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Highlights from the January 11 Board of Trustees Meeting
Highlights from the January 11 Board of Trustees Meeting
Posted on 01/13/2023

Full details on presentations, reports, and discussions can be found in the agenda or reviewed in the recorded broadcast. Video segments are linked in the subhead for each item below.  

January 13, 2023 – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Some of the items discussed in the public session are as follows. 


Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario’s (STEO) General Manager and Chief Administrative Officer Janet Murray, along with Operations Manager Marc Gossett reported to the Board an update on the bus driver shortage and other initiatives.

Murray shared that the bus driver shortage continues to affect STEO along with most areas across Ontario and throughout North America. STEO’s service area is being impacted by a school bus driver shortage, resulting in an increase in bus delays and cancellations. When shortages happen, bus companies work with STEO to look for alternatives to avoid cancellation, such as route modification doubling a single route to provide service or running the bus late. If a route has to be cancelled for multiple days, STEO works to combine the route with other existing routes to minimize the impact on families. 

Gossett noted that since the beginning of this school year, 320 UCDSB bus runs have been cancelled. With 19 routes currently without a driver and 26 drivers in training. 

Murray advised Trustees that STEO has plans to mitigate the shortage, which includes a targeted recruitment campaign following a demographic assessment. STEO continues to connect with the ministries of education and transportation regarding driver shortage constraints, cancellations, licensing and medical considerations and driver engagement. 

Murray also provided an update on the school bus stop arm camera initiative. STEO continues to investigate the initiative in consultation with local municipalities and is monitoring ongoing pilot projects throughout Ontario. 


Superintendent of Schools Susan Rutters reported to Trustees an update on the district-wide timetable for the 2022-2023 school year.

Rutters reported that all UCDSB secondary schools have the same daily bell times of 8 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. and each school maintains a common district-wide schedule to ensure that students taking eLearning courses can access synchronous enhancements offered by the teacher during the scheduled period. The common schedule includes a repeat period which provides dedicated classroom time for the consolidation of learning and a focus on ensuring student success. 

The number of eLearning courses offered within UCDSB for the 2022-23 school year is 77, an increase of 16 over last year to account for increased interest in eLearning as a result of the newly introduced eLearning graduation requirement and to support programming for remote learners. 

Rutters explained that for the 2022-2023 school year, UCDSB is piloting a mini-consortium opportunity to be responsive to specific course needs that are common to several schools using eLearning to liberate in-person sections at each school for hands-on course options for students. Fifty-nine students are enrolled in the secondary remote learning program. Plus, three high-interest eLearning course offerings for students to act as an educational enhancement – Cellphone Photography, History of Oppression in Canada, and Film Studies. 

Rutters noted that the District-Wide Timetable provides structure in UCDSB that gives secondary students greater choice and access to courses of interest. Moving forward, Rutters explained that the UCDSB continues to build on existing strategies and create new options for secondary students, including Real-World Learning, Pathway-Specific Compulsory Courses and Continuing Education 


Superintendent of Special Education and Student Wellness Jennifer Perry presented to Trustees an update on how the Director’s Work Plan goal related to her portfolio is progressing.

Perry shared that a new pilot is beginning in the second semester that addresses key action items in the Director’s Work Plan. Skills 4 Life (S4L) is linked to the Ontario Civics and Careers curriculum. This pilot supports the development of a student success toolbox and provides a resource for staff, students and parents to help students learn to manage stress.

Perry shared that the S4L pilot is a series of eight curriculum-aligned lessons to support instruction related to mental health and social-emotional skill development in Grade 10 Career Studies. The lessons include mental health and mental illness, strategies for mental wellness, identifying thoughts and managing emotions, and managing controllable and uncontrollable stressors. These lessons help students build on their existing strengths and strategies to enhance the skills they can use throughout their lives. The resources are evidence-based and created in partnership with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and materials align with the curriculum to support instruction related to mental health education and social-emotional development.  

For the next steps on the pilot, Perry noted that this month staff will connect with secondary administration and teachers for commitment to participate and from February to June, implementation support will be provided by UCDSB’s mental health team and School Mental Health Ontario staff. 


For media inquiries, please contact:   

April Scott-Clarke   Manager of Communications   Upper Canada District School Board   [email protected] 

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