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Board Update: October 8, 2019

Yesterday your Edmonton Public School Board of Trustees met for the third time this school year.  Our board meetings so far this year have been important and I’ll offer a summary below, but our full meeting package and minutes are available online.

Report on the District Feedback Survey:

The board received a report on our annual District Feedback Survey. This survey includes questions required by the province of Alberta for their annual report on accountability in education.  It also includes questions developed by Edmonton Public Schools for parents, students, staff and community partners.  I find this report interesting because it shows the areas of strength for our school district and it also shows the areas where we can look deeper for improvement.

Strategic Plan Update Report: Early Years:

Our board requests update reports on the board’s goals and strategic plan.  This report focused specifically on the work with students in the early years, before entering grade one. We heard about the wonderful partnership with Kitaskinaw Education Authority (KEA) of Enoch Cree Nation.  This project aims to build relationships between Enoch Cree language advisors, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, project staff and members of the cohort from the two jurisdictions, with a focus on using literacy-based activities in both English and Cree using culturally informed activities.

Report on the use of seclusion:

A report came back to the board on the use of seclusion rooms in the district, and the numbers were quite startling.  It is the first time these numbers have been tracked centrally at Edmonton Public Schools and the first month of using the new administrative regulation on seclusion rooms. The board and the administration engaged in a difficult but important conversation about the need to do better. We heard how work is being undertaken to prevent, minimize and eliminate the use of seclusion rooms. Board members heard about efforts to flag multiple uses of the room, and the response to work with staff to find alternatives. An example was given of the inclusive learning team visiting a school with multiple uses, spending time in the classroom to reshape strategies being used to support the student who had been placed in a seclusion room, and putting new training in place.  The board heard about consultants assisting a principal to reflect with a teacher after using a seclusion room, on what they could have done differently so that a seclusion room is not used in the future. This was important to hear, as I believe that it reflects how we can learn and change, how we can better support teachers, staff and students and work towards eliminating this practice. We also heard that administration will continue to bring updates on this data back to public board.

Our board meetings are always up on YouTube: