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Highlights: Board meeting of January 31, 2022

| Categories: Board

The Vancouver School Board held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, January 31, 2022. The meeting’s agenda included receipt of committee reports and consideration of matters arising from the Finance Committee, the Student Learning and Well-Being Committee and the Facilities Planning Committee. The Board also considered several items under new business, including approving the high-level goals for the Education Plan 2026. 

Watch the recording of the meeting. 

Chair Remarks

Board Chair, Janet Fraser began the meeting with remarks noting several observances and celebrations, including Lunar New Year, and looking ahead to Black History Month in February. She also formally welcomed Helen McGregor, superintendent to the District. 

Program highlights

Student voice is integral to all matters before the Board, and through the program highlights of the agenda, the Board hears directly from students about a wide variety of topics that matter to them. This month, students from Vancouver Technical Secondary joined the Board in conversation about the Board authority approved course, African Descent History, Grade 12. Prior the discussion in which students Quincy and Connor along with their teacher Nikitha Fester, videos capturing their classmates’ experiences in the course were shared.  

Superintendent Update

With this meeting being the first regularly scheduled of the new year, superintendent Helen McGregor provided her inaugural update to the Board. She shared her education leadership experience and her commitment to advancing student success, followed by some highlights throughout the month of January. Superintendent McGregor then provided an update to the Board regarding COVID-19 impacts on the school system, noting that staff have worked diligently to avoid functional closures. She also shared information about ventilation and other measures in place throughout the District to safeguard the health and safety of students and staff.

Decisions by the Board

The Board then considered several items for decision. It adopted the timeline for the development of the 2022-2023 operational budget. It also decided to proceed with consultation regarding the consideration to close Queen Elizabeth Annex (QEA). The Board also considered and passed a motion amending Board Policy 1 to reflect the high-level goals of the District’s new strategic plan, Education Plan 2026. Superintendent McGregor and District staff will now interpret the Board’s goals and determine operational plans to achieve them. A full plan will be shared later in the school year. The Board also passed two capital lease bylaws and considered several notices of motion. Two of those motions were adopted by the Board. The first notice of motion will be submitted to the BC School Trustees Association requesting that the Ministry of Education complete its review of new schools and expansions of existing schools and include in them guidelines for outdoor learning spaces with covered roofs. The second motion adopted directs the District staff to undertake additional steps to inform families about ventilation and air-quality monitoring in schools. 

Question Period

At each Board meeting, members of the public are provided with an opportunity to ask questions about agenda matters to the Board, using an online submission form. Several questions were received including questions about the Board’s pilot project, committee-of-the-whole delegations as well as the how the Board considers input received via public engagement processes. The Board chair responded noting the pilot project’s aims and also that the Board considers input received from the public as it undertakes its decisions. The chair also addressed questions regarding the public engagement process to revision the Multi-Age Cluster Classroom program and a question seeking details about why it is considering the closure of QEA and if it intends to consider the closure of other small schools. 

Keep up to date with the District’s committee and Board meetings; see the calendar for meeting dates, agendas, and livestream links. All recordings of past meetings are housed on the District’s YouTube channel.  Minutes from committee and Board meetings are also posted online. 

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