Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuesday board meeting- outcomes

The bylaw to amend the boundaries of Ward F and G was passed, with three readings. It will now move on for Ministerial approval.

The report on Reading Recovery generated quite a bit of conversation as trustees dug deeper to understand its efficacy and cost. It was revealed that approximately 20% of children in grade one need literacy intervention, like reading recovery. This represents approximately 5000 children who are struggling with reading. Last year, Reading Recovery was offered to 446 students. We are faced with some difficult choices: this program, which data shows has a high rate of success, is extremely expensive due to the intensive teacher training and the one-on-one help the students need.

The recommendation on election costs was passed. We will continue to operate under the same agreement with the city and the Edmonton Catholic Board as in past years.

I put forward two requests for information:
1- A report on comparing the achievement results (pre and post closure) of students who had experienced a recent school closure. I asked for the sample of children to be substantive but not necessarily exhaustive and for the report to brought to board before the consideration of the recommendations on Hardisty/Capilano area and the city centre project schools.

This request did not receive the majority of trustees approval to go forward and so it will turn into a motion to be debated at our next board meeting.

2- An analysis of the recently released Alberta Education longtitudinal study on factors influencing high school completion- looking at the implications for EPSB, and our Sector Reviews.

This passed (5-4) as a request for information

I also moved that:
"To raise awareness about the restorative justice practices going on in EPSB schools, that the ACTS (Alberta Conflict Transformation Society) be invited to give a presentation at public board and that the topic of restorative justice practice be considered as a possible Parents as Partners topic for the 2010/2011 school year."

This will also be debated at the next public board meeting.

As well, on an emotional note, the mother of Alex Wedman, spoke to the board about her concerns about bullying and asked what the board is doing to prevent this happening in our schools. She submitted a number of questions to the board. A response will be prepared by our administration. Nothing can ever bring her son back, who tragically died by suicide as a result of bullying, but I can certainly understand her desire to make something positive come from this enormous loss. I personally feel that restorative justice holds the most promise to address the issue of bullying (for reasons I've articulated in a previous post.)

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