Saturday September 20, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Cornerstone board highlights

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Highlights from February's meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Board:

*The Cornerstone board hosted its annual meeting of electors in conjunction with its February meeting. The 2011-12 fiscal year resulted in a surplus of $16.2 million, which is higher than the budgeted figure of $10.4 million, with revenues of $111.5 million and expenses of $95.3 million. The two major sources of revenue for the division continue to be provincial grants, which accounted for 49 per cent of incomes, and property taxation, which generated 44 per cent. Total revenues for the year were $8.8 million higher than the budget.

The majority of expenses for the division are for salaries and benefits, representing 72 per cent of expenditures in 2011-2012. Total expenses for the year were $3.1 million higher than the budget.

*The report to electors, which provides a summary report of the 2011-2012 school year, was approved by the board. The report highlights areas such as student enrolment, the financial report and activities and initiatives undertaken by the division.

*Manager of information technology Justin Arendt shared updates to the Information Systems Department in terms of Community Net, systems management, operations data and the intranet. Some 19 schools across the division will receive Community Net upgrades of up to 50 megabytes, which provide improved access to educational resources and services across the division.

Creating connections through the division’s intranet “My Corner” program provides the opportunity for internal communications, search functionality, email access and sharing of content within the division, as well as housing internal documents for communication and working related purposes. The intranet system is being piloted within a few schools in the division, with the migration of information from the public website to occur in the near future.

At the instructional technology level, coordinator of analytical services and instructional technology Peggy Lawson shared updates to online learning and the use of Homelogic for parents and students. Homelogic, which went division-wide October 1, provides the opportunity for parents/guardians, as well as students, to stay up-to-date with student achievement through a secure web-based portal. The program has seen utilization at all levels across the division and is instrumental in assessment and partnerships between the home and the school.

The division is also expected to offer a full high school program for the 2013-14 school year, through the cyber stone virtual school.

*Trustees received a report on measuring student achievement. At the Grade 5 and 8 level, five measures of performance are used: quality of writing, message content and ideas, organization and coherence, language choices, and demonstration of the writing process. In most measures of performance, South East Cornerstone students perform at or better than the provincial average.

Core indicators highlight that final marks for students are at, or above provincial average for most selected subjects. Graduation rates also show higher rates than provincial norms, with Cornerstone students at 83.8 per cent when compared with a provincial average of 73.7 per cent.

First Nation and Métis students also have a 59.5 per cent rate, when compared to a provincial average of 35.9 per cent. Cornerstone students average at least two to four per cent more credits per year than the provincial average.

*The board has approved its calendar for the 2013-2014 school year, subject to approval by the Ministry of Education.

*The board has ratified the tentative agreement as negotiated between the board of education and the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4869.


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