By Cole Parkinson
With the new school year and a new provincial government, brings a new set of policies that were needing to be updated for Horizon School Division.
With the new UCP government electing to reinstate the Education Act after the past several years of the School Act, a large portion of Horizon policies needed updates in order to fall within the guidelines.
While there are several policies needing to be brought forward to the board, four policies were originally brought to the board before last school year’s end and were in need of second and final readings.
“All of the second and final readings were brought to the board in, I believe April, for first reading,” said Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools at a previous Horizon board meeting.
All first readings of the four policies brought back to the board were passed at the April 18 meeting and the board first looked at Policy GCM Professional Growth Planning.
“It is really consolidating all of our employees. We used to have a professional growth plan for teachers and another for support staff, we consolidated all of those. There really is no change from what came before you in April,” explained Tymensen.
With Policy GCM being added, Policy GDM Professional Growth Planning of School Support Staff was brought forward for deletion due to repetition.
“Our policy does talk about the formalization of that process (growth planning) for some of our support staff is more optional. We do have some support staff that only work a few hours a week and the notion that they will be required to do professional growth planning will be a more informal conversation about what supports they need and how we can help them versus what they are submitting in the formal document. There is some more flexibility,” continued Tymensen.
Next up was GCMA Staff Supervision which had not seen any big changes since it was last in front of the board.
“No changes since (April) and it has been modified to include all staff when we talk about supervision,” said Tymensen.
Moving forward, the board of trustees got another look at Policy GCN Teacher Summative Evaluation.
“In regards to this policy, the biggest change will be around the teaching quality standard. The old policy would have actually used the teaching quality standard from 1997, that has now been updated and officially takes effect on September 1. All of our new teachers that are being evaluated will be evaluated with the new quality standard and it also includes a more formalized template so it has a formal notice of evaluation and what should be included in that. As well, as a notice of remediation. It offers more guidance for administrators, I know Amber (Darroch, associate superintendent of learner services) and Anita (Richardson, associate superintendent of programs and human services) have been talking about and working on over the summer on what mid and final evaluations should look like. There will be some templates that will guide administrators within that piece as well. Those will not be a part of the policy,” added Tymensen. “Lastly, the other biggest change in this one is that our old policy used to talk about May 15 and that was when final evaluations were due. We moved that up to April 30 and that way we could potentially look at speeding up some of the hiring processes in the spring.”
The final policy needing a second and a final reading was Policy GCNN School Administrator Evaluation.
With Policy GCNN coming into place, Policy GCAE Vice Principal and Assistant Principal Positions was also requested to be deleted.
“It used to be principal evaluation but our assistant principals are on term designation as well so at the request of the board in April and we did modify it a bit. We added some things around assistant and vice principals designations in here, hence the deletion of the policy (GCAE),” said Tymensen.
All four policies had second and final readings approved unanimously.