It was to be an interesting meeting with a full agenda, but the school board meeting was cancelled this week due to heavy snowfall.
The Feb. 12 meeting was to include a presentation on the strategic plan for Fraser Valley Distance Education, an arm of the district which has been minimized over the past few years.
The presentation, by Diane Chapman, Vice Principal of FVDES, will now move to the next meeting, Feb. 26. It will outline the background of distance education in Chilliwack, the changes that were made in 2017 and 2018, offer up the current status and update for the program, and go over the next steps.
Rohan Arul-Pragasam, assistant superintendent for the district, addressed parents’ concerns at an information meeting last February, in the midst of rumours floating that the distance education program would be closing due to plummeting enrolment numbers. He assured parents and staff at the meeting that it would stay open, but focus on blended learning opportunities.
FVDES is attended by many local children and teens who have multiple barriers to learning, including physical and emotional needs that cannot be met in a standard classroom. Their parents are become both caregivers and teachers.
They described FVDES as “a gem” and “lifesaving” in helping them with their network of programs, supports, teachers and classes.
Other items that were on the Feb. 12 agenda included a second and third reading of the budget, potential changes to the public question period, revisions to the board’s governing principles, information on when public consultation could happen for the proposed integrated arts school, and terms of reference as the board moves toward creating a remuneration committee to guide a potential hike in trustee pay.
Of note, the public participation portion of meetings could be reduced from two question periods, to just one at the end of the meeting. Recently, the board has been limiting the audience to the 35 or so chairs in the room, requiring audience members to sign in, and locking the lobby doors during meetings.