Highlights: Public Board Meeting – September 25
Highlights: Public Board Meeting – September 25
The Vancouver School Board held its first regularly scheduled public meeting of the school year on Monday, September 25, 2023. With audience members in attendance, the Board considered matters arising from the committee meetings held earlier in September, as well as several other motions.
Each Board meeting, the superintendent provides an update highlighting key events, activities and topics on the educational agenda. This month, superintendent McGregor began her presentation by acknowledging two recipients of the monthly superintendent’s tribute. This tribute showcases the contributions by members of the community to the educational journeys of students. This month, community volunteer Carol Shaw was acknowledged for her work with students at Thunderbird Elementary through the last three years to deepen students’ love of reading. Leaders of the Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund, which runs the Adopt-a-School program, were also acknowledged. The program supports more equitable access for students by providing breakfast and lunch programs, access to activities like sports, arts and music, as well as mentorship and technology. As long-time supporters and funders of vital programs helping meet students’ needs, the Adopt-a-School program makes a lasting and profound difference for students who often face some of life’s most challenging barriers. Following, superintendent McGregor provided information about student summer learning, preparations for the new school year and the annual Framework for Enhancing Student Learning report. She also spoke about a legacy project gifted to VSB – a reconciliation blank and carving proudly installed in the Board room. The blanket was designed and woven by Debra Sparrow, θəliχʷəlʷət (Thelliawhatlwit), a Musqueam weaver, is artist and knowledge keeper; it hangs under a carving by Chris Sparrow, also of Musqueam and acclaimed artist.
Student trustee report
Returning to the role of student trustee this year, Mia Liu provided her first report of the school year to the Board. She noted ongoing work of the VDSC to raise student voice about matters important to students. She acknowledged the alignment between student feedback gathered by the VDSC about the reimagined school liaison officer program and the MOU developed in the summer between the VSB and the police department. Additionally, student trustee Liu detailed early activities by the council and noted that they continue to work with the District’s Indigenous education team to expand the council to ensure Indigenous perspectives are part of its work by ensuring representation of students who identify as Indigenous.
The Board received reports from May meetings of the facilities planning, policy and governance, education plan, audit and finance committees. The Board approved several motions including the 2024-2025 minor capital plan submission to the Ministry of Education and Child Care, an update to a banking resolution to align with requirements of its official banker, the Bank of Montreal, and a capital planning by law to comply with funding requirements of the Ministry in support of food infrastructure projects. The Board also approved the annual Framework for Enhanced Student Learning for submission to the Ministry as well as school learning plans.
In addition, Board chair Jung reported that the Board decided to suspend two engagement processes: proposed school closure of Carleton Elementary and surplus declaration of the eastern portion of the Bruce field. This decision was made following the City of Vancouver’s recent amendments to the zoning and development bylaw, known as the “missing middle” housing option (multiplex). These zoning and development changes are unprecedented and may impact long-term residential development and enrolment trends across the city. Recognizing the potential implications of these changes, the Board directed staff to update the enrolment projections in VSB’s long range facilities plan in the context of the City’s recent zoning changes and existing neighbourhood plans. After that information is provided to the Board, it may consider restarting the engagement processes relating to proposed school closure of Carleton Elementary and surplus declaration of the eastern portion of the Bruce field.
At each regularly monthly meeting, the Board provides an opportunity to public to submit questions to the Board regarding Board business and agenda items. The submission form is open from 12:00 p.m. the day of Board meeting and closes after the Board receives committee reports during its meeting. This month, five questions were received and addressed by the chair covering topics such as enrolment, long range planning, school vaccinations, as well as recruitment and program changes.
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 meetings are housed on the District’s YouTube channel. Minutes of committee and Board meetings are also posted online.