INSIGHTS: One week to Election Day, Sincere Thanks, and Good-Bye!

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

A week today we go to the polls, and a new trustee for Ward H will pick up the public education banner in SW Edmonton.

I am excited for the new trustee and for all of you.   With the new Education Act on its way for September 2015, the Board’s comprehensive policy review under way, a  long-term Infrastructure strategy to be developed, and the early 2014 PRIORITIES consultation looming… there will be renewed conversations about how to enhance and improve public education in our city and province.  Fantastic!

We all know that only one person can be elected as the Ward H trustee, but I want to take a moment to thank all four candidates who have stepped forward and put their lives and dreams on the line for public education during this campaign period.  It takes a huge amount of work to run an election campaign and to speak with umpteen hundreds of people about vision, concerns, ideas….  Hats off to Julie, Nathan, Weslyn and Mike, and sincere thanks to them.

If you haven’t yet met these four and are not yet decided who to vote for, I encourage you to follow the links from http://catherineripley.ca/election-2013/candidates/

CORRECTION:  With respect to the trustee candidate information I sent out a week ago, please note that Candidate Lanteigne also filled out the Teachers Local 37 survey.

A FEW UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 7 pm, @ George P Nicholson School as organized by Westbrook School Council

PARENTS at George P Nicholson, Greenfield, Steinhauer, Sweet Grass and Westbrook — don’t miss the chance to learn about the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policy and how this is being implemented at your school. Hear what Anna Burn and Dr. Kris Wells have to say …

BY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, APPLY to SWEY

SWEY (South West Early Years) is searching for a new Assistant. Apply by Friday!  http://www.swearlyyears.ca/swey-is-looking-for-an-assistant/

MONDAY, October 21 — VOTE! VOTE!  VOTE!

TUESDAY, October 22, 8 pm for PARENTS

You’re invited to a teleconference with the Minister of Education. The special guest will be Dr. Glenn Feltham, President and CEO of NAIT and Chair of the Task Force for Teaching Excellence. “This is an important opportunity to learn more about the Task Force and share what you consider to be priorities as the Task Force looks for ways to ensure our kids have access to the best teachers and the best learning opportunities possible. “

How to join in: By 4 pm on October 21. Please register at: http://education.alberta.ca/resources/teleconferenceoct2013.aspx

FINALLY,  THANK YOU!

This will be my last public communique as a trustee.

Although the current Board is still in charge until the new Board is sworn in in early November, once Election Day is over, the focus and attention will be on the new Board…and rightly so.  Your new trustee-elect will receive a series of orientation sessions in the interim period between Election Day and Organizational Board, which will help him or her hit the ground running as part of the 2013-2017 Board of Trustees.

I will, therefore, take this opportunity to first express my thanks to YOU for your interest in public education issues and happenings over the last six years.  And thank you to all those who attended my community meetings  – your presence and ideas around strengthening families, innovative citizenship education, improving communication, district priorities, the Education Act, healthy schools and healthy communities, student assessment, and the planning principles were inspirational.

Second, I would also like to thank the people who had confidence in my ability to serve the constituents of Ward H as trustee long before I ever had this confidence in myself.  These people inspired me to run, worked hard to  get me elected in 2004 (when I lost) and again, in 2007 (when I won). They were ready to support me again in 2010 (when I was acclaimed), and they have supported me throughout my trusteeship with questions, concerns, ideas, moral support!  I have been humbled by their commitment and help.

They include:

….former Parents as Partners oganizer Elaine Decker and former Trustee Lynn Odynski, both of whom provided mentorship and ecouragement

…all those involved with the Whitemud Coalition of Schools, the Edmonton Advocates for Public Education and APPEAL  (Albertans Promoting Public Education and Learning)

…all those who walked 25,000 flyers for me in the 2004 and 2007 campaigns, put signs on their lawns, hosted coffee parties, donated money, advocated for me, etc. etc. etc.

… my 2004 and 2007 campaign co-chairs Marlene Haymour and Cheryl Miller, and my 2010 campaign chair Pat Sawatzky along with Barbara-Jean Lake-Ramnath who was going to organize all the flyer delivery.

Third, I would like to thank those within  Edmonton Public Schools and the public education community at large as well as those in community who mentored and helped me during my two terms as trustee.  I have learned so much!  Thank you!

They include:

…all the wonderful Ward H principals who welcomed me so warmly into their schools and their amazing staff members.

…former Superintendent Edgar Schmidt and his team (especially Bruce Coggles, Tash Taylor, Sandra Stoddard, and Anne Sherwood)

…all the trustees I served with on the Board plus the trustees I got to know through the Public School Boards Association of Alberta and the Alberta School Boards Association (in particular, Zone 2/3)

…the Board of Governors for the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation

…the South West Elected Officials group (all those serving SW Edmonton in an elected capacity — either as MP, MLA, Councillor or Trustee)

…the people I served with on the Community Sustainability Task Force, which produced the Elevate Report

…the geographic communities and communities of interest who welcomed me into their events and/or meetings either regularly or from time to time (SWAC, TRAC, SEBA, Wichitowin Education Action Circle, South West Early Years, SW Community Leagues, Ward H School Councils, SWESA, SWCN, Edmonton Council of Women, Multicultural Coalition, and I hope I haven’t forgotten anybody)

…the STUDENTS! whom I have watched perform or receive their diplomas or awards, who contributed art for my office, who listened attentively during Read In Week, who toured me around their school, etc. etc. etc.

Fourth, I would like to thank Tim Chesterton and my St. Margaret’s Anglican Church family for keeping me grounded in God’s love, and for all the prayers and support over the years

And last but not least, I would like to thank my family.

They include…

…my mum and dad who never saw me step into this public service role but who certainly inspired me with their long service to Canada as a naval couple from 1936 through 1964,

…my brothers and sisters as well as my “in law” siblings and parents who have maintained an ongoing interest in my activities, with special thanks to my big brother David who flew twice from Ontario to help with my campaigns, to my brother-in-law Doug for his financial support over the years (and loaning me his super house for campaign parties), and to my niece-in-law Tracey for her design skills and support,

…my children who have helped and encouraged their mum in many, many ways too numerous to list here, but here are a few — Owen for his encouragement to run in the first place and for setting up my website (and Shannon his now wife, who arrived in Edmonton to meet us for the very first time in 2007 and promptly got put to work delivering flyers);  Phoebe for her miles and miles of flyer delivery, attending public education events off and on with me throughout my trusteeship, and for often sparkling up and cleaning our home;  Robin for delivering flyers, drawing a picture of me as Super Trustee,  and for helping set up the Ward H Public School Trustee Candidate Cafe just recently,

…my husband Bruce  –  my very own personal sign-maker and sign installer (even in the snow — 2004!),  and the best “first guy” any elected official could ever have. He always listened with patience as I talked out loud about the upcoming votes and issues of the day (and I talked a lot!).  He helped me put things in perspective, he put up with my periodic sleeplessness, and at one very low point in my trusteeship, he insisted that I would be totally wrong to give up and resign. He was right!   He attended some key events with me on a regular basis and he took me to the woods on most Sundays for fresh air and fun. Thank you, my love.

OK. Enough!

I wish everyone all the best and a continued strong interest in all things public education.  It has been an honour and a privilege. Thank you.

Catherine

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INSIGHTS: Two more sleeps to Candidate Cafe… and MORE!

Hello all,

I am excited that the Public School Trustee Candidate Cafe for Ward H is almost here.

I sincerely hope you have all marked this date in your calendars (with stars and bells and whistles!)  and are planning to drop in sometime between 5 and 8 pm to meet the four people who would like to serve you as your next trustee.

The details again are:

WHEN:  Thursday, October 3.  Drop in any time between 5 and 8 pm.

WHERE:  Royal Gardens Community Hall,  117 Street and 40 Ave.  (opposite Ecole Richard Secord School)

For those unable to make it, you can find information on the candidates at

http://catherineripley.ca/election-2013/candidates/ and videos of all candidates will be posted on the Edmonton Public Schools website early next week

http://epsb.ca/trustees/elections/index.shtml (For those living in other wards, you may want to check out the listing of forums in other parts of the city on this page, too.)

Finally, please note that Edmonton Public Schools Teachers Local #37 is hosting a “meet and greet” as well on Monday, October 7. Again, drop in any time between 5:30 and 8 pm at Barnett House (142 Street and 111 Avenue). Everyone is welcome.

OTHER

It has been a busy couple of weeks since I last wrote.

Planning Principles Passed!

With respect to our last Board meeting, the Planning Principles policy was approved (with an adjustment to the Environmental Stewardship principle).  You can access the final version at http://epsb.ca/policy/fa.bp.shtml I am proud of this work and look forward to seeing a wonderful and effective Infrastructure Strategy emerge out of this very solid foundation.

Blackmud and Mactaggart/Magrath Schools!

For those interested in tracking the progress of the new Blackmud Creek and Mactaggart/Magrath schools, please bookmark this page

http://planning.epsb.ca/capital-planning/current-projects This information will be updated regularly over the next couple of years as the projects progress.

THANK YOU….

… to George P Nicholson for inviting me to their first council meeting of the school year. It was great to see the school council get off to a SUPER start. And thanks to Vernon Barford for the invitation, too. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it.

…. to the Ward H Council Network for joining together for lunch last week to discuss ideas for communication out to parents, what’s new at various schools, how best to support each other, etc.  Ward H is fortunate to have wonderful school council chairs wanting to do their very best for their school communities. Thank you to them for their leadership.

…. to all the commumity league folk who put on great events for Community League Day. Strong communities support strong families support strong kids = a great future!  The Fun Day at Empire Park this past Saturday was also lots of fun.

…. to the organizers of the Ward 9/Ward H forum concerning Surplus School sites and how we dream, plan, and realize the communities we want to live in.  You may be interested to see how your neighbourhood rates on guest speaker Laurabelle Robinson’s site http://www.placeshaping.ca/winedmonton/ Food for thought!

…..to SWEY….   There is a new “collective” website coming soon for the seven coalitions working in Edmonton, so stay tuned.  In the interim, check out http://swearlyyears.ca Everyone with a passion for the early years is welcome to attend our (lively) monthly meetings…  We laugh a lot!  Come and find out.

On another note, SWEY will be searching for a new Coalition Assistant over the next few weeks.  If you know of someone who might be interested in this part-time position (12 hours a week , or so) for the next year, please have them email swearlyyears@hotmail.com for more info asap.

NEXT WEEK IS READ-IN WEEK….. If you have a half hour to spare, I encourage you to contact your local school and volunteer to share a story with some children or youth!   It is a favourite week for me!

All the best, and see you on Thursday!  Right?  RIGHT!

Now off to the Mayoral Forum at Ainlay….

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Opportunities to Meet Your Trustee Candidates…starting Wed. Sept 25…

IN PERSON

Wednesday, September 25, 7 pm  Ward 9 /Ward H public forum Sponsored by ACT for Community, Terwillegar Community Church, 1725 Towne Centre Blvd.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=688936761135930&set=gm.209170969249628&type=1&theater

Thursday, October 3, drop in any time between 5 and 8 pm.  Public School Trustee Candidate Cafe, sponsored by Catherine Ripley, @ Royal Gardens Community Hall (117 St. and 40 Ave.)

Monday, October 7, drop in between 5:30 and 8 pm. Meet and Greet the Candidates, sponsored by the Public Engagement Committee of Edmonton Public Teachers Local #37 @ Barnett House (11010-142 Street)  http://local37.teachers.ab.ca/Political%20Advocacy/Pages/Trustee%20Election.aspx

ONLINE

Links and contact information for all Ward H Public School Trustees  http://catherineripley.ca/election-2013/candidates/

Online Candidate Videos to be hosted by Edmonton Public Schools, check back on or after October 7 to listen and learn from the Ward H candidates  http://epsb.ca/trustees/elections/index.shtml

Comprehensive Candidate Information will be posted at  http://www.vote4kids.ca, sponsored by The Alberta Teachers Association

The perspectives of the mayoral, councillor and trustee candidates on the Early Years will be posted at http://earlychildhoodedm.ca  (when the site goes live in early October) and/or check out http://swearlyyears.ca

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INSIGHTS: Planning Principles, Trustee Handbook, Election Info…and MORE!

Hello!

Wow!  Can’t believe it!  The last Board meeting for this Board of Trustees is coming right up on Tuesday, starting at NOON  at the Centre for Education (One Kingsway).  There is a rich package of recommendations and information coming forward, and lots to think about!

PUBLIC BOARD MEETING… TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, NOON

You can access the full agenda package at http://epsb.ca/board/september17_2013/09172013.pdf and as always, any feedback is appreciated.   You are also welcome to attend the meeting in person or via webcast at http://www.livestream.com/edmontonpublicschools

Celebrating Progress: What Next?   (Report 13)

For those who attended any of my three community meetings, held  between 2009 and 2013, related to visioning and achieving the Schools and Communities “we” want for 2030, the report on the third of these meetings is the last information report on the Board agenda.  The meeting generated many good ideas with respect to strengthening families and enhancing innovative citizenship education, and I encourage you to check them out.   You can read the abridged results in the Board report  (# 13) OR the full summary at http://catherineripley.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CELEBRATING-PROGRESS-Summary-Report.pdf.

Governance-Related Recommendations & Information

  • From Trustee Spencer: That the Edmonton Public School Board resolve to develop and implement practices that will support a transformation to a more representative, democratic and participatory model of governance.
  • From the Caucus Committee:  (Report 4) That the Trustee Handbook be approved (which details all of our policies, protocols and practices related to governance, Board operations, and trusteeship).
  • Also related is the Board Self Evaluation Report (Report 10), which documents what the Board perceives as strengths and areas for improvement, based on its 2012-13 work.
  • Information to help the Board in its need to always be forward-thinking …. A report on Possible Implications if City of Edmonton were to annex the land south of the City Limits to the Airport.  (Report 12)

Policies Up for Approval

  • Infrastructure Planning Principles (Report 5)
  • Student Suspension and Expulsion (Report 6)
  • Student Program of Studies and  Delivery of Student Program of Studies (Report 7)

Supporting Staff, Students and Families

  • Allocation for Professional Improvement Leaves (teachers) (Report 9)
  • Serving people with disabilities (Report 11)

Accountability

  • Approval of Results & Plans sessions and timeline for this fall (Report 8)   NOTE:  Ward H schools to be reviewed this year include Harry Ainlay, Lillian Osborne, Steinhauer, and Westbrook… on the afternoon of Friday, November 22.  This is a public meeting and all are welcome.  It is a wonderful way to get an inside look at what your schools are up to, so please be sure to contact your new trustee for the place and time.

PLANNING PRINCIPLES…. HAVE WE GOT THEM RIGHT?

As I have stated in previous INSIGHTS e-letters, I believe the Infrastructure Planning Principles is a key policy that will guide Edmonton Public Schools in ensuring our current infrastructure continues to be safe, that it is kept in good repair, that we can build new schools as needed, etc. etc.  The status quo is just not sustainable, and collaboratively with partners and the community, we need to create a strategic and thoughtful plan that will bring “positive change” for all, particularly our students.….  The Planning Principles will guide all the decisions the future Board will make in this regard, so are they the right ones?   I believe so, but any input you have is appreciated:

1. Accountability: Infrastructure decisions shall be transparent, evidence based and reflect meaningful engagement with stakeholders.

2. Centres for Educational Excellence: Infrastructure assets shall serve as centres for educational excellence that meet the needs of district students, as well as their families and staff, where appropriate.

3. Environmental Stewardship: All decisions relating to infrastructure management shall demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship.

4. Equitable Access: All students and staff shall have fair access to safe, welcoming, high quality learning and working environments that will increase their opportunities and decrease their vulnerabilities.

5. Fiscal Responsibility: Decisions on infrastructure shall consider long-term needs and current realities, and reflect effective management of district resources.

6. Service to Community: District infrastructure assets are public buildings intended to serve our students, families, and staff as well as the broader community where appropriate. Capital investment shall consider the demographics, long-term plans, and needs of the community.

7. Supports for the Whole Child: Space shall be available to enable partnerships with shared responsibilities in order to provide integrated services that support district students.

A BIG THANK YOU…

… to Westbrook School Council for the warm welcome this past Thursday night.  It was great to see so many  parents out and the dedication of all involved in the Council, the Parent Society or both.  Thank you!

…to the Christian programs and schools in Edmonton Public Schools for including trustees in their annual Commissioning Service… and for the yummy perogies!

DID YOU KNOW?  AN ELECTION IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER…

…and who will you vote for?  If you have children, or grandchildren, how will you involve them and show them the importance of democratic participation?

Here are some key dates for engagement in the SW related to the Election

  • Monday, September 23:  Nomination Day (a final list of who is running in Edmonton will be posted the day at http://edmonton.ca/city_government/edmonton-elections.aspx
  • Monday, September 30, 7 pm:  Ward 9  Councillor Forum @ Lillian Osborne
  • Tuesday, October 1, 7 pm:  Mayoral Forum @ Harry Ainlay
  • Thursday, October 3,  drop in any time between 5- 8 pm:  Public School Trustee Candidate Café @ Royal Gardens Hall (117 Street & 40 Avenue)  (PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!)
  • Monday,  October 7:  Video interviews with all trustee candidates will be posted at http://epsb.ca
  • Tuesday, October 8, 7 pm :   Ward 10 Councillor Forum @ Louis St. Laurent.
  • Monday, October 21:  VOTE !

ONGOING – Keep tabs on who the WARD H Trustee candidates are and what they are up to at http://catherineripley.ca/election-2013/candidates/

On Twitter, follow #yegvote as well as #epsb.

WHAT DOES AN EXCELLENT TEACHER LOOK LIKE TO YOU?

Last Wednesday the Minister  of Education announced a new Task Force that will study Excellence in Teaching.  The Task Force will review with stakeholders “the existing environment and recommend revisions or make new suggestions to transform Alberta’s education system, as envisioned by Inspiring Education.”  Consultation sessions will be announced over the coming month, and you can sign up to participate at https://legerweb.com/teachingexcellence/signup.asp .  Sample questions include:

  • What is the definition of ‘educator?’ What does a ‘world-class’ educator look like in the  21st century?
  • What is the role of the 21st century teacher? How is that different from the current role?
  • Are there currently any barriers to excellence in teaching?
  • How can we ensure entrepreneurialism is a trait in teachers?
  • What is the role of the community in the assurance of excellence?

For further information,  http://www.teachers.ab.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/ATA/News-Room/2013/Terms%20of%20Reference.pdf

On a related note, congratulations to Edmonton Public’s very own Executive Director of Corporate Services, Mr. David Fraser, on being appointed to the Task Force!

Cheers, and have a good week!

Catherine

Catherine.Ripley@espb.ca;  cripleyepsb on TWITTER, on Facebook, 780-887-1002

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INSIGHTS: Student Representative on Board motion, Apply to Inclusive Education Committee…and not much more!

Hello…

A quick update to let you know that there is a Board meeting on Tuesday. Aside from approving staff for the Roster of those available to preside over expulsion hearings, the one item of business is the following:

STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE MOTION

That the elected position of Student Representative be piloted by the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) for the 2014-2015 school year. The purpose is threefold: facilitating dialogue between the student body and the Board, increasing student engagement in Board policy and planning functions and educating students about democratic governance.

You can read the background on this idea from Trustee Hoffman at http://epsb.ca/board/september10_2013/09102013.pdf

If you have thoughts to share on this idea, please send them along by Tuesday morning.    Also, if you have young people in your household, please ask them what their opinion is and if they have questions or comments.  I would appreciate that!

INCLUSIVE ED ADVISORY COMMITTEE – APPLY BY SEPTEMBER 15

Also,  if you are a parent or community member  with a strong interest in special education and want to  help us build the inclusive education system we envision for our school district., please consider applying for the Inclusive Education Parent and Community Advisory Committee.

http://epsb.ca/datafiles/OverviewOfCommittee-Aug2013.pdf

http://epsb.ca/datafiles/TermsOfReference-Aug2013.pdf

http://epsb.ca/datafiles/InclusiveEducationCommitteeApplicationForm-2013.pdf

UPCOMING EVENTS remain as per my email last week.

I will be in touch at the end of the week as another Board meeting will happen on September 17.  This meeting will cover significant ground with Infrastructure Planning Principles, Board Evaluation for 2012-13, and the revised/updated Trustees Handbook (among others) on the agenda. Stay tuned!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  AFTERNOON OR EVENING BOARD MEETINGS?

With respect to the Trustee Handbook, which sets out protocols, practices, committtees, honoraria for effective Board operations, etc. I have had one person suggest that Board meetings should go back to being held in the evening rather than the daytime to enable greater public participation.  Any thoughts on this?

Have a great week!

Catherine

(Catherine.Ripley@epsb.ca;  780-887-1002; @cripleyepsb on Twitter;  www.catherineripley.ca )

Catherine Ripley

Trustee, Ward H, Edmonton Public Schools
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INSIGHTS: Back to School, Two Days Left to Provide Input on Infrastructure policy…and MORE!

Happy “New Year”  to all!

For the last several days principals and their staffs have been busily getting ready to welcome students on Tuesday morning bright and early.  The beginning of school is always an invigorating time – and I wish everyone well.  Many students and staff will be returning to the schools that they learned in or worked in last year.  A number will be starting fresh with new friends, new teachers or new colleagues…   Whichever category you fall into, I wish everyone a happy start to the new school year and a rich year ahead full of learning and growth.

The Board officially kicks off the new school year on September 3, too – first with a Caucus meeting in the morning and then a Public Board meeting in the afternoon, starting at 2 pm.   As always, the public is welcome to join us either in person or via webcast, or view the board meeting at your leisure through the archived version. Available at http://www.livestream.com/edmontonpublicschools

AGENDA, PUBLIC BOARD MEETING, SEPTEMBER 3, 2 pm

·         Review and Approval of Minutes from June 11, June 18, June 25 and July 30

·         Review of Actions Taken by the Superintendent during the Summer

·         Information Report on PowerSchool – costs of  and reasons for implementation

You can access the pdf Board package here: http://www.epsb.ca/board/september03_2013/09032013.pdf

TWO DAYS LEFT…

to give your opinion on the first draft of our new Infrastructure Planning Principles policy.   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NEW_Board_Policy_Infrastructure_Planning_Principles

FOUR DAYS LEFT …

to give your thoughts on the first draft of our Student Programs policy

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HA-BP_Student_Programs_of_Study

and on the Delivery of Student Programs of Study policy

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HAA-BP_Delivery_of_Student_Programs_of_Study

UPCOMING

Saturday, September 7  Noon to Midnight. “Party in the Park” sponsored by Blue Quill Community League for SW residents.   Bring your children, come on out and enjoy some music!  http://www.bqcl.org/

September 10, 2 pm,  PUBLIC BOARD MEETING

By September 16, nominate a young person for Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award

If you know  a young person who helps out at local fundraisers or takes time to visit with seniors in the community? Is there a young individual in your school who serves a mentor or is a leader for sports and recreation programs? Nominate them.  For more information, visit http://www.culture.alberta.ca/voluntarysector/stars/default.aspx

September 17, 2 pm,  PUBLIC BOARD MEETING

Saturday, September 21,  Community League Day. Check out what is happening in your community at your local community league website or Facebook page. Or visit http://efcl.org/CommunityLeagueDay/tabid/726/Default.aspx for a map of what’s happening across the City.

Thursday, October 3, between 5 and 8 pm.  Public School Trustee Candidate Café (Ward H)

Drop in and meet your prospective candidates @ Royal Gardens Community Hall, 40 Avenue and 117 Street, opposite Ecole Richard Secord School. Currently declared candidates are listed at http://catherineripley.ca/election-2013/candidates/

October 7 – 11, READ-IN WEEK! Share your love of stories with a class of kids in your neighbourhood.  http://www.readin.ca/volunteer-to-read/

Monday, October 21  ELECTION DAY!

Saturday, October 26, 2013, FREE Literacy and Learning Day Conference for Parents

Hear Scott Steinberg (author of The Modern Parents Guide parenting series) and attend workshops of your choice. www.literacyday.ca

By October 28, nominate your principal for an Outstanding Principal Award

http://www.thelearningpartnership.ca/page.aspx?pid=455

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Blog posting… Yes , I Can!  Reflections after attending the August 22 community information meeting on the Terwillegar Supporting Housing Development  http://catherineripley.ca/2013/08/31/yes-i-can/

As always, if you have comments, ideas or thoughts to share please email me (Catherine.Ripley@epsb.ca) or phone (780-887-1002) or message me (@cripleyepsb) or find me on Facebook.  Glad to meet in person, too!

Cheers,   Catherine

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Yes, I Can!

On August 22, I attended the information session on the proposed Terwillegar supportive housing complex for formerly homeless people at St. Thomas More Church.  There was much about the atmosphere of the evening that reminded me of the school closure meetings:  Tension, many questions, distrust by some, minds already made up, some quietly in support but not speaking up, some vocally against… and so on.

I felt deeply for those on the panel who are working to do their very best to build a fairer, happier society for ALL and to achieve the very ambitious goal of ending homelessness in our city.  And I felt deeply for those in the crowd who are clearly fearful – fearful for their children’s safety and well-being, fearful that their community may change for the worse.

And while my heart was warmed by the three guests who spoke about their experiences with homelessness and the difference a home can make, it was Lt.-Commander Mercy Yeboah-Ampadu who inspired me with hope.  After patiently awaiting her turn at the mike, she began…  “Yes, I can” and I will paraphrase her comments as I remember them.  “Yes, I can…. I can consider, and even accept, this housing project in my community.  As a mom with two children, I am scared but … yes, I can.”

I have reflected on that phrase “Yes, I can” over the past week and I keep wondering if everyone in the room that night has since asked themselves about whether they can say “YES, I CAN,” too.

For example, many questions were asked of the Jasper Place Health and Wellness Centre about screening of residents, safety precautions, etc.  Indirectly, it was suggested that perhaps the number of units should be reduced and/or the proportion of the units should be adjusted to allow more two-bedroom suites for families and fewer single bedroom suites for single men and women. Other suggestions were also made.    Can Mr. Soroka say, “Yes I can ….  Yes, I can seriously consider the community suggestions and change some of our plans to alleviate fears and improve our working relationships with the community.”?

Can Bishop Jane Alexander of the Anglican Diocese, the landowner that has every right to use the Diocese’s land as it sees fit, say, “Yes, I can….  Yes, I can listen to the concerns and think about how our lease agreement might best be structured to assist in making this a win-win-win for everyone.”?

Can community groups and institutions active in the SW, such as the Riverbend Public Library, the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre, the Terwillegar Community League, the Terwillegar Homeowners Association, TRAC,  the other faith communities active in this area, etc.,  say, “Yes, we can… We can step forward to partner with Jasper Place Health & Wellness Centre and Holy Trinity Anglican Church and  current community residents to support and welcome the future residents in this housing development into active community life.  Yes, we can collectively accept this responsibility.”?

Can community residents (and those in neighbouring communities) say, “Yes I can…. Yes, I can be open to this change in my community.  Yes, I can consider how this might both enrich my community and also, contribute to the work of ending  homelessness.  Yes, I can continue to voice my concerns and fears, and at the same time, work with those involved for the best outcomes.”?

Can the elected officials (The Honourable Dave Hancock, Councillor Bryan Anderson, His Worship Mayor Mandel) say “Yes, I can….  Yes, I can listen to the concerns over the engagement process voiced by community residents and work to improve the process both now and for the next time.   Yes, I can take a critical look at the criteria that has been established and ensure they meet both the needs of community at large as well as the proponents of the project as well as the future residents.  Yes, I can work to bring people together to talk through the concerns, the issues, and the suggestions so this project becomes an OPPORTUNITY for everyone, not a loss for some.”?

Can I, as an elected trustee, say, “Yes, I can…. Yes, I can listen and learn from this community conversation, from all involved, about how to build stronger communities that support ALL people in reaching their full potential and then, apply that to my trusteeship  – to the ongoing work of building vibrant, rich, diverse public school communities where everyone is respected and welcomed, and where equity is applied in decision-making so that all students and staff get the supports they need to succeed.”?

Yes, I can, and thank you, Lt.-Commander Mercy Yeboah-Ampadu, for your inspiration.

Information on the proposed Housing Development   http://www.jphawc.ca/page20.html

Statement from the Anglican Church http://edmonton.anglican.org/pdf/TerwillegarMeeting.pdf

Homeward Trust   http://www.homewardtrust.ca/home.php

Province of Alberta’s Plan to End Homeslessness  http://humanservices.alberta.ca/homelessness/14601.html

City of Edmonton Homeless Commission http://homelesscommission.org/

Annual Report on Diversity and Equity (Edmonton Public Schools) (Report 7, begins on page 60 of pdf package)  This is not directly connected with homelessness but does examine how the District is working to support children living in socio-vulnerable homes and/or communities.  http://epsb.ca/board/may07_2013/05072013.pdf

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INSIGHTS: Candidate Café, Planning Principles, Regulatory Review … and MORE!

Hello all,

Two weeks and counting… where is the summer going so quickly?

SAVE THE DATE:  PUBLIC SCHOOL TRUSTEE CANDIDATE CAFÉ for WARD H  — October 3!

Three trustee candidates are now declared in Ward H with a fourth soon to announce. Check them out, help them out,  and please plan to drop in to meet them on Thursday, October 3 between 5 and 8 pm at Royal Gardens Community Hall (117 St. and 40 Ave.).  Make an informed vote on October 21 – it’s the most important vote of all!   http://catherineripley.ca/election-2013/candidates/

INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING PRINCIPLES: SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

As mentioned in my July 26 Insights e-letter, the Board met, discussed, and approved a first draft of our new Infrastructure Planning Principles policy on July 30.   We had an in-depth discussion, and some good suggestions were made by my colleagues for consideration alongside the input from YOU – the public – for the further development of the policy for Second and Third Readings.  I will let you know when the revised draft comes back to public board for these readings.  Likely September 17, I am thinking.

The policy, however, is now posted for your feedback.  Please provide your perspectives at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NEW_Board_Policy_Infrastructure_Planning_Principles .  The survey comes down SEPTEMBER 2.

REGULATORY REVIEW FOR EDUCATION ACT: SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

In December 2012, the Government of Alberta passed the new Education Act, which will replace the School Act of 1988. A Regulatory Review Committee, chaired by MLA Maureen Kubinec (and former President of ASBA) and including our very own SW MLA Matt Jeneroux, is now reviewing and revising the education regulations that correspond with the Education Act.

Everyone is invited to share their ideas on the Regulations. You can choose to complete a survey, in full or only the sections that are relevant to you.  You can also send in a written response to the Regulatory Review Project Office at edc.edact-regs@gov.ab.ca.  Finally, watch for meetings to be held this fall.  http://ideas.education.alberta.ca/engage/current-initiatives/educationactregulatoryreview/makingpowers/

ALSO, UPCOMING

By August 21, please RSVP for  SWEY’s “Together, We Raise Tomorrow” event on AUGUST 26 to swearlyyears@hotmail.com Let’s positively influence early childhood development policy in our province!  For more information visit http://swearlyyears.ca (If you require a subsidy for childcare or transportation, please mention that in your RSVP.)

Saturday, August 24, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, Workshop on “Preventing Conflict in Special Education – Building and Sustaining Great Working Relationships” @ Allendale Community League Hall, 6330-105A Street.   Register through… https://centre4literacy.eventbrite.ca/

Saturday, August 24.  Daughter’s Day @ City Hall. Program begins at 2 pm, walk prior.  http://daughters-day.com/?page_id=4

Tuesday, August 27, afternoon OR evening.  First Time Riders Event. For those first-time bus riders (of any age, but especially K, Grade 1, Grade 7), register for this informative and great event sponsored by the three Edmonton school boards and associated bus companies as well as ETS.   http://news.epsb.ca/2013/08/register-for-first-riders/

By August 31, donate to The United Way’s Tools for School program. In some areas of the Edmonton area, these kits are required for 8 in 10 students! Thanks to the United Way for spearheading this program for the last 17 years. It makes a huge difference for some students….  http://news.epsb.ca/2013/06/tools-for-school-campaign-you-can-help/

Until August 31 – provide feedback to Together, We Raise Tomorrow.  This Human Services consultation seeks input that will assist in developing 1) The Children’s Charter, 2) A Poverty Reduction Strategy (as related to children), and 3) An Alberta Approach to Early Childhood Development.  http://povertyreduction.alberta.ca/Survey_0

By September 2, share your thoughts on Infrastructure Planning Principles as mentioned above. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NEW_Board_Policy_Infrastructure_Planning_Principles

SEPTEMBER 3 – FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! Welcome back!

Tuesday, September 3, 2 pm.  Public Board Meeting @McCauley Chambers, One Kingsway.

Until September 6,  share your thoughts on two new Edmonton Public Schools policies….

a)      Student Programs of Study policy

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HA-BP_Student_Programs_of_Study

b)      Delivery of Student Programs of Study policy

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HAA-BP_Delivery_of_Student_Programs_of_Study

Saturday, September 7  Noon to Midnight. “Party in the Park” sponsored by Blue Quill Community League for SW residents.   Bring your children, come on out and enjoy some music!  http://www.bqcl.org/

Saturday, September 21,  Community League Day. Check out what is happening in your community at your local community league website or Facebook page. Or visit http://efcl.org for more information.

As always, if you have comments, ideas or thoughts to share please email me (Catherine.Ripley@epsb.ca) or phone (780-887-1002) or message me (@cripleyepsb) or find me on Facebook.  Glad to meet in person, too!

Cheers,   Catherine

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INSIGHTS: Infrastructure Planning Principles on July 30, Early Years Consultation on August 26…. and MORE!

Summer Greetings!

Next Tuesday (July 30), 2 pm, the Board will be meeting to discuss the first draft of our new Infrastructure Planning Principles policy in McCauley Chambers (One Kingsway).  You can read the policy and the report here:  http://epsb.ca/board/july30_2013/07302013.pdf

As always, our meetings are open to the public, and you are welcome to join us either in person or via webcast.  If you have an opinion to share, you are also welcome to speak for up to three minutes – please pre-register with the Board Office by phoning 780-429-8021 by noon on Tuesday.

If the draft policy is approved at First Reading, after August 1st , everyone  will be able to access a survey  on the proposed policy from this page:  http://epsb.ca/policy/policyReviewListings.shtml . I encourage you to provide your input.  The survey will be posted for a month.

This is a critically important policy.

During my two terms as a trustee, the District’s infrastructure challenges have been an ongoing topic of discussion.   How can we keep our facilities up to date and well maintained when our Plant Operations and Maintenance and our Major Capital Renewal funding never seems to be adequate?  How can we work better with the Province to provide new schools in high-demand areas in a timely, predictable and proactive fashion?  How can we address our $257 million deferred maintenance work?  If a school has to be closed, how can we transition students, staff and families to another school happily and how can that building continue to serve the community? How can our buildings not only be places for exciting and innovative education but also support the delivery of family or community services as identified by communities?  And so on!

To respond to these questions (and others) in a strategic way, the current Board approved the development of a long-term District Infrastructure Strategy to be created once we have an Infrastructure Planning Principles policy in place.

Once the Policy has worked its way through First Reading on July 30 and then Second and Third Readings (likely in the fall), the policy will guide all future infrastructure decisions for the foreseeable future.   So, if you have written to me about lack of new schools in your neighbourhood or overcrowding or about increasing lease rates for tenants or about school closures, please contribute your viewpoint through the survey. Alternatively, as always, you can also send me an email, phone me, etc.

In January,  I held a community meeting related to this policy and to the Student Assessment policy. You can see what people had to say about possible infrastructure planning principles on pages  4-6 of the Summary document from the meeting:  http://catherineripley.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Your-Two-Cents-on-Policy-SUMMARY-draft.pdf

UPCOMING

Monday, July 29,   6:00 – 8:30 pm   South West Early Years meeting. @ Whitemud Crossing Public Library in upstairs meeting room.  How can we Build Capacity in our Caregivers, Parents, Preschool Educators, Health workers, etc. around optimum early childhood development in the SW? Join SWEY for this discussion at its monthly meeting.  All are welcome.  The meeting will begin with a potluck so please RSVP to swearlyyears@hotmail.com if you are able to attend, so we all know the numbers.

Tuesday, July 30, 2 pm  Public Board Meeting / First Reading on Infrastructure Values and Principles policy @ McCauley Chambers, Centre for Education, One Kingsway.  As described above.

August 7-10 …. Global Youth Assembly for  Students 15 -28 @ the University of Alberta, sponsored by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. http://www.youthassembly.ca/

Saturday, August 24.  Daughter’s Day @ City Hall. Program begins at 2 pm, walk prior.  http://daughters-day.com/?page_id=4

Monday, August 26, 6:30 – 9 pm  Together, We Raise Tomorrow “in person” consultation hosted by SWEY (South West Early Years) @ Royal Gardens Community Hall (40 Ave and 118 St).  PARENTS and CAREGIVERS of young children are encouraged to attend!  Entertainment for accompanying children will be provided. As well, child care and transportation vouchers are available. Please RSVP by August 21 to swearlyyears@hotmail.com Thanks to the Royal Gardens Community League and Alberta Human Services for their support of this event.

Until August 31 – provide feedback to Together, We Raise Tomorrow.  This Human Services consultation seeks input that will assist in developing 1) The Children’s Charter, 2) A Poverty Reduction Strategy (as related to children), and 3) An Alberta Approach to Early Childhood Development.  http://povertyreduction.alberta.ca/Survey_0

Until September 6,  share your thoughts on two new Edmonton Public Schools policies….

a)      Student Programs of Study policy

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HA-BP_Student_Programs_of_Study

b)      Delivery of Student Programs of Study policy

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HAA-BP_Delivery_of_Student_Programs_of_Study

Monday, October 21:  Election Day!  Which Trustee candidate will you vote for? Keep an eye on http://catherineripley.ca/election-2013/candidates/ for links to the people who would like to serve you, your children (or grandchildren) (or neighbor children), and public education for the next four years.

DID YOU KNOW?

…..For some students and staff, summer is just now finally beginning! From July 2-26, Edmonton Public Schools’ Metro Continuing Education, in partnership with 17 high schools, had 8140 students registered in summer high school credit courses. Students were accommodated in 501 classes including Art, Reading (ESL), English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Sciences, Physical Education, CALM, CTS and French.  Metro has had an additional 1341 students in grade 1-9 Summer COOL SCHOOL programming at D.S. MacKenzie and Londonderry schools. Metro has  also been supporting summer camp programs at Spruce Avenue (CCEP), Hillcrest, and S. Bruce Smith schools.  Thanks to all the staff who have worked to make these programs a success!

….Alberta’s Curriculum is the middle of a Redesign! To find out more visit, http://education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/curriculum.aspx Possibly you may wish to check out their newsletters on a regular basis… http://education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/curriculum/curriculum-redesign-updates.aspx

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Should summers be structured or unstructured for kids?   Read what Globe and Mail writer Carolyn Alphonso has to say:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/its-summer-what-should-your-child-do/article12879620/

As always, if you have comments, ideas or thoughts to share please email me (Catherine.Ripley@epsb.ca) or phone (780-887-1002) or message me (@cripleyepsb) or find me on Facebook.  Glad to meet in person, too!

All the best to everyone for a great August!

Catherine

Catherine Ripley

Trustee, Ward H, Edmonton Public Schools

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INSIGHTS: Introducing our new Superintendent… summer opportunities to influence policy… and not much MORE!

Summer Greetings

First, for those of you who do not know, the Board announced on Tuesday, June 25, that Mr. Darrel Robertson will be our next Superintendent.  You can see the announcement and his biography here:  http://news.epsb.ca/2013/06/board-announces-new-superintendent-of-schools/

You can also listen directly to his remarks and his vision (and the comments by the Board Chair)   by clicking on the June 25 announcement link at  http://www.livestream.com/edmontonpublicschools.

I want to say how very impressed the Board was by the calibre of ALL the candidates who applied (both internal and external), and after a careful and rigourous selection process, we were pleased to offer Mr. Robertson the position of Superintendent and … very excited that  he said yes!

Some of the things that stood out for me personally….

·  Mr. Robertson’s passion for and experience in making education relevant for students (especially those who are disengaging)

·  His core driver for decision-making and action – Students and their success

·  His ideas around building social capital

·  His thoughts and experience in resolving conflict in an honest, roll-up-your-sleeves, straightforward way

·  His understanding that he won’t have all the answers, but together, we (staff, Board, community members, parents, students) will find the answers and the path forward

·  His genuine respect for all staff in all roles, at all levels, in all parts of the District and his knowledge and understanding of their issues

·  His strong belief in the power and value of public education

·  His proven ability to lead and inspire.

·  His integrity

At the Board meeting, each trustee was privileged to add a few comments to the Board Chair’s comments.  This is more or less what I said: “In these very difficult times and with the constant churn of change all around us, we need to be confident in our knowledge, creativity, skills and ability to learn and adapt.  We need to be confident we can turn our hopes for students into realities.  I believe Mr. Robertson will give us this confidence.  Not only that but I believe he will inspire all of us to actually become better people — humbler, more honest, better in our respective roles — better public servants.  And that will be fantastic for our beloved Edmonton Public Schools and most importantly, for our students.”

YOUR TWO CENTS!

There are a number of opportunities to share your perspectives over the summer on a number of topics.  I encourage you to do so….  I would be happy to hear from you directly, too, on these topics or any other.

Child Friendly Apartment-Style Condo Demand Survey The results of the survey will help the City of Edmonton understand more about the housing preferences of families with children. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QTTD6TC

All Summer (at your convenience) – provide feedback to Together, We Raise Tomorrow consultation.  This Human Servicesconsultation seeks input that will assist in developing 1) The Children’s Charter, 2) A Poverty Reduction Strategy (as related to children), and 3) An Alberta Approach to Early Childhood Development.  There is a window here to influence the positive development of early childhood opportunities for all kids. As a trustee, I know how much the early years of a child’s life directly influence success in school… in life.  Let’s seize this opportunity to let the Province know what we envision for supporting our youngest citizens and their families!  Check out the possibilities for participation at http://www.socialpolicy.alberta.ca/

Until July 11 (noon),  share your thoughts on Student Expulsion and Suspension policy. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BoardPolicy_IGD-BP-Student_Suspension_and_Expulsion

Monday, July 29,   6:30 – 8:30 pm  How can we Build Capacity in our Caregivers, Parents, Preschool Educators, Health workers, etc. around optimum early childhood development in the SW? Join SWEY (South West Early Years) for this discussion at its monthly meeting.  Also, there will be updates on what we learned at Lemonade City & SW Farmers @ Whitemud Crossing Public Library in upstairs meeting room.  All are welcome.

Tuesday, July 30, 2 pm  Public Board Meeting / First Reading on Infrastructure Values and Principles policy @ McCauley Chambers, Centre for Education, One Kingsway. You are welcome to share your thoughts in person or by email.  The Policy will be posted online the previous Friday for review at http://epsb.ca/board/agenda.shtml , and if approved during the Board meeting, will be posted online for the month of August for public input.  Stay tuned!

Monday, August 26, 7 – 9 pm  Together, We Raise Tomorrow “in person” consultation hosted by SWEY (South West Early Years), location to come.

Until September 6,  share your thoughts on two new Edmonton Public Schools policies….

a)     Student Programs of Study policy https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HA-BP_Student_Programs_of_Study

b)    Delivery of Student Programs of Study policy  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EPSB_Board_Policy_HAA-BP_Delivery_of_Student_Programs_of_Study

FUN EVENTS!  Check them out!

Wednesday, July 24, 4 pm onwards.  Visit SWEY (South West Early Years) at the Farmer’s Market. What places, people, programs and/or events help you raise your youngest kids in the SW?  What are the barriers? Drop by and tell us!  Find out, too, about what the data says about our youngest children and how they are faring.

Register by September 5 to attend National Mentoring Symposium from November 5 – 7 at the Banff Centre, Booking onsite accommodation deadline is August 5 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) and The Alberta Mentoring Partnership (AMP) are working together to co-host the first ever national conference on mentoring.     http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1103011793799-108/Registration+Package.pdf

All the best for a great July, everyone!

Catherine

Catherine Ripley

Trustee, Edmonton Public Schools

Twitter: cripleyepsb;  on Facebook;  by email: Catherine.Ripley@espb.ca;  by phone:  780-887-1002.

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