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Inclement Weather Policy Changes
2021-10-14T20:08:43.539Z
Inclement Weather Policy Changes
<h1>Inclement Weather Policy Changes</h1><p>Recently, Prairie Rose Public Schools undertook a review of Inclement Weather policy T201. The review occurred following feedback from many parents and staff who expressed that the current policy was confusing, especially when it came to school closures and extreme cold weather. The policy stated that schools could be closed when the temperature (combined with wind chill) was -40 or lower at 6:00 am. This resulted in several days of school closures and late decisions which caused planning challenges for families.</p><p>As part of the review process, information regarding wind chill information and weather data was collected from the past three years from all regions of the school division. The research revealed the following:</p><p><strong>Wind Chill</strong></p><ul><li>Wind chill does not impact the actual air temperature. The wind chill index was designed to assess the risk of frostbite on unclothed parts of the body.</li><li>When students are riding in a bus, wind chill is an irrelevant factor.</li></ul><p><strong>Cold Weather Days in Prairie Rose</strong></p><ul><li>Over the past three years, there was on average 5.9 days each year that schools were closed due cold weather combined with wind chill.</li><li>On these cold weather days, the temperature frequently warmed over the course of a few hours.</li><li>The majority of the cold weather days occurred in January, February and March which greatly impacted instructional time in the second semester.</li><li>Very few cold weather days resulted in temperatures colder than -35 degrees.</li></ul><p>The findings of the data used for the report can be found here: <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PUA2oti-kBrAf6v16TQ0eOt-28mNZuTb/view?usp=sharing">PRPS Cold Weather Data</a></p><p><i>* Data for the report was taken from </i><a href="http://agriculture.alberta.ca/acis/weather-data-viewer.jsp"><i>Agriculture Alberta</i></a><i>&nbsp;</i></p><p>Based on the findings of the inclement weather review, policy T201 Inclement Weather has been changed to reflect the following:</p><ul><li>Wind chill is no longer going to be calculated into school closure decisions on cold weather days.</li><li>School closures due to temperature will occur when the actual temperature is -36 degrees or colder.</li><li>School bus drivers will continue to have the autonomy to cancel routes based on localized conditions and for safety reasons.</li><li>Schools may still be closed due to poor roads and weather conditions (i.e. blizzards, icy conditions, blowing snow.)</li></ul><p>Link to updated policy: <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y9loNCVX_fD23-FtlhFOdKaY-j-1xgrU/view?usp=sharing">T201 Inclement Weather</a></p><p>We understand that many families will continue to have concerns about sending their children to school on days of extreme cold weather. Should a cold weather day occur and a school is not closed (based on the above criteria) a parent maintains the right to keep their child home from school. If this is the case, we ask that parents connect with the school and bus driver to communicate this decision.</p><p>It is our hope that the revisions to Inclement Weather policy T201 will ensure a more consistent approach across Prairie Rose Public Schools when cold weather occurs. We will continue to communicate with parents using School Messenger to announce changes to bus routes or school closures. If you have not done so already, <a href="https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwxYarNhDkXYYzRzTFJ2ZGlpSkU?resourcekey=0-eavDlxC5k-yKNPLxEHQmKQ">we encourage you to opt in to receive text messages</a>, as it remains the most effective means to get information to families in a timely manner.</p>
October 13, 2021 Board Meeting Highlights
2021-10-14T19:56:26.371Z
October 13, 2021 Board Meeting Highlights
<h1>October 13, 2021 Board Meeting Highlights</h1><p><strong>October 13, 2021 Agenda: </strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TCksiO3Av08zpXC6I66yU2wbDBKgfDAG/view?usp=sharing">Agenda Package - October 13, 2021 (Online).pdf</a></p><p><strong>Coulee Collegiate</strong></p><p>Coulee Collegiate principal Tim Bloomfield provided an update to the board outlining how the school works in partnership with Medicine Hat Public Schools and the Medicine Hat College. Coulee Collegiate is unique compared to traditional public schools, as it provides both face to face instruction to college students who are upgrading or earning their high school diploma, while also providing course options for current 10-12 students. Due to the flexible nature of the program, it was noted the school generally fluctuates between 400-550 active students at any one time. In addition to high school courses and option classes, the school also offers institutes that allow high school aged students to earn workplace certifications at no cost.&nbsp; Although, in the early stages of implementation, the partnership between Prairie Rose Public Schools, Medicine Hat Public Schools and Medicine Hat college is an incredible success.</p><p><strong>Superintendent Performance Assessment Guide</strong></p><p>Deputy Superintendent Reagan Weeks presented a new assessment guide for evaluating the division’s superintendent performance measures annually. The proposed changes align with the new Superintendent Quality Standards and still allow flexibility for the board to add localized items for assessment.</p><p><strong>Board Correspondence</strong></p><p>Board Chair Stuart Angle shared that all correspondence to the board regarding stakeholder positions for the implementation of a proof of vaccination program has been compiled and placed in a folder for all trustees to review.</p><p><strong>Proof of Vaccination Program</strong></p><p>Superintendent Roger Clarke spoke to the letter sent by the Minister’s of Education and Health advocating for boards to implement local policies/administrative procedures to support vaccinations and COVID-19 rapid testing requirements for Prairie Rose staff. There was some discussion regarding whether the timing was appropriate for making a decision with a new board being elected next week. Some background was shared regarding how the division arrived at being in a position to consider an administrative procedure for vaccination/proof of negative COVID test and any potential risks for delaying a decision. It was also noted that new guidance that was promised last week for school divisions has not yet been shared from Alberta Education and it would be helpful to have the new guidance and the corresponding health order, to ensure that the new PRPS administrative procedure aligns with the provincial documents. It was emphasized that a policy or procedure regarding vaccination/proof of negative COVID test would not impact students. The board voted in favour of tabling the motion for the implementation of an administration procedure for proof of vaccination/negative COVID test for staff, volunteers or practicum students.</p><p><strong>Transportation Accountability Report</strong></p><p>Director of Transportation Derek Beck shared the Transportation Accountability Report for information. Highlights of the report include:</p><ul><li>Prairie Rose transports 1,845 students on 83 bus routes that travel 17,040 kilometres each day.</li><li>The average cost of a bus route in Prairie Rose is $60,435 per year.</li><li>In the 2020-2021 year, Prairie Rose spent $5.28 million dollars on bus transportation.</li><li>Prairie Rose buses students from Cherry Academy Christian Academy, Holy Spirit School Division and Christ the Redeemer School Division to schools in Bow Island and Oyen.</li><li>The school division participates in a provincial bus safety poster contest each year, which actively promotes bus safety initiatives.</li><li>Prairie Rose contracts bus services from Southland Transportation (71), First Student (2), Old West Transport and independent contractors (5)</li><li>In addition to daily transportation of students to and from school, bus transportation supports student programming for academy and off-site field trips.</li></ul><p><strong>Financial Update</strong></p><p>Assistant Secretary Treasurer Candice Hintz provided a year-end financial update for the year 2020-2021. HIghlights of the report include:</p><ul><li>Alberta Education revenues of $358,000 higher than budgeted. This was due to one-time funding for online learning and the critical worker benefit payment.</li><li>Revenues are expected to come in $645,100 over budget. Main factors include the increase in Alberta Education funding, a decrease in donation revenue and equity return from ASBIE (Alberta School Boards Insurance Exchange).</li><li>Certified salaries came in $181,300 under budget. Sub costs also came in lower than budgeted.</li><li>Non certified salaries increased by $121,000. This is due to the critical worker benefit and EA hours purchased by schools.</li><li>Overall, the school division is expected to have an actual deficit of $24,098 (budgeted deficit of $351,140) for the 2020-2021 year with total expenditures coming in at $52,916,686 compared to $52,892,588 in revenues.</li></ul><p><strong>Enrollment Update</strong></p><p>Secretary Treasurer Ryan Boser provided the September 29, 2021, enrollment update for information. This past spring the division had projected a decrease in enrollment of 13 students for the current year compared to the 2020-21 school year. Actual enrollment came in 66 students below spring projections, for a total of 79 less students compared to the previous year. It was noted that due to the new funding formula and the weighted moving average, the division will only be losing 50% of the 2021-2022 funding. This amount represents approx. $282,000 of overall revenues. It was noted that due to the uncertainty with the ongoing pandemic, school divisions were ‘held-harmless’ for the 2020-21 school year as significant fluctuations occurred. This will offset approximately $149,000 of the overall amount. Reserves will be used to cover the remaining funding loss.</p><p><strong>Oyen Maintenance Shop</strong></p><p>Secretary Treasurer Ryan Boser explained that the Oyen maintenance shop has required replacement for many years. It is estimated that a new shop will cost between $100,000 and $175,000. The board approved a motion to allocate funds from capital reserves for the project.</p><p><strong>EL Policy #10</strong></p><p>Following the implementation of the new Education Act in September 2019, a number of Prairie Rose policies required updating to adhere to the new act. It was noted that Prairie Rose policy EL #10 School Closure / Transfer of Students still contained parts of the previous School Act and required realignment. Proposed changes were presented for feedback. The board voted in favour of approving the changes to EL #10, as presented.</p><p><strong>Human Resources Accountability Report</strong></p><p>Assistant Superintendent Kal Koch presented the Human Resources Report for information. Highlights of the report include:</p><ul><li>Prairie Rose employs 236 certified staff and 228 support staff.</li><li>Prairie Rose provides staffing to support inclusion, nutrition and mental health and wellness.</li><li>The average class sizes in Prairie Rose include:<ul><li>K: 15.2 students</li><li>Grades 1-3: 16.0 students</li><li>Grades 4-6: 20.3 students</li><li>Grades 7-9: 21.3 students</li><li>Grades 10-12: 22.4 students</li></ul></li><li>Prairie Rose has 121 teachers with 10+ years of experience.</li><li>Certified teaching salary costs for 2021-2022 are estimated at $26,785,174.</li><li>Support Staff salary costs for 2021-2022 are estimated at $10,600,443.</li></ul><p><strong>Seven Persons Field Trip</strong></p><p>Superintendent Roger Clarke presented a field trip request from Seven Persons School to participate in a four day trip to Kananaskis from October 22-25 of this month through Outward Bound. As the trip is overnight and takes place in the fall in the mountains, there are some additional logistics that are still being worked out. The board voted in favour of providing approval for the trip, pending final approval of the Superintendent.</p>