VCPAC News

Monday, August 29, 2016

 

VICTORIA, BC – Responsive to preliminary water testing completed in June noting elevated lead levels in some schools, every school in the Greater Victoria School District will have new filter systems in at least two of the highest use fountains, all staff rooms, and all cooking facilities, prior to students and teachers returning to school in September. The remainder of required upgrades will continue on a prioritized basis through September and be completed by the end of October.

 

It was initially thought that most fountains would need to be replaced, however it was determined that in many cases, filtration systems could be added to the impacted water fountains and sinks at a lesser cost while effectively addressing the elevated levels of lead. In addition to new filters, the established routine of flushing water systems three times per day, will continue across all schools until all filters have been installed. Fountains or sinks not yet upgraded will be clearly marked for students and staff.

 

A program and budget for system wide testing of all schools and necessary upgrades was approved by the School District Board in June upon receiving preliminary testing results. The program remains within the approved budget of $200,000.

 

Testing by an independent environmental consultant, Goode Environmental Services, recommended by Island Health, has now been completed in all 47 schools. The detailed results are available on the District website.

 

The Greater Victoria School District is proud to provide quality education for approximately 19,000 students in 27 elementary schools, 10 middle Schools, and seven secondary schools. Each year, over 650 adult learners register with our Continuing Education Program. Our District also offers a variety of programs of choice and two elementary schools of choice.

 

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Information Bulletin

You are invited to attend


VCPAC AWARDS & RECOGNITION NIGHT Tuesday MAY 24, 2016 8 - 9 PM SJ WILLIS Auditorium 923 Topaz Ave


There are so many amazing people in our school community. VCPAC will be recognizing a few of them this coming Tuesday. Please join us.

The Vancouver Island Parent Conference is the largest regional parent education event in the province. The committee is looking for new members to help do the work of planning this popular event. Any parent interested in joining the committee please send your contact information and a short description of what you hope to do on the committee to:  

The BCCPAC AGM is taking place from April 29-May 1st. If your PAC is a member and would like to send a proxy, VCPAC has three delegates attending:  Audrey Smith, John Bird and Marketa Lund.  Please fill in the proxy form and voting insturction sheet and send to  or bring them to the VCPAC AGM on April 26.

Piet Langstraat presented a power point as well as a strategy document at the February OPPs meeting.  The power point was to give his observations of the conditions in our schools and a bit of comparison to what is needed for proper support of the new BC curriculum.  He stated "We can do anything but not everything".


Power Point included: 
-equitable access to resources - "resources" was not defined it was implied that technology was only part of that resource pool; 
-collaborative learners(all learners not just students need to have the opportunity and support for collaborative learning);
-technology as one tool or resource that give "support for learning"; 
-the need in our district to meaningfully support teachers(**which will likely change to "educators" to include support staff); 
-acknowledgement that there is a desire for equitable access but no one has come up with a plan yet; 
-acknowledgement that every school has success in some area(s)"pockets of success" need a plan to spread that to all schools K-12.
Big Ideas:
-moving forward requires raising the floor (minimum requirement of support/resources provided by the district)
-empowering teachers(**)by supporting their learning
-deliberate investment for teachers(**)
-judicious & appropriate use of tech to support all learners
How;
-provide support for teachers(**) to work side by side in school

-provide equitable access to internet across all classrooms
-provide teachers with laptops(instead of desktops) & classroom mounted projectors

-provide schools access to digital tools for students
("Provide" is a district expense not an assumption that PAC will fundraise to reach this minimum level required for BC curriculum success)

The How will be presented on Monday March 7th. Mr. Langstraat wanted to let the Board know he was working on this with DLT and partners. He wants to rework the funding allocations to meet the plans requirements.  The District plan will need to be respectful and invitational, staff and other community members(PAC) will need/be able to develop and implement their own plan to reach the goals set by the district which will include BC Curriculum changes.  The plan needs to be sustainable because a blitz will not work in the long run. There has to be a plan to maintain the structure and minimums established. Each school has unique resources and needs and their plan should reflect those.  The district plan will not state quantities of devices because if there is no desire or capacity to use a type of technology (training has not been experienced there yet or no implementation plan in the works) then it will not be effectively used to support learning.

The strategy is for an across the district comprehesive, flexible, collaborative effort to address the gaps we have which create or amplify inequity.  

I am excited to hear the district will have a plan that allows for schools to assess the learning needs of their community, identify the resources(release time, mentoring, supplies, encouragement) required and then a means to provides district support for their plan in meaningful substantive ways.  

A principal from a school that will likely see no new physical resources and one that will definitely see new resources were present and commented positively to the strategy.  Supporting the need to have a higher minimum requirement for resources/support for staff migrating in the district.

Anyone is welcome to attend and participate in the discussion at the Board Committee meeting this Monday March 7 at 7PM at the Board office 556 Boleskine Road.

Audrey Smith

VCPAC President

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