June 15, 2022 Meeting of the LDSB Board of Trustees
Each meeting, a different Trustee will present the Indigenous Acknowledgement of Territory and include their own personal reflections.
Limestone Student Achiever Awards
Trustees of the Limestone District School Board honoured 11 secondary students with the 2022 Limestone Student Achievers Awards at the Regular Board Meeting June 15, 2022.
The Limestone Student Achievers Award recognizes outstanding achievements of secondary students whose exception accomplishments merit recognition beyond the separate categories of awards at the school level. Recipients should have demonstrated exemplary achievement in all three categories: Leadership, positive attitude, energy and school spirit, and academic standing.
Congratulations to the 2022 Student Achievers Award recipients:
Private Session Report
Trustee Hutcheon was called upon to Rise and Report from Private Session. Private session minutes were approved for April. Safe school update was provided along with a local labour update, and OPSBA update. No other business conducted, or motions passed.
In these final weeks of school, we have so much to celebrate, and the majority of our school communities are doing just that…participating fully in re-instated extra-curriculars and putting the final touches to in-person graduation ceremonies.
I am saddened to acknowledge that a small segment of the population has chosen to participate in hateful acts against our schools, removing or vandalizing several Pride flags, as well as graffiti vandalism spray painted on one school.
The Limestone District School Board condemns these hateful acts. These events show us the importance of educating about human rights, inclusion, and acceptance in our schools.
I would like to thank everyone for their outstanding work on behalf of Limestone students ------ educators, administrators, and school support staff, for their continued focus on student success and wellness this past year despite the ongoing challenges pivoting back and forth between modes of learning and keeping our schools safe and operating. Saying “Thank you” at times, just does not seem like enough, but know how valued you are.
Tonight, Trustees will approve a budget in compliance with Ministry of Education requirements. The 2022-2023 budget is focused on supporting student achievement and well-being within the confines of the funding provided to us.
Our thanks to staff for their work to support Trustees in reviewing and approving the budget, one of our most significant roles as governors.
As we arrive at the end of a school year, another important task is to honour those who are leaving Limestone for new, exciting journeys.
To our graduates….Congratulations! We wish you continued success in the pathway you have chosen.
And to our retirees, thank you, for contributing so greatly to the advancement of our students and our Board.
In closing I would like to spotlight one of our own.
Trustee Judith Brown has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Dr. Harry Paikin Award for outstanding service as a public school trustee by the Ontario Public Schools Boards Association.
I would like to share just a few words about Trustee Brown and how she has worked tirelessly to advocate for, and raise the voices of the Black community within Limestone and throughout the larger community.
Trustee Brown championed the first Black Community Caucus for the board and was instrumental in a Board motion that initiated a review of the school board’s human rights incident reporting process. On behalf of the students, families and staff of Limestone, congratulations Trustee Brown you are an invaluable voice at the Board table, and you have an immeasurable impact on the Kingston community, especially in mentoring Black youth.
Student Trustee Report
Student Trustee Roy provided the Student Trustee Report.
Good evening Trustees, Senior staff, guests, and online viewers. Yesterday, June 14, 2022, the interschool council met for the very last time this year. As the summer is fast approaching, most of our students are getting ready for exams, handing in their last projects, and getting ready to graduate. It is a great relief to know a good portion of our interschool council is returning next year. This ensures that the student leadership within LDSB will continue to flourish.
On a more serious note, the interschool council feels very strongly about addressing the hateful behavior that has occurred within our community in the past couple weeks. The student body believes all our students, no matter who they are or who they love, have the right to respect, support, and representation. The vandalism and disrespecting of several pride flags, as well as the graffitied hate symbols at our schools does the complete opposite of that. The student body wants our 2SLGTBQIA+ and minority students to know that this behavior is not, and will not, be tolerated. School is a place to learn and to be welcomed, not to be targeted and feel unsafe.
Change is happening, but needs to continue through education and visual representation of
students within our schools. LDSB can and will be a safe place for everyone if we work together.
As the school year is almost over, on behalf of the student trustees, I want to thank anyone who we might not be able to see during the summer break. Nia;wen and thank you.
The following are highlights of the Director's Report:
Good evening Trustees and the viewing public joining us online or in-person. I am pleased to provide you with my update tonight as we enter the last couple of weeks of the 2021-2022 school year. June is always a time of reflection as we complete one school year and continue preparations for the next school year. It is also a time of change as we see students graduate from secondary school, staff retire, and many staff and students prepare for transitions.
In reflecting on the 2021-2022 school year, or any other school year, I think it is important to remember Kathy Freston’s wise words: “The goal is progress, not perfection.” In thinking about this past year, I think it is important for us to acknowledge the significant challenges we have navigated as a system. The pandemic continued to evolve and we had to be flexible to adapt. While many may be done with the pandemic, I am not sure if it is done with us. We will continue to require flexibility and adaptability moving forward.
To name a few challenges we overcame, I will highlight a three of the more significant ones: with minimal exceptions and particularly a few very challenging days in December, Limestone schools continued to operate to support in-person learning throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Throughout the year, educators and schools did the best they could to support the model of learning requested by students and families: in-person learning, virtual learning, and short-term virtual learning. We also provided flexibility for students and families to move between models depending on their personal or family circumstances. As a third example, we successfully ran multiple clubs and other activities in schools, including all seasons for secondary athletics while continuing to navigate the pandemic.
We also had some tremendous accomplishments that we saw in the past year. Without highlighting numerous sections of the Strategic Plan, I will highlight just a handful: we successfully renamed a school, we are in the process of adding an Indigenous Trustee through our Education Agreement with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, we have prioritized Equity/Diversity/Inclusion and a stance in support of Human Rights Education, we have allocated significant learning recovery supports in the system this spring that will continue in a different form in the fall, we have maintained positive working relations with labour partners, and we have continued to prioritize the importance of communication and transparency with all stakeholders.
Given it is National Indigenous History Month, there have been a range of activities supported by the Limestone Indigenous team, as well as knowledge keepers in schools providing a range of learning. As just one example, LDSB teacher Liv Rondeau provided a virtual workshop earlier today focused on the Teachings from the Strawberry. June is also Pride month, and Limestone formally participated in the first Napanee Pride parade earlier this month – which was a great success, and we will have a strong presence this weekend for the Kingston Pride parade. As Vice Chair Gingrich already noted, we have unfortunately seen some recent acts of hate related to the Pride flag at a handful of schools, and hate symbols spray-painted on one of our schools this past weekend. We must continue to take a strong stance in support of human rights and against hate.
The fact that we had awards presented to Limestone Student Achiever this evening and traditional graduations in the next couple of weeks are a good reason for celebration. While not perfect, there is always much to celebrate. The completion of spring extracurriculars, full in-person graduations, school year-end celebrations, the resumption of field trips, and retirement celebrations are all worth celebrating, and I do not think anyone will ever take them for granted again.
I would also like to emphasize one other area for celebration. There is a report later this evening focusing on some system investments we made this year in the areas of the arts and technology. The investment the board made into secondary music and arts programs, and elementary artist in residence offerings has been very well received in the system. Here is some of the feedback we have received: first, Funding has supported secondary instrumental music classes to purchase instruments that have never been offered to students before. Many schools also updated their percussion options for students. Second, for the arts, cameras, drawing tablets, green screens, drama equipment like platforms, lighting, and equity focused resources were purchased. Thank you! And finally, a summary quote we heard from a teacher that I think says it all… “The Arts give these students a voice, which is something that they so desperately need coming out of the pandemic in a very turbulent and frustrating time to be a young person Thanks and gratitude from educators and students at our school.”
In closing, I want to offer my congratulations to all students graduating from Limestone and to staff entering their last couple of weeks of work with Limestone. There is much to be proud of in Limestone and I have a great deal of gratitude and humility in serving as its Director. Thank you also to the Board of Trustees for your continued collaboration, strong support of public education, and advocacy. While all of us around this table may not always agree on everything, I think we can all be proud of the way we conduct ourselves and work together for the betterment of Limestone. Thank you Chair Gingrich, I would now like to share a short video highlighting some of the items that were shared in our updates this evening to provide a small sampling of visuals showing that what we do makes a difference.
Program Policy Update
- Ontario eLearning Consortium is seeing growth in management of the program, waitlists, and extensive course offerings for students.
- In the final year three of FSL deliverables, including recruitment guide, FSL assessment tool and resource guide, and administrator support guide, doing case students of school boards.
- New SHSM for education and non-profit sector - completing surveys to offer certifications
- EDI Audit and Integrated Framework tracking actions was presented
- Five areas of work identified: governance/policy, education/leadership, data collection, outreach/advocacy, and recruitment
- Research underway - tools and application in Boards
- Post-election consideration of Minister and Ministry staff contracts
2022 OPSBA Awards:
- OPSBA Awards for presentation at President's Banquet
- Limestone's Trustee Judith Brown received the Dr. Harry Paikin Award
- Limestone's Dan Hendry and Louri Snider received OPSBA Achievement Awards
Proposed Constitutional and Bylaw Amendments:
- Extensive list of updates and adjustments to reflect Project Compass recommendations was approved.
Second Quarter Financial Update:
- Received and on track.
Meeting Dates for 2022-2023:
- Some adjustments were made for November dates.
- Joint Policy Development and Education Program work teams was on May 6, 2022
- Federal Advocacy event in Ottawa well received with 18 Minister/Secretary/Senator meetings on shared priorities in their mandates.
- Committees and projects advancing on Indigenous Education with contracted lead, EDI project deliverables, FSL data project, and research on impact of local voice.
- Congress July 6-8 in Saskatoon.
AGM and Elections - June 10, 2022:
- Cathy Abraham acclaimed as President 2022-2024
- Kathleen Woodcock elected as first Vice President
- Kathryn Pierroz elected as Second Vice President
- Susan Humphries acclaimed as Eastern Region Chair
- Karen McGregor acclaimed as Eastern Region Vice Chair
- Robin Hutcheon acclaimed to Policy Development Work Team
- Karen McGregor acclaimed to Education Program Work Team
Reports for Action - Administrative Report: Next Steps for the LDSB Strategic Plan (2017-2022)
The current strategic plan was developed in the 2016-2017 school year, and was launched in the 2017-2018 school year. The term of the current plan expires at the end of 2022. Historically, the strategic plan was extended to take into account timing and trustee elections. In addition, as trustees are aware, the pandemic has had a significant impact in each of the past three school years.
The cycle of reporting will continue with staff following up with Trustees in the fall of 2022 with an end-of-year report for 2021-2022 and areas of focus for 2022-2023. An extension of the plan for the 2022-2023 would result in a mid-year report in the spring of 2023, and an end-of-year report in the fall of 2023. This extension would also allow the new board to make a decision regarding the next evolution of the LDSB strategic plan and timing.
It was recommended that the Trustees extend the current strategic plan for the 2022-2023 school year with the goal of launching a strategic planning process in the 2023 calendar year.
Reports for Action - Administrative Report: 2023-2024, 2024-2025 Deficit Elimination Plan
For background, Section 231(1) of the Education Act states "A board shall not have an in-year deficit for a fiscal year unless, (a), a regulation made under subsection (2) authorizes the board to have an in-year deficit: or (b) the Minister approves the deficit in accordance with any regulations made under subsection (3)."
Ontario Regulation 280/19 allows for an exception to the requirement of a balanced budget providing that the board: (a) has sufficient accumulated surplus to fund the deficit, (b) has a deficit budget that is less than 1% of its operating revenues, and (c) the board submits a deficit elimination plan for approval.
It was recommended that the Board approve the 2023-2024, 2024-2025 Deficit Elimination Plan as outlined in Appendix A.
Reports for Information - Administrative Report: Surplus Funding Report
Instrumental Music/Arts Background
In November 2021, trustees approved $500 000 in surplus spending for secondary musical
instruments, arts programs, and the Artist in Residence Program. This support from Trustees
recognized the need for an infusion into the arts and secondary music programming, knowing arts funding has not been prioritized through the GSN in recent years, and budget feedback in the winter/spring of 2021 emphasized a desire for more arts funding. Once approved, funding was allocated to secondary schools for instrumental music programs with a base funding amount plus funding per section of instrumental music program the schools traditionally ran prior to the pandemic. Funding was also provided to secondary schools for arts purchasing, based on a per pupil allocation, and funding was allocated to the Artist in Residence Program for schools.
At the same time, Trustees also approved $500,000 in surplus spending for technology to purchase new student devices. Approximately $125,000 was also budgeted for upgrades to the Board Room to support hybrid Board and Committee meetings and hybrid professional learning sessions for staff.
Instrumental Music/Arts Current Status
Since receiving trustee approval in November, significant purchasing has occurred, putting hundreds of instruments into our secondary instrumental music classrooms, with hundreds of instruments also being repaired. New instruments began arriving in schools early this spring with much excitement from students and educators throughout the system. Over $300 000 was spent on musical instruments, with many schools purchasing core instruments such as flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, percussion instruments, and guitars. Flexibility was provided for schools to also make instrument purchases to enhance their programming based on their specific student needs. Such purchases included instruments such as euphoniums, baritone saxophones, tubas, violins, French horns, ukuleles and boomwhackers. This funding and flexibility have allowed schools to include instruments in their classrooms that they have not been able to provide for students previously.
Arts funding has been used for a variety of purchases within secondary schools, based on school needs. In total, almost $150 000 has been allocated and spent to support arts programming. Some examples of arts purchases to support programming includes:
- supports for drama classrooms and school-wide drama productions
- equipment for arts classrooms (plasma cutter, block print making equipment)
- sound recording and editing equipment (speakers, headphones, sound board, recording interface)
- equipment for photography classrooms
Approximately $50 000 was allocated to support the Artist in Residence Program, and it has been used to support a variety of learning opportunities for students throughout LDSB elementary and secondary schools. Some examples of learning opportunities supported by this funding include:
- Josiah: Live performance and workshop opportunities for secondary drama classes
- Multi-session equity-arts workshops through Artist in Residence programming (school-wide
- murals visually describing the word “community”, spoken word workshops, book creation and illustration, and exploring identity with shadow puppet play)
- Virtual Performance Series for students from K-12: Expanding Horizons: Sharing Stories
- Art Projects for students K-8: Expanding Horizons: Removing Barriers/Affirming Identities
Schools have used the arts funding to support their arts and music programming, and in many cases are able to provide new opportunities and experiences for students.
Technology Current Status
New student devices will be purchased before August 31 and allocated to schools in September 2022 to provide broader access to technology-enabled learning across the curriculum. Technology upgrades to the Board Room are near completion including the installation of Polycomm Eagle Eye cameras and microphone system. Several large screens were mounted around the perimeter of the room. New technology has improved the experience for those who join meetings and professional learning sessions remotely and for those who participate in-person. The streaming experience for public viewing has also improved. A temporary sound board is being used which operates at partial capacity while we await the correct sound board that has been on back order because of global supply shortages.
Reports for Information - Administrative Report: School Pedestrian Safety Working Group Recommendations
On February 16, 2022, City Council passed a motion directing City staff to establish a School Pedestrian Safety (SPS) Working Group composed of representatives from school boards, parent councils, Kingston Police, City staff, and City Council. The motion also instructed the Working Group to detail the findings and recommendations of the Working Group in a report to be presented to the City’s Environment, Infrastructure & Transportation Policies (EITP) Committee in June 2022.
Based on the input received from the public engagement and through discussions of the
Working Group members, the Working Group recommends the following:
- Strike a Panel to Assess and Prioritize School Transportation Safety Issues
That a structured assessment and decision-making process be developed and implemented to intake, review, assign, prioritize, and action arising school-related transportation issues by a new School Transportation Safety Panel comprised of staff of the school boards, City of Kingston, Kingston Police, KFL&A Public Health, and student transportation services.
- Implement Community Safety Zones and School Area Pilot Projects
That the City implement Community Safety Zones in a broader neighbourhood area combined with a school area speed limit reduction pilot at two locations (four schools) for Fall 2022. In addition, the city hopes to develop a plan to designate Community Safety Zones at all Kingston-area schools, to be implemented by Fall 2023.
- Establish a Formalized, Ongoing School Streets Program
That the Kingston-area school boards and the City of Kingston endorse the School Streets program and explore funding opportunities to allow for the expansion of the existing pilot program in partnership with the Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation (KCAT).
- Develop School Travel and Road Safety Education
That educational initiatives be developed for students, parents, motorists, and the broader public with a focus on improving road safety at schools and supporting increased active travel to school, acknowledging that road safety is a shared responsibility of all users.
- Prioritize Enforcement within School Areas
That Kingston Police commit to increased presence and enforcement of traffic laws in school areas, and that the City of Kingston explore opportunities to introduce Automated Speed Enforcement (i.e., photo radar) within newly established Community Safety Zones. Additionally, that the City of Kingston explore increases to the set fines associated with parking violations in school areas, such as violations related to the presence of vehicles in designated ‘No Stopping’ areas or ‘School Bus Loading Zones’.
LDSB is currently working with KFL&A Public Health to have an Active School Travel Charter.
The Active School Charter is a commitment to keep Active School Travel in mind when reviewing policy and completing school site planning, and committing to an annual assessment of active school travel at participating schools. This includes a commitment to participate in larger events like bike to school week, walking Wednesdays, or a commuter challenge.