A new website which provides students an online method of reporting bullying and provides links to informational documents for the entire community to help create a more inclusive learning environment in schools was introduced to trustees at Tuesday's public board meeting.
School District 57's Safer Schools LiveBinder web document is now available at www.sd57.bc.ca.
The document guides students on how to report bullying in each individual school and what information those reports should contain. It also provides links to such agencies as Kids Help Line, Prince George Crisis Prevention Intervention and Information Centre for Northern B.C., and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Parents now have access to tips on talking to your child about LGBTQ issues, links to website resources, and the Education Ministry's Safe, Caring, Orderly School Resources report.
For teachers, the site offers anti-bullying lesson plans geared specifically for elementary, middle-school and secondary school students. It also provides information on aboriginal bullying and tips on what to say to students who use phrases like, "That's so gay."
A community calendar guides web users to such events as the Day of Pink and National Bullying Awareness Week and provides links to supporting documents like School District 57 policies, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Human Rights Code.
Trustee Sharon Bourassa congratulated assistant superintendent Susan Johnston and Cindy Heitman, district principal of curriculum and instruction, for implementing the district's anti-bullying strategies and the province-wide ERASE (Expect Respect A Safe Education) program. Bourassa joined trustees in recommending the board find ways to track the number of hits on the website and also requested information on how many reports on bullying are submitted online and how those issues are being addressed.
n Trustees approved a recommendation that the superintendent Brian Pepper report to the district twice a year, in November and March, on class size and class composition in district schools. That information will be reported to the board's management and finance committee.
Pepper introduced a report Tuesday on class size that showed three secondary school classes in the district have more than 30 students. Those include a pre-calculus 11 class at PGSS with 32 students, an English 12 class at College Heights (31 students), and an introductory Japanese class, also at College Heights (31 students). All SD 57 schools have kept kindergarten classrooms to a maximum of 22 students, Grades 1-3 to 24 students, and Grades 4-7 to a limit of 30 students. Current class size averages for district are: kindergarten -- 19.3 students; Grades 1-3: 20.7; Grades 4-7: 26.5; Grades 8-12: 23.3.
Pepper also presented a report that outlines how the district is spending in each school on teachers' salaries paid for by the learning improvement fund for 2012-13. The fund was supplemented by teacher salaries not paid by the province during the three-day B.C. teachers' strike in March.
n The board also passed a recommendation to establish an expanded budget committee that includes trustees and at least two members of each educational partner group to provide input to develop the 2013-14 annual budget.
n An application by Hixon elementary school to receive School Community Connections grant funding to support its neighbourhood learning centre passed board approval. As much as $17,500 will be available to pay for renovations for a school kitchen, digital learning space and classroom renovations to give Hixon a combination school/community centre.
n Child poverty issues will be addressed in a Nov. 20 meeting at Duchess Park secondary school and Prince George District Teachers Association Matt Pearce invited trustees to attend. Following that meeting, teachers will march to Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond's downtown office.