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Board Meeting Highlights February 28th, 2018
Highlights from February 28th Board of Trustees Meeting
Posted on 03/02/2018

Click Here to View February 28th Board Meeting Agenda

March 2, 2018 (Brockville, ON) – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 to discuss several agenda items:

Rockland Public School (RKPS) Presentation
: Principal Mary-Lynn Wilcox and Vice-Principal Julie Symonds presented on the RKPS School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement. They discussed how the plan is helping to improve student results in math and literacy, and enhancing staff and student wellness. Over the last two years, the school has developed comprehensive literacy strategies and implements them in both English and French Immersion programs at the school to reinforce student learning. The school is also providing additional support in reading and writing to students that need it. Learning Resource Teachers (LRTs) are in the school co-planning and co-teaching with teachers so they can assist in the teaching and learning of new strategies. The LRTs work to support smaller groups of students who need it in guided reading groups in the classroom. They also provide intensive support for students who require it through the Empowered Reading Program, Levelled Literacy Intervention Program, or a Sound Skills program.

The school is addressing wellness through the Roots of Empathy Program, the Zones of Regulation program, WITS program, quiet rooms to help students who need them, and a wide variety of intramural sports, and activities such as Lego Club and Beyblade Club.

Viscount Alexander Public School Presentation: Principal Jason Wagensveld and Vice Principal Heather Van De Glind told Trustees how their school is advancing student learning in mathematics and literacy, and improving staff and student wellness. They spoke about Viscount Alexander’s School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement, the school’s plan for improving students’ math and literacy results, and wellness. In literacy, students are encouraged to use templates that walk them through the process of understanding a non-fiction story. The templates ask students to provide the main idea of a non-fiction text and then find three details that support their answer, prompting them to think more deeply about a story to understand it. Teachers also use display charts that walk students through the difference between the main idea of a text and supporting details. The display charts encourage students to look for clues to the main idea in areas such as the title, first sentence, and pictures in a story. Teachers assess students before and after each learning cycle to determine student progress and develop strategies to help students advance.

The school is improving staff and student wellness through creating a positive culture at Viscount Alexander. For students, the school accomplishes this by offering activities such as the Random Acts of Kindness program, Changemakers Club, Community Outreach Nights, Breakfast Club and a wide variety of athletics and intramurals. For staff, they offer a Fit Bit step challenge, a health challenge, and regular social gatherings.

Trustee Determination and Distribution Report for 2018 Election: Superintendent of District Alignment Phil Dawes presented “D and D” reports which are required before each election. The reports present the determination and distribution of trustees in advance of the 2018 election. Trustees passed resolutions to confirm that the number of trustee positions, based on updated population data from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, remains unchanged at ten, with an additional representative from the Akwesasne territory. Trustees also approved maintaining that same ward arrangement for 2018 that were used for the 2014 election.

Update on Director’s Work Plan: Director Stephen Sliwa and senior staff delivered an update on progress made under the Director’s Work Plan, which details concrete actions staff have committed to to meet the goals of the Board’s CREW Strategic Plan. The work plan lays out 18 separate projects designed to advance the Board’s progress in four key areas of focus: Graduation Rate, Staff Culture, Student Culture, and Community. These actions range from establishing an online data collection site to track at-risk students to creating a discussion table with community leaders regarding career education. The Director reported that 17 out of the 18 action items in the plan are either at the beginning or progressing stage – with almost 25 per cent at a progressing stage.

Sliwa asked senior staff to highlight some of the successes. Superintendent David Coombs presented on how the UCDSB is using the online data collection site to track at-risk students to help meet a goal of increasing the graduation rate by 2 per cent in 2017-18. Coombs spoke of how the Board is using the data to track students who started Grade 9 in 2013 and are now at risk of not graduating. The Board is currently providing specialized support to get 59 additional “fifth year” students from this cohort across the line. These students are very close to graduation and are being assisted through more opportunities in cooperative education, additional help to schools from student success partners or “graduation coaches,” and other supports. The hope is that this effort will assist the Board in meeting its goal of an 86.2 per cent graduation rate by the end of the school year.

Superintendent Valerie Allen spoke of how the Board is working on the overall goal of reducing student stress. Every school in the system will be developing an overall wellness goal and measuring its effectiveness in providing students with support.

Sliwa also highlighted how UCDSB leaders and local leaders are working to engage the board with other sectors across our communities. Discussions in areas ranging from international education to staff development have taken place with groups such as St. Lawrence College, the Faculty of Health at York University, and the Aquatarium in Brockville.

Director’s Quarterly Report: Director Stephen Sliwa presented his quarterly report to the Board, summarizing the top three achievements from the last three months; the top three challenges in the upcoming three months, and the top three priorities to focus on in the next three months.

Sliwa said the top three achievements of the last three months are: initial implementation of the Director’s Work Plan for 2017-18; hiring and on-boarding of a new Superintendent of Business; and allocation and implementation of the District’s $1.4 million Rural and Northern Education Funding to support Student Services in rural secondary schools.

The top three challenges Sliwa has identified include: engaging the annual staffing process at all levels of the organization in accordance with timelines; linking people to strategy, as part of a well-rounded implementation of key initiatives to support Board priorities; and following up on remaining commitments relating to the 2016-2017 Program Accommodation Review.

The top three priorities in the next three months are: further implementation of the Director's Work Plan; supporting the Board’s efforts to review its 2017-18 Work Plan, and to develop one for 2018-2019, and supporting budget presentations to the Board for the Spring of 2018, regarding the upcoming fiscal year.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Stephen Sliwa
Upper Canada District School Board
613-342-0371 ext. 1234

Jeff McMillan
Upper Canada District School Board

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