Report card season is not always the most popular time of year but SD85 can proudly pin its own on the fridge.
School District Superintendent Scott Benwell revealed a strong showing in his Report on Achievement, including “In some cases, we see the best ever results for the District.”
The report uses results from FSA testing to measure performance in key academic areas like numeracy and literacy, broken down by other factors such as age. These results are then gauged in light of previous years’ numbers, provincial averages and past results.
Trustees welcomed the report and pointed to other positive trends. Trustee Danita Schmidt noted that the positive trends could be found not just generally but also within specific groups. By following the results from a specific cohort over time – literacy levels in non-aboriginal students as they move from Grade 4 to Grade 7 for example – the results show continued improvement.
“It bodes well for those students achieving those results and is a credit to our teachers and assistants,” said Benwell.
“The trend of improvement is very nice to see,” said Trustee Werner Manke. “Students in our system here on the North Island can get an education on par with anywhere else in the province.”
Benwell agreed. “I’d invite anyone to do their research and compare us to our neighbours to the north or south.”
In an unusual move, the Board gave three readings to Capital Project Bylaw 116932 approving the purchase of two new school buses.
Unanimous approval was required to allow the three readings to be given on the same night, but trustees had no objections to the move.
The accelerated process was borne out of necessity after a clerical mix up left the District out of an approved list from the ministry. “We were somewhat shocked when we got the announcement and we weren’t in it,” said Treasurer/Secretary John Martin.
The oversight was drawn to the attention of ministry officials and approval was belatedly given for the move which was ratified by the Board of Education Monday.
SD85 representatives met with ministry officials recently in Vancouver and discussed plans for NISS’s heating system.
The current system has been in place since the 1960s, and is long overdue for an upgrade. Last summer, tenders for the project came in too high. Since then the District has been in contact with the Regional District to discuss a novel solution: using waste heat from the arena to warm classrooms.
Martin told trustees that there were strict rules in place with regards to project funding. These rules require special permissions to hold back funds from one fiscal year to be used at a later date.
The proposed scheme at NISS would require in the region of $1.5 million — far above what SD85 could afford to set aside in a single year. The local representatives asked for permission to hold back funds from 2013/14 to add to the following year’s budget. The ministry officials agreed to relay the request.