September 20, 2023 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.
There was one presentation: Facility Services Summer Update by Manager of Facilities, D. Fowler and Assistant Manager of Facilities, C. Downie.
Overall, this summer, LDSB Facility Services had $21,308,744 in school condition and renewal funding, 290 projects, capital work at 55 schools, and added five new portables. Some highlights of the presentation are below. For more details, please visit the Board Meeting Twitter thread.
“Trustees, I would like to draw your attention to the Survivor flag flying at the Education Centre/board office as well as other schools, as an expression of remembrance and to honour residential school Survivors and all the lives and communities continuing to be impacted by the residential school system in what is now known as Canada.
All this month LDSB schools will display either the Every Child Matters Flag or the Survivors’ Flag, as an expression of remembrance.
This year, National Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation fall on Saturday, September 30, so schools will honour the day on Friday, September 29.
The Limestone District School Board has a commitment to both teaching and learning the truth, and taking strides towards meaningful action that reflects reconciliation and right relations with the Indigenous community in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington.
I would encourage everyone to learn more about the history of residential schools and engage in meaningful discussions about the effects of residential schools, the ongoing impact, and the legacy they have left behind.
We have much to celebrate at Limestone and I would like to take a moment to recognize a few significant achievements by students and staff.
Student Sekai Chikodzi was presented with the City of Kingston Youth Volunteerism Award at the Kingston’s Intercultural Arts Festival. This LCVI student was recognized for amplifying the voices of Black and racialized students and creating spaces for their experiences in the school environment. She planned several activities during Black History and Futures Month in February, including a Black Panel of Excellence.
And Liv Rondeau, Vice-Principal of Indigenous Education is one of the Inaugural Kingston Young Professionals 40 Under 40 award winners announced by Kingston Economic Development for her dedication ‘...to creating spaces within education and the community that allow Indigenous peoples to connect to language, culture and each other...’
- Robin Hutcheon, Chair
“Good evening, Trustees, and the viewing public. Overall, and all things considered, I am very pleased to report that Limestone has had a very positive start to the 2023-2024 school year. While there is always room for improvement, it is amazing to see everything come together with over 20,000 students and almost 3,000 staff starting the school year in 60 Limestone sites and virtual school.
Preliminary enrolment numbers show growth within the Limestone community with an increase in both elementary and secondary students. Today was Day 12 of the 2023-2024 school year for students, and it has been wonderful to have students back in schools and to see various activities like sports, clubs, field trips, and great learning already underway helping to support the overall Limestone student experience. We must all recognize and have great gratitude for the time and efforts of staff and community members to make all of these extracurricular activities a reality for students. Later this week, I will be starting my visits to schools, and I greatly look forward to seeing, hearing, and feeling the energy and excitement of learning and fun in schools.
"It is amazing to see everything come together with over 20,000 students and almost 3,000 staff starting the school year in 60 Limestone sites and virtual school." - Director Burra
Earlier today in downtown Kingston, there was a protest and counter-protest focusing on a perceived lack of respect for parent rights. While we have legal responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code, as a school board, and cannot accept any hate in schools, we must be conscious of the feelings of alienation and lack of faith in public institutions that exists for some people in the communities we serve. Like in so many other areas in education and society at large, as members of the community, we must continue to emphasize the importance of respecting differences in perspective and being open to dialogue to the maximum extent possible. However, as I indicated in messaging yesterday to families and staff in response to the planned demonstrations: we want to make it unequivocally clear that Limestone stands in support of all protected grounds of the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Ontario Human Rights Code is not a checklist where some grounds outweigh others, and the protected grounds include gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. We stand with all students, staff, and families, in protecting all grounds under the Code. It is important to remember that the Code is the law in Ontario, and we have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that it is upheld.
Trustees may have noticed the orange “Survivors’ Flag” flying on the second flagpole at the Education Centre. Schools with a second flagpole are doing the same, and schools without a flagpole, the orange flag is prominently on display in the school. I should note that schools also prominently displayed the Pride Progress flag inside or just outside of their buildings today, and you may have noticed this flag in the foyer window. Looking ahead to the next 10 days, a wide range of activities will be taking place in schools and the community to honour Orange Shirt Day, and the third annual National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Saturday, September 30. This day will be recognized in Limestone on Friday, September 29. This is a critical date to recognize the harm and trauma of the Residential Schools system, to honour the survivors and their families, and continue our collective learning and journey of reconciliation. Schools continue to have a critical role in supporting this journey and ensuring the truth is known about residential schools and their legacy in Canada.
In the next couple of weeks, we will be kicking off the annual United Way of KFL&A campaign in Limestone. I invite all Trustees to join this effort. As an incentive to Limestone employees, I will again be contributing $1 for every staff member who provides a one-time, or regular, payroll deduction to support the campaign. No amount is too little, and every dollar matters in supporting some of the most vulnerable children, youth, and families in the communities we serve. With almost 3,000 employees in Limestone, I am hoping to contribute almost $3,000 to this year’s campaign.
Finally, I would like to bring to Trustees’ attention to the professional learning focus we have launched in Limestone for the 2023-2024 school year. At this stage of the pandemic, we must continue to hone our craft to best serve students. While this work will not be completed this year, I think it is critical to highlight its importance in ensuring schools are making a difference for all students today, and into their futures. We need all Limestone students to find purpose in school, to find value in school, and to find hope in school. We know this is not the case for all students. While we do have to track, monitor, and report on the 11 indicators in the provincial Student Achievement Plan, we must continue to centre those students in the margins who are currently underserved, and not currently finding success. As a result, our system focus this year for professional learning, continues to centre our attention on students, and continuing the work we started last September focused on three inquiry questions: First, for whom is the current education system not working and why? Second, how do I/we know? And third, what can I/we try to do differently to make a difference? It is only through improving outcomes at the individual student level will we see macro-level improvement on the province’s three core priorities and the Student Achievement Plan.
As just one example of the commitment of LDSB educators to this critical work, we had over 200 educators sign-up for professional learning focused on early reading and the new curriculum in the first eight hours the learning was made available for registration. All educators want to make a difference in the lives and destinies of children and youth. Our continued journey of inquiry will focus our collective efforts. I look forward to more discussion and updates regarding our progress in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.”
- Krishna Burra, Director of Education
Student Trustee Report
The first Inter Student Council (ISC) meeting was held on September 12 at La Salle Secondary School. Student Trustees O’Keefe, Wang and Eckloff were in attendance.
During ISC, a brainstorming session was held where groups of council members talked about their goals, ideas and objectives for their schools this term.
Students talked about similar engagement issues and came up with creative ideas and methods to bring students together.
Student Trustees also asked each council member to write a letter to their future selves and to write down the changes they want to see in their schools, events they would like to run, what they are looking forward to in their term and lastly give themselves advice on how to be a successful co-president and how to measure success in themselves and their school.
Reports for Information
Virtual School Updates
Presented by Stephanie Sartor, Associate Superintendent of Education. The full report is available in the Board Meeting Agenda Package on Pages 25-27.
The purpose of this report is to provide Trustees with an update on the status of Elementary Virtual School and Secondary Virtual School.
The following table displays the enrolment in elementary and secondary virtual school from the onset of the pandemic to the end of the 2022-2023 school year:
Elementary Virtual School
Elementary Virtual School
There are currently 119 students enrolled in Elementary Virtual School (50 LDSB students, 37 RCDSB students and 32 KPRDSB students), spread amongst six classes as follows:
Secondary Virtual School
There are currently 115 students enrolled in Secondary Virtual School (110 LDSB students, 5 KPRDSB students). The breakdown by grade is captured in the table below.
Grades 9 and 10 students are taking a combination of Grade 9 and/or Grade 10 credits in a set timetable with other students from LDSB, while students in Grades 11 and 12 are enrolled in credits through the Ontario eLearning Consortium (OeLC) for which LDSB is a member board. Elementary Virtual School and Secondary Virtual School are supervised by the Principal and Vice-Principal of the Katarokwi Learning Centre and Alternative and Continuing Education.
LDSB will continue to seek input from the students, staff and communities and will support the continued collaboration and partnership that has been fostered with RCDSB and KPRDSB.
Presented by Jessica Silver, Superintendent of Education. The full report is available in the Board Meeting Agenda Package on Pages 28-30.
The purpose of this report is to update Trustees on revisions to Elementary and Secondary curriculum, effective September 2023.
Curriculum is developed by the Ministry of Education in consultation with education stakeholders and partners. It has mandatory learning expectations (what students must learn) and optional teaching supports (tools and information that teachers may use to help students learn). It also includes information about Ministry policies related to student learning (e.g., assessment, evaluation and reporting, special education, equity and inclusive education policies).
During the 2022-2023 school year, the Ministry of Education announced a number of Curriculum and Course revisions planned for release and implementation in the 2023-2024 school year, including Grades 1-8 Social Studies, History and Geography Curriculum; Grades 1-8 Language Curriculum; Grade 9 Destreamed English (ENL1W); Grade 10 Digital Technology and Innovations in the Changing World (ICD2O); Mental Health Curriculum; and Technology Curriculum.
School Climate Survey
Presented by Patty Gollogly, Associate Superintendent of Education. The full report is available in the Board Meeting Agenda Package on Pages 31-32.
The purpose of this report is to provide the Board of Trustees with an update on the upcoming school climate survey.
School boards are required to conduct school climate surveys at least once every two years as one way to gather data that supports creating a positive school climate. School climate may be defined as, “the learning environment and relationships found within a school and school community. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, included, and accepted, and actively promote positive behaviours and interactions.
It should be noted that Limestone has conducted school climate surveys for almost 15 years.
A school climate survey will be available to students in Grades 4 to 12 in late November-December 2023. The goal of this anonymous survey is to collect student voice regarding their perspectives on the school climate in their school. This school-based data will provide indicators related to site-specific perceptions on safety and bullying, pathways and transitions, achievement and learning, human rights and equity, mental health and substance use, and overall sense of belonging. This information will enable schools to create responsive, site-specific, equity actions to cultivate a more equitable and inclusive school climate.
On the November 10, 2023, PA Day, school staff will have an opportunity to review the survey in advance and provide any feedback for consideration, prior to the board-wide rollout. Families and students will receive information about the school climate survey in mid-November. Students will be provided with class time to complete the survey which is estimated to take about 10 minutes. Answers will remain anonymous and only aggregate data will be shared with schools to support school climate goals.
Next Board Meeting
Limestone District School Board
Location: 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, ON, Canada