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Highlights: Public Board meeting of April 29, 2019

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With many members of school communities and stakeholder group representatives in attendance, the Vancouver School Board held its regular meeting on the evening of April 29, 2019. Committee and Board meetings are streamed live and available for viewing while in progress and following adjournment.
Watch the meeting here.

Student Presentation
As is the practice at all Board meetings, the evening began with a presentation by students. These presentations provided trustees with a direct connection to students' learning journeys and an opportunity to further reflect on the student experience as they carry out their duties as a Board. At this meeting, trustees, staff and audience members learned about the AIRS program. Through the program, students have the opportunity to develop skills, confidence and self-expression in and through the visual arts by working regularly and consistently with local professional artists in a studio space in the school.

Superintendent Update
Superintendent Hoffman's update is a continuous discussion about student success and what it means for the Vancouver School District. Hoffman's April update focused on the Early Development Instrument – a province-wide survey detailing patterns and trends in children's developmental health over time and across geographies. Hoffman shared with the Board details about changes noted for Vancouver-based students over the last several years. Such information is a powerful aid in the ensuring the supports and initiatives put in place by the Board address the needs of students.

Student Trustee Update
Keeping a focus on the student experience, each Board meeting includes a report by the Student Trustee. This provides another avenue to ensure the student voice is thoroughly considered as the Board carries out its mandate. Student trustee, Hazel Pangilinan, continued sharing the student perspective, noting the Vancouver District School Council has undertaken two surveys with students: one about the draft Long Range Facilities Plan and another about the 2019-2020 annual budget.

Decisions by the Board
A number of key items were before the Board for consideration and approval. The Board discussed and approved moving forward several recommendations of the draft Long Range Facilities Plan, including a decision to remove the recommendation directing staff to compile a list of schools for the Board in September for consideration of potential closure. The Board will further consider the draft Long Range Facilities Plan throughout the spring.

The Board also considered the proposal to phase out the French Immersion program at Henry Hudson. The following motion was passed by a vote of seven in favour and two opposed:
“That the District cease enrolling French Immersion kindergarten classes at Henry Hudson Elementary School in September 2020 and begin phasing out the French Immersion program over the next eight years. And further, the District commits to adequately funding and supporting the program for the eight years; however, should any enrolling class be projected to have under 15 students (in an intermediate class) or 12 students (in a primary class), a review of options for students will take place. And further that the Board commits to providing sibling priority registration, along with siblings of in-catchment English program students, to siblings of French Immersion students currently enrolled in the Henry Hudson French Immersion Program."

Additional motions related to the Henry Hudson school community include:

  • “That the District should continue to explore options that enable it to implement the Board approved recommendations of the French Program Review."
  • “That in exploring options to enable the Board to implement the approved recommendations of the French Program Review, consideration be given to including a geographical equity lens in how the District delivers French Immersion, identifying a minimum number of Kindergarten spaces to be maintained and possible ways to expand the program."
  • “That a future expansion of Henry Hudson Elementary School, independent of the seismic project, be included in the 2020-2021 Five Year Capital Plan submission."
  • That “…work with the Vancouver Project Office to revise the Henry Hudson Elementary Seismic Project Definition Report…"

In addition, a notice of motion was made that the Board shall, in consultation with stakeholders and staff, include in Vancouver School Board Policy the Board's commitment to non-discrimination and the elimination of racism following the Board's reaffirmation at the March 4, 2019 Board meeting. Other motions discussed include:

  • Utilizing VSB owned land for the development of social housing to accommodate vulnerable youth as they complete secondary school.
  • Supporting a drumming celebration on July 1 2019
  • Including within the 2019-2020 budget, funding to provide free mental products in all school bathrooms by September 2019.

Question Period
The VSB welcomes questions from the public and works to provide an avenue to those wishing to ask questions to do so at every Board meeting. Written questions are submitted and addressed by the Board. Several questions were submitted and addressed at the meeting including questions about the Windsor House School in the Gulf Island School District which that Board is considering for closure and Hamber Seismic Project.

Keep up-to-date with all of VSB's committee and Board meetings; see our calendar for meeting dates, agendas and livestream links.

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