Boardroom Briefs

Oct. 9, 2019 Meeting of LDSB Board of Trustees

Boardroom Briefs is intended to provide highlights of presentations, reports and decisions made at the regular meeting of the Limestone District School Board of Trustees. These briefs do not serve as the official record of the meeting. Please refer to Board minutes which are approved at the next regular meeting. Community members are also invited to follow along during live tweets of regular Board meetings using the hashtag #LDSBmtg.

Chair Report

Chair Suzanne Ruttan shares that it is welcome news that recent CUPE contract negotiations were successful and a tentative agreement has been reached. Limestone support staff are vital and important members to the education and welfare of our students. We appreciate and value all of the contributions CUPE members bring to public education. She indicates that the Ontario Public School Boards' Assocation (OPSBA), through which this Board of Trustees is represented, will continue to negotiate in good faith with unions representing teachers and other education workers, with the best interests of students in mind.

Presentation: Summer Learning Programs

Trustees received a presentation on the Board's optional summer learning programs, Camp Read-A-Lot and Count on Me. These programs have evolved to meet the needs of the students within the system, with a focus on student voice and data for achieving good outcomes for students.

The Read-A-Lot program has three blocks each day - phonics block, reading block and a writing block as well as independent reading and a read aloud every day. After three weeks, educators saw gains in each area.

The Count on Me math and robotics program provides targeted intervention for Grades 3-5 for proportional reasoning and mental math strategies - problem-solving and community are key outcomes. Over three weeks, 85% of students experienced growth.

OPSBA Report

Trustee Laurie French provided a general update to ongoing work regarding government relations and access to a political issues playbook which is under development. There is also advocacy work planned for public opinion polling to inform policy recommendations. An Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park is planned for November 25 and will include question period participation and meeting with local MPPs.

Trustee Karen McGregor and Trustee Robin Hutcheon speak about recent OPSBA

regional meeting focused on policy development and education programs. Trustee McGregor shares that the meeting included a presentation on Child & Youth Mental Health Disorders, a discussion with Sam Oosterhoff, MPP (Niagara West), Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education regarding eLearning exceptions and timelines for Accommodation Review. An Exemplary Practice Survey was also shared which included Limestone's work with skilled trades and apprenticeships.

Student Trustee Report

Student Trustee Jessica Crook attended first ever Working Group Co-Chair conference for the Ontario Student Trustees' Association as Student Advocacy Co-chair. The group discussed ideas including creation of a handbook for all Ontario students with an Individualized Education Program, or IEP.

The second InterSchool Council meeting to start planning events and student engagement opportunities for the school year is scheduled for next week. Trustee Annika Putnam shares that the Council will also discuss the recent motion to add an Indigenous Student Trustee and a program for women who are involved in student council and leadership roles throughout their school. InterSchool Council will also discuss having two youth representatives participate on local Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario.

Big picture

Report: Transit Pass Partnership

Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator Dan Hendry provides Trustees with an update on the Kingston Transit partnership with the City of Kingston which began in 2012 with a focus on Grade 9s.

Every student in city limits is provided with a free bus pass and orientation to teach students how use the bus, bus etiquette, how to access routes etc. and how to overcome barriers. Since 2012, the program has promoted student independence and removed socio-economic barriers of access to work, extra-curriculars, volunteering or hanging with friends. Students account for more than 600,000 rides annually.

The program is now a model for other municipalities across the country. The newest addition to the program is the Teacher Field Trip Pass - again, removing barriers related to transportation costs for those schools within city limits. In addition to cost savings, this offers more experiential learning activities for students.

Trustees ask if there could be an opportunity to eliminate some yellow school buses given increased ridership. Trustees request staff report on exploring this possibility.

Report: Student Identity Data Collection

Superintendent of Education Michele Babcock introduces Trustees to student identity data collection project. In 2017, the Ministry released the Ontario Education Equity Action Plan which outlines provincial framework for identifying & eliminating discriminatory practices & systemic barriers & bias from schools. One component includes data collection, integration and reporting.

Understanding student identity, lived experience and ability continue to be important in our efforts as educators to improve student achievement & well-being. A critical step to ensuring equity is to gain clearer understanding of who our students are and their experiences. The Board is planning to conduct an Identity-based Student Data Collection in the Spring of 2020. The Ministry is providing some funding through an application process to support this project.

Board staff will also be meeting with community partners and faith groups as well as various advisory committees. Superintendent Babcok underlines that knowing our students better will help us to create learning environments that are more responsive to the identity, lived experience, and ability of our students. This responsiveness will support improved student achievement and well-being.

Private Session Update

Private Session occurred prior to the Public Session on Oct. 9, 2019. Trustee Laurie French shared that confidential matters regarding safe schools, labour and Ontario Public School Boards' Association matters were discussed. There were no motions.

Limestone District School Board

The Board serves more than 19,000 elementary and secondary students in 60 schools and 8 education centres covering a geographic area of 7,719 square kilometres. To get in touch with your trustee, visit Meet Your Trustees.