School Board appoints new CFO . . .

Jeremy Hobbs
Jeremy Hobbs

Tuesday, Dec. 10th - The current Superintendent of Human Resources and Operational Services Jeremy Hobbs has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for the Upper Canada District School Board.  Director of Education Stephen Sliwa announced last week that Superintendent Hobbs will fully transition into this role in February 2020. Trustees confirmed his appointment at the organizational meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 4th. 

     “Jeremy is an accomplished business executive, having accumulated a range of administrative experiences since joining our board in 2004,” said Sliwa. “We believe he will do an exceptional job in his new role.” 

     “I’m very excited to begin,” said Superintendent Hobbs. “The finance team is strong and I expect to learn from them as I support their work. I’m grateful for the confidence and trust the Board of Trustees has placed in me.” 

     As part of his promotion, Mr. Hobbs will perform the duties of the Executive Superintendent of Business Services, overseeing finance, purchasing, student transportation, occupational health and safety, community use of schools, planning, information technology and facilities as part of his portfolio. 

     Superintendent Hobbs joined the board as Chief Information Officer in 2004. He assumed responsibilities for facilities operations and design and construction in 2007, and then added the human resources portfolio in 2014. His work has advanced the business operations of the Board in several ways including the introduction of a communications and online payments system for parents and a record of on-time and on-budget capital projects including construction. 

     Superintendent Hobbs replaces former Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Robert Backstroms. 


Board discussions, Wednesday, Nov. 27th . . .

Update on Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness

        A team led by Superintendents Ron Ferguson and Bill Loshaw updated the Board of Trustees on the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (BIPSAW). The plan outlines how the UCDSB is improving student wellness, and helping student achieve in the key areas of literacy and mathematics.

        Chief Psychologist Dr. David Armstrong spoke on the success that has been realized in promoting student wellness and the continued work that will be done to support student mental health and reduce stress.

        The plan outlines training for teachers in social- emotional learning activities, and use of tools such as MindMasters2 and Kids Have Stress Too!. Staff will also continue to receive training in suicide prevention, and schools have been supplied visual interactive resources on where to access mental health support for their students.

        In mathematics, the goals are to build student understanding of numbers and ensure pupils progress to using more efficient strategies. Staff explained that the BIPSAW plan will focus on the fundamentals of mathematics, providing students engaging learning experiences, and infusing math into all areas of the curriculum.

        Under the literacy portion of the plan, staff explained that teachers will be encouraged to continue to create engaging learning experiences, match and align instructional strategies that best support individual students in reading and writing, and improve assessment and feedback practices so students can learn.

Common Assessment Schedule to Support Student Learning

        Superintendents Jeremy Hobbs and Ron Ferguson updated trustees on the Common Assessment Schedule to Support Student Learning. The pilot project was a response to recent culture survey results, which showed elevated stress levels among students. The pilot took place at Almonte District High School, Char-Lan District High School, North Dundas District High School, and Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute between January and June of 2019. Teachers and principals accessed “grade level calendars” through Office 365 and used these calendars to see when other teachers had assignments due. Knowing that allowed them to spread assignment deadlines out to reduce pressure on students, in turn lowering stress levels.

        Feedback indicated that teachers who consistently used the service saw its potential for balancing student workload and for cross-curricular planning.

2018-19 Graduation Rate Report

        Superintendent David Coombs presented the annual report on the graduation rate, informing that the UCDSB preliminary graduation rate for 2018-19 is estimated at 86.6 per cent – 3.4 per cent away from the Board’s 2020 goal of a 90 per cent graduation rate. Of students from the 2015/16 cohort slated to graduate this June, the board will need 1731 graduates to reach the board’s long-term goal.

        The board continues to work towards that long-term goal through several actions including: establishing a district-wide model of school-based Grad Coaches to help struggling students, aligning the work of system-based Grad Coaches with school-based Grad Coaches and student support teams, supporting differentiated instruction, and expanding use of the Prior 

Learning Assessment and Review process and Specialist High Skills Major Program to help students succeed.

Director’s Award of Merit

         Director Stephen Sliwa announced the winners of the Director’s Award of Merit. These awards are presented to employees who bring the best of themselves to the workplace on a regular basis throughout the year, contributing to a positive, productive, and caring workplace in which employees support each other to achieve important goals for serving and supporting our students and schools. The most recent winners are: Debbie Connell, elementary office administrator, Centennial ’67 

Public School; Naomi Gadbois, elementary teacher Pleasant Corners Public School; Jim Lamoureux, elementary teacher, Bridgewood Public School, Jason Perkins, elementary teacher, Westminster Public School; Casie Jones, Labour Relations 

Specialist, Brockville Board Office; Julie Symonds, vice principal of special education/Section 23, East Regional Education Centre; and Ryan Winter, secondary teacher, Glengarry District High School. Recipients of this award will receive a framed 

certificate, presented to them during the Board’s Celebration Night in June 2020, and their name and photo will be featured as part of a display at the Board Office. 


Students present Rainbow Youth forum . . .

Members of the Russell High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance club present at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Rainbow Youth Forum.
Members of the Russell High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance club present at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Rainbow Youth Forum.

Monday, Nov 25th – Students from Russell High School discussed the unique challenges of running Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs in rural schools during a presentation at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Rainbow Youth Forum, held earlier this month.

The forum is an annual event that brings together community partners, students, teachers and administrators to discuss two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues. The forum encourages safe and inclusive school environments by providing an opportunity to enhance knowledge and awareness about equity and diversity issues.

        RHS students Ethan Oriwol and Carey Coté led a workshop on the challenges faced by GSA clubs in rural areas, including being distant from community agencies, activities, and other resources often located in urban areas.

        The pair said GSA clubs could assist with these struggles by serving three functions – acting as a social club, a support group, and an education and activist club. Social club activities can range from getting together for an hour a week to talk with like- minded students, to having a pot luck lunch. In the support group function, these clubs provide students a safe space to discuss problems they may be having at school or in the community with others who may have experienced similar situations.

        In the third function, these clubs can assist in increasing education and activism. The RHS students encouraged forum attendees to have, for example, information tables through their clubs to mark events such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance or Pink Shirt Day.

        Students and staff attending the day participated in a variety of workshops and presentations that built knowledge and understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, as well as homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.


BCI Enviro Club members attend 11th Annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit . . .

Wednesday, Nov. 20th – Members of Brockville Collegiate Institute’s new Enviro Club attended the 11th Annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit in Tupper Lake, New York. 

        The summit, held Nov. 6 and 7, focused on the danger of climate change and ways youth can address it. 

Club members learned about global warming and explored how to mobilize their school and communities to take action through energy reduction campaigns, climate action projects and other efforts. 

        “I want to educate people about what’s really going on, the impacts of what they’re doing, and encourage them to take action,” said Enviro Club member Danielle Storey, who attended the event along with peers Prutha Patel, Megan McKenna, Meiling Segal and Lukas Redmond. The conference offered a variety of workshops on climate change.

        Students learned the full extent of the problem from Dr. Curt Stager, a biologist at Paul Smith’s College. Stager discussed its impact on the environment, and the science behind it. In other workshops, students discussed the dangers of plastic waste and how to upcycle it, and discovered ways to work with municipalities to launch environmental initiatives. They also learned how to test and reduce energy consumption in their school using Energy Efficient Action Plans. 

        Club members returned from the conference with new ideas on how to make BCI greener. Members hope to start small with a renewed recycling effort at the school, starting with paper. They are also seeking a vegetable garden on BCI grounds to teach students the value of growing their own food, or buying produce locally to reduce their carbon footprint. 

        The members that attended the Adirondack summit are also helping the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Climate Action Team organize a similar event for area high school students in April 2020. 


'Just Us Day' is huge success . . .

Remembrance Day Reflection . . .

        Director of Education John Cameron presented a video slideshow sharing the Remembrance Day activities which took place in CDSBEO schools. Schools participated in many services to honour those who serve, or have served, our country, including Eucharistic celebrations, visits to cenotaphs, guest speakers, school assemblies and presentations. The video has been posted on the CDSBEO website at www.cdsbeo.on.ca. 

 

Just-Us Youth Day 2019 . . .

        The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario hosted its annual Just-Us Youth Day on Tuesday, Nov. 5th, a symposium for nearly 250 Grade 10 students from across the Board’s ten secondary schools. The day gives students an opportunity to learn about the good work being done by not-for-profit organizations and individuals committed to social justice initiatives. Each year the presentations are developed around a theme; this year’s theme was “Water for All,” a call for students to consider the significance of water as a resource and necessity for life.

        Catholic Student Trustee, Josephine Purcell, along with Will Menard, student senate member from St. Thomas Aquinas CHS, outlined the specifics of the day, which acts to inspire students to become informed and act on social justice causes. Students began the morning with a liturgy, followed by a keynote address by Jacob Moon.

 

Josephine Purcell and Will Menard . . .
Josephine Purcell and Will Menard . . .

        “CDSBEO students were truly blessed to host Jacob Moon at this year’s Just-Us Youth Day,” began Student Trustee Purcell, adding, “Not only is Jacob a wonderful musician, he also brought forward a truly inspirational message about his personal experiences with involvement in social justice initiatives.” 

        “Students attended workshops in the afternoon, which delved deeper into the water theme,” noted Will Menard. The students were given practical ways they can make a difference on a local and international level. Water Rangers, hosted an interactive session which challenged students to consider water chemistry, water testing, and issues affecting water.     

        Development and Peace provided a thoughtful session which used video clips, activities and discussion to reflect on Catholic social teaching and water as a human right and a sacred gift that should not be exploited for profit. Ryan’s Well shared the inspiring story of founder Ryan Hreljac and facilitated an interactive workshop to teach students about the global water crisis, and Jacob Moon shared how faith can be a source of hope. 

        The day was organized and facilitated at all levels by the Catholic Student Senate and the Department of Religious and Family Life Education. The Senate has representation from all CDSBEO Catholic secondary schools under the leadership of Trustee Purcell. The planning and organizing of the event gave the students an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills. 

        Trustee Purcell noted, “I’m so proud I was able to be part of such a great day. Witnessing our Student Senate work together to ensure that this day ran smoothly was certainly a highlight for me. The keynote speaker and the session leaders have inspired all of us to put our faith into action.” 

        “Students in our school system are constantly encouraged to live as examples of our Catholic faith. Students and staff of the CDSBEO are truly social justice warriors.” Purcell said.

        “You are certainly great ambassadors for our Board, and on behalf of Trustees I would like to thank you Trustee Purcell and the Student Senate, for your leadership with this event,” concluded Chair Lalonde. 

 

CDSBEO Week 2019 . . .

        CDSBEO Week began in 2018, as an opportunity for schools to give special focus to carrying out random acts of kindness and living the Board spiritual theme Be Holy – Joy springs from a loving heart! Schools took the opportunity to hold special assemblies, food drives, present awards, host special gatherings and lunches, and carry out other initiatives centred around love and kindness to support CDSBEO Week. 

        “This is a week that I am very proud of and the last two years we have seen our theme come alive in our schools. The caring, the love, the compassion, and the empathy that is shown by our staff and by our students to each other, is nothing short of amazing,” noted Director of Education John Cameron, “I am so proud to see all of these great activities and thoughtful initiatives which instill a culture of care in our schools.” 

        The presentation concluded with a photo slideshow highlighting some of the CDSBEO Week events and initiatives. The video has been posted on the CDSBEO website at www.cdsbeo.on.ca


2019 Upper Canada Cup Cross-Country Championships

Thousand Islands schools win it all . . .

Wednesday, Oct.  30th (Brockville, ON) – More than 1,200 students from schools across the  Upper Canada District School Board competed Tuesday, October 29 at the 2019 Upper Canada Cup Cross-Country Championships. Thousand Islands Secondary School won the banner for top intermediate team, while  Thousand Islands Elementary School took the junior team title.

        “This is such a great event because it gets our kids active,” said Convener Adam Cross. “Students come out from across the board to compete and it shows them just how fun being active is. It's also a great feeling for us to see the kids come across the line with a smile on their faces or holding their hands up to say they did it.”

Top competitors at the event included:

1st Place

Grade 4 Boys’ Championship

Luke Henderson

Wellington Elementary School 

1st Place

Grade 4 Girls’ Championship

Carly Alexander

Lombardy Public School

1st Place

Grade 5 Boys’ Championship

Riley Dwyre

South Crosby Public School

1st Place

Grade 5 Girls’ Championship

Ayla Griffith

Chimo Elementary School

1st Place

Grade 6 Boys’ Championship

Drake Sled

Lyn Public School

1st Place

Grade 6 Girls’ Championship

Lilly Burke

Lombardy Public School

1st Place

Grade 7 Boys’ Championship

Lukas Leroux

North Grenville District High School

1st Place

Grade 7 Girls’ Championship

Amy Collins

North Grenville District High School

1st Place

Grade 8 Boys’ Championship

Caden Turcotte

Thousand Islands Secondary School

1st Place

Grade 8 Girls’ Championship

Mercedez Covey

Thousand Islands Secondary School

For a full list of race results, please visit  www.sportstats.ca.

Carleton Place girls take soccer crown . . .

The Carleton Place High School girls team beat North Grenville District High School to win the 2019 Upper Canada Cup Girls  Soccer Championship
The Carleton Place High School girls team beat North Grenville District High School to win the 2019 Upper Canada Cup Girls  Soccer Championship

Monday, Oct. 28th – Thousand Islands Secondary School (TISS) is the 2019 Upper Canada Cup Boys Soccer Champion, while the 2019 Upper Canada Cup Girls Soccer Champion is Carleton Place High School (CPHS). Both teams played against North Grenville District High School (NGDHS) in their respective finals on Tuesday, October 22 at Beckwith Park. 

        The TISS Pirates defeated NGDHS 4-2. The Pirates jumped off to a 2-0 lead in the first half. Midfielder Isaiah Beckstead scored on a well-placed shot, just inside the right post from the top of the 18-yard box. TISS Striker Gavin Clarke later sent a left-footed shot in the same area of the net. With eight minutes left in the first, North Grenville mid-fielder Owen Smithers slipped a shot past TISS goaltender Garrett Grandia to make it 2-1 at the half. 

        North Grenville started with the ball in the second and striker Lukas Leroux capitalized, tying the game with an in-close shot. With 10 minutes remaining, Beckstead fired a shot off the far-right post past the outstretched arms of North Grenville keeper Frankie Onasanya. Six minutes later, Clarke one-timed a cross from 12 yards out into the back of the net to give TISS the insurance marker. 

        In the girls’ championship, the CPHS Bears won 2-1 over NGDHS. CPHS set the tone for the game with a goal about a minute into play.  NGDHS centre back Grace Henderson tied things up on a penalty shot halfway through the second half, eventually sending the game into overtime. A minute into overtime, CPHS midfielder Abbey Swallow sent a pass to striker Katie Dolliver, who slipped past the defense to beat the North Grenville keeper and take the win. 

CPHS Coach Kirk Belisle said a team effort sealed the victory. 

        “Our team worked as units taking their positions personally and working to win every ball they could,” said Belisle. 

This was the fifth title for the CPHS girls’ squad. 

The Thousand Islands Secondary School boys soccer team is pictured with the 2019 championship banner
The Thousand Islands Secondary School boys soccer team is pictured with the 2019 championship banner

October School board meeting notes . . .

Superintendent Deanna Perry, left, presents the Ted Kennedy Legacy Award for secondary schools to Athens District High School. Accepting the award on behalf of the school are Principal David Pier and Vice-Principal Laura Oliver.

 

Highlights: October 23 Board of Trustees Meeting

        Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, for their regular Board meeting. They discussed several agenda items.

        2018 Terry Fox School Runs Results Superintendent Deanna Perry reported on the 2018 Terry Fox School Runs, informing Trustees that UCDSB schools raised a combined total of $88,096 last year for the Terry Fox Foundation through individual school runs. In nearly 30 years since the Terry Fox School Run began, UCDSB schools have raised $1.43 million.

        The annual Ted Kennedy Legacy Awards recognizing the elementary and secondary schools that raised the most money per student in 2018 were also announced. Laggan Public School was the elementary school award recipient and Athens District High School was the secondary school recipient. ADHS Principal David Pier and Vice-Principal Laura Oliver accepted the award on behalf of their school. Representatives of Laggan Public School were unable to attend so Superintendent Perry, as the school’s superintendent, accepted their plaque on their behalf. These awards honour the late Superintendent Ted Kennedy, who passed away in 2011 and was a vocal champion for students and schools engaged in community-based events, such as the annual Terry Fox Run.

 

Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) Program

        Superintendent Susan Rutters and Principal of Safe Schools Don Lewis reported on the board’s Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) Program. All secondary schools can recommend students for participation in alternative learning directed by a SAL plan when all other program options at the school level have been explored and deemed insufficient to the needs of the student. These are unique programs for exceptional circumstances, designed to address the needs of students who are at risk of leaving school early. SAL is used for a small segment of the student population with a total of 16 students being placed with the SAL program in the 2018-19 school year.

        SAL programs can include work terms in the community, counselling, volunteer work, or other skill development experiences. The program permits students to pursue their educational and personal goals, and still stay connected to their home school by allowing them to participate in extracurriculars. The goal is to assist students to either return to school or to proceed to a post-secondary option by the age of 18, such as apprenticeships, training, college, independent living, university or the workplace.

Summer Learning Program Report

        Superintendents of Schools Bill Loshaw and Susan Rutters, along with Linklater Public School Principal Jennifer McMaster and TR Leger Principal Sandy McInnis, reported on the success of the 2019 Summer Learning and Summer Semester programs. The Summer Learning Program ran in July at eight sites across our board. Eighty-six students participated. The program develops literacy and numeracy skills for students in Grades 1-3. It is offered to students needing intensive support and consists of 45 hours of instruction, as well as 15 hours of physical activity.      

        This voluntary program also builds self-regulation, self-assessment, and goal-setting skills. It includes field trips in local communities and nutritious snacks for students.

        Assessments revealed significant gains for our students, with 86 per cent of students in the 2019 program progressing at least one reading level, 54 per cent of students improving at least two reading levels, and many students increasing 4-6 reading levels. Students also learned more efficient strategies to solve math problems.

        The Summer Semester Program, coordinated by the TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education, enables students to earn credits toward their diploma over the summer. The 2019 program saw 1,403 students earn 1,501 credits. The credits included 39 online courses for students in Grades 9-12. Grade 7 and 8 students could also take a “reach ahead” high school preparation course. The program included Summer Semester Cooperative Education courses, the Summer Semester Cadet Co-operative Education course, and a new course called Summer Semester Face-to-Face Civics and Careers for Indigenous Youth.

STEO Transportation Report to the Board Janet Murray, General Manager for Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) updated Trustees on transportation issues ranging from school bus capacity to efforts to harmonize school bell times.

        Chair Director Murray began her report discussing school bus ride times, indicating that the average ride for students in 2019-2020 is 21.7 minutes, with 1.14 per cent of students having a 60 minute ride time. She noted that school bus route stabilization continues to occur throughout the year. She also reported on school bus capacity, which currently sees 20 passenger buses at 100 per cent capacity, 54-passenger buses at 78 per cent capacity and 72-passenger buses at 94-per cent capacity. Murray stressed STEO ideally plans for an available capacity of 10 per cent to allow for flexibility to better handle emergency placements, new riders and other contingencies.

         Efforts to promote active travel within walk zones and the success of the first stage of the bell time harmonization were also included in the report. In September, bell time harmonization took place in the north-western quadrants of both the UCDSB and Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO). That effort has allowed STEO to take 40 vehicles off the road without loss of service.


CDSBEO top in province for EcoSchools . . .

Thursday, Oct. 17th - EcoSchools Canada is an environmental education and certification program for students in Kindergarten through to grade 12. Participating in the EcoSchools program gives students the opportunity not only to contribute to improving the environment, but also an opportunity to learn about the environment through an integrated curriculum. The program encourages students to become environmental leaders, reduce the ecological impact of schools, and build environmentally responsible school communities. Meghan Wood, Curriculum Consultant with the CDSBEO, presented information to the Board of Trustees on the impressive accomplishments of CDSBEO schools with the certification process, and what being certified means within the school community.

        “EcoSchools Canada empowers students with the knowledge, skills, and desire to act as environmentally responsible citizens. Schools may apply to become certified as an EcoSchool through an annual certification process which assesses and recognizes accomplishments by awarding points in key areas of achievement,” began Wood. 

         Wood noted that the teachings of Pope Francis encourage all people to be stewards of the earth, while caring for those who are most effected by climate change.

        “While there are many ways in which the CDSBEO family demonstrates stewardship, the EcoSchools program provides an avenue to allow school communities to showcase their commitment to the environment.” Ontario EcoSchools has been re-branded to EcoSchools Canada. It is now a nation-wide environmental education and certification program for both elementary and secondary schools.

        EcoSchools Canada, endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), empowers students with the knowledge, skills, and desire to act as environmentally responsible citizens.

        “Schools from the CDSBEO first began applying to become certified as an Ontario EcoSchool in 2008. That year, four schools received silver certification,” noted Wood. The EcoSchools program allows teachers, students and school communities to tailor participation and goals to the needs of the school. This not only contributes to bettering the environment, but also allows students to learn about the environment through integrated curriculum. The EcoSchools Canada website has resources, activities, and lesson plans that teachers can access, with explicit connections to the Ontario curriculum. Schools are assessed in 6 different areas: Teamwork and Leadership, Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, Curriculum, and Environmental Stewardship. 

        The EcoSchools process begins in early September when school educator leads begin establishing their Eco or Green Teams. By the last Friday of November, schools must perform their first audit and submit the results to EcoSchools.

        “For many of our Silver, Gold and Platinum schools, they will have completed multiple audits by this date,” explained Wood. As this year continues, school teams are continuing to actively engage other students and teachers through posters, school events, information campaigns and making explicit cross-curricular connections. The assessment leads schools to one of either bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level certification.

        “Not only were 100 per cent of CDSBEO schools certified in 2018, but the CDSBEO was recognized as being the top board in the province for school participation,” concluded Wood.

        “We are certainly proud of the accomplishments of our schools with regards to being environmental stewards,” noted Chair Lalonde. “Once again, the CDSBEO has demonstrated itself as a leader in the province, and we are very proud of the work being done by our schools and administrators to help make this possible.” 

 

Prior Learning Assessment Recognition for Adult Learners

        The School of Alternative and Continuing Education is working to increase growth mindset in students through wellness programming, equity and inclusion and improved pathway planning and credit accumulation in all schools. The CDSBEO offers a variety of initiatives to meet the needs of learners. The continuing education program enables adult learners to come back to upgrade their education and potentially attain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma through eLearning courses, PLAR or the adult PSW day school program.

        Jennifer Lentz, Vice-Principal, St. James Catholic Education Centre and Karen Tobin, eLearning Coordinator, presented information to the Board on the PLAR program and how it is helping adult learners to attain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

        “PLAR is a credit granting process that recognizes the knowledge and skills students have acquired, in formal and informal ways, outside of the secondary school pathway,” explained Tobin. “PLAR stands for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition for mature students. Mature students are students who are over the age of 18 and have been out of a day school program for a period longer than 10 months.” 

        When an adult reaches out to St. James Catholic Education Centre for continuing education opportunities, they have often struggled previously in a traditional school setting. Through the PLAR process, the insurmountable idea of returning to school to attain an OSSD becomes manageable.

        “They no longer need to attend class to earn 30 credits to graduate or put in 3300 hours in a classroom setting. This can provide hope, motivation and increase self-worth, as their history and practical learning is recognized and valued in a tangible way,” noted Tobin.

        “Typically, the PSW program provides the largest number of students interested in PLAR, followed by night school and eLearning students. We also have had adults who are working through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and enrolled in co-operative education courses,” explained Lentz. Lentz and Tobin highlighted examples of two students in different life situations, who had taken advantage of the PLAR process to attain their secondary school diploma.

        “A student may earn up to 26 credits, with up to 16 for grades 9 and 10, and up to ten credits for grades 11 and 12” noted Lentz. “Additionally, adult learners must pass the literacy component, and must complete volunteer hours. There are multiple entry points for an adult to begin the PLAR process, and this makes the individual plan very important. We meet and plan a pathway that fits the needs and goals of each individual.”

        “Many thanks to your team for all of their work, and to you for your leadership with this program,” concluded Chair Lalonde to Vice-Principal Lentz. “It is obvious that there is so much success being achieved as a result of the options available to our adult learners, thanks to your dedication and the support provided to them on their learning journey.” 

 

Orange Shirt Day 2019

CDSBEO Orange Shirt Day was an opportunity for the board to honour the “Calls to Action” of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a meaningful, age-appropriate way that is respectful to both survivors, intergenerationally traumatized students and to the truth of Canadian history. For the second year during the month of September, schools from across the CDSBEO unpacked curriculum to learn about the impact of residential schools in Canada, while making connections to the Board theme which focuses on kindness, love and empathy. Marian Lawson MacDonald and Scott Stoqua, Indigenous Education Leads with the Board, presented information on how Orange Shirt Day was recognized in CDSBEO schools. 

        September 30, 2019 marked the 7th Annual Orange Shirt Day in Canada. The orange shirt represents the story of Phyllis Webstad, who had her new orange shirt taken from her when she arrived at a residential school. 

        “Phyllis Webstad is just one person; however, she represents thousands of children who went to residential schools,” began Lawson MacDonald. “We tell her story as a way of capturing the injustice of our Canadian history as well as the need for all of us to work toward reconciliation.” 

        “Although this is technically one day, we spend the month of September providing support for schools to honour this day in a meaningful way. We began by offering two workshops about Orange Shirt Day at the Learning Fair in August, and by distributing t-shirts to participants,” noted Stoqua. 

        Schools were provided with Orange Shirt Day kits, which included a read-aloud for students titled When We Were Alone, and in French Quand on était seuls. 

        “The story tells of a young girl who is helping her grandmother in the garden. As they work side by side, the young girl notices things about her grandmother that make her curious. As she asks her grandmother questions, the story unfolds, and we hear about a time in history when everything was taken away from the grandmother. We learn about the importance of culture, language, and family and the need to celebrate it, so that it is never lost again.” 

        In primary grades, students discuss kindness and empathy for one another. In junior grades, the focus of the learning is around identity, the importance of being proud of who you are, and of being accepting of others. For intermediate learners, the focus is on culture and the importance of celebrating diversity. School visitors supported the learning for secondary students, including visits by Indigenous elders. 

        “Although September 30 is over for this year, our work to create safe and empathetic schools for all never ends. We can be proud of the journey toward Reconciliation that we are on in the CDSBEO,” concluded Lawson MacDonald. “We honour all residential school victims, survivors, and their families, and we honour our students by telling them the truth and leading them toward a fairer society, because every child matters."


Holy Trinity Agriculture program . . .

Teaching students agri-sustainability . . .

Tuesday, Sept. 17th - Holy Trinity Principal Dawn Finnegan, along with teacher Mike Smith, presented information to the Board of Trustees on the school’s Agriculture program, which began three years ago. Since its inception, the program has grown from 13 students in 2017 to 35 students in 2019-2020.

        “In 2017, a 600 square foot greenhouse was built, and 4.3 acres were sectioned off for the farm,” noted Smith. “The goals of the program are to teach students about sustainable agriculture and sustainable energy. There are currently 90 gardens with 60 varieties of plants growing.”

        Students attaining their SHSM Agriculture take a variety of courses, with three available electives and three mandatory certifications including CPR, Standard First Aid and WHMIS.

        “Students have completed courses such as Animal First Aid, Fall Prevention, Grain Grading, Ladder Safety, Large Animal Handling, Livestock Medicine, Soil Testing, Plant Identification, Working at Heights and Weed and Pest Management.”

        At the inception of the program, the plan was to build a sustainable permaculture farm and orchard on four acres of land. The gardens were mulched and organized in groups of six, and planted according to type, with rotation each year, allowing for sustainable farming practices.

        “The first 13 students built 54 gardens during class time, lunch time and on weekends,” noted Smith. “The project was something the group was very proud of and they were very passionate about their work.”

        One hundred and thirty-two fruit and nut trees have been planted on site, and over 60 varieties of vegetables are grown. A greenhouse, which was built at the program’s inception, allows seedlings to begin growing in February thanks to solar heaters built by the students.

        “Renewable energy and sustainable resource use are taught in two courses as part of the program,” added Smith, also noting that the program attracts all levels of learners.

        “This year, the garden produced close to 1,000 pounds of produce,” he said.

        Moving forward, the school has a goal to become a zero-waste school through recycling and composting. Plans are in place to diversify the gardens, introduce bees, and grow fruits and vegetables which will support some of the CDSBEO secondary schools’ the foods programs. Vice-Chair Eamer commended Mike Smith on his passion, which has resulted in a very robust program.

        “Having been around the school and watching things develop, it is obvious that because of your passion for the program, this can only continue to grow. I hear from parents that they certainly appreciate all of your hard work in developing a multi-faceted learning experience that offers something tangible to all learners.” 

 

School-Based Mental Health Needs Assessment

        Anxiety, mood disorders and substance use continue to be the three main mental health concerns for CDSBEO schools. To help address these concerns, the Board provides various supportive training programs for school staff, who are also supported by a district level mental health team. Each year, schools are invited to complete a School-Based Mental Health Needs Assessment which informs the annual School Board Mental Health Action Plan. Michelle Neville, CDSBEO Mental Health Lead, shared information with the Board on the training and supports provided to students as part of the Mental Health Action Plan.

        “Every school in our Board has a School Mental Health Team which is comprised of various staff members,” began Neville. “The team completes an annual needs assessment survey to help inform the mental health supports required for students at the school.”

        Various protocols have been developed by school and community partners, including the SPIRR (Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Risk Review Protocol). These protocols help to guide support and response procedures.

        “Schools received a refresher on the SPIRR Protocol at the start of the school year,” noted Neville. Staff have received training in several programs including the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and Mental Health First Aid for Adults who Interact with Youth. These training programs are an integral part of the mental health supports provided to students. Parent and student engagement also continue to be an area of focus within the schools.

        “In CDSBEO schools, we have a variety of things we are doing to improve parent engagement including a partnership with the Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEA) and Triple P Positive Parenting Program that offer groups within our communities, and the monthly newsletters which go out to schools focusing on tips for positive mental health,” explained Neville. The Board also has two Mental Health and Addiction Counsellors that provide support within CDSBEO secondary schools.

        “In keeping with other national trends, the most pressing concerns within schools are anxiety, mood disorders, and substance use,” noted Neville. Substance use is supported in various ways within schools.

        The Board has developed the Guide for Working Together to Respond to Children and Youth Struggling with Substance Use, Addictions and Mental Health Concerns, in addition to other programs to address accurate information sharing, cannabis education, and Core Addiction Practice (CAP) training. Sources of Strength is a peer-led program for students in grades 7 through 12 which helps to develop social networks of positivity and prevent mood disorders. The program helps to create connections for students with adults and peers, enhancing the well-being of students. The initiative helps to build strength through connections, reduce suicide risk, and create a caring environment for all students, including those that might be in crisis. The program teaches students eight sources of strength which they are encouraged to identify and discuss. Anxiety is addressed in the school mental health toolkit, which has been provided to each school. Prayer and Christian meditation are part of the tools available in the toolkit, along with other suggestions for strategies to help reduce stress and anxiety.

        “At CDSBEO, we will make use of this data and continue to strive to support child and youth mental health to ensure that our students can learn and grow to their full potential.” “We are grateful for all of your efforts in implementing a diverse set of tools and resources to ensure that the needs of all students are being met,” concluded Chair Lalonde 


Fred Fox honours UCDSB student . . .

Wednesday, Sept. 11th – Every September Terry Fox’s brother, Fred Fox, visits schools across Canada to share Terry’s story. Yesterday he visited Maxville Public School and Thousand Islands Elementary School (TIES) as part of his cross-Canada tour.

        While at Maxville Public School, Fox was part of a special assembly to honour Oarn Crawford, a grade 6 student at the school, for the fundraising he’s done for the Terry Fox Foundation. Crawford has always participated in his school’s Terry Fox Run day, but for the past three years has also been participating in the Cornwall Terry Fox Run.    To date, he has raised more than $3,000.

        For the 2019 Cornwall Terry Fox run, Crawford set a fundraising goal of $400, but significantly surpassed that goal raising more than $1,000.

        “I raise money to help kids with cancer,” explained Crawford. “I will continue to raise money until Cornwall’s Terry Fox Run on Sunday.”

        In addition to the Cornwall run, Crawford will participate in his school’s run on September 26. Fox presented Crawford with an appreciation gift during the assembly and gave the school a Terry Fox book for their library. During Fox’s visit at TIES, the school was awarded a pennant to signify 15 years of participation in the Terry Fox School Run. TIES will participate in their 15th annual run this year on September 26. 


Capital, school renewal and school condition improvement projects discussions . . .

Tuesday, Aug. 27th - Over the past four years, the Ministry of Education has increased its annual investment in school renewal and school condition improvement funds allocated to school boards. This increased funding will continue for a fifth year in 2019-2020. 

        Over the past year, the Plant and Maintenance Department has completed work on projects in all Board facilities, including 4,800 work orders and more than 77 projects under School Renewal, School Condition Improvement, Capital and AODA, in addition to 20 flooring projects and 40 painting projects. The Ministry expectation is that school boards will spend these funds on schools that will remain open. The funds are intended to cover the repairing and replacement of existing building systems, major building components, and facility interiors and surrounding site components. 

Associate Director of Education Bonnie Norton introduced Roger Cauley, Manager of Plant and Maintenance to the Board of Trustees. 

        “This year, we have had a number of large projects, which has been challenging for the Plant and Maintenance Department, who have worked extremely hard over the summer to ready our schools for September,” noted Associate Director Norton. “The Board has focused on transitioning to new facilities, as well as carrying out many upgrades to existing facilities.” 

        The largest project at Holy Name of Mary Catholic School in Almonte included a six-classroom addition to replace five classroom portables. The new permanent space, which was completed in March 2019, totaled $3.3 million funded under Capital Priorities. In addition, a new childcare facility was added at the site, which included a 5,575 square foot addition of one toddler and two preschool rooms. The childcare facility, which totaled $1.6 million, was complete in June and will be supported by the Municipality of Mississippi Mills. 

        “St. Matthew Catholic Secondary School in Cornwall has completed their move to the former St. Columban’s Catholic School,” noted Cauley. “The site will also be home to the Turning Points/ABLE program, which was previously located in the Cornwall Board Office.” 

        The facility received renovations totaling $1.5 million, partially funded by the proceeds of disposition, as well as $150,000 from School Condition Improvement. 

        “Many new upgrades have been added to the facility including a new Construction Technology shop with a new dust collector, a well-equipped Hospitality Suite, modern hairstyling salon with humidity climate control, renovated classrooms and administrative offices, a new bus loop, an accessible washroom, and new lockers.” 

        A daycare and EarlyON Child and Family Support Centre project is planned at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Gananoque. The project received funding of $1.6 million under Child Care Amber LaBerge, Communications Officer - 613-258-7757 ext.3024 or 613-485-0268 

        Capital, with an additional $340,000 funded locally by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. A completion date for this project has not yet been determined as the Board is awaiting Ministry approval to proceed to tender. The provincially funded space will include a three-room daycare space, office, staff room, staff washroom, kitchen, and laundry room. The EarlyON Centre, funded by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, will include a play area for ten children, office, and washroom. 

        Hundreds of other projects including upgrades to roofing, heating, ventilation and climate control systems, painting, washroom upgrades, and other interior and exterior renovations were completed during the summer months at many facilities across the Board. 

        “Thank you for the opportunity to highlight our progress this summer,” Mr. Cauley concluded. “I am thrilled and excited about the work we’ve completed, and I look forward to continuing to improve our facilities.”