Nepean High School Parent Council Minutes Tuesday, November 16, 2004 Attendance: Council members: Louise Wylie, Betty Tait, David Gorfine, Katy Burnett, Suzanne Christopherson, Deborah Scott-Douglas Nepean staff: Neil Yorke-Slader, Peter Wilson, Susan Nancekivell, Tom Baker, Chris Goodsir, Leona Novotny, Peggy Norton, Kristin Riddell Parents: 8 Agenda and call to order: The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. and the agenda was approved. Approval of minutes: Minutes of the October 19, 2004 Parent Council meeting were approved. M/S: Deborah Scott-Douglas/Katy Burnett Reports: Principal’s Report: (Neil Yorke-Slader) Heads meeting and course offerings for 2005/06 academic year 2 new courses will be offered, Vocal Music (4 levels) and Yearbook Grade 9 course requirements will be adjusted so that the grade 9 computer course is no longer required at Nepean (it never was a Ministry requirement) which will give students the option of taking either the grade 9 computer course or a 2nd arts course. A second drama room will be required to support this and school administration is waiting for a quote to renovate an existing space. The green room in the basement has been carpeted and can now be used by the Music Department. The stacking chairs have arrived and are already in use. Ontario Scholars Plaques A supplier has been found and is currently making a sample plaque. Seventeen plaques are required to cover the last five years for a total cost of $2,500. It would be much appreciated if the Parent Council could help with the cost. Drug poster A poster focusing on the self-destructive nature of drugs was provided to Council for review and approval. Council approved the posters. A couple of copies will be purchased and posted around the school. Custodial work Over 200 hours of absences by custodial staff since September have not been replaced. Nepean has 4 custodians so when there is a need at another school, they are often required to fill in essentially leaving Nepean with a reduced custodial contingent. Floaters are required to ensure that the school is being properly cleaned. It was suggested that Council consider writing a letter to Mike Carson, Superintendent of Facilities, to indicate our concerns with regard to the deterioration in sanitary standards as a result of the understaffing of the custodial staff in the schools. IB programme The application process for the IB program has changed and now takes 2 years to complete. The school will not even be able to begin the application process until the Board completes its secondary review. Therefore, in the best case scenario, it would still be a number of years before it would be possible for the school to offer an IB program. As a result, the Advanced Placement has been explored to provide Nepean students with another excellent academic option. Advanced Placement programme (AP) Advanced placement provides the curriculum base of the gifted programme with flexibility that the gifted programme does not have. Students are not congregated and the programme allows them to focus on and build on their strengths. It also allows for more flexibility for staffing which would benefit both enriched and applied courses. As a result, the school can offer more courses than it could if it was offering a regular, gifted programme. The AP curriculum is recognized by the Association of Bright Children (ABC). The AP programme is for highly motivated students. More than 90 percent of the universities and colleges in Canada and the U.S., as well as colleges and universities in 20 other countries recognize the AP designation and wave first year courses for students who have passed the AP exam for a specific subject. The cost to students would be the cost of the exam which is approximately $85 US per exam. The professional development costs for training teaching staff are moderate and within the school’s budget. Unlike the IB programme, the AP does not need OCDSB approval so Nepean can proceed with the AP and does not have to obtain permission first. The programme could start as soon as June 2005 for French immersion students. For the 2005/2006 academic year the school would be in a position to offer AP courses and exams in english, history, french and math with science (biology) and science (chemistry) being added in September 2006. Other possible AP courses are studio (portfolio) art, economics, science (physics), Spanish, geography, and computer science. Neil Yorke-Slader thanked all the teachers for the considerable work they have invested in reviewing the programme. Parent Council voted unanimously to support the introduction of the AP programme to Nepean High School. Teacher’s Report: (Chris Goodsir) The AP programme has been the main focus of attention over the past few weeks. Parent-Teacher interviews. Parents requested that in future interviews be held a week after report cards go home in order to provide enough time to book interviews. This change will be implemented for the next report cards. Student’s Report - No report provided. OCASC (Betty Tait): Secondary School Committee issues: Earl of March students are publishing a student newspaper for the community, an idea which might have great success for Nepean. Summer school is an issue for many students which the Board needs address by offering courses in more locations. Many students are currently going to the Catholic Board to get course choice and flexibility in times and locations. There have been extended discussions about high school consolidations/closures. J.S. Wordsworth and Laurentian are preparing presentations. A decision with regard to closure will be made on December 9th. The Education Committee considered rules governing how the transfer policy would be applied. After much debate, it decided to remain with the status quo. Nepean had 116 transfers in 2004 and is hoping to be allowed adequate transfers for stable enrolments throughout all grades for the 2005/06 academic year. The issue of equity in transportation funding is time sensitive for the OCDSB. The Ministry of Education has established a detailed formula for determining funding. Historically, Ottawa’s Catholic Board has received considerably more funding per student than the Public Board. This inequity is greater in Ottawa than anywhere else in the province and while the formula would have addressed this inequity, due to political pressure, the Ministry is considering a funding “floor” that would limit the decrease to the Catholic Board. This would entrench the inequity. OCASC is encouraging concerned parents who would benefit from Board-funded bus passes for their students to get to school to contact their MPP and the Ministry of Education to ask them to provide equity of funding. Chair’s Report (Louise Wylie) The Executive met twice during the fall to plan for the year. Marketing the school was a key area of interest. We need to get our message out as are other schools. Nepean students talking to other students and other types of interaction such as plays and concerts are very effective ways of promoting the school. Other ideas include ads in community newspapers, information sheets for middle schools with an update on the AP programme and contacting guidance staff. Nepean parent Kathy Squires has a background in film and marketing and may be able to provide some support and advice. Fund raising. Executive proposed that Nepean participate in a fund raising programme called Funding Factory. Donations of used cell phones and empty printer cartridges can be dropped off at the school and sent to the Funding factory for money. It was agreed that it would be a good idea to have another speaker for a parent council meeting sometime in spring of 2005. A speaker on children’s mental health may be of interest. To be investigated. Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
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