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Highlights from the June 19 Board of Trustees Meeting
Highlights from the June 19 Board of Trustees Meeting
Posted on 06/21/2024
UCDSB Board Meeting

Full details on presentations, reports, and discussions can be found in the agenda or reviewed in the recorded broadcast. 

June 21, 2024 - Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Key items discussed in the public session are as follows. 

2023-24 Student Trustees’ Year End Report 

Student Trustees Afaq Virk and Merab Ali provided their final report to the Board of Trustees on Student Senate activities and interactions over the 2023-24 school year. 

The presentation included relevant data around number of meetings and senator demographics, results from fundraisers, social media outreach, and more. 

The report also included various resolutions passed through the year, and other student trustee initiatives. 

Director’s Work Plan Update - Reading 

Executive Superintendent of Student Success and Innovation Eric Hardie and Principal of Teaching and Learning Amanda Nieman provided an update to the Board of Trustees on the portion of the Director’s Work Plan (DWP) related to reading. The DWP’s goal is to ensure that students know how to read, and the presenters outlined the various ways the UCDSB has been working to achieve this goal. 

Nieman described the UCDSB Professional Learning Plan with respect to the science of reading, the connections to EQAO testing, and gave specific examples of how system staff help support learning at all schools. 

Resources have been distributed for programs such as SRA Corrective Reading, UFLI Foundations and Acadience Learning, and training in these programs has been taking place throughout the board. Data has been collected and analyzed to track progress, and collaboration continues between schools and the district to meet the needs of students. 

In response to the addition of cursive writing in the Ontario Language Curriculum, the UCDSB distributed Learning without Tears kits to educators and offered two information sessions related to the teaching of this skill. Nieman reported that the pilot project was well received by parents and educators. 

Neiman outlined that next steps for the department includes a “Crack the Code” summer learning program, the launch of a Professional Learning Plan for 2024-25, and implementation of the Ministry of Education’s Policy/Program Memorandum 168 that requires Ontario’s publicly funded schools to complete annual early reading screenings for all students in year 2 of Kindergarten through Grade 2. 

Director’s Work Plan Update - Student Success/Real-World Learning 

Executive Superintendent of Student Success and Innovation Eric Hardie returned with Principal of Student Success and Real-World Learning Cameron Jones to give an update on the Student Success and Real-World Learning (RWL) portions of the Director’s Work Plan (DWP). 

Real-World Learning is an approach that connects classroom knowledge to real-world situations and experiences and is an important pillar of the DWP. The approach aims to help students develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and practical skills that can be applied beyond the classroom. Jones outlined various examples of RWL in the UCDSB that involve project-based learning and activities, and community partnerships.  

UCDSB Grows is an initiative that sees schools take a Real-World Learning approach to growing food and addressing food insecurity in our local communities. Jones ran through various examples of schools partnering with and supporting local food banks and expanding school growing opportunities. 

With respect to skilled trades programming within the UCDSB, Jones reported that the board sent the largest contingent of student competitors to the 2024 Skills Ontario Competition and has been introducing skilled trades in earlier grades throughout the region.  

Jones also touched on recent research conducted by the University of Ottawa that shows positive benefits of a RWL approach to teaching. Preliminary findings indicate RWL is more engaging for students and positively impacts students’ readiness to learn. Findings also show that these projects bring joy to educators and gives them meaningful connections with their students in the service of something larger than individuals in the classroom. 

Director’s Work Plan 2024-25 Final Report 

UCDSB Director of Education Ron Ferguson presented the final version of the 2024-25 Director’s Work Plan to the Board of Trustees. The plan sets out four priority areas and specific goals which direct and define the efforts of senior staff to support the priorities identified by the Board of Trustees. 

Goals include: 

  • Graduation Rate/Student Success: Improve student success to attain, and maintain, a 90% grad rate.
  • Student Culture: Enhance student mental health and physical health, and sense of belonging.
  • Real-World Learning: Engage students, staff, and community partners to engage in real-world learning and enhanced pathways.
  • Staff Culture: Ensure that staff feels supported by the district in their work and have the resources they need to be successful.
  • Reading: Ensure that students know how to read.
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