sun West Resource Bank Parent Hub that has a wide range of resources that can help parents and caregivers support their child’s learning.
Superintendent of Student Support Services Carole Butcher focused on well-being. She reviewed the changes to how education was delivered and how schools operated during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this had created a time of uncertainty and anxiety for students and parents.
She explained that how parents and other adults cope with the anxiety impacts the how students react to anxiety. She stressed that parents and care-givers need to consider how their well-being influences the well-being of children. She said that: “Children sense adults’ anxiety – we need to model positive well-being.” She said that part of this can be finding a silver lining in some of the ways that schools have adapted in this time of anxiety. Superintendent Butcher said: “Things may look different but that doesn’t mean they still can’t be wonderful.”
Superintendent of Operations Vicki Moore, who is the superintendent responsible for SCCs, provided an introduction for new members, and a review for veteran members, of the history, operational practices, purposes and goals of SCCs. She told the SCC Chairs that SCCs had been established in 2006 as part of the school division amalgamation that took place at about the same time and that they were designed by the Ministry of Education to provide a local voice in the new larger school divisions.
SCCs were to create partnerships between families, schools, communities and the school division. Their purposes included improving student achievement and wellness, improving the school climate, support school and home learning, connecting and providing services for families and creating opportunities that might not otherwise not be possible. “We want your input,” stated Superintendent Moore, “it is important to us.”
During the annual meeting of the SCC Chairs, one of Sun West’s Administrative Procedures (AP) is usually reviewed. At this meeting Superintendent of Operations Shari Martin discussed AP 151 Inquiries and Complaints. This AP describes the proper process for parents and community members to have their concerns addressed by Sun West authorities.
Superintendent Martin acknowledged that individuals or groups may sometimes bring a concern to a SCC member and it was important that SCC members understand that they are not responsible to address issues. It is helpful, however, if the SCC member is familiar with the proper procedures that are outlined in AP 151 and can explain the process to individuals who come to them with an issue.
Click here to read AP 151.
Superintendent of Technology Darren Gasper was on hand to answer any questions about the Sun West Distance Learning Centre (DLC), which was part of the question and answer session that concluded the evening.