By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The following are select briefs from the Horizon School Division Board Meeting that took place on November 27, 2023.
Second and Final Reading of Policy HICA – On and Off-Site Activities
The board passed the second and final reading of Policy HICA – On and Off-Site Activities, according to Dr. Wilco Tymensen, Superintendent of Horizon School Division. No discussion as no further feedback came to the board since first reading, Tymensen said, and no changes were made since the first reading took place.
Second & Final Reading of Policy JHF – Welcoming, Caring, Respectful, Safe Learning Environment
The board passed the second and final readings of Policy JHF – Welcoming, Caring, Respectful, Safe Learning Environment as it stood. Dr. Wilco Tymensen, Superintendent of the Horizon School Division, said that no further feedback came to the board since the first reading and no changes were made since the first reading too place.
Highlights of the Annual Education Results Report (AERR)
One of the action items on the agenda that the board discussed was highlights of the Annual Education Results Report (AERR). Dr. Wilco Tymensen, Superintendent of the Horizon School Division, said that the province surveys staff, students, and parents of Grade. 4, 7, and 10 students each February. For schools with less than 120 Grade 4 to 12 students, Tymensen said, all students and parents in grades 4-12 are surveyed. The province, Tymensen said, organizes the survey data as well as Provincial Achievement, Diploma Exam, and High School completion rates into four categories: student growth and achievement, teaching and learning, learning supports and governance. The board disseminated the results and found that of the 9 subcategories, 7 were above provincial average: student learning engagement, citizenship, diploma exams (acceptable standard), which is the number of students who passed, diploma exams (standard of excellence) – which is the number of students who reached honor roll status, education quality, welcoming caring respectful and safe learning environments, access to supports and services, and parental involvement). While the division did not exceed the province on gr. 6 and 9 provincial achievement results overall, the board found, about half of the individual course exams were above provincial average. The province, the board found, also expects school divisions to gather local data which is included in the division’s annual education results reports. All of the division’s data, Tymensen said, can be found at https://lookerstudio.google.com/u/0/reporting/53b0257a-1b80-4bd8-b807-1e3929ebb832/page/8bo8. Dr. Tymensen said that both senior admin and the Board are exceptionally proud of the work that the teachers and support staff do, and the success shown by students and they thank those who took the time to respond to these important surveys as the data provided guides the division on future decisions.
Zone 6 Report
Marie Logan, Chair of the Horizon School Division Board, spoke about concerns related to the province’s shift requiring all students to write provincial exams on computers, with the concern stemming from finding a workable solution given that schools often do not have enough computers for all students to write those exams at the same time. Logan said scheduling the exams so to have one exam at a time would mean that exams would need to start early in June and continue for the entire month and to do that would negatively impact teaching hours.
Facilities Meeting Report
Bruce Francis. Vice-Chair from Ward 3, updated the board on the facilities committee meeting and indicated that the infrastructure and maintenance renewal funds from last year were less than anticipated last spring, resulting in number of smaller projects being postponed until next year.
Joint ATA and Horizon release regarding ATA bargaining
The board discussed the Joint ATA and Horizon release regarding ATA bargaining and how with regard to the ATA memorandum of agreement, the agreement has been ratified by both Horizon’s teachers (ATA) and the Board of Trustees. Dr. Wilco Tymensen, Superintendent of the Horizon School Division, said that teacher bargaining within Alberta follows a two-tier model. The first, Tymensen said, is bargained between the provincial ATA and the province directly and this first step deals with all large monetary items and items that have a significant impact on most divisions across the province. Tymensen said, that this local bargaining process deals with less monetary items and focuses on local contextual variables. Tymensen also said that it is important to note that the new provisions will be incorporated into the collective agreement along with centrally agreed upon provisions and this agreement is from September 31, 2020 to August 31, 2024 at which time the province will resume central bargaining again.