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​Board Highlights: November 25, 2019

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With members of school communities and stakeholder group representatives in attendance, the Vancouver School Board held its regular monthly public Board meeting on the evening of November 25, 2019.

Watch the recording of the meeting.

Board Meeting Summary

The agenda for the November meeting of the Vancouver School Board included a number of important motions for deliberation including such the District's food programs, facilities considerations and financial decisions.

The Board meeting began with a student presentation from five grade 11 and 12 students of Windemere. They presented their winning projects part of the YouthTalkTech case competition, with a focus on Cybersecurity and Anti-Cyberbullying. The Windermere students competed against 20 other school teams in the province and won a cash prize of $1,000.

Superintendent Update

A regular standing item at all Board meetings is the Superintendent's update. Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman's updates provide ongoing discussion about student success and what it means for the Vancouver School District. Hoffman's November update focused on Symmetry; that adult learning and student learning are symmetrical. Meaning what as adults do is often the same as what and how students are taught. She later noted examples of symmetry in the District and in classrooms. Hoffman also provide the recently published 2018-2019 student competition rates in the District. Overall, student competition rates in the District continue to climb.

Student Trustee Report

Student trustee, Joshua Harris, provided his report to the Board regarding the dialogue Vancouver District Student Council (VDSC) has been having with students and student leaders. VDSC has taken great effort to maintain their relationship with the general student body. They've created a student issues box where students can anonymously submit concerns or questions. This enables the VDSC to personally connect with all types of students in the District. Harris also updated the Board on the CANley Cup, an event aimed to raise non-perishable foods and money for the Food Bank. This year, thanks to their efforts, VDSC saw the largest number of schools participating in the event.

Decisions by the Board

A number of important motions were before the Board for consideration.

A motion was passed directing staff to prepare a report for the January 2020 Board meeting which identifies the work done about transportation safety in school zones, and how the District promotes walking or rolling (such as cycling). Furthermore, the Board directed staff to prepare a progress report in collaboration with the City of Vancouver on how transportation safety around Vancouver schools has been approved. The progress report will be presented at the June 2020 Board meeting. The Board also approved the second part of the motion, which directed the Chair to write a letter to various government officials informing them of the District's goal to improve transportation safety and request infrastructure funding to help accomplish those goals.

Based on a report presented at the Student Learning and Well Being (SLWB) Committee, the Board considered a motion to proceed to public consultation regarding the District's food programs.The report includes recommendations on how Food Services should operate to align with the 2021 VSB Strategic Plan and Food Services guiding principles. The Board decided to postpone the motion until the next Board meeting on December 16.

To ensure fairness and equity for all students, the Board passed a motion to increase the International Baccalaureate (IB) program fees to cover IB diploma student exam fees. For many trustees, a strong reason to increase the fees was because IB is a District choice program and students can choose to enroll in the program.

Several motions related to financial matters were also discussed. The Board approved development of an Enterprise Risk Management Program. It also approved to publish the draft budget process and timeline and the Statement of Financial Information for the 2018-2019 on the District's website.

The Board also approved the establishment of a working group comprised of District staff and trustees to inform BCSTA about how the District will meet the CleanBC goal to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and how that goal could be achieved.

Three motions were considered. Two (Endorsement of Coalition for Healthy School Fund and Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force) were deferred to their respective committees for further discussion. The third motion, to request the Provincial Government to increase public education funding for Vancouver students, was approved.

Question Period

The Board 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 by people in attendance are submitted and addressed. One question was asked by an audience member, inquiring if staff or trustees received the prevalence funding model for special needs students. Staff responded and confirmed that the District has not received the funding model yet but will share it with finance committee when it is available.

Keep up-to-date with all of 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.

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