E-NOUGH

So here we are.

The last week of school marks the second week of a full out strike by the BC Teachers Federation.

Lock out dates by the employer for secondary teachers start on June 25, and for elementary teachers later this week.

Exams for senior secondary students have gone through but due to the complexities of marking, the essay portions were dropped.

Graduation ceremonies have been moved to alternate locations due to picket lines.

The finger pointing continues.

The impasse more entrenched than ever.

Rhetoric bouncing back and back between the government and teachers’ union through social media channels, the mainstream media and duelling press conferences is wearing thin on us all. This has become a full out political assault on either side as they seek to discredit each other and gain the public’s support.

One of the most disappointing things that has happened in recent days is the politicization of the BCEd Plan. The government is using this formally non-partisan site to circulate paid messages such as the following tweet : @bcedplan: Teachers deserve a fair wage increase but it needs to be affordable. http://t.co/IDeo6dA6vO http://t.co/lO6eIkHChH #bced

Regardless of your personal opinions on salaries and wage increases, this is uncalled for. The BCEdPlan site was meant to be non-political and welcoming for all. The PAID advertisements to discredit a group of professionals that are stakeholders within this plan is unconscionable.

The BCTF is a union and an advocacy organization for their membership. The leadership within their structure is expected to lobby hard for their teachers. But they are going too far with the negative messaging as well.

Stop the public bashing of one another. No more bargaining in the media. Do you want a facilitator? I have children that are trained in anti-bullying through the WITS program.

Both sides need to get back to the table and find the common ground to get a freely negotiated deal; a deal that is fair and gives stability to education in this province for whatever term the parties can mutually agree upon.

Grad Speech for SCAS June 23, 2014

I had the incredible honour of representing my Board at the Sunshine Coast Alternative School Gradation celebrations earlier today at the SC Golf & Country Club. The students and staff of SCAS are incredible. Their dedication is amazing to get students through school which is why the school motto is “Whatever it Takes”.

I think that would be a great motto for BCEd.

Here’s my speech.

***

Parents and family, staff, community members.
Graduates

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greeting and Congratulations.

I have to be honest, this is the first time that I have attended the SCAS graduation since I became a trustee. What a great venue and how wonderful to be surrounded by all of your family, friends, community members and teachers.

The Motto of the Sunshine Coast Alternative School is “Whatever it takes”. As trustees at the board level, we do not witness your day to day struggles, triumphs and successes to get you through your coursework and homework.
We do not know of your personal stories – why you chose SCAS, how it works for you and why it kept you in school.
But the teachers and support staff around you do. They have witnessed and coached and struggled with you to get you to this point: graduation.
Your families and friends have been there for you as well and with them you have made it here.

Through the generous donations from our community, you will be awarded bursaries and scholarships. Thank you to the generous support of the entire Sunshine Coast Community for all of our graduates.

Between the staff at SCAS and your families and support system, you have this wonderful network that has brought you to this point and will assist to give you the wings for your next steps.

As trustees, it is our job o create the environment for this to continue through our advocacy and policy directions. We are extremely proud of all of our graduates and for me, especially of our SCAS grads as your path has not always been the straightest line to this finishing point. For me, school was easy – I was the peg that fit in the hole, but many of my friends were not, and they ended up dropping out and not finishing. They did not have the staff and structure of a school like SCAS to do “whatever it takes” to get them to graduation. You have an incredibly dedicated teaching staff that helped you to get you here to this day.

Your success and engagement drives us at the Board table to do better for you all.

We wish you all the best in the next step of your life’s journey.

Congratulations.

Regular School Board meeting on April 8, 2014

The Board of Education of SD#46, Sunshine Coast, holds their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 8th at 7pm in the School Board Office at 494 South Fletcher Road in Gibsons.

Highlights include a presentation by the ACE-It Carpentry program/Canada Skills Competition, and the past month’s activities of the Board and Committees.

The Full agenda package is at the following link:

http://www.sd46.bc.ca/files/13-14%20Board%20Meetings/040814_RegMtg_Agenda.pdf

Hope to see you there!

Christmas Poem – RePost from 2012

I had attempted to write a Christmas Poem for 2013, but after several attempts, I decided to shelve the thought for the time being.

So in the Spirit of the Holidays, I will re-post the poem I wrote in December 2012 for your enjoyment.

Thank you all and I wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday. Best wishes for 2014

Twas the Week before Christmas in SD 46

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the schools
the principals were considering a relaxing of rules
The teachers were teaching with all their might
In hopes students could retain knowledge for the holiday fortnight

The students worked hard and their talent did grow
As they practised for performances and matinee show
how well they could act sing and play,
for their parents, neighbours and Great grandma May

From Port Mellon to Egmont and all schools between
The gyms were alive with many a Christmas or Holiday Scene
Superintendent Bocking drove forth and back
To hear the bands play and watch those kids act.

Even with the Snow, ice and rain and new hires as well
Greg Kitchen could be found in the gyms after bell
And interspersed in the audience in the facilities
Were the seven trustees enjoying the festivities.

With a young witty leader, so lively and slight,
you could tell in a moment it must be Chair White
More rapid than eagles his letters they came,
And he encouraged and moderated, and called them by name!

Trustee Baxter! Trustees Dixon and Pratt,
Younghusband, Mewhort Russell, where are you at?
We shall write To the province! to the minister
Let’s lobby for our district, those cuts are quite sinister”

“Rob Collison needs dollars for the Maintenance department
We will lobby for more than our usual allotment
His team does great work without a full AFG
They keep things humming, and looking great to a “T”

Our SETAs, custodians and admin assistants
Look after our students with no resistance
We are grateful to them and the service they provide
As they help our teachers get students grad-certified

So quick, you would miss him if you didn’t turn ‘round
Down the street Nic Weswick comes in with a bound.
He was dressed all in leather, as he zoomed up on his bike
A Honda brand , that is , not “little tyke”

His Assistant John Pritchard sported a ‘stache
Leftover from Movember’s efforts to raise cash
And in the board office on South Fletcher Road
spirits were bright and positively glowed

All the staff were so happy and joyous for the season
(actually they are always that way, they don’t need a reason)
From Bev and Teresa at your first sight
Such lovely smiles will always make your day right

And Anne at her desk helping out with staffing
And pleasant Colleen with her occasional laughing
With Tara on HR with her great people skills
And Erica has joined us to experience new thrills

Lai Piera and Carol help keep us all paid
Which may explain all the friends that they’ve made!
Deb, Shannon and Lorna help to round out the team
But we can’t forget Di who runs things without seam

Our employees as we don’t need to be told
All have the biggest hearts filled of gold
Which you can see in students that they hold dear
Which is what keeps us in education year after year

This poem may never end up published
Especially from all of the rhymes that have been flubished
But know that we all see how great
Our district is; this it is no act of fate

From our dedicated principals and teachers
Inspiring our students to become far-reachers
Our support staff does whatever they can
To keep our systems humming for success of our clan

On behalf of the board, I wish you a holiday merry
for whatever your days over Christmas may en-tarry
Let it be known that we have little to fix
And we are all quite happy in SD 46
-L. Pratt

SD 46 Operations Committee : Dec 19,2014

SD 46 Board of Education holds its monthly Operations Committee meeting tomorrow, December 19, 2013, at the School Board Office in Gibsons. The meeting goes from 12:30 pm to 2 pm.
As always, the members of the public are welcome to attend.

The full agenda and notes from the previous meeting can be found at the link below. The two hot topics at this meeting will be Facilities Plan in regards to West Sechelt Catchment Area, and Wi-Fi.
http://www.sd46.bc.ca/index.php/2013-14-board-meetings#ops

Hope to see you there!

PHSS Grad 2013 Speech

My eldest daughter graduated from Pender Harbour Secondary earlier today. As the local school board trustee, I spoke at her graduation.

Here is the transcript of my speech.

***

Friends, family, community members, staff. Graduates.

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greetings and congratulations.

This is a favourite time of year for our Board as we celebrate the accomplishments and successes of all of our students, especially our graduates. In public education, our students are our focus and from the moment they first set foot in one of our facilities either through one of our early learning programs such as StongStart(r) or SPARK!(r) or at some other point of the K to 12 hierarchy, our staff and our board work our hardest to help them to realize their full potential.

In Pender, the community rallies around its youth through their presence at this celebration and the presentations of the generous bursaries and scholarships that support these young men and women in their post-secondary education. Thank you for tremendous show of support for these graduates.

One thing I’ve always loved about the way Pender holds its grad is the entrance- the symbolism of the graduates walking through this room of well-wishers: the families, friends, staff and community members that have supported, loved and encouraged the students for years. How incredible to be surrounded by all this happiness, and as you depart at the end through those doors, you leave us behind, but know that we will always be behind you, supporting the next step of your journey.

The PHSS student community is no different; they are a family, with multi-grade sports teams, peer tutoring, mentoring and an acceptance of each other that transcends differences.

These graduates have been student leaders and a family of their own for many years. I have witnessed this first hand as I have a personal connection with this class. My eldest daughter is on this stage and so many of these young adults have been a part of our family for many years, starting with Serendipity Preschool, moving through the classrooms at Madeira Park before transitioning to these walls at Pender.
I have witnessed first hand the friendships, mentoring, the squabbles, teamwork, the unfriendships, refriendships, tolerance and acceptance within this group.

On behalf of us parents, I would like to say good luck, and for the most part, you’ve been good kids. You are now adults; and to paraphrase Erma Bombeck, to have a child is to forever have a piece of your heart outside your body. We are so proud and very happy for you and a piece of us is screaming “Hallelujah! My child has graduated!!”
We have loved you from birth to first steps, from the first day of school to now, the first day of your adult life.

As Broffenbrenner states;

Every child needs at least one person who is really crazy about him or her.

. I have been so honoured and truly blessed to have been one of these supporters, as ‘crazy’ as I am.

I will continue to be that person for each and every one of you. Keep in touch.

I love you all, and one of you, just a little bit more.

Congratulations!