Bluefield Family of Schools District Advisory Council

December 9th, 2021, Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Attendees: Amanda Doherty-Kirby (Bluefield High), Melissa Rommens (East Wiltshire Intermediate & Bluefield PEIHSF Regional Director), Stephanie Arnold (Gulf Shore Consolidated), Angela Campbell (Eliot River Elementary), Rosanne MacFarlane (Englewood Consolidated), Kelly Tuttle (Bluefield Student), Alex Clow (Bluefield Student)

Regrets: Cailin Deacon (Central Queens Elementary), Amanda MacFadyen (Westwood Primary)

Guest: Debbie Langston, Diversity Consultant – Department of Education and Lifelong Learning 

Discussion

Equity in Education Presentation

Debbie Langston, a Diversity Consultant with the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, hosted a conversation with the group to speak about her role, current and future projects and answer questions from the DAC.

  • Debbie started in the position in mid-August of this year and was able to share aspects of her job description as well as some of her short, medium- and long-term goals with the group and how they relate to the purpose of the position. 
  • She shared that a large piece of her work is identifying gaps in departmental literature.
  • Another significant piece of Debbie's role deals with community engagement and understanding their needs, listening to stories, and working with this information when creating new frameworks. 
  • The role pertains to working with individuals within the public school system (K-12).
  • There is some overlap with the PSB as they work with Eveline Bradley on various policies. Debbie and Eveline are working collaboratively to ensure the work is not repetitive and so that there is a strong framework in place for the future.
  • Another notable relationship is with the PEITF to help educators feel more confident and equipped to deal with gender, race and other issues arising in schools. Debbie shared information on the upcoming mandatory PD day for educators in December.  
  • Youth involvement and engagement were discussed from the student's point of view, and they shared that there is a new diversity group at Bluefield that is student-led.  
  • Overall, the group is very impressed and grateful for all that Debbie has accomplished in such a short time. They are looking forward to supporting her in any way possible in future work. The group would like to see additional staff assigned to support Debbie in her role and plan to integrate this into their recommendation to the Minister. 
  • The DAC would like to see a continued effort and allocation of funding towards Equity in Education projects and initiatives.

Follow-Ups and Updates

Teacher Involvement – the group will continue to move forward without a teacher on the DAC directly but will reach out to one if the input is needed.

Elected School Board – no further update.

Eliot River Early School Closure Supports – the department and PSB are planning to collaborate to create a survey to identify childcare needs and support affected families.

Policy Updates – PSB has plans to look at the Safe & Caring Learning Environment Policy. The Student Investigation & Search Policy/ Procedure has been updated and is being communicated to the schools.

Paved Shoulder in Hunter River – Stephanie shared progress and next steps on a paved shoulder and discussed the Active Transport Fund. Another member shared that a H&S previously worked on a similar project and had success with funding. Both Stephanie and Tyler will continue to look into this. 

Topics of Discussion

Student Well-Being Teams

  • The Bluefield DAC would like to continue their work in the area of Mental Health and the SWTs.

  • The group would like to hear more about how the SWT compliment is created and how they are equipped to deal with more and more diverse situations? With this, how have lived experiences been incorporated into the services of the SWT?

  • Equipping guidance counsellors to deal with difficult situations is a continuous practice that remains a challenge.

  • It would be great if guidance counsellors could link students to resources that can have these complex and unique conversations. BIPOC has what is called community navigators.

  • The DAC would like to invite members from the SWT to their next meeting in February to discuss updates and progress from the recommendations that were made in last year's presentation to the Minister. See Bluefield DAC - School Year  2020-21 for the list of recommendations.

Transportation and Safety of Students 

  • Dangerous driving conditions were discussed in the Bluefield area, specifically the Bannockburn Road and the Colville Road. When there is poor weather, students are put at risk when travelling these roads, and with this, these roads should receive more attention when it comes to snow removal, salt and sand as students and staff frequently travel them.

  • The Bluefield DAC plans to draft a letter to the Transportation Department at the PSB to voice these concerns.

  • Angela is working on a draft of a recommendation to have a second adult on school busses that have children in grades K-6. Jurisdictional scans have been completed, and there is interest from schools in moving this motion forward to improve the safety of students. 

Other Discussions

Power Outages at Bluefield - This is very common and has been happening consistently for around 15-20 minutes for the past number of weeks. This time is adding up, and the children are missing valuable teaching time.

Reliance on Technology - Many teachers and students rely on technology and stable connections to follow the outlined learning plans. There are many times where teachers are forced to rework their plans due to difficulties with technology.

Equitable Access to the Internet – This was discussed at a recent meeting and how this plays a role in the loss of learning, causing broader issues.

Home and School Updates

East Wiltshire– new policies (internet use & space), fundraising success

Bluefield – did not meet since the first DAC meeting

Eliot River – close and casual contacts for COVID impact on schools

Gulf Shore – traffic safety, social media policy, previous playground fundraising experience

Englewood – Rachel Cameron will be taking over from Rosie as H&S rep

Westwood – no update

 


November 4th, 2021 - Microsoft Teams Meeting

Attendees: Amanda Doherty-Kirby (Bluefield High), Cailin Deacon (Central Queens Elementary), Melissa Rommens (East Wiltshire Intermediate & Bluefield PEIHSF Regional Director), Stephanie Arnold (Gulf Shore Consolidated), Angela Campbell (Eliot River Elementary), Amanda MacFadyen (Westwood Primary), Rosanne MacFarlane (Englewood Consolidated)

Regrets: Alex Clow (Bluefield Student)

Guests: John Cummings, Executive Director of Educational Services

Discussion

Group Guidelines and Discussion

  • The Junior Policy Analyst will prepare and send along the meeting agenda before each meeting. The group will contribute to the agenda by adding action items, progress on past work, and any new priorities they would like to discuss. 

  • The group would like to continue using Doodle Polls to decide when the best suited times are for the group to meet. 

  • It is understood that the meetings can take place either virtually or in person, and if the meeting is to take place in person, proper vaccination protocols must be conducted. 

  • The group discussed having a meeting chair to ensure the agenda items are discussed and that everyone has a chance to share. Amanda Doherty-Kirby has volunteered to take on this role and will arrange to have an individual fill in if unavailable to chair. 

  • The group is welcome to meet on their own outside of regular meeting times without the Junior Policy Analyst and bring this information forward with the larger group in the next meeting.

  • The DAC expressed that they would like the opportunity to share their work with the Minister of Education at the end of the school year and would like to have this planned in advance.

District Advisory Council Overview

Tyler Gallant, the Junior Policy Analyst for the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, gave a presentation that offered information regarding the DAC's and their role in the PEI education system.

  • The mandate of the DACs is to help shape an education system that is focused on and meets the needs of learners.

  • The role of the DACs is to advise the Minister of Education on priorities for the district, to engage school communities in discussions, and foster collaboration among school councils, home and school associations, and the community.

  • Responsibilities of the membership include reporting concerns of your local home and school to the DAC, providing leadership in identifying priorities to focus on, working collaboratively with members and reporting back to your local home and school, the discussions and outcomes of the DAC meetings.

Topics of Discussion 

With many of the group's members returning from last year's DAC, the group feels that there is still work to be done on priorities from last year. The group also welcomes new ideas and priorities. 

Teacher Involvement 

  • The group sees great benefit in adding a teacher to the group. The PEITF has opted not to appoint a teacher to the DACs this year, but the group is welcome to seek one out that is interested. Members will follow up with teachers and confirm involvement with the Junior Policy Analyst.

Equity-Based Education

  • A full-time diversity consultant was hired in August 2021.

  • Various professional learning opportunities have taken place or are in the works, such as:

    • A joint staff day in October 2021 took place, with a 4 Seasons of Reconciliation webinar and an EGALE webinar on safer schools.

    • The beginning of a Teacher Induction Program.

    • A provincial professional learning day in December 2021, where all teachers will complete mandatory training focused on equity/diversity and building cultural competence in the system.

  • In concerns to curriculum, there are more than 80 initiatives connected with the curriculum that are currently underway, such as an intermediate social studies renewal of outcomes relating to Indigenous Canadians, an intermediate PHE renewal and diversity resource packages for elementary music, to name a few. 

  • Gender Diversity Guidelines being rolled out this school year (Minister's Directive)

  • The group would like to invite an individual to their next meeting for ongoing discussion on how the recommendations suggested last spring are being incorporated.

Mental Health 

The group would like to remain focused on this piece of work from the previous year's DAC. Several updates since last year's presentation to the Minister are as follows:

  • Bluefield has a full staffing complement of 6 (2 Masters of SW, 1 RN, 3 Outreach Workers).

  • Walk-in clinic to roll out at Bluefield High this year.

  • Bluefield High staff indicated that students have a good awareness of the SWT and drop in often. 

  • The distinction of work that is being done pro-actively versus re-actively requires more discussion.

  • The group would like to invite the Student Well-Being Team Program Lead to discuss their plans to incorporate some of our recommendations, such as ensuring a diversity of lived experience in their staffing and service delivery?

Transportation 

  • Student safety is becoming a growing concern as there have already been various incidents this school year. Crosswalks are working in some regions and nonexistent in others, making it dangerous for students and staff.

  • The DAC would like an update on where the priority of crosswalks and paved shoulders stand with the government?

  • There are success stories as bike racks and crosswalks have been added in certain regions to create a safer active transportation experience for students. Bluefield High has also added onto their existing student parking lot to accommodate the growing number of students driving to school. 

  • The group is interested in reviewing any safe busing policies. Group will keep an eye out for this. 

  • The group discussed what parents could see via the bus portal versus what access school administrators have. The Director of Transportation and Risk Management at the PSB confirmed that schools and parents have the same access to information. For any future questions, feel free to address the PSB directly. 

Space 

  • Various members raised the concern of space as they feel like the population within the Bluefield (FOS) increases, there becomes a greater demand for more classroom space and more space on buses. A key concern was East Wiltshire. The group understands the process that must be followed to put forward recommendations on a budget commitment. 

Fundraising 

  • There is an uptick in fundraising efforts this year and the group was able to discuss any overlap with fundraisers across the various schools.

Bullying 

  • Is this a topic the group would like to explore? The idea of having another adult to address both safety concerns as well as bullying instances would provide a safer environment for the children on the K-6 buses. Potentially interested in exploring policies in this area. Junior Policy Analyst to follow up with PSB regarding the Safe and Caring Places to Learn policy. 

Elected School Board

  • Discussion around the role of an Elected School Board and what effect this would have on the future of DACs. Currently in the works and group will revisit this topic at a later date when more information is available. 

Eliot River Early School Closure 

  • Will there be services or funding available for the period that parents will be left to find their own childcare during this school closure? More updates will be provided as information becomes available.

 

Previous School Years

2015-16 School Year

2016-17 School Year 

2017-18 School Year

2018-19 School Year

2020-21 School Year 

 

Published date: 
January 5, 2022
Education and Lifelong Learning

General Inquiries

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Holman Centre
Suite 101, 250 Water Street
Summerside, PE C1N 1B6

Phone: 902-438-4130
Fax: 902-438-4062

DeptELL@gov.pe.ca