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The Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) has been embroiled in the decision to eliminate Rotary Education where specialized teachers instruct in their areas of expertise.

After much public hue and cry, including a protest march and signing of petitions, along with public presentations to the board, on June 16th, 2009, the BWDSB passed a motion that would allow up to 50 per cent rotary teaching. The main parent concern in communities along the Huron coastline was centered around three main areas:

  • that the elimination or phase-out or rotary was undertaken arbitrarily with little or no input from parents, student or staff within the board.

  • that the elimination of rotary was, in fact, contrary to advice from the Ministry of Education

  • that, under provincial regulation 612, the required consultation did not take place.

Under regulation 612, "Every board shall solicit the views of the school councils ... (re) development of implementation plans for new education initiatives that relate to pupil achievement or to the accountability of the education system to parents ..."

In addition, under regulation 612, school councils are required to consult with parents on matter that are under consideration by the councils.

Unfortunately, the passing of the motion in June at the end of the school year, meant that there was no time for consultation in the 2009-1- year.

On June 18, 2009, Director Mary Anne Alton sent a communiqué to elementary school teachers wherein she stated, "In 30 of 36 school that have traditionally operated in a homeroom model, School Community Council (SCC) consultation would be required to move to a rotary delivery model.  Such consultation could take place for the 2010-11 school year."  Full communique:  Click here

The school year is once again winding down and, as yet, no consultation has taken place.

According to a recent release from the BWDSB, the Ministry of Education is conducting operational reviews of all 72 of Ontario’s School Boards. The review of Bluewater District School Board highlights many leading practices in place at the board.

The following is the review (or part thereof) on the Bluewater Board, including a statement that, "Bluewater also proactively engages internal and external stakeholders on a regular basis through a variety of communications vehicles."

"The review focused on four specific areas: Governance and School Board Administration, Human Resource Management and School Staffing/Allocations, Financial Management and School Operations and Facilities Management. Leading practices were identified in all four review areas.

Under Governance and School Board Administration, the overview found leading practices in Bluewater leads in delineation of roles and responsibilities of Trustees and the System Administrative Team; the Board and Senior Administration have appropriate processes for decision making to address student achievement, operational performance and efficient operation of the Board.  Bluewater also proactively engages internal and external stakeholders on a regular basis through a variety of communications vehicles.

In the area of Human Resources, leading practices include a strong focus on maintaining relationships with unions, clearly defined organizational units, roles and responsibilities,  processes to monitor HR policy compliance by all staff,  and management and HR management capacity building in the understanding of HR polices and procedures.

Leading practices in Financial Management include the Board’s active participation in a purchasing consortia and group buying initiatives; processes to monitor finance compliance policy by staff and management; regular finance policy and procedure awareness, training and skills development sessions and a transparent budget process that incorporates input from all key stakeholders including management, trustees and the community.

In the final review area, School Operations and Facilities Management, leading practices include an accurate and up to date assessment of board facilities, clearly defined organizational units and well delineated roles and responsibilities, processes to monitor school operations and facilities management policy compliance by all staff and management and capacity building in the understanding of school operations, facilities and administrative procedures.

The Operational Review also includes a number of recommendations for improvement that are common to all four review areas. They include: multi-year strategic and aligned annual planning, human resource management, operational structures and efficiency building.

“We’re really pleased with the Operational Review,” says Director of Education Mary Anne Alton. “It’s a clear indication that Bluewater Board is in step with the Ministry in keeping student achievement as its primary focus.” "

Trustee Ross King, while still undecided as to whether or not he will run again, has said, "The Rotary issue did not disappear.  Trustee Johnston and I introduced a motion in June to have up to 50% rotary in school that could accommodate rotary.  That motion was passed and has been in effect since September."

Will there, or won't there, be consultation before another school year runs out?

For More See

Video June 13, 2008  of the Protest March in Port Elgin recently by parents and students.

Also go to our search engine and type 'Rotary'


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010