Trina Hurdman

My update to school councils

Thank you to all of the school councils who have invited me out to one of their meetings so far this school year! Since I recognize that not everyone may attend school council meetings, here is a brief outline of the topics that I have been providing updates on this year during my visits.

Annual Education Results Report & Three Year Education Plan

The Board of Trustees approved the Annual Education Results Report and Three Year Education Plan in December. This 30 page document provides an overview of our system and includes the province’s assessment of the CBE through the “Accountability Pillar.” The chart below is from page 8.

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The report goes through the above categories in more detail and shows how the strategies identified in the CBE’s Three Year Education Plan will be used for improvement. The document also includes an overall summary of last year’s audited financials as well as an update of this year’s budget. If you only want to read one CBE document a year, this is the one to read!

Academic Results

The Board of Trustees is examining academic success this year by having a presentation and discussion about a different subject area each month where report card and standardized exam data is looked at in more detail. These are part of our public board meetings, so you can read the reports or watch the proceedings online.

  • November: Science
  • December: Social Studies
  • January: English Language Arts
  • February: Math
  • March: Arts, Physical Education & Career and Technology Studies
  • April: Languages

Public Engagement

Thank you to the thousands of people who took the time to provide their thoughts around how the CBE communicates and consults with the public and how it could be improved. The CBE plans to use that feedback in order to create a public engagement framework such as the Engage! framework developed by the City of Calgary. If you would like to be informed of updates and how you can provide feedback on the draft framework once it’s developed, you can sign up on the CBE website.

Transportation

I have heard from many parents (and some students) about CBE transportation services this year. While the level of support for the CBE’s decisions varied widely, there is a general consensus that decisions need to be more clearly communicated in a more timely fashion. Recognizing that transportation service levels and fees is an area where parents want to have their voice heard, the CBE will be collecting feedback sometime in the next few months. I will write more about this topic at a later date, as there seem to be a lot of myths floating around out there. In the meantime, the CBE wrote an update that provides some context around what happened this Fall and the plan going forward.

Syrian Refugees

I am so impressed by all of the students, staff and families who have done everything possible to ensure that the new students joining their schools feel welcomed and a part of the community. Ian Campbell of 660 News wrote a brief article about how supportive the community at Belvedere Parkway School has been.

Budget

The Board of Trustees was presented with the updated detailed CBE budget on December 1. The CBE administration strives to make this document easily understood by members of the public, so if you’ve ever wondered how the CBE spends its 1.3 billion dollar budget, please take a look! The infographic below is a breakdown of how the CBE spends each dollar of funding.

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Provincial News

The provincial government fulfilled all of the commitments made in May with regards to this year’s education budget in the provincial budget that was passed in the Fall. This has allowed the CBE to use some of its reserve dollars to provide additional staff in schools, to upgrade the wireless Internet capacity in older schools and to outfit the new schools opening with everything they require for an excellent learning environment. However, due to economic circumstances, there have been rumours that the government may not be able to follow through on its commitment to lower school fees. If you’re interested in fees, you may want to keep an eye out for the new Education Act draft regulations which should be released before the Fall and may cause some changes around fees.

The new Education Act was supposed to come into force this past Fall, but due to the change in government, it has been delayed while the regulations are once again reviewed to ensure alignment with the new government’s values.

This is the last year of the Alberta teacher’s four year collective agreement, so Bill 8 was passed in the Fall sitting which outlined how the new bargaining process will work going forward. There are still a lot of details to iron out in the regulations, but the province appears to be moving pretty fast on this.

Bill 5 was also passed which allows school boards and municipalities to create a “Sunshine List” of all employees who have a base salary of over $125,000. It will be up to each individual school board to decide if they want to create such a list, and what details would be included therein.

Council of School Councils (COSC)

We have had two COSC meetings this school year and have another three scheduled. All agendas, presentation slides and notes taken are posted online for those who are not able to attend. Our next meeting on Thursday, January 14 will provide an overview of what the different CBE central service units do to support schools, as well as provide time for a Q&A with our Superintendent’s team. Following this, trustees will facilitate discussions amongst school councils to provide an opportunity to share the challenges and successes of their school council with others.

I hope to see you there!

 

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