Bluefield Family of Schools District Advisory Council

May 3rd, 2022, Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Discussion

The Bluefield DAC worked together on their collaborative document that focuses on key topics and recommendations that the DAC would like to bring forward to the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning. In this meeting, the council discussed the presentation structure and analyzed any final steps to complete before their final meeting. The Bluefield DAC plans to discuss the following topics in their year-end meeting. 

Bullying 

  • The DAC would like to discuss the value of students being leaders in the schools and how this positively impacts schools within the Bluefield FOS. There are several programs underway at Bluefield High, and the council would like to share successes and where it may be possible for other schools to adopt similar programs/ initiatives. 

  • The council would like to discuss the Safe and Caring Learning Environments policy that currently exists and where the group feels there may be potential gaps. 

  • Bystander training was a topic of discussion, and the council would like various groups of people and age groups to take part. Further education in this area would be beneficial at all grade levels. 

Mental Health 

  • The DAC would like to follow up on any outstanding components of their recommendations that were made last school year in the area of mental health.

  • The council echoed that many students’ needs are not being met in terms of counselling. Additional counselling time is needed in schools across PEI, and the current ratio does not allow for students’ needs to be satisfied. 

  • The Student Well-Being Teams are doing excellent work, and the group hopes that the team can remain fully staffed and focus on preventative services. With this, the council sees value in expanded evaluation metrics for the team to incorporate into their future strategy.

  • It was echoed that students preparing to graduate have several resources that they have access to through an online portal. The DAC would like to explore the possibility of having these types of mental health services open to other grades. The council sees this as a great opportunity as each student is set up with access to Google Classroom. 

Equity in Education 

  • The DAC would like to follow up on any outstanding components of their recommendations that were made last year in the area of equity in education.

  • Space in schools is a topic the DAC would like to discuss as the population grows in the Bluefield FOS; the current infrastructure seems to be at its maximum capacity. With this, the council sees value in using population and enrolment trends to plan for the future.

  • The DAC would like to advocate for additional staff resources to meet the needs and support of students who suffer from issues coming out of the pandemic. There will be a lasting impact on many students, and an increased presence of professionals and substitute teachers within the schools will be important going forward. With this, the council emphasized the importance of assessments for children as each student has unique needs.

  • The council would like to ensure that student voice continues to play a role in the education system on PEI. The DAC discussed the value students bring to councils, and decision-making processes are very important as they have a unique perspective than parents or board members

 


 

April 5th, 2022, Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Discussion

Follow-Ups and Updates 

Student Well-Being Team 

  • As a follow-up from the previous presentation from the Student Well-Being Team, they had reached out to BIPOC Usher to build a relationship. The DAC was pleased to hear this and hopes for continued collaboration between the Student Well-Being Team and community groups.

  • The group would like to emphasize the importance of data and evaluation when it comes to planning for future years. A gap that was identified, but not specific to the Student Well-Being team was that PEI does not collect race-based data.

  • The DAC spoke briefly on the makeup of the Student Well-Being Team and wants to ensure that there is the appropriate representation and supports available to serve the unique and diverse needs of students.  

  • Preventative services remain very important as the more successful the Student Well-Being Team is with these services, the more prevalent the long-lasting benefits are. 

Equity in Education 

  • The topic of equity in education remains a priority for this group. The DAC reviewed recommendations from the past year and plans to advocate in this area again this year by evaluating progress on the past year’s recommendations and identifying any gaps which could possibly be advocated for.

  • The DAC discussed the importance of assessments for children as each student has unique needs. The point was made that there is no way for a teacher to accommodate if they are unaware of the situation.

  • Space in schools has been a challenge in many schools as class sizes and various needs increase. Additionally, rooms for collaboration and further bathroom accommodations are needed. 

Elected School Board

  • The group discussed briefly how the DACs would be affected if the proposed legislation regarding an elected school board for the Public Schools Branch is passed.

  • The DAC would like to echo the importance of diversity on the newly elected school board.

  • On March 2nd, 2022, an information session was held and open to all DAC members across PEI to answer and discuss the proposed legislation.

  • The members of the DAC would like to make sure that the newly elected board is not only made aware of the topics that they had discussed over the years but also the recommendations that have been made to the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning.

  • The Volume18 report concerning elected school board consultations was circulated to each DAC on PEI and can be found on the Government of PEI website. 

Bullying 

  • The DAC would like to focus on safe spaces and a positive environment for students to not only learn but grow but also spend time with friends and classmates.

  • The group discussed both what role students can play as leaders in the schools and what measures the system as a whole can take to prevent bullying.

  • The DAC returned to a number of points from the last meeting when it came to students serving as mentors and how the preventative measure can be taken by the school system but when students act against bullying it speaks volumes.

  • Bystander training was a topic the group discussed as this could be done with a number of different groups whether it be students or staff. 

 


 

February 17th, 2022, Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Guests: Elizabeth Kennedy (Student Well-Being Team), Danielle Hennessy (Provincial Lead, Youth Justice Services), and Brooke Threlkeld (Psychologist) 

Discussion

Student Well-Being Team Presentation

  • Elizabeth, Danielle, and Brooke presented a slide deck and facilitated a discussion regarding the Student Well-Being Team's work. 

  • Elizabeth shared that the focus of the SWT is to provide equitable access to supports for students and that the SWT is located in the schools for that reason. 

  • The Department of Education & Lifelong Learning, Department of Justice & Public Safety, and Health PEI conduct a joint effort in delivering the SWT services and serve as experts in their respective areas. With this, the SWT comprises various personnel, including Nurses, Outreach Workers, Social Workers, and many others that can offer different perspectives from their field of work. The working relationships between departments have been very positive, and this type of collaboration has allowed for increased efficiencies.

  • The SWT provides different types of services: educational opportunities, brief interventions, group interventions, and formal one-on-one interventions.

  • Elizabeth shared the top reasons for referrals are anxiety, depression and family needs. 

  • Danielle shared a strong correlation between the decrease in the number of children committing crimes and the SWT's work over the past number of years in the schools.

  • The group discussed the referral process and how it can be done online, by phone, or in person. Online referrals are the most popular and can be done by students, parents, teachers, or industry professionals. The Bluefield FOS is currently seeing approximately 140 referrals a month. With the increase in referrals, it was noted that as relationships develop with the SWT staff, it has allowed students to open up and feel much more comfortable receiving services from the SWT. 

  • Elizabeth shared information about the progress on the rollout of the Walk-In Clinics in the High Schools. They have received positive feedback for the Westisle clinic and look forward to continuing with this plan.

  • The SWT is currently developing an inventory of educational presentations that they will be able to provide to schools across PEI. 

  • Bluefield is one of two SWTs that currently do not have a waitlist. With this, Bluefield has seen consistent staffing on its team. 

  • The SWT continues to work collaboratively with other Atlantic provinces overcoming challenges and working with best practices. 

  • A list of members for the Bluefield SWT can be found on their website. A new section has been added, allowing individuals to submit compliments and complaints that are then forwarded to the SWTs for feedback to improve their service delivery. 

  • The SWT is on social media and making efforts to advertise/ be visible in schools. 

  • The SWT program has evolved greatly over the last number of years, and they are now approaching the process of reviewing their strategic plan. The feedback from those who have used the services will play a large role in the program's next steps. Evaluation will also be a vital piece of this process, and the DAC echoed the importance of a diverse lens. Numbers demonstrate value!

  • The upcoming survey will allow the program to complete an inventory of their resources and re-assess what schools' needs are. 

  • The DAC emphasized the importance of lived experience in evaluation and program delivery. With this, the group sees value in connecting the SWT with BIPOC. 

  • The DAC would like to invite Elizabeth to the final presentation, where the group will present recommendations to the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning.

Follow-Ups and Updates

Equity in Education

  • The group appreciated the presentation and discussion with Debbie Langston on December 9th, 2021. No further follow-up has been conducted at this point, but the group plans to continue to advocate for equity in education and supports the great strides Debbie and her team have made. 

Eliot River School Early Closure

  • The School has reached out to the parent population to identify what the childcare needs could be.

  • Rise and Climb will be opening early and presents as an option for childcare in the area during this closure. Spots are filling up fast. 

Paved Shoulder in North Rustico

  • There was discussion of this at the last Gulf Shore H&S meeting and while the project remains important it was decided that this will be picked up again by the H&S at a later date.

Transportation and the Safety of Students

  • The DAC wrote to the Public School Branch regarding the road conditions specifically on the Bannockburn Road and the Colville Road and the Director of Transportation and Risk Management had responded to the inquiry and provided possible next steps. The group then turned to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to address this matter.

  • Angela has been working on a draft to have a second adult on buses with students ages K-6. This report has been submitted to H&S and will be tabled at the PEIHSF AGM on April 29th, 2022.

  • The group discussed how there is a number of parking lots across the Bluefield FOS that could see improvements in regard to processes and procedures to increase safety. It is important that these processes are reviewed at the school level for an initial review and then reach out to the Public Schools Branch for further assistance in these matters. A member had shared that Westwood has staggered their pick-up times and also started to use the tennis courts for parking and this has helped. 

Elected School Board

  • The group discussed how the DACs would be affected if the proposed legislation re: an elected school board for the Public Schools Branch is passed.

  • The DAC expressed interest in the Volume 18 report containing the recommendations and consultations that government had received and is wondering if this will become a public document?

Other Topics of Discussion

Bullying 

  • There has been recent discussion in H&S groups about bullying and this has led to discussions within the DAC. Both groups are interested in exploring solutions in this area.

  • Students are spending more time online and this raises concerns as virtual bullying can have lasting effects similar to in-person bullying.

  • Would presentations aid in the prevention of bullying or what would be an effective way to communicate the importance of not bullying? From a student perspective, it was expressed that having leaders that do not tolerate this type of behavior in the schools and in the hallways and that can be looked up to as role models can have a strong impact on the school culture. Student-to-student-related programs have been a successful model whether it be Big Brother, Big Sisters, the Newcomers Peer Program or Best Buddies within the Bluefield School.

  • DAC members plan to discuss this topic at the next H&S meeting and report back.

 


 

December 9th, 2021, Microsoft Teams Meeting 

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

  • The 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 North Rustico

  • 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

Guest: 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: 
May 16, 2022
Education and Lifelong Learning

General Inquiries

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Summerside, PE C1N 1B6

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

DeptELL@gov.pe.ca