Sept 8, 2020 - Regular / Organizational Board Meeting Highlights

Sept 8, 2020 - Regular / Organizational Board Meeting Highlights

The PRSD September 8th Organizational Meeting and the Regular board meetings were held at 12:45 PM. Both agendas are available online for viewing. Found here:  Due to ongoing COVID restrictions, both meetings were held online.

1. Organizational Meeting: Stuart Angle went unopposed to remain chair of the Prairie Rose School Division board of trustees, while Lois Bedwell was elected as the new vice-chair.  Other nominations included; Stuart Angle and Stacy Hammel as Alberta School Boards Association zone reps, Pam Cursons and Lois Bedwell as Public School Boards Association reps, and Stuart Angle as the boards representative for both provincial TEBA negotiating and the Alberta Rural Caucus Committee.

2. Audit Committee: Secretary Treasurer Ryan Boser explained that as part of the new Education Act, there is a requirement for school jurisdictions to appoint two external members to the audit committee; one from the adult learning community and one from the business community. Carla Bennett (Medicine Hat College) and Travis Beck (Cypress County) have been appointed to the positions. The position is for a one-year term.

3. School Year Calendar: Assistant Superintendent Kal Koch presented a modified 2020-2021 Division Calendar to the board for approval. The board was asked to consider moving the Easter break back one week to match the calendar change that was made by neighbouring Medicine Hat Public School Division to accommodate their new quad semester system. It was suggested with so many staff and students intertwined between the two systems, it would make sense to align the calendars. The board approved the calendar change. To accommodate high school aged students in the Jenner area traveling to Duchess School in Grasslands School Division, Jenner School would be exempt from the change and remain on the previously approved 2020-2021 calendar.

4. PAT and SLA’s: Deputy Superintendent Reagan Weeks shared that Alberta Education has made the administration of Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) and Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) optional this year. It was suggested that with the move to online learning in the spring and blended at-home and in-class options this fall due to COVID, it would be challenge for teachers to ensure students are adequately prepared for the test and most likely not a direct reflection of student achievement. A decision was made for PRSD students not to write the PATs and SLAs in the 2020-2021 year.

5. Communications Report: Communications Coordinator Angela Baron provided a communications overview of the work being done in PRSD to support school staff and families navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. A summary of events, planning documents, tracing tools and communication strategies was shared for information; including what is currently being done to support schools with the transition back to in-person and at-home learning, managing student and staff illness, and ensuring alignment with provincial re-entry guidelines.

6. Trustee Electoral Boundary Review: Secretary Treasurer Ryan Boser reminded the board that they had previously voted in favour of undergoing a ward review prior to the next general election that will be held in the fall of 2021. As per the Education Act, the review must be completed prior to December 31, 2020. An external consultant will be hired to conduct the review. There was some discussion about what trustees wanted the engagement component to look like. Trustees agreed that consultations would be hosted in Dunmore, Bow Island, Oyen and Redcliff. These meetings will be both in-person and conducted through online means.

7. Federal Education Funding: PRSD will receive $1.181 million dollars as part of this one-time funding allocation from the federal government towards a safe school re-entry. Money will be spent on at-home learning support, increased sanitization and cleaning supplies, the purchase of a sanitization machine that will cycle around the schools for deep cleaning, Chromebooks for grades 4-12, webcams for classroom teaching, plexiglass, and PPE equipment.