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Superintendents Report to the Halifax Regional School Board 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000Join the conversation on Twitter Elwin_LeRoux HRSB_Official Providing high quality education for every student every day. How are HRSB students giving back And how does that relate to the public school program The holiday season is traditionally a time when students and staff take opportunities to do something special for those who are less fortunate. This month youd be challenged to find an HRSB school that isnt collecting non- perishable food items for Feed Nova Scotia socks and mittens for those in need or toys for children who might otherwise go without. Our schools are anchors in our communities. Our schools have long been great neighbours. Our schools teach children the importance of giving and of giving back. Whats interesting is that the spirit of giving back is not isolated to the month of December. Three years ago many HRSB schools began a journey with Free the Children an international charity that educates and empowers young people to make transformative social change both locally and globally all year round. On November 27 students who earned a ticket through service attended WE Day a stadium-sized celebration of youth in Grades 5 to 12 who are making a difference in their communities. The day-long event featured high-profile speakers and performers such as Free the Children founder Craig Kielburger Chris Hadfield and Classified among others. The ultimate purpose of WE Day is to inspire students to be part of a movement of positive change at home and abroad. WE Schools is the year- long program that nurtures compassion in young people and gives them the tools to create transformative social change. Students and staff in the HRSB have embraced this philosophy and are doing amazing things for people in their own communities. On the international scale our students are raising money in various ways in order to build schools in developing countries support girls in their educational journeys and help improve access to clean water health care and sanitation. Its important to recognize how WE Day has gained momentum in our board over the past 3 years. It has become a highlight of the fall for many students not only because of the incredible production that is WE Day but also because there has been a cultural shift. There is a greater recognition of the importance of social awareness issues of social justice and of the inter- connectedness of people. All of these concepts can be found in the curricular outcomes and the Essential Graduation Learnings of the public school program. The impact that Free the Childrens programs are having on HRSB students is real. We are thrilled to use platforms like Twitter to empower schools to tell their stories about contributing to the community and giving back to the village in which they live. Formal programs such as the International Baccalaureate Programs CAS Community Action Service also recognize the importance of giving back to the community as an integral part of learning. There are many Important Dates December 18 Last day of classes before break January 4 Schools reopen December 2015 examples of this type of learning on Twitter under SeeWhatImLearning. The HRSB strongly values this learning and the opportunities it provides students for immediate tangible impact. It helps us ensure that they graduate not as educated students but as educated engaged and contributing members of our community who deeply care about people. Finally as we approach the holiday season I leave you with this message of peace brought to you by students in the Halifax Regional School Board Wishing you a peaceful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year Elwin LeRoux December 2015 Goal 1 To improve student achievement Building community building schools building skills Currently there are 107 HRSB schools involved in the WE Schools program. Each school takes on the challenge in unique ways that fit with the school communities needs and are also reflective of the values and beliefs of the students involved. This year Free the Children honoured the WE Act group from Eastern Passage Education Centre EPEC for having raised more than 11000 over the past three years of involvement. The night before WE Day the group was invited to an Evening of Inspiration where Spencer West one of Free the Childrens key speakers personally thanked EPECs WE Act group. Watch this video to learn more about how EPECs WE Act group contributed to its local and global communities and gained leadership skills along the way. I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds but our hearts our souls. - Malala Yousafzai 2 Community Outreach Students in the O2 program at Eastern Shore District High School ESDHS are giving back to their community while at the same time engaging in authentic real-world learning in a year-long hands-on project that will revitalize a valued neighbourhood landmark. They will be working with a local carpenter as well as the Skilled Trades teacher to help refresh and restore the historic Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum as it approaches its 100th anniversary celebrations. Students will have an opportunity to rebuild the traditional benches in the waiting area repair attic space install flooring paint the buildings and landscape the property. The students along with their teacher Natalie Stevens identified the need in the Musquodoboit Harbour community and applied for a WorkIt Grant through the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. They will work towards meeting that need while at the same time learn about the history of their community and promote awareness of skilled trades and apprenticeship through direct entry or as a post-secondary option. The museum benefits the students benefit and the community benefits Stay tuned we will follow up on this story as it progresses Did you know Want to keep up-to-date with HRSBs energy upgrade project Lights Off. Green on Follow this new Twitter handle GreenOnHRSB 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 3 Goal 2 To strengthen inclusive school environments Goal 3 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students How are we welcoming new students from Syria In the Halifax Regional School Board preparations are well underway to welcome new Syrian families and students to our system. We are asking ourselves questions such as What supports do schools need for an influx of newcomers How do we determine the needs of the students entering our system How are we preparing our students in developing their understanding in anticipation of our new arrivals What can we do to provide support to the school communities in which the new families will become a part upon arrival A team made up of representatives from Program School Administration and Board Services are meeting regularly to plan and coordinate for the influx of new students. This approach is not much different than what we do with other newcomers however the difference is in the large numbers of students and families who will be arriving in a short period of time. Currently many details including the exact number of refugees expected arrival dates and settlement locations are unknown. HRSB is working closely with provincial and municipal partner organizations and will share the information with schools once it becomes available. In the meantime we are asking all principals to identify any Arabic speaking staff members to help with the transition upon arrival. A clearly defined reception and orientation process at schools will contribute to a smoother entry into the school community and success for immigrant families who are starting their new life in Canada. School preparations also focus on our existing students. It is important to help them understand their role in assisting new students feel accepted and a part of the group. Sonja Grcic-Stuart is the English as an Additional Language EAL consultant with the HRSB. Last week she was interviewed by CBCs Information Morning. To learn more about how HRSB is preparing to welcome new students listen to her interview. How are we continuing to create culturally responsive learning environments One year ago the Halifax Regional School Board set a priority to improve the achievement of African Nova Scotian and Mikmaq Aboriginal learners. For the past year we have been working towards creating a culturally responsive learning environment for all students with the expertise of Dr. Kimberly McLeod. During the last week of November Dr. McLeod who has previously worked with board staff and administrators delivered professional development PD around culturally relevant pedagogy to almost 1700 HRSB teachers administrators and African Nova Scotian and Mikmaq Aboriginal Student Support Workers. The purpose of this PD was to directly impact the work that is happening in the classroom and support all students in their learning. Participating schools included our 20 priority schools the junior high schools they feed into and the schools with the highest percentages of students who have self- identified as being of African Descent and or having Aboriginal Identity. To get an idea of the learning that happened during the three day-long sessions search CulturalWakeUp and HRSBpd on Twitter. We are powerful. We are a movement. We will change the world - Craig Kielburger What is the Hour of Code Its an hour-long introduction to computer science designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn basics to be a maker a creator or an innovator See how students in Andrew Stickings Grade 6 class at Rockingham Elementary spent their Hour of Code. To see other schools participating in the Hour of Code check out HRSBHourOfCode 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 4 Goal 4 To build engagement support confidence in HRSB How are we engaging communities in the School Review Process The term school review can cause much concern among parentsguardians students staff and the school community. Often times this concern is based on past negative experiences. On December 16 the Governing Board will consider recommendations to initiate school review processes for the Citadel High School Family the Cole Harbour District High School Family and the newly-created Eastern Passage High School Family of Schools. This process will be different than processes in the past. It is not the intention of board staff to put forward a list of schools for potential closure. The HRSB is looking to work with parentsguardians students staff and the school community to determine the best option for these families. In October of 2014 the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development EECD introduced a new school review policy. School boards must follow this policy in order to conduct a review of a school or group of schools where school closure is a possible outcome. Boards must complete a Long-Range Outlook LRO before initiating a school review. The LRO presents information on the current and developing situation of schools and the delivery of education programs and services. If the school board initiates the review process a School Options Committee SOC is formed. The SOC will meet regularly over a course of between three and five months to create evaluate and refine solutions to the issues identified by the school board in the recommending review. The SOC will hold three public meetings to present its work and seek input and feedback about the review scenarios under consideration. At the conclusion of its review the SOC will submit a Report and Recommendation to the school board through the Superintendent for consideration. For more information on the school review process watch this video or visit the HRSB website or the EECD website. Citadel High School Gives Back Students and staff at Citadel High School are giving back to their community this holiday season by collecting food donations for the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank Well done Citadel Faces of the HRSB Highland Park Receives Human Rights Award Congratulations to Highland Park Junior High School The schools GSA received a Human Rights Awards from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission on December 10 at Government House. The group was recognized for its work around inclusion and transgender issues. A well-deserved honour