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In the wake of Raise the Bar, the province’s review of the administration of education, the previously scheduled District 4 meetings have been cancelled. I’ll be spending the balance of my time as elected member communicating by Twitter posts. Please follow @cindylittlefair.

Meeting Notice:

CANCELLED

February 13 & April 17, 2018, 6:00 to 9:00 pm, Halifax Central Library. HRSB District 4: Peninsula South, West, and Armdale.

Open discussion. All invited.

January 2018: Weather-related cancellation info

HRSB is continuously improving communications around school cancellations and collecting feedback differently.

When you click on the red “All Schools Cancelled” button on the website homepage, you will be taken to this link:

https://www.hrsb.ca/about-our-schools/parents/school-cancellations

You’ll find information on what has gone into the decision to cancel school and have the means to provide feedback.

January 2018: Halifax South Peninsula School Construction Update

The following is an update from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DITR) on the new school design and schedule:

We are pleased to provide the SST (School Steering Team) and SAC with an update regarding the new LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary School. As a result of the redesign, there are some exciting new features that benefit the learning environments for the students and teachers. These include:
·         A new common area at the northern end of the second floor,
·         A larger area of the Library second floor,
·         A larger cafeteria
·         5 additional classrooms
 
After much consultation, it has been determined that the benefits of including a drop-off/pick-up loop on site are outweighed by the challenges involved. Therefore, the drop-off/pick-up loop has been eliminated. This change provides more space on site for recreation activity, and the design team will meet with the Green Space Committee in the near future to discuss how to most effectively utilize the available space. 
 
We are working closely with Architecture 49 toward the start of construction in the spring 2018 and a targeted opening date of September 2019.

The revised drawings will be distributed to the SST. We’re looking forward to the start of construction of a fantastic learning environment for the students of this community.

January 2018: Focus on Communications

For what ended up being a relatively brief moment this fall, a few months, Google removed cindylittlefair.ca from the internet.  No explanation was forthcoming but the site contained five years worth of content and following the submission of a deceptively simple form the site unceremoniously reappeared. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I immediately arranged for the migration of content from the Google site to the site you now see before you.

The experience was a wake-up call. If there’s an uncrackable egg associated with being a school board member it’s effective communication, making contact with community, and the disappearance of the site, the only communication I’d succeeded in establishing, was sobering. Earlier this fall I successfully moved the creation of a communications committee for the governing board and now, I decided, it was time to apply myself to improving my own communications.

Representing community is difficult at the best of times. The responsibilities are diverse and plentiful. It’s hard as a communications amateur to know which of the traditional and social media channels to harness and to what end. There’s a tremendous amount of vaue in the role of representation – providing a counter to and sounding board for senior staff, an accountability mechanism, the contritubtion of your own experience of the system to all discussion, oversight into the business of schooling, informed debate with nine other members, and, at the end of the day, informed decisions  arrived at jointly that one and all can get behind and support. But regardless, in order to represent your district you need to know what it’s thinking.

On February 13 and April 17, 2018, 6:00 to 9:00 pm, there will be open discussions on school board related matters at the Halifax Central Library. All are welcome. As time proceeds and allows there will be other events elsewhere in the district.  

March 2017: Weather-related school cancellations

Weather-related school cancellation decisions come from the Superintendent’s office. If wishing to register your opinion on a decision you can speak with that office. If wishing to speak about the policy itself (see link below), please call or drop me a line.

For comments about a decision: Superintendent’s office, 464-2000.

For comments about the policy: Cindy at 717-0040 or clittlefair@hrsb.ca.   

I have requested that the chair of the Policy Review and Development Committee add B.012, School and Bus Cancellation Policy to an upcoming agenda as an item for discussion. The policy was last reviewed and revised in 2011, informed in part by a 2009 report entitled School Storm Days in Nova Scotia commissioned by the Department of Education. HRSB produced a response to the report. As is frequently the case with policies it was sent to every school in HRM for consideration and feedback was received from almost every school. That feedback is reflected in the policy.

Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or comments on the School and Bus Cancellation Policy.

January 2017

NSTU announces a return to work-to-rule job action on Monday, January 31. See links below for full detail.

November 2016

Bargaining updates:

See here for news releases from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.

See here for news releases from the Halifax Regional School Board and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

October 2016

On October 4 the NSTU rejected the tentative agreement with the Province. Minister Casey: “I was very disappointed to learn about the outcome of the vote this evening. The collective bargaining process has run its course. This is the second time we reached a tentative agreement with different bargaining teams from the NSTU that was rejected by the membership. We will not be returning to the table, we now await the union’s decision.”

September 2016

In December 2013, the Province of Nova Scotia approved the construction of a new Primary to Grade 6 school on the south end of the Halifax Peninsula to replace LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary (LMST). See all of the updates on the temporary relocation of students and construction of the new school.

June 2016

Ever wanted a simple way to get a sense of the school board’s inner workings? The HRSB.casite has a few entry points that are especially revealing.

The first is a cheerful and admittedly cheerleading-like telling of stories from all over the board. But justified! Entirely justified. Produced by the Superintendent it’s a monthly report that draws on daily life in the classroom and beyond to illustrate different aspects of the strategic plan* in rubber-meets-road fashion. Snapshots. Profiles. Factoids! A great way of tying it all together! And there’s a ton of embedded video. Here’s the full collection.

And, second, would you like to see the source of what frequently forms the basis of a news story about the school board in the media? Go to the site and enter “focus on learning” in the search bar. What you’ll find among the results are again spotlights on particular aspects of education and related issues. Offered in report form these drill down into top-of-mind topics: IPPsstudent suspensionsassessment resultscapital construction requests, and as you can see from that list they’re also the source of a lot of the stories you end up seeing and hearing about in the news.

And finally, a brand new video that puts the new school review process in wonderfully plain English. Playfully animated, well-explained, take a look and become an instant expert on the new story of school review in HRSB! You’ll be impressing friends and family with your expertise in no time.

*Strategic Plan Goals:

  1. To improve student achievement and personal success.
  2. To maximize exemplary teaching practices to support high quality instruction.
  3. To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students.
  4. To build engagement, support and confidence in HRSB.