Meeting Notes - March 24, 2015

Spring has sprung! It was great to be back in the board room last night after a break in our formal meetings since February 17.

We commemorated three staff who have recently passed away: Rob Baxter, a beloved teacher-librarian at Walkerville, Judy Hissink, a former teacher at Sandwich Secondary School, and Mitko Jankuloski, a retired custodian. Erin Kelly, Director of Education made touching tributes, reminding us that everyone in our GECDSB family makes a difference. Since I learned of their passing, I have been thinking about two of my previous teachers whom have passed away that made a difference to me when I was in school. Mr. Stumpf was a passionate English teacher who worked very hard to get the most out of his students. Mr. Bradburn was wild about History and a very caring man.

In student news, Malika Mowinski was voted Student of the Month for March by the Student Council Senate. Malika is full of energy and gets along with everyone. She is a serious dancer, winning several national titles, and makes excellent grades. She teaches at a local dance school and has previously been the Student President of her school. During that time she planned an incredible pep rally for school spirit, and even though she is no longer president, she is planning another one for this year. Malika is known by her peers as a leader and friend to all.  

I was pleased to support a recommendation by the International Baccalaureate Committee charged with conducting a feasibility study to determine whether we should consider offering an IB program. The committee consisted of administration, trustees, and teachers. In a short period of time the committee managed to gather a great deal of information about IB programming including benefits, challenges, and costs. They visited IB schools in our region and talked with teachers, administration, and students who all gave glowing feedback. They also obtained feedback from local parents through a survey to get a sense of the interest level. While we are uncertain what the cost model would look like at this time, we have decided to proceed with the next steps in the feasibility study which will include further cost analysis and community outreach. Once a report has been completed trustees will make a final decision about whether to go forward with an IB program. I believe we need to be committed to supporting “exceptional” students with various needs across the spectrum and I think this program may be an excellent possibility for those looking for more of a challenge. I look forward to seeing the report on this next phase.

The next board meeting is April 7. We will receive a report of interim findings on split SK/grade 1 classes from Superintendent Clara Howitt. Before then, I will be attending the Science Fair on Sunday, March 28 as well as visiting schools on March 31 and April 1 to observe Math programming and an SK/grade 1 split class. I am also a member of the Policy Committee which will meet on March 30. And don’t forget about the Anxiety Toolbox Event at Caboto Club on Thursday, March 26 from 7-8pm. All of these workshops free and open to the community!


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Jessica Sartori