October 26, 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.
Private Session Report
Trustee Elliot was called upon to Rise and Report from Private Session. Private session minutes were approved. A safety update was provided and a labour update was discussed that resulted in a motion being passed regarding labour contingencies. No other business was conducted.
I would like to extend appreciation to all candidates who ran to become a Trustee of the Limestone District School Board. We appreciate your active commitment to the democratic process, to the students and staff of the Limestone District School Board, and to the improvement of public education in Ontario.
Congratulations to those individuals who were successful in their candidacy. As elected officials, trustees must balance the demands of the community with the duties required by the Ministry of Education. This can be challenging and takes dedicated leadership coupled with a willingness to seek innovative ideas and the courage to implement them. The new board of trustees will start the new term of office on November 15.
Tonight’s Board meeting marks the close of the fourth and final year of this Board’s term in office. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Trustees for the work we have done this year representing our constituents and ensuring students at the Limestone District School Board receive quality public education.
The term has not been without its challenges, including supporting teaching and learning through a pandemic, and although extremely difficult at times to balance pressures, trustees remained focused on student achievement and well-being.
I am proud of the work we have done and thank each of you for coming together, at the end of the day, in a spirit of harmony and co-operation in spite of differences of opinion, and intense and lengthy discussions around this horseshoe.
As this year ends, may we take a moment to be thoughtful and acknowledge some of the achievements attained over the term, including:
- Navigating and continuing to manage the delivery of education through the COVID-19 pandemic
- The opening of Kingston Secondary School and Module Vanier
- Establishing the community Equity Advisory Committee and the Umoja Black Advisory Committee
- Launch of the Human Rights Reporting Form for students and staff
- A continued focus on anti-racism work and equity and inclusion with the administration of the first-ever Student Census
- The election of the first Indigenous Student Trustee
- Major labour disruptions in the first year of the term
- The renaming of Ecole Maple Elementary School
- Unanimous vote for an Indigenous Trustee appointed to the board
- New mental health and substance use strategy
On behalf of this Board of Trustees, I wish to acknowledge the leadership of retired Director Debra Rantz and Director Krishna Burra, along with Limestone’s Senior Staff over the last four years, for the development and delivery of initiatives that support student transitions, career paths, character development, and interventions that ensure success for all students.
Please accept our heartfelt thanks for always being student-focused, and for supporting all of us through this term. Through all of this, Trustees remained focused on making decisions that effectively served all students.
The following are highlights of the Director's Report:
Good evening trustees and the viewing public. We have been very fortunate in our area to be enjoying some fantastic weather the past few days. Having visited a few schools this week and attending a couple of events: the KSS Leadership Camp, and the official Grand Opening/Beginning of the Loughborough PS Teaching Kitchen and Greenhouse; it is clear that educators and students have been taking advantage of learning opportunities outdoors. In addition, I look forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the outdoor tennis and pickleball courts at NDSS later this week.
We are also at the point of the year where Elementary Athletics have wrapped up fall seasons and have started late fall/winter extracurricular activities, and secondary athletics have already started, or will be starting, playoffs very shortly. I know I stated this last month, but feedback from students and staff has been resoundingly positive that all of these types of activities have been able to continue, or have resumed for younger learners to start the 2022-2023 school year.
I am happy to report that thus far Limestone has achieved 80% of our target of $50,000 for United Way fundraising this fall. We are hopeful that we will exceed our goal in the coming weeks as the campaign concludes. We all know that these funds are essential in supporting some of the most vulnerable children, youth, and families in the Limestone community.
In the next couple of days, an update will be sent to families sharing a range of information including the following items: we will again be sharing information for accessing tutoring services and information related to ventilation in each building. In addition, we will also be sharing e-learning opt out information for secondary students, an update regarding the election outcome and the addition of an Indigenous Trustee, an update on the progress in working with the student census data, a reminder for people of the public health guidance regarding masking for 10 days after the onset of illness, and a labour update ensuring clarity for families around which employees within Limestone fall under the CUPE umbrella.
As trustees are aware, CUPE employees in Limestone encompass all clerical staff, custodial staff, EAs, ECEs, maintenance staff, library technicians at secondary, and most of Information Technology Services. We are hopeful that the provincial parties involved in bargaining can arrive at a fair agreement and avert any potential job action. As the media has reported, CUPE will be in a legal strike position toward the end of next week. Given all of the critical and highly valued roles CUPE encompasses in Limestone, there is no question operational viability in Limestone would be challenged to different extents depending on whether we experience a partial or full withdrawal of services.
I would like to express congratulations to the incumbent trustees who were re-elected earlier this week. I look forward to continuing to work with you to best serve students, families, and staff in Limestone. For several months we have known that we would be saying goodbye to Trustees French and Gingrich when we start the new term of the Board in mid-November. I know more will be said to acknowledge them later in the meeting. As the chair has indicated, this current board has accomplished some very significant work. While more work remains, it is critical to pause and reflect on the positive accomplishments that have been achieved. I am confident that as a Board we can continue to make progress to better serve students, families, and staff as we move into the next term of office.
Thank you Chair Ruttan, that concludes my report.
Student Trustee Report
Tuesday October 18th’s Interschool Council Meeting Minutes:
This meeting was the first in-person event in three years. Although this forum had a
hybrid participation, most school representatives attended in person and several
members participated virtually. It was great to discuss face-to-face our meeting items,
such as school initiatives, goals for the year, and new student engagement. At this
interschool council meeting, we extended an invitation to Indigenous school
representatives to ensure their direct participation, provide a platform to share ideas,
and have a greater Indigenous voice at the Interschool council level and incorporate
best practices of the Indigenous culture within different schools around the board. The
environment and tone of the discussion were very positive and productive and each
school representative was eager to participate.
As a group we facilitated a round-table discussion about our goals and initiatives for this
school year. For the month of October/ November, schools are working on Halloween
spirit days, pep-rallys and dances to bring back the school spirit.
- NDSS is starting their Hogwart’s teams points system where teams are split up by grade and work together to compete against different activities and challenges
- LCVI is running a clothing drive for Ukrainian refugees and LaSalle is running a food drive through the Greenwood neighbourhood to collect non-parishable items from the community to give back to the less fortunate in the community
- Bayridge Environmental Club shared their Green school initiative with the student council and noted the positive impact that having an outdoor classroom, “food forest” and green eating area on the property has had on students
All schools outlined that they are working collaboratively to increase engagement and
encourage grade 9 students to get involved in their schools. One of the post-pandemic
trends seen at schools is a lack of representation in younger grades since the students
did not get to experience being introduced to student council and other different school
clubs that are available at schools. Representatives have discussed that they would like
to increase the accessibility of programs to different grades by running initiatives fairs
and establishing a communication system for students to communicate and provide
feedback to the student council about their events.
We had a discussion about the different practices that our respective schools use for
playing the Canadian anthem. Some schools have designated days where they do not
play the anthem in order to provide an opportunity for students to reflect on the negative
legacy of the residential school system. Other schools have decided not to play the
anthem on the Truth and Reconciliation day/week. There is one school that plays the
Canadian anthem regularly and allocates some time after the anthem for the students to
reflect on the past wrongs committed in the residential school system or brings in
speakers who share their experience of being part of the residential school system.
There are also schools that play the Canadian anthem regularly.
As a committee, we had a discussion of the timing of our interschool meetings and
incorporated the member's feedback to adjust our online meetings to coincide lunch
break and to schedule our in-peron meetings in the first half of the day so that we could
minimize the class attendance disruptions and encourage consistent participation at
meeting for all school representatives.
OSTA-AECO Conference Update:
This past week, all student trustees attended the fall student OSTA-AECO Conference
in Toronto. As one of the first items in the conference, we discussed many relevant and
interesting items including the including the OSTA-AECO mission and vision statements
and discussed the strategy for strengthening student voice and working collaboratively,
while using the student survey results from previous years to form this year’s strategies
for student engagement and success.
The province's Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, briefly participated at the meeting
discussing the government’s goals which included the gradual approach of changing the
education system for the better (modernization of the curriculum), strengthening equity
and strengthening Northern school communities including providing schools with
internet, necessary resources and student services. He also talked about the focus on
providing a variety of school courses to rural schools so that students' career pathway
and course options are not limited as a result of their geographical location. Lecce
described his focus on student well-being and mental health services, particularly in the
OSTA-AECO encourages collaboration among student trustees through many different
working groups. For example, the Indigenous relations working groups that I am part of
will work with the environmental group on several projects. As part of our Indigenous
relations working groups, we discussed how our board is advancing Indigenous
education. I outlined to the working group's members what our school is doing to
support Indigenous students and make their school experience a positive one. I spoke
about our Indigenous Leadership Council, having Indigneous reps at Interschool
Council, having the addition of the Indigneous Trustee role, running support initiatives
such as Indigneous knowledge-sharing and the alternative education program for
self-identified Indigenous students to approach learning through a traditional approach.
We had a representative from the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association
(OPHEA) and she spoke of the importance of mental health support for students. I
found this speaker and presentation to be the most informative and relevant from this
conference as she demonstrated that she was very passionate and knowledgeable of
the field she works in. I met with her after her presentation and we spoke about our
family histories and exchanged contacts. She would be a great resource for any school
initiatives related to mental health in the future.
OPBSA Report by Trustee Karen McGregor
Highlights of Meeting
- Request by OPSBA to have Trustees customize the Land Acknowledgement. It would be nice if they read the OPSBA acknowledgement then added a few personal comments of their own
- Susan Humphries (Eastern Rep) brought forward concerns about “Code of Conduct”. Does OPSBA have a role to define what conduct is, the consequences (sanctions being consistent) and the release of information about sanctions being made public
- Property Assessment Scholarship ends this year. Would OPSBA consider taking on this project to ensure students in need would have a better opportunity?
- Northern Rep – Critical shortage of bus drivers
- Peel- Dire need of EAs and this is negatively affecting students with special needs
- Peel working with U of T to offer incentive to youth with barriers interested in pursuing teaching. They will graduate high school with one university credit
- Canadian Cancer Society running a contest “On Your Feet”. Schools are sent a complete kit and the prizes are excellent. https://defiactivetespieds.ca
- PES could see as many as 50% turnover of Trustees after the election so good opportunity to get orientation and training. Keynote Chief Cadmus Delorme
- Letter sent from OPSBA to request the Ministry extend electronic meetings until the end of the year
- Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park and meetings with MPPs. Reception Queen’s Park Monday, November 28th
- Election issues- Inconsistencies amongst municipalities regarding processes for registering etc (lot of confusion)
- Directors watched Module #20 A Journey Towards Truth & Reconciliation
- Directors wore orange shirts in support of National Truth & Reconciliation Day
- OPSBAs Election Promotion Phase 1 reached 646,000 people. 2677 followed up with requests for additional information. Phase 2 will promote getting people out to vote
ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT: STRATEGIC PLAN – END-OF-YEAR REPORT 2021-2022
Under the Education Act, the Director must review the Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) annually with the Board of Trustees. This occurs in the fall to capture the previous year. To assist Trustees with their ongoing monitoring, a spring update is provided using a ‘traffic light’ system to evaluate the progress of specific actions, which were designed to operationalize the achievement of our strategic goals. A semi-annual assessment allows staff to make adjustments to ensure that the MYSP goals remain on track. The mid-year update on the MYSP was provided at the May 2022 Board Meeting.
At the Board Meeting of October 26, 2022, Senior Staff will present an end-of-school-year Strategic Action Plan – 2021 - 2022 (attached), focusing on some highlights not previously captured in reports shared with the board over the course of the 2021-2022 year. Trustees will note that progress was made in many areas, but progress was uneven, particularly in areas where we were unable to engage in professional learning based on the stage of the pandemic and/or staffing shortages among occasional/casual staff.
Senior staff will also review the Strategic Action Plan Evaluation Framework: 2017-2022 (attached) employing the same traffic light system. Each outcome will be assessed as to its status, five years into a five-year plan. The Evaluation Framework has been included to assist the Board in tracking progress of goals. Multiple data sets and evidence are used to evaluate the progress toward the desired outcomes. At the June 15, 2022 Board Meeting, Trustees extended the current strategic plan for an additional year. Historically the strategic plan was extended to take into account timing and trustee elections, and obviously the ongoing pandemic significantly impacted the preceding three school years.
We will continue to provide Trustees with updates to the areas of focus through reports shared as part of Board and Education and Policy Operations Committee (EPOC) agendas throughout the extension of the Strategic Plan through the 2022-2023 school year. Last year’s overview is attached mapping the strategic plan to specific meetings/committees.