(Pictured above: Senior staff and trustees wore pink Wednesday night to mark Pink Shirt Day. The anti-bullying day is observed annually on February 22nd to raise awareness about the importance of being kind.)
Highlights from February 22nd
Board of Trustees Meeting
Click Here to View February 22nd Board Meeting Agenda
February 23, 2017 (Brockvile, ON) – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, February 22nd to discuss a number of topics including:
Westminster Public School (WPS) Presentation: Principal Amanda Nieman and Vice Principal Sarah Stone discussed how the WPS School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (SIPSA) is enhancing students’ literacy and math skills. Under the plan, the dual track Regular and French Immersion Program school is initially focused on improving student writing in French, while connecting to the work that is happening in English classrooms. Staff are using the Elements of Writing to coordinate a comprehensive writing approach to learning. The school’s plan will move students from modelled writing, to shared writing, guided writing and then to independent writing. Teachers are carefully using the curriculum documents to select learning goals and communicate these goals to students in order to increase student ownership of learning. Teachers are working to establish success criteria with students so that students can begin to self-assess their areas of strength as well as areas that require improvement and next steps. Teachers are instilling a greater understanding of how to be an effective writer by encouraging students to make their thinking visible in ways that make sense to others.
In mathematics, teachers are working with students as they become problem solvers. Moving from visualization to manipulatives (i.e. Uanifix cubes, pattern blocks, fraction rods), teachers are encouraging students to truly understand mathematical concepts. Students will then work to make their mathematical thinking visible as they create displays of their mathematical understandings. Teacher Learning Teams collect student problem solving and analyze how students are representing their thinking. This collaborative work determines next steps for teaching.
French as a Second Language Update: Trustees received an update on French as a Second Language (FSL) programming from Superintendent Valerie Allen and Principal of Teaching and Learning Anne-Marie Bulbeck. Allen told trustees the program has ensured the number of French credits earned by UCDSB students has remained relatively consistent. The FSL program has three goals: to increase student achievement in FSL; to increase the percentage of students who study French beyond Grade 9 and the percentage of secondary credits earned in courses where French is the language of instruction; and to increase awareness of French programming within the board. Allen said the Board is working to increase student achievement through a range of initiatives including: establishing a principal lead team to learn more about and support Ministry initiatives in FSL programming; increased training for administrators in the new curriculum, exploring new instructional approaches in French; and more professional development for French teachers. The Board is considering ways to increase the number of students studying French beyond Grade 9 through a range of initiatives including: front-loading FSL courses in Grades 9 and 10, and offering more experiential learning opportunities in French, such as cooperative education and possibly reach-ahead credits for Grade 8 students. Staff are working to enhance awareness of French programming in the Board by strengthening the visibility of French culture in the schools. Efforts to meet this goal range from more French signage in schools to completion of a Grade 9 applied French course for the eLearning consortium.
Cambridge Public School (CPS) Improvement Plan for Student Achievement: Principal Susan Kelly told trustees about the CPS School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement, designed to help students enhance their math and literacy skills. Studies suggest improved understanding of non-fiction text leads to improved comprehension of all forms of text. As a result, the plan stresses the use of non-fiction in its literacy programming to improve student comprehension. Staff are achieving this through consistent use of non-fiction vocabulary, assessment, strategies and practices. Teachers employ the same techniques used in the board’s successful Summer Learning program. Non-fiction text is used extensively to build students’ general knowledge base, which prepares them to better understand new text and leads to greater comprehension of both non-fiction and fiction. CPS staff are also posting graphic organizers and learning targets to keep students on track by showing them what their learning goals are. The school has increased the number of non-fiction books available in the school learning commons and classrooms for students to read.
In mathematics, teachers are using daily number talks to help students verbalize what they are thinking to guide them to the correct answers. CPS is providing more training for staff in how to identify what strategies individual students use to solve problems, and to teach them more efficient ways to reach answers that are appropriate to their grade level. Kelly is also encouraging the use of common math language at her school throughout all grade levels.
Director’s Quarterly Report: Director Stephen Sliwa presented his quarterly report outlining the achievements from the last three months, and the Director’s top three challenges and priorities for the next three months. Achievements include: leading staff to address Stage 2 of the Board’s Accommodation Review Process; promoting and supporting the Revised Math Strategy within the Board, with an emphasis on school improvement planning; and successful outreach with labour groups on collaborative professionalism through the introduction of an Initiatives Committee. The top three challenges to be faced in the next three months include: supporting Stage 3 of the Board’s Accommodation Review Process; furthering a District-wide dialogue about the 90 per cent graduation rate for the year 2020; and clarifying and aligning District direction on well-being initiatives, given Ministry directions. The top three priorities listed by Sliwa for the next three months are: to support the development of a new Strategic Plan for the District; to ensure sound financial stewardship within the Board, including budget preparations for the next fiscal year; and to follow-up and support any recommendations arising from the Board’s Accommodation Review Process after March 23rd, 2017.
For more information, please call:
Upper Canada District School Board
(613) 342-0371 ext. 1234
Upper Canada District School Board
Posted February 23, 2017