COPACS Update – May 2021
Funding Formula Information
I participated in the development of a “Resolution” to the BCPAC meeting regarding the funding formula. In summary, the funding that is provided per student benefits those Districts that are growing rapidly and does not cover inflationary pressures of Districts that are not growing in population. Many of those pressures are fixed costs for the schools and/or District (not variable per student). Based on some information requests to the Saanich School District, we were able to cobble together this resolution:
The COPACS AGM on April 8 resulted in your Cordova Bay COPACS Rep (Andrew Pape-Salmon) being elected as the Recording Secretary for 2021-22. Although my role is limited to documenting the discussions at monthly meetings and managing our records, being on the Executive will enable me to learn more about the inner workings of the Saanich School District and the issues at other schools in the District via their PAC reps. Here is the new Executive:
- President: Monique Hiltz
- VP1: Kim Woodcock
- VP2: Liz Keating (Kelset)
- Treasurer: Craig Morton (Keating)
- Recording Secretary: Andrew Pape-Salmon (Cordova Bay)
COPACS Update – March 2021
School District Survey
Until April 6, you are invited to complete the survey on the 2020-21 school year to help the District prepare for the fall of 2021: https://www.sd63.bc.ca/2020-2021-school-year-survey
COPACS AGM – April 8
The AGM is coming up in 2 weeks. I will attend on behalf of Cordova Bay PAC, but all parents are welcome to join: https://copacs.sd63.bc.ca/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=244
The regular COPACS meeting starts at 7pm (with reports from our District leadership, Trustees, Saanich Teacher’s Association and COPACS President) and the AGM starts at 8:30pm.
Here is the Teams info: Access meetings: Join Meeting
Parent Involvement Night – March 11
Wow, we had a fantastic Parent Engagement Evening on March 11 to learn about a diversity of mental health and wellness issues, including resources offered in our community. Here is the notice of the meeting: https://copacs.sd63.bc.ca/pluginfile.php/219/mod_forum/attachment/248/SD%2063%20%20COPACS%20Annual%20Parent%20engagement%20evening.pdf
There are monthly resources provided by the School District on this webpage: https://www.sd63.bc.ca/parents-students/mental-health-and-wellness-snapshots
International Baccalaureate Program at Parklands Secondary
In my recent COPACS reports, I forgot to mention a presentation by Lizanne Chicanot on our District’s very own International Baccalaureate Program at Parklands Secondary in Sidney. Although this option is something Cordova Bay parents will consider 6+ years years in the future when our kids are finishing high school, it is helpful to know that we have this option. In a nutshell, the program’s mission is to create a more peaceful world through intercultural understanding. Students qualify for Graduation in British Columbia and therefore graduate with both a Dogwood
(the standard BC Certificate of Graduation) and an IB Diploma. The program covers Grades 11 and 12, and preparation for the IB program begins in Grades 9 and 10. For more info: see the Minutes from the COPACS January meeting: https://copacs.sd63.bc.ca/mod/resource/view.php?id=226
COPACS Update – February 2021
We received a presentation from the PACE FC soccer club that will donate $15 to local PACs for each registration. The season starts on May 11 and they play at a field in Sidney. https://copacs.sd63.bc.ca/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=241#p247
Dave Eberwein provided an update on the revised Provincial public health measures in schools, the new federal funding, the COVID exposure at Stelly’s high school and finally, the District’s planning work for fall 2021 to consider continuing those pandemic adaptations that are beneficial and desirable. For example, the cohort system is beneficial for reduced stress for both children and monitors and the outdoor line-ups are beneficial for less congestion in the hallways.
Consultation on strategic plan coming soon, along with engagement around Provincial initiative around childcare (before/after school care).
March 11, 2021 Annual Parents Engagement Night
We had a discussion about the importance of this annual session with the School District, our key opportunity to engage with District staff and Trustees. This year, the focus will be on mental health. A registration system will be posted soon.
February President’s Report
Welcome to the February COPACS meeting and congratulations on officially making it to the halfway point of our 2020-2021 school year!
- A “save the date poster” began circulation the first week of February as a reminder to parents that the “Parent Involvement Evening” (formally the Policy 1100 meeting) is taking place virtually, March 11 @ 7:00pm- 8:30pm. Registration details will be released shortly. The topic is “What is Mental Health” and will encompass many branches of mental health like mental well-being, mindfulness practices, mental health resources and education. The evening this year is unique because not only will it be informative and reflect the impact mental health has on individuals, but will also be used an information gathering session. The goal is to accumulate information about what parents are really in need of/ searching for in regards to mental health, and in the future, offer a series of parent education evenings highlighting the feedback gathered.
- Additionally, I have requested that parents be given the opportunity to rename the evening something that, we as a collective, think is an appropriate representation of the evening.
- It was brought to my attention that the public portion of board meetings are not easily accessible to parents. The issue was raised and was deemed difficult to manage on account of meeting links being emailed prior to meetings. In the event a parent expresses an interest in attending a board meeting please contact COPACS and arrangements can be made. Alternatively, you can contact the board prior to the scheduled meeting and request to be included in the link email.
- The first exposure of Covid-19 was announced at Stelly’s school. Parents with children at the school were made aware and advised that they would be contacted directly by public health if their child needed further monitoring or testing. This is the first exposure in our district. Superintendent Dave Eberwein’s letter to parents can be found on the COPACS website.
- New PHO mandates were announced earlier this month. A more strict mask mandate was implemented however, this mandate only applies at the middle and high school level. The most up to date information can be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/safe-caring-orderly/k-12-covid-19-health-safety-guidlines.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0Yk580BOengkrIbirXAgOcyEYv_qgdT8PjL55L3hc0Abvnm-9omesnZ_I
- BCTF’s response to the updated mandates can be found here: https://bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx?id=59745&fbclid=IwAR1HAMdOpT_EpHJBzi2SrXhHzXxnKuEZeJ2q-9Temhj4YjFIm-ui23GNTz8
- A link to this months Mental Health snapshot can be found here: Snapshot
- As mentioned at our last meeting, FSA testing for children in grades 4 and 7 has been postponed due to Covid-19. President of the Saanich Teachers Association, Don Peterson has expressed that this postponement could prove to be problematic for many reasons. More info on the postponement can be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/program-management/assessment/foundation-skills-assessment
- The Budget Advisory Committee met for the first time earlier this month. The 2020-2021 budget was underspent, resulting in a surplus of funds that will be reallocated into the 2021-2022 school year. Students transitioning back into the classroom from the remote learning program accounted for the majority of the unspent funds. The budget conversation continued at the Committee meeting earlier this week. (Update from James to follow) You can review the 2021-2022 budget process / consultation plan here: https://www.sd63.bc.ca/sites/default/files/BACAgendaJan262021.pdf
- The Board is asking for input into proposed policy and procedure revisions that received Notice of Motion at their January 20th Board meeting. Please review the attached documents and respond by February 19th
- James and I met with Chair Tim Dunford and Trustee Elsie Mcmurphy at the beginning of February. Throughout the meeting both trustees reinforced the how valued COPACS is as a whole and validated the importance of the collective voices of parents. Our thoughts, opinions, concerns and suggestions are an integral part of the decision making process at the district level.
- March meeting is cancelled in lieu of Parent Involvement Evening.
- AGM meeting to be scheduled for either April or May, depending on availability of parents.
As always, thank you all for your continued advocacy of the children of district 63. Without all of you COPACS wouldn’t exist.
COPACS Update – January 2021
Happy new year parents.
The Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils of Saanich (COPACS) is a dynamic group of parents that meet monthly with School Board staff, Saanich Teachers Federation reps and elected Trustees to discuss a myriad of pressing issues for our children/students, schools and community.
The Minutes from recent meetings are here
The December meeting focused on food security for our community and Greater Victoria with a guest speaker and engaging discussion about the current situation for many families and a suggestion that schools could play a vital role for addressing food insecurity. There was a notable stat shared that only about one in five people who experience food insecurity will attend a food bank – and thus, the issue is much more complex than simply funding food banks. The speakers were Marie Fish, Eileen Pepler, and Eve Taylor.
The COPACS President Monique Hiltz attended the BCPAC Summit and she summarized several workshops in her report regarding enhancing student success, Indigenous reconciliation, anti-racism and other topics.
The January 2021 meeting focused on a detailed update from the Saanich School District, including finance, remote learning, Kindergarten registration, a pause on hot lunch programs and the upcoming strategic planning process, influencing budget planning.
Some key issues:
- January 28, 2021: Budget advisory committee meeting (meeting link)
- Note the District is relying extensively on its reserve fund this year due to reduced enrollment
- James Taylor will attend the meeting and will report back
- We have a strong partnership between players in Saanich, everybody is working together for the same outcome
- Remote learning:
- Students can enter and exit remote learning every 6 weeks
- No plans to offer remote learning in fall 2021
- Emergency supplies:
- There will be a discount arranged with Total Prepare
- COPACS will reach out to PACs to share details and PACs can work with school administration to determine needs
- Tri-District Parent education nights on Jan 19, 20 on Social Media and Cyber Bullying: separate link for extra night Jan 20
- March 11 – regular COPACS meeting with a focus on Board Policies, in particular AP110 – link to all Admin policies.
COPACS Update – November 2020
Here are some highlights from the November 12, 2020 COPACS meeting.
- Remote learning – many students are returning to classrooms next week: down to ~240 from the original ~600.
- Federal funding was used to address remote learning costs and it is uncertain if they will be renewed next year.
- The District is using surplus to cover costs despite the lower enrollment and associated provincial funding.
- Distributed learning / SIDES (link) enrollment has nearly tripled with an additional 515 students this year.
- The Catchment Boundary recommendations (link) are going to the next Board meeting for approval with goal to take effect fall 2021.
- The Children’s Development Centre (link) replacement is moving forward. You can learn more about capital planning here: link.
- After a 2 year process of revising it’s policy manual, the Board is set to adopt the new manual at the Board meeting on November 18. I will report back next month with more details.
- The hot lunch program is starting again at Keating Elementary Other schools are invited to learn about their approach should they want to restart.
- Dave Eberwein our Superintendent is visiting all the schools this fall and noted that it gives him a lot of joy to see many kids that are happy to be back at school.
COPACS Update – October 2020
Greetings parents and students of Cordova Bay Elementary. I am honoured to be your representative on COPACS (Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils of Saanich) that meets monthly, representing PACs across the School District. We hear from other school PACs, the Superintendent and staff, Trustees and Saanich Teachers’ Association reps. Here is the website:
Here are my highlights from the October 8, 2020 meeting (detailed minutes are available here):
* There is an important District catchment boundary review underway. The
gist of the issue is that “Area D” will shift to Cordova Bay Elementary and
“Area E” will shift to Lochside:
There are 185 elementary remote learners, representing 6.6% of the school population.
Kindergarten-Grade 8 return to school information
- Return dates:November 16, January 4 and March 29.
- Those families whose children are not able to return to in-class learning will be offered a continuing remote option. This program may look different after the Winter Break due to the evolving nature of student enrolment and may include a possible distributed learning instructional approach.
- Please note, students who remain in remote learning for the rest of this school year will NOT lose their spot in their home school in the Saanich School District.
If you child is in remote learning and you are planning to have them return on November 16 please fill out the survery (through the link below) no later than November 2.
* The District confirmed that we have excellent ventilation and filtration
systems in every school that includes fresh air and MERV 13 filters that
remove particulate matter (during forest fire season) along with indoor
contaminants (including viruses).
* Our Trustee Elsie McMurphy invited COPACs to provide input for the
upcoming renewal of the Strategic Plan. The current plan expires in 2021:
https://www.sd63.bc.ca/sp/. Please share your thoughts with me on key
priorities for Cordova Bay: firstname.lastname@example.org