Hamilton school trustees bump student learning down priority list

News Mar 23, 2016 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

An 11th-hour change to the Hamilton public school board’s new strategic directions has put positive culture and well-being at the top of a list of five priorities, bumping student learning and achievement down to second spot.

Trustees voted 5-4 on Monday to make the switch, suggested by Alex Johnstone, who argued student learning and achievement “starts with positive culture and well-being.”

Board chair Todd White said he could support the change because the priorities aren’t intended to be a ranked list and union leaders at a focus-group meeting also maintained a positive culture and well-being are the foundation for everything else.

“The intent is not that positive culture and well-being is the, quote unquote, first priority, but rather just from the way it’s presented and the logical flow of the list, I think it reads better if positive culture and well-being is at the top,” he said.

West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks disagreed.

“The other four are extremely important and they’re priorities that we should pay attention to, but I really believe student learning and achievement, that’s why we’re here,” he said.

Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie, who was also opposed, said he’s concerned about the confused message changing the order might send.

The other priorities are effective communication, school renewal and partnerships.

“We’ve clearly identified that we’re not ranking these in any particular order and yet we’re having a conversation about ranking them in a particular order,” Beattie said.

The debate provided a final twist on approval of the strategic directions, sent back to the board’s governance committee last month after trustees couldn’t agree on a mission statement.

On Monday, they found agreement on, “We empower students to learn and grow to their full potential in a diverse world,” which added the final four words to the previously rejected version.

East Mountain trustee Kathy Archer cast the lone vote against the strategic directions, criticizing the failure to mention safety at school.

She said her son was bullied while in Grade 8 and another student she knows recently broke his hip in three places after being pushed at school.

“I’m here for safety for students,” Archer said. “Yes, we’re education, learning; that’s a given. I mean, that’s supposed to be automatic. Going to work and smiling, that’s a given, too,” she said. “We’ve got to guarantee safety.”

Hamilton school trustees bump student learning down priority list

'Positive culture and well-being' take top spot

News Mar 23, 2016 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

An 11th-hour change to the Hamilton public school board’s new strategic directions has put positive culture and well-being at the top of a list of five priorities, bumping student learning and achievement down to second spot.

Trustees voted 5-4 on Monday to make the switch, suggested by Alex Johnstone, who argued student learning and achievement “starts with positive culture and well-being.”

Board chair Todd White said he could support the change because the priorities aren’t intended to be a ranked list and union leaders at a focus-group meeting also maintained a positive culture and well-being are the foundation for everything else.

“The intent is not that positive culture and well-being is the, quote unquote, first priority, but rather just from the way it’s presented and the logical flow of the list, I think it reads better if positive culture and well-being is at the top,” he said.

“I think it reads better if positive culture and well-being is at the top.'

West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks disagreed.

“The other four are extremely important and they’re priorities that we should pay attention to, but I really believe student learning and achievement, that’s why we’re here,” he said.

Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie, who was also opposed, said he’s concerned about the confused message changing the order might send.

The other priorities are effective communication, school renewal and partnerships.

“We’ve clearly identified that we’re not ranking these in any particular order and yet we’re having a conversation about ranking them in a particular order,” Beattie said.

The debate provided a final twist on approval of the strategic directions, sent back to the board’s governance committee last month after trustees couldn’t agree on a mission statement.

On Monday, they found agreement on, “We empower students to learn and grow to their full potential in a diverse world,” which added the final four words to the previously rejected version.

East Mountain trustee Kathy Archer cast the lone vote against the strategic directions, criticizing the failure to mention safety at school.

She said her son was bullied while in Grade 8 and another student she knows recently broke his hip in three places after being pushed at school.

“I’m here for safety for students,” Archer said. “Yes, we’re education, learning; that’s a given. I mean, that’s supposed to be automatic. Going to work and smiling, that’s a given, too,” she said. “We’ve got to guarantee safety.”

Hamilton school trustees bump student learning down priority list

'Positive culture and well-being' take top spot

News Mar 23, 2016 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

An 11th-hour change to the Hamilton public school board’s new strategic directions has put positive culture and well-being at the top of a list of five priorities, bumping student learning and achievement down to second spot.

Trustees voted 5-4 on Monday to make the switch, suggested by Alex Johnstone, who argued student learning and achievement “starts with positive culture and well-being.”

Board chair Todd White said he could support the change because the priorities aren’t intended to be a ranked list and union leaders at a focus-group meeting also maintained a positive culture and well-being are the foundation for everything else.

“The intent is not that positive culture and well-being is the, quote unquote, first priority, but rather just from the way it’s presented and the logical flow of the list, I think it reads better if positive culture and well-being is at the top,” he said.

“I think it reads better if positive culture and well-being is at the top.'

West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks disagreed.

“The other four are extremely important and they’re priorities that we should pay attention to, but I really believe student learning and achievement, that’s why we’re here,” he said.

Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie, who was also opposed, said he’s concerned about the confused message changing the order might send.

The other priorities are effective communication, school renewal and partnerships.

“We’ve clearly identified that we’re not ranking these in any particular order and yet we’re having a conversation about ranking them in a particular order,” Beattie said.

The debate provided a final twist on approval of the strategic directions, sent back to the board’s governance committee last month after trustees couldn’t agree on a mission statement.

On Monday, they found agreement on, “We empower students to learn and grow to their full potential in a diverse world,” which added the final four words to the previously rejected version.

East Mountain trustee Kathy Archer cast the lone vote against the strategic directions, criticizing the failure to mention safety at school.

She said her son was bullied while in Grade 8 and another student she knows recently broke his hip in three places after being pushed at school.

“I’m here for safety for students,” Archer said. “Yes, we’re education, learning; that’s a given. I mean, that’s supposed to be automatic. Going to work and smiling, that’s a given, too,” she said. “We’ve got to guarantee safety.”