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SE Cornerstone aims to build communications with stakeholders

Building relationships internally and externally with stakeholders within, and in concert with the South East Cornerstone Public School Division is one of the primary goals of the school division.
The SE Cornerstone board of trustees heard presentations at their meeting on May 22.

WEYBURN – Building relationships internally and externally with stakeholders within, and in concert with the South East Cornerstone Public School Division is one of the primary goals of the school division.

That need to build and strengthen two-way communications was brought to the boardroom table on May 22 during the Cornerstone board members’ monthly open business meeting held in Weyburn.

Keith Keating, the division’s director of education, opened the presentation by telling board members how important it was to engage all stakeholders, within the school division or outside organizations that partner with it.

The board has met with regional members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) and the Education Ministry, as one leading example of maintaining communications. Keeping in regular communication with the Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division that also deploys services in southeast Saskatchewan is another key to strengthening programs, he said.

The board meets regularly with the South East Cornerstone Teachers’ Association executive, the Saskatchewan School Boards Association and School Community Councils.

Keating added that student led conferences are scheduled twice a year and some schools have even added local advisory councils to address educational needs of First Nations students.

Establishing a school calendar is also a communication process, he noted, as are the administrative council and groups that meet monthly.

Then there are superintendents, senior staffers, steering committees and protocol systems to tend to as well. Deputy director Aaron Hiske tends to some of those duties while executive assistant Carolyn Thompson tends to ministry and school division communicators’ meetings, media requests and certain email services along with all board meetings to share highlights of these sessions.

Keating then introduced the board to Jacqueline Gibbs, co-ordinator of Early Learning, Tracey Kiliwnik, co-ordinator of Learning Supports and Cheryl Anderson, co-ordinator of Student Services to add to the processes that are undertaken to keep communication services flowing.

Anderson spoke of case management meetings that are held with parental permission and are scheduled according to need and requests.

She said the process is very beneficial, especially if the student gets involved with further input. That is even more appreciated if they are older and can help process the shared services and the processes

with other agencies. She said that leads to “understanding of what we are doing and what they are doing or can do.”

These case management meetings may include health authority professionals, mental health/addictions counsellors, social services and police agencies.

Interagency psychology meetings are held with Holy Family partners and others and are held twice yearly to share updates, clarifications of programs and processes, training information and psychologist updates.

The Hub Table sessions with partner agencies offer services that individuals and families can turn to, for mitigating risk, she said.

Gibbs noted that Early Learning teams formed a partnership with the Estevan Early Learning Family Resource Centre because “we didn’t want to be in competition,” she said, but rather partner up with them to increase programming already in place.

The presenters spoke of inclusion plans and violent threat risk assessments, the Centre for Trauma-Informed Practices that developed a multi-disciplinary (agency) risk assessment community protocol.

These are where small towns, cities and larger urban areas have formal written agreements that bind agencies and service providers for common and consistent practices regarding assessments, prevention and intervention if violence risks rise.

Kiliwnik spoke of the key principles of a needs-based service delivery with the student in the centre of the model that includes parent or guardian engagement, assistance technology, independence, as well as plans for instruction or intervention and follow-up support and inter-professional collaboration with school teams and other agencies.