Monday November 24, 2014

New four-year plan for Cornerstone Student Services


A Student Services update was provided to trustees of the Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division during their Thursday meeting.

Cindy Tenold, coordinator of students services and Tracey Kiliwnik, coordinator of learning supports provided a new four-year plan to trustees. The previous three-year plan ends in June.

Currently, there are 268 intensive needs students in Cornerstone, and there is continued focus on inclusionary practices and providing less restrictive environments for students.

Interventions for math and reading literacy are among the most required by students. It is recommended that these interventions are done daily, which is the standard for Cornerstone.

The Student Services also provided an update on AIMSweb, since they recently finished three years of an universal student. They were able to track students from Grade 1, and their reading levels, to their achievements now that those same students are in Grade 3.

They are seeing improvement and progression from the students, and teacher feedback has been positive. Students in Grade 1 who scored in the 10 to 20 per cent in the ‘green’ level of literacy, scored in the 35 to 45 per cent of the ‘green’ level in Grade 2, and scored in the 40 to 50 per cent level in Grade 3.

An update was also provided on the number of English as an Additional Language (EAL) students in Cornerstone. There was a slight increase of 257 EAL students for the 2013-14 school year, compared to 223 EAL students in 2012-13 school year.

Student Services had an extremely positive project last year with their initial assessment toolkits, and will order more kits this year. This year, they will also focus on enabling rural EAL high school students to earn EAL credits. Another focus is to provide better EAL support for teachers and staff at rural schools.

Finally, the Student Services discussed their Review 360 software, which will be implemented across the division.

This new software will help school staff to reduce suspensions, implement anti-bullying initiatives, implement RTIs for behaviours, and improve the school climate.

There are five modules that staff can use in the Review 360 software, which include: tracking, aggregate, analyze, intervention and communication. There is also a whole series of modules that deal with bullying.
Also at the Cornerstone board meeting, trustees agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the Assiniboine Community College in Manitoba, to access dual-credit courses. These courses will provide new opportunities for high school students.

It was noted by Marc Casavant, director of education for Cornerstone, that the instructor will have to ensure that 80 per cent of the curriculum offered would have the same content as courses at Assiniboine.

“This is exciting ground to break, and I am glad we can advance on this pilot project,” said Casavant. He also mentioned that there is a list of opportunities for dual-courses through the Assiniboine Community College, that are currently unavailable in Saskatchewan.

It was also noted that SIAST is starting to have conversations to implement their own dual-courses, since there is a demand for these courses in the province.

Through these programs, students can participate in apprenticeship training and postsecondary courses, and they will earn dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma, degree or apprenticeship certification.

Trustees also denied a request by the provincial auditor to access personal students files, which was received during an audit on promoting positive student behaviour. Harold Laich, board chair, noted that Cornerstone discussed the request with their lawyers, and the privacy commissioner, to ensure that the personal files were protected.

Pam Currie, trustee for Estevan, said that this was the first time that the provincial auditor has requested this type of personal information, and that it would be a request that would affect other school divisions.

“Considering the privacy content of those files, there has to be another way for the auditor to get the proof that they require, to verify that Cornerstone had the right policies for handling student behaviours.”

The Provincial Auditor is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly in the province of Saskatchewan. The office audits the provincial government’s management of public money in order to foster accountability and transparency. Audits span a wide range of industries including crown corporations, regional health authorities, universities, school boards, government ministries, boards, agencies, and commissions.


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