Catholic board election ends up a ‘draw’

Electing the chairman of the Northwest Catholic District School Board came down to a draw-from-a-hat here Saturday morning—literally.
Outgoing chair Wade Petranik and Gerry Rousseau, the outgoing vice-chair and a former chair, both were nominated for the top position and after a secret ballot, the vote was a tie.
School board protocol called for a draw from a hat to determine the winner. Two pieces of paper were put into box—one with “chair” written on it, the other blank.
Each candidate had the chance to pull a piece of paper from the box, show it to the board, and put it back in the box. The other candidate did the same.
After being given the opportunity to draw once, both had picked out the blank piece.
“Are you sure you wrote on one of them?” quipped Rousseau. “I’ve been in this position before and didn’t win. The odds should be with me.”
He was right. In the second draw, Petranik picked out the blank piece and Rousseau picked out the one marked “chair.”
“The fact that there was a tie vote shows me there’s a lot of confidence in both of us,” he said to the board afterwards.
That held true. In the call for nominations for vice-chair, Petranik was the only name presented. He was elected by acclamation.
Also present at Saturday morning’s meeting were newly-appointed trustees Robert van Oort and Harold Huntley. Both had been appointed at a special board meeting Nov. 26 to replace former trustees Cheryl Lovisa and Cyndi Cossais.
Huntley volunteered to sit on the Special Education Advisory Committee.
In other business Saturday, trustees were given a hands-on presentation of one of the wireless labs at St. Michael’s School. The wireless network allows teachers to incorporate technology into the classroom—without students leaving their desks.
St. Michael’s has 32 laptop computers for sign-out by teachers, and each classroom has access to the wireless network. Students have access through the network to the Internet and various software, including programs from the ministry for specific learning tasks.
The Catholic school system has a total of 96 computers, each costing roughly $1,900, and began using them in September.
The board also decided each trustee was to make comments on the director’s annual report submitted by John Madigan. The report is used to show the board its strategic plan is being followed and to meet the initiatives of the Ministry of Education.
A short questionnaire on the report will be mailed out in January to all trustees, including former trustees Lovisa and Cossais, as a way using the report in the appraisal process of the director.
The board also discussed the results of the Education Quality and Accountability Office report with respect to Catholic students in this district. The report showed an overall increase in all three categories: reading, writing, and math.
It was emphasized the results of the testing were only a snapshot of a five-day student assessment, and that small variations from year to year aren’t as important as broad trends.