The trustees of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division met for their regular monthly business meeting on Jan. 19 in Weyburn and fielded a number of items during the course of their open afternoon session.
Andy Dobson, manager of facilities for Cornerstone, brought an updated facilities review to the table, pointing out the various issues that remain outstanding with regards to the division's 43 schools and other buildings. He noted that outside of the major renovation and addition to the Weyburn Comprehensive School, the other items that required attention were generally focused on a number of roof repairs that needed to be done this year plus some upgrades to heating/cooling systems. He noted that as far as construction pace was concerned on the Weyburn project, one contractor was about two months behind schedule and that was generally due to the extremely wet conditions that prevailed last summer and well into the fall. Those conditions prevented some aspects of the job from being carried out in a timely manner.
The trustees also enjoyed a visit with two students from the Estevan Comprehensive School and teacher Joyce Mack who provided information regarding the annual Skills Canada competitions that begin at the school level and advance to provincial, Canadian and international competitions.
Kyla Deitz (mechanical drafting) and Tiana Whitman, (cosmetology) spoke about preparing for competition at the provincial and national levels, since both experienced those two types of competition in the past.
They pointed out they spend additional hours outside of the regularly scheduled class time to prepare for the competitions, learning on an independent level which in the past was good enough to earn them silver and gold medals. They also noted how these skills bring “real world” experiences to the table with their hands-on practical approaches.
The two girls added that the competition provided them with motivation to discover abilities and talents they had not detected before such as time management expertise and how to handle the resources that were made available to them and witnessing a lot of self-growth.
The trustees also accepted a report outlining results from the recent testing done through the Pan Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) and the Average Final Marks (AFL) scores.
The report indicated that Cornerstone students in the study had recorded improvements at high levels in reading both provincially and at the division level. They are also improving in mathematics, particularly at the higher grade levels as noted by the Education Ministry's core indicators that provide data. This data highlights the fact that southeast students are graduating at a rate comparable to the provincial rate as well as earning high school credits in line with, or slightly above the provincial average.
The report went on to note that Cornerstone students' final marks for high school courses in English language arts, mathematics and science are comparable with provincial norms and local First Nations and Metis students have higher performances compared with their provincial subgroups in the areas of mathematics and reading.
The Grade 5 sample of students showed Cornerstone math performances compared well to provincial standards at the adequate standard level and overall reading performance results by Grade 7 students were strong with meaningfully higher results for several levels of proficiency.
The trustees accepted a written and verbal report from a student leadership team from Weyburn Comprehensive School who are setting themselves up to play host to a Canadian Student Leadership conference in late September of this year. About 850 student delegates from across the country are expected to descend on Weyburn for the four-day conference so a lot of early planning and logistical moves are required in advance of the actual event, they noted. The registration of delegates will begin as early as March.