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Outgoing SD62 board (2018-2022) sticks to its guns on counselling directions

SD62's last public board meeting of 2018-2022 (October 25, 2022)

Tuesday October 25, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends

Tonight a motion to explore ways for supporting students before they might need specialized help from a counsellor was passed at the last meeting of the outgoing School District 62 board.

This direction of fanning out the ways of connecting with students who might need just a few ideas or a supportive word was presented by staff earlier in 2022.

stinson, hobbs
Trustee Wendy Hobbs defending her position on hiring more counsellors at the elementary school level, right up to the last meeting, Oct 25/22. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Tonight’s motion was in response to a request from the board to outline the current level of teacher-counselors or professional counsellors who are hired by SD62 to meet one on one with students who are dealing with any range of personal or emotional crises.

SD62 counsellor ratio above average:

SD62 has for years been above the provincial average for how many counsellor FTE’s (full-time equivalents) are hired by a school district.

Tonight Associate Superintendent Dave Strange referenced the table of details in the October 25, 2022 board meeting agenda as he explained that the contingent of specialized counsellors has been maintained at the same ratio (students to counsellors) for 2022-2023.

bob phillips, sd62
Over his many years on the SD62 board, Trustee Bob Phillips has frequently added historical, political or data context to board discussions, including at the last 2018-2022 board meeting on Oct 25/22. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

In 2019-2020 the FTE (full time equivalent) counselling position contingent was 6.9665 over ratio. That remained pretty much the same in 2020-2021 at 6.9358. There was a slight decrease in 2021-2022 to 5.878 FTEs. For this year 2022-2023 the contingent is 6.28 over ratio.

counselors, sd62, 2022-2023
SD62 staff made a review of enrollment, budget and staffing related to counselling. [Oct 25, 2022 SD62 Board Meeting Agenda]
counselors, sd62, 2022-2023
SD62 Counselling FTE Summary over 2019 to 2023. [Item 7.2 – SD62 October 25, 2022 board meeting agenda]

Higher counsellor FTE for 2022-2023:

For 2022-2023 the number of counsellor FTE’s are higher at all school levels: elementary, middle and secondary:

  • 11.31 – elementary
  • 5.625 – middle
  • 7.862 – secondary

Other ways to support teachers in the classroom and perhaps take care of issues before needing the attention of a specialized counselor include the investment in a new 0.6 FTE Sexual Health Education Coordinator. As well, the 0.4 FTE Social Emotional Learning Coach has been carried forward from last year.

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“These positions support student needs and their work releases counsellors to focus on emergent needs,” it was stated by SD62.

Given the aforementioned, and the increase to counseling for 2023-2023 school year, the recommendation to the board tonight was:

  • maintain current counselling allocations
  • request staff to explore other specialized staffing and resources that can support student needs in addition to counseling.

The motion passed, with only one dissenting vote (Trustee Wendy Hobbs, who had been seeking an increase to the number of counselors at the elementary level for a few years).

Outgoing board:

Tonight’s last meeting of the 2018-2022 board was attended in the SD62 board room (at the board’s administrative office in Langford) by trustees Ravi Parmar (chair), Bob Beckett (vice-chair), Wendy Hobbs, Bob Phillips, Diana Seaton and Margot Swinburnson. Attending via MS Teams (online) was trustee Allison Watson.

All senior staff were there, including Superintendent Scott Stinson; Associate Superintendents Paul Block, Dave Strange and Monica Braniff; Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull; HR executive director Fred Hibbs; and IT executive director Farzaan Nusserwanji.

Parmar stated at the beginning of the meeting that his remarks as chair would be restricted to being about the outgoing board. That was a bit lacking in terms of wrapping up four years of service and the overall concerns of the SD62 community as impacted by the outgoing board.

Stinson also thanked each of the outgoing trustees (Beckett, Hobbs, Phillips, Seaton and Swinburnson) along with a kind word to each.

sd62, board, last meeting
Adjournment at the last meeting of the 2018-2022 School District 62 (Sooke) board, Oct 25/22. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Meeting format:

SD62 public board and committee meetings are held in-person at the school board office, and streamed live. The streaming is an offshoot from how MS Teams was used during the pandemic to facilitate full board meetings with no one being in person.

Camera-work of board and committee meetings varies from operator to operator, meeting to meeting. Tonight the SPEAC (parent PAC) rep noted online tonight via MS Teams that full-room shots were not being included in the transmission.

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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR is the editor of Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends offers news insights about the west shore and south Vancouver Island.

Editor and publisher Mary P Brooke has spearheaded this socioeconomic and community-insight news thread since 2008 in the west shore, starting with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010) which morphed into the weekly newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), which expanded into the weekly colour print newspaper West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). Island Social Trends has been an online news portal at islandsocialtrends.ca since mid-2020.

Ms Brooke has covered the news of SD62 at the board and committee level since 2014. Her insights are of value to parents and the community who rely on quality public education for their children, as well as to community leaders who value informed insights on SD62 decision-making.

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