UCDSB meeting highlights . . .

Friday, Jan. 15th – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met virtually on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 for a regularly scheduled board meeting.  


UCDSB Graduation Rate update  . . .

     Staff updated the Board of Trustees regarding the ongoing system efforts to meet the Upper Canada District School Board’s 90 per cent graduation rate goal. The UCDSB’s four-year student graduation rate has climbed steadily from 73.4 per cent in 2017, to 77.4 per cent in 2020. Overall, the school board’s June 2020 graduation rate is estimated at 86.2 per cent. The UCDSB expects to receive its official graduation rate results this Spring from the Ministry of Education. 


UCDSB reviews Quadmester 1 Credit Achievement Rates . . .

     Staff presented the Quadmester 1 credit achievement rates for secondary school students. Students taking part in the in-person or synchronous learning models had a 95.5 per cent successful credit achievement rate while remote asynchronous digital and non-digital learners experienced a 76.7 per cent successful credit achievement rate. 

     The UCDSB will continue to refine its instructional strategies and deploy resources to support all students, regardless of their method of learning. In addition, staff will continue to monitor student achievement through the UCDSB’s Student Success Teams, Graduation Coaches, and administrators to give each student the best chance for success amidst the disruptive circumstances of a global pandemic. 


Trustees review Parent Survey results  . . ..

     The December 2020 parent survey results, related to the return to school and new measures implemented for COVID-19 protocols, was a key presentation provided to Trustees by their staff. Overall, respondents are supportive of the COVID-19 precautions in place. They also expressed a high level of appreciation for staff efforts in the classroom and online. Parents also provided feedback that staff will review and consider when reviewing mental health supports and credit achievement rates. The school board, in partnership with the Student Senate and student trustees, will conduct a secondary student survey next month for direct student feedback. More information about the parent survey results can be found here. 


Staff Provide Trustees with Operational Update  . . .

     Planning and preparations to support staff, students and families for the return to full remote learning on Jan. 4, 2021 occurred in three stages, and staff outlined the process to trustees. Remote learners who require non-digital materials have been provided with the necessary resources to continue learning from home in an asynchronous format.  

Currently, 44 students requiring intensive support with special education needs returned to learning in-person on Jan. 7, 2021 as they could not be accommodated in any form of remote learning. The Special Education Department continues to work directly with school teams who are working directly with families, to determine how best to serve students who cannot be accommodated in remote learning.   

     Staff continue to work to ensure students have access to devices and connectivity they need to learn. Staff are in the process of distributing approximately 350 more laptops and another 20 ‘internet hotspots’ - that number is on top of the 4,000 devices distributed between April and December 2020. In anticipation of further need, staff are in the process of acquiring an additional 1,050 new laptops that could be loaned out. 

Board develops new strategic plan . . .

CDSBEO Strategic Plan 2020-2025

        The CDSBEO has developed a new multi-year Strategic Plan for 2020-2025. Under the Education Act, all school boards must create a multi-year strategic plan to help set long-term priorities and goals. Many elements were drawn upon to develop the new plan, which is based on the Board’s mission to educate the heart, mind, body and soul of all students.

        Nancy McIntyre, Principal of Curriculum, along with Paul Mantha, Principal of Religious and Family Life Education, and Heather Gerber, Principal of Special Education, presented the details of the new strategic plan to the Board of Trustees.

        “In the creation of the plan, the planning committee felt it necessary to include several elements such as the Catholic Graduate Expectations, a focus on how being holy and living a holy life means putting faith into action, and recognizing our Indigenous community partnerships,” began Mr. Mantha.

        “Many elements were drawn upon to formulate a plan that addressed the whole person – heart, mind, body, and soul, so that students, staff and CDSBEO partners in education, would see themselves supported in all ways.”

        The new strategic plan is anchored by four tenets: believing, protecting, learning, and nurturing.

        “The believing tenet is centered around our belief in the teaching of our Catholic faith, as well as actions that allow our faith to be lived out through Catholic traditions and practices,” explained Principal Mantha. “Priorities considered in the Believing tenet relate to building community partnerships and fostering positive perceptions of Catholic education. The home, school, parish triad is a continued focus for our Board.”

        “The learning tenet reflects our belief that everyone has the capacity to learn and play a unique and valuable role in the community beyond the classroom. Priorities within the learning tenet reflect the need for learning experiences to be real-world, authentic, and differentiated as well as representative of cultural perspectives and understanding,” noted Principal McIntyre.

        “The tenet of protecting calls us to act wisely by promoting actions that ensure the protection of God’s creation. We are called to live responsibly by caring for ourselves and each other and by acting in an environmentally ethical way. At the heart of CDSBEOs vision is the support for the dignity and worth of every person and so, priorities of the nurturing tenet include equity and inclusion and creating responsive and engaging learning environments for all students,” explained Principal Gerber.

        It was also noted that the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement has collectively provided data and evidence which informed the new strategic plan, ensuring a clear purpose. The plan was shared for consultation with school communities, staff, parishes, families and stakeholders, who were provided an opportunity to submit feedback by way of a survey. The planning committee collected the responses and made changes based on the suggestions that were collected.

The new 2020-2025 CDSBEO Strategic Plan will be posted to the Board website, and each school will receive a plaque which summarizes key components of the plan. A promotional video has also been created which will be shared in the new year through CDSBEO social channels and the website.



Revised financial estimates – Sept. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021

        At the Board meeting of December 15, 2020, the Board of Trustees reviewed the revised financial estimates for the current 2020-2021 year.  Manager of Finance, Ashley Hutchinson, presented the revised estimates to the Board of Trustees.

        “The estimates include actual enrolment and staffing as of October 31, 2020, and any known expenditure changes since the July 2020 budget submission,” began Hutchinson.  Total expenditures for 2020-2021 are approximately $202.9 million.

        “Overall, the Board has experienced a slight decrease in enrolment of 0.8 per cent over the forecasted enrolment from the original estimates,” continued Hutchinson.

        “Total enrolment is 13,022 students which includes 1,610 FTE in the Virtual Learning Elementary School and 943 FTE secondary students studying remotely, for a total of 2,553 FTE or 19.5% of total enrolment studying virtually. The Ministry of Education has also provided school boards with enrolment stabilization funding in light of enrolment declines boards are facing due to COVID-19. It is important to note that 130 elementary students and 12 secondary students, have opted for home schooling at this time, which has also affected total enrolment and the total grants received by the CDSBEO.”

        Revenue for COVID-19 expenditures total $7.3 million, with an additional $2.6 million funded by the Board. Total COVID-19 expenditures amount to $9.97 million and include additional special education funding, over 1.0 million in technology costs, increased facility utility costs, and costs for PPE. An increase in staffing for the 2020-2021 school year includes new teachers for the Virtual Learning Elementary School and additional staff to protect cohorting, for a total of 47.3 FTE teaching and non-teaching positions.

        The Board will provide interim reports in February and May, with the final financial statements presentation to the Board of Trustees in November 2021.


Community Goodwill During COVID-19 in CDSBEO Schools

        The Department of Religious and Family Life Education shared a presentation highlighting examples of community outreach that have taken place in CDSBEO schools since the beginning of the pandemic, and which continue to take place as we join as people of faith, working to make a difference in school communities.

        Paul Mantha, Principal of Religious and Family Life Education, presented the examples of community outreach to the Board of Trustees. Examples of the charity coming from CDSBEO schools include various food and clothing drives, sharing kind messages through cards and notes to elderly community members in long-term care homes, creating and sharing messages of hope with the community, fundraising campaigns for local charities, and messages of thanks to frontline workers.

        “The Department of Religious and Family Life Education appreciates the submissions received from our schools and recognizes that this is only a small snapshot to represent the vast number of generous acts, both great and small, that take place in our schools every day.”

        “Thank you for the opportunity to showcase these examples of how our students are inspiring their communities, and to highlight the school staff who have taken the time to compile this good work,” noted Principal Mantha.

“It’s wonderful to see these examples of charity in our schools, and how our students are living their Catholic faith through these small acts of kindness to members of our school communities,” concluded Chair Lalonde.


UCDSB Chair and Vice-Chair of Board of Trustees for 2020-21 . . .

McAllister, MacPherson acclaimed . . .

John McAllister, UCDSB Chair . . .
John McAllister, UCDSB Chair . . .

Friday, Dec. 4th –  Upper Canada District School Board John Chair John McAllister was acclaimed to the role for another year on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the Board of Trustees’ annual organizational meeting. Trustee William MacPherson was acclaimed as Vice-Chair for a third consecutive year.

        Both trustees are long-serving members of the Board. Chair McAllister was first elected in 2010 and is serving his third consecutive term. He is a retired teacher and former municipal councillor. Trustee MacPherson was first elected as a trustee in 2000 and is serving his sixth term.

       Chair McAllister thanked his fellow trustees for their continued support.

        “I am humbled, and I thank you for your confidence. But, really, it’s not about me,” said Chair McAllister. “It’s about our students who are trying to learn under unusual and difficult times. It’s about our parents and families who are struggling under unusual and difficult times. It’s about our school staff that are trying to educate our students under unusual and difficult times. It’s about our senior staff and you, trustees, trying to exercise our commitment under unusual and difficult times.”

Todd Lalonde acclaimed Board Chair . . .

Todd Lalonds, Chair, CDSBEO . . .
Todd Lalonds, Chair, CDSBEO . . .

Kemptville, ON,  Wednesday, Dec. 2nd – Mr. Todd Lalonde, Trustee for City of Cornwall and Glengarry County, has been acclaimed to the position of Chair for the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario at the Annual Board Meeting held on December 1, 2020. It will be the fifth term as Chair for Mr. Lalonde, who is entering his fifteenth year as a Catholic school board trustee.

        Chair Lalonde addressed trustees, senior administration, and virtual guests, “I would like to thank my fellow trustees for their continued support, faith, and trust. I know that we have a long road ahead of us, and we will have to work hard as a team as we continue to face new and unprecedented challenges. I would like to thank Mr. Eamer for his dedication in his role as Vice-Chair over the last few years, and I would like to extend my congratulations to Trustee Wilson in her new role. We thank our administrators, teachers and support staff for all of the work that they do in our schools and our classrooms. We must continue to be united in our respective roles in education, to ensure the success of our students.”

        Prescott-Russell County Trustee Sue Wilson was elected to the position of Vice-Chair during the annual meeting. Mrs. Wilson has served as CDSBEO Trustee since 1999 and has served as the Chair of the Special Education Advisory Committee since 2001.


Sue Wilson, Vice-Chair, CDSBEO . . .
Sue Wilson, Vice-Chair, CDSBEO . . .

        “I am very grateful to have been elected to the position of Vice-Chair, and I thank my fellow trustees for their support. I truly look forward to taking on this new role. We share our gifts so that we can provide the tools that our students need to succeed. Our board has been recognized time and time again for our leadership, and this is due to the hard work of our staff. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much for your dedication, it is beyond expectation.”

        Director of Education John Cameron congratulated Mr. Lalonde and Mrs. Wilson. "Both Mr. Lalonde and Mrs. Wilson have demonstrated their commitment to the Catholic education. Their leadership and guidance is pivotal to our Board’s success and we are grateful for their dedication and service."

        Director Cameron also thanked Archbishop Terrence Prendergast for being part of the mass celebration, which took place prior to the annual meeting. Archbishop Prendergast was presented with a gift of thanks and a token of appreciation for his many years of support to the Board. He will begin his retirement on December 4 and will take on a temporary role as Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee. Archbishop Prendergast offered his thanks to trustees and senior administration for the work they do to preserve and protect their Catholic faith and Catholic education.


The 2018-2022 CDSBEO Board of Trustees:

Jennifer Cooney - Trustee, Lanark County

Ron Eamer - Trustee, City of Cornwall and Glengarry County

Todd Lalonde - Trustee, City of Cornwall and Glengarry County

Brent Laton - Trustee, Grenville County and Elizabethtown-Kitley Township

Robin Reil - Trustee, City of Brockville, Town of Smiths Falls, and Leeds County

Karen McAllister - Trustee, Dundas and Stormont Counties

Sue Wilson - Trustee, Prescott and Russell Counties

Kennah Delage - Catholic Student Trustee, 2020-2021

Julia Vo – Associate Catholic Student Trustee, 2020-2021


Director of Education Presents Annual Report . . .

        Director Cameron presented the 2020 Director’s Annual Report to the Board of Trustees at the meeting. The report reviews successes in areas such as equity and inclusion, mental health, faith development, and program initiatives.

        The Director’s Annual Report is now available for viewing on the CDSBEO website: www.cdsbeo.on.ca, and the video version is available to view on the CDSBEO YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/CDSBEOVideo).

        The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario operates elementary and secondary schools across eight counties. providing excellence in Catholic education through provincial-leading programs to approximately 13,000 students.

Highlights of Board meeting . . .

Brockville, ON – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 for a regularly scheduled board meeting. Trustees conducted the meeting in person at the Brockville Board Office, with enhanced public health measures in place that provided the option for staff and trustees to connect by phone or virtually as an alternate means for attending the proceedings.


Two UCDSB schools awarded for

Terry Fox Foundation fundraising efforts . . .

Two schools were honoured with the 2019 Ted Kennedy Legacy Award at the Nov. 25 Board meeting. This annual award – named after the late Superintendent Ted Kennedy who had a passion for the Terry Fox Run – honours the UCDSB elementary and secondary schools that each raise the most funds per student for the Terry Fox Foundation. In 2019, Laggan Public School and Char-Lan District High School earned that honour and were recognized during Wednesday evening’s board meeting for their commitment to the fight against cancer. 


UCDSB presents 2020-2023

Mental Health Strategic Plan . . .

        Staff presented the 2020-2023 UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan to trustees and highlighted the progress achieved from the 2017-2020 strategic plan.

        The UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan (2020-2023) will continue to focus on four priority areas, which will be embedded in the UCDSB Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (BIPSAW). These four areas include educating students and staff on mental health resources; enhancing access to supports for stress and coping using evidence-based programming in all of our schools; articulating pathways to care ensuring appropriate levels of support for our vulnerable student; and, enhancing staff, student and family access to reliable, evidence-based and evidence-informed information and resources. 

        For the 2020-2021 school year, the UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan will focus on continuing to emphasize classroom programs delivered by classroom staff and encouraging help-seeking by clarifying pathways to care.



Parent Involvement Committee highlights Active School Board Connection . . .

      Trustee Jamie Schoular presented the Parent Involvement Committee’s (PIC) 2019-2020 progress to the Board of Trustees.

On top of its ongoing engagement, outreach, consultation and advisory activities, PIC also launched working groups last year. These groups connect PIC members with district staff to discuss topics that would enhance parental engagement and contribution. These working groups include the My Family Room Web Portal Working Group, Principal Profile Working Group and Parent Engagement Working Group, and each group had an initial start-up dialogue to set the groundwork for 2020-2021.



Remote Learning sees increased enrollment for in-class learning model . . .

        Staff presented its monthly remote learning report to the board, and outlined that as of Nov. 16, 80 per cent of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students were enrolled in the in-class learning model while 20 per cent of students participate in the remote learning model. These numbers show a one per cent increase for the in-class learning model. The school board also witnessed an increased shift to “non-digital asynchronous” learning for remote learners where workbooks based on the curriculum has been developed and distributed to students.

        To support this shift to non-digital learning, the remote teachers’ team create bi-weekly elementary curriculum-based resources that include workbooks featuring daily lesson plans across all grades and all subjects for a 10-day period. These resources are posted centrally for all elementary teachers to use as part of daily classroom instruction, in addition to their own materials.



Monthly Financial Update on Potential Funding Sources

        During this month’s financial reporting to trustees, administrative staff outlined sources of revenue for 2020-2021 that were not incorporated into the revenue estimates for the approved budget for 2020-2021.

        In advance of the beginning of each fiscal year, the UCDSB board of trustees approves a budget representing an estimate of the coming year’s revenues and expenditures, based upon the best available information at the time.

         Since that initial budget approval in July 2020, more than $6 million has been allocated to the UCDSB from Aug. 4 to Oct. 28. Most of the increased revenues comes from provincial and federal funding to cover COVID-19-related expenses. Listed as Priorities and Partnerships Funds, this $6 million will be dispersed to previously committed budget line items as well as to COVID-19 response expenses.


Grade K-6 Virtual School Feasibility Study presentation . . .

        To support students and their families for learning opportunities and in response to Ministry requirements, the UCDSB created a unique remote learning model during this time of the pandemic., On Sept. 2, 2020, trustees arrived at a motion requesting further study and a follow-up report on the feasibility, cost and implementation schedule related to the set-up of a stand-alone concept for a virtual school for all students K-6 model. 

       At the Nov. 25 meeting, UCDSB staff presented a 24-page report created by an education consultant, who worked with senior-level staff for input and consultation. The report’s findings rejected the idea of creating a Virtual K – 6 Elementary School at this time. Specifically, changing from the current remote learning model to a separately staffed virtual school for the remainder of the pandemic would not be in the school board’s best interests. The absence of adequate provincial funding for synchronous remote learning as a stand-alone school was identified as a significant restriction for this type of approach.

Adult & Continuing Education . . .

Personal Support Worker Program . . .

        St. James Catholic Education Centre is working to increase growth mindset in students and adults through wellness programming, equity and inclusion, and improved pathway planning and credit accumulation. There are seven schools under the St. James Catholic Education Centre umbrella including, the CDSBEO eLearning program, continuing education night school, literacy/numeracy school, summer school and the PSW adult day school program.


         Jennifer Lentz, Vice-Principal of St. James Catholic Education Centre, and Anita Plunkett, PSW Program Instructor, provided an overview of the Personal Support Worker Program to the Board of Trustees. Through the program, which has been offered since February 2009, graduates obtain a certificate of professional designation which is recognized across the province of Ontario by employers who manage personal care supports.

        “These are unprecedented times we are living in right now,” began Vice-Principal Lentz. “There has never been another time that PSW's are so needed, so valued, and so important to our Health care system. The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario is committed to educating and graduating the most skilled, job-ready, sought after PSW's across our communities.”

        Each year in Ontario, approximately 8,000 students graduate from a PSW program, and 2,000 of these obtain their certification through a district school board program. Currently, 20 school boards across the province offer the programs which are highly recognized, affordable, and the only training stream that can support learners to obtain their secondary school diploma.

         “In 2014, the CDSBEO partnered with Beth Donovan Hospice in Kemptville and developed a palliative care training that is PSW focused and recognized by the Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program,” noted Plunkett. “This is an additional training that allows PSWs to work in the community in palliative care.”

        Graduates also obtain seven different certifications, some of which are offered through various training partnerships including Elder Abuse Ontario, Public Health Ontario (infection prevention and control training) and Living Works (suicide awareness training).

        In its thirteenth year, the Board has graduated over 1,100 PSWs. This year, three program locations are being offered in Cornwall, Vankleek Hill (the largest program this year) and in Smiths Falls.

Lentz noted that some of the program components have been modified in their delivery as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.

        “In the fall, the program delivery began through the Microsoft Teams virtual environment, with clinical and co-op placements at the same location, where possible. The provincial government has implemented many initiatives to expand the ability to train PSWs, and students are working while in the program to gain their practical experience. This came with a lot of flexibility and creativity but supporting the student to be able to have that employment while completing the program was important and valuable.”

        Individualized pathway planning continues to be a strength of the PSW Program. As adult students, this option gives learners the opportunity to gain secondary credits and obtain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) through prior learning achievement recognition (PLAR). This semester, seven students are on track to receive their OSSD through PLAR.

Program enrolment has doubled this year, partly as a result of new partnerships that have been established with Hawkesbury Employment Agency, Cornwall Job Zone, and Work Matters in the Lanark community.

        “I would like to offer you my compliments on developing an outstanding program that continues to grow,” concluded Chair Lalonde. “We have a very high graduation rate, which is truly a testament to the amazing work you are doing to support students in this program.”


New Elementary Mathematics Curriculum . . .

        The new elementary math curriculum teaches students fundamental math skills and connects them to real life, to prepare students for learning success. In June 2020, the Ministry of Education released the new digital platform for the elementary mathematics curriculum for grades 1-8. The new mathematics curriculum is part of a four-year math strategy which includes new curriculum content with a digital format, and embedded tools for educators. 

        Nancy McIntyre, Principal of Curriculum and Crystal Lake, Numeracy Consultant, provided an overview to Trustees about the implementation of the new math curriculum. Released in June for implementation in the fall the new curriculum provides rich context with clear expectations and teacher supports. It has been 15 years since the Ontario math curriculum had been updated.

        “The new curriculum provides rich content and clear expectations, teacher supports as well as real-world examples to help develop cross-curricular connections along with a new focus on re-modelling, coding, financial literacy, infographics and STEM,” noted Principal McIntyre. “Our team continues to develop resources and professional learning to support our educators with these changes.”

        Educators from Kindergarten through grade 8 have participated in a half-day of professional development to help them discover the changes, resources, and expectations around the new curriculum. Teachers also had an opportunity to review and compare the 2005 expectations with the new 2020 expectations, to see what new content was added to the grade they teach.

        “Feedback has been very positive, and primary teachers commented on the value of the Financial Literacy curriculum as well as the continuum format, which allows teachers to see learning expectations not only for the grade they are teaching, but also for the grade before, and the grade following,” explained Lake.

        EQAO data collection has demonstrated that students in grades 4 through 6 experience the most learning challenges in math. In response, the Board has developed a gap-closing resource for SERTS and junior math teachers which provides diagnostics that teachers can use to identify gaps in student understanding. Once identified, the binder provides lesson plans and activities to help build foundational understanding where needed.

        The Curriculum Department has also developed a weekly resource for educators which includes engaging activities for student learning around the new Social Emotional Learning strand.

        “There is strong evidence that developing social-emotional learning skills at school contributes to all students’ overall health and well-being and to successful academic performance. It also supports positive mental health, as well as students’ ability to learn, build resilience, and thrive,” noted McIntyre.

UCDSB signs on with Kemptville Campus . . .

The Upper Canada District School Board Chair, John McAllister (seated, left), signs a lease agreement with North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford. Supporting the signing are (from left) UCDSB Superintendent of Schools Susan Rutters, UCDSB Director of Education Stephen Sliwa, North Grenville Project Manager Patricia Rémillard, and TR Leger Principal Sandy McInnes.               - Photo: UCDSB


Wednesday, Nov. 18th – As an important foundational step towards establishing the Level 1 Commercial Vehicle Apprenticeship Program, the Upper Canada District School Board signed a lease agreement with the Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre today.

        Set to launch for September 2021, this training program will build on the existing adult education opportunities established by the UCDSB at the Kemptville Campus, primarily through the T.R. Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education, and address a growing local and provincial need for skilled trades workers. The training program is possible as a result of the recent Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s approval of Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre as a Commercial Vehicle apprenticeship training delivery agent. The UCDSB is leading the program’s creation and delivery that will involve, and ultimately serve, all four regional public school boards.

        This lease-signing agreement is the first step to bringing this program forward, moving T.R. Leger into the Campus’ Power and Equipment Building.

        “We’re excited by T.R. Leger’s expanded footprint on the Kemptville Campus,” says UCDSB Board of Trustees Chair John McAllister. “Today’s signing establishes our physical presence in this existing school and training facility, and it will allow us to move forward to support students with community-based learning and trade certifications. This approach certainly aligns with what we know are emerging priorities of local municipalities and County Councils.”

        This program will allow full-time adult students and high school students to gain experience and Level 1 training in Truck and Coach Technician, Heavy Equipment Technician, and Agricultural Equipment Technician through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). In addition, the UCDSB envisions future opportunities for micro-credential training for secondary students in Specialist High Skills Major programs. T.R. Leger’s presence in this new location also expands opportunities for areas students who are enrolled in the Adult English as a Second Language (ESL), Skills Training and Employment Preparation (STEP), and Settlement Services programs.

        “There are multiple pathways to our programming, and all complement this Level 1 Apprenticeship offering,” says T.R. Leger Principal Sandy McInnes. “We will continue to seek pathways and future opportunities for our students by creating programming that is connected to their career goals.”

UCDSB positioned well financially . . .

November 16th, Brockville, ON – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020 for a regularly scheduled board meeting. Trustees conducted the meeting in person at the Brockville Board Office, with enhanced public health measures in place that provided the option for staff and trustees to use a conference call option as an alternate means for attending the proceedings.

Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Schools across the Upper Canada District School Board

        On November 11th, schools operated by the Upper Canada District School Board held their Remembrance Day virtual ceremonies – a new format for this key event given COVID guidelines that informed the operation of schools. Members of the Board of Trustees also paid their respects for the Canadians who died during the two World Wars, the Korean War, the War in Afghanistan, and in Peace Keeping Missions by observing a moment of silent reflection at their Board Meeting. Trustees also reviewed excerpts from the virtual ceremonies featuring video presentations from Centennial 67 Public School and Rockland District High School.


UCDSB Sets Action Plan for Student Wellness, Literacy and Numeracy Goals for 2020/ 2021

        The UCDSB’s Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (BIPSAW) works to support student wellness and developing sound literacy and numeracy skills which contribute to the outcomes required for graduation.

        COVID-19 has impacted children in different ways – loss, anxiety, uncertainty – and so UCDSB plays a key role in assisting students to move beyond the pandemic disruptions on learning. The Board’s plan identifies common priorities for learning in the UCDSB that enhance student confidence in reading, writing and mathematics, promote familiar practices and routines that come with daily learning at school, and encourage positive relationships with peers and with key adults on duty at the school each day.

        By knowing the learner and integrating pedagogical practices while considering the learning environment, this plan for 2020-2021 has crafted goals tied to wellness, literacy and numeracy. Each goal connects to a list of actionable items that will help support students through these times. Staff outlined these action items to trustees, demonstrating the school board’s commitment to student success and support which has become even more important given the need to counter the disruptive influence of the pandemic on daily learning and school routines.


Trustees Approve the 2019-20 Draft Audited Consolidated Financial Statements

        The motion to approve the 2019-2020 consolidated financial statements was moved by trustees. The statements were audited by BDO Canada LLP, independent external auditors appointed by the Board. The external auditors provided an unqualified opinion as an assurance to the Board that the statements were prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the required basis of accounting and are free from material misstatements. The in-year surplus available for compliance of $6.9M, largely arising due to lower-than-planned expenditures due to COVID19, positions the Board well with financial resources to respond further to uncertainty in the 2020-21 school year.

Selected for National Indigenous Education Award . . .

Principal Gail Brant-Terry honoured . . .

UCDSB Gail Brant-Terry . . .
UCDSB Gail Brant-Terry . . .

Wednesday, Nov. 11th - With a dedication for Indigenous Education and Reconciliation, Upper Canada District School Board Principal of Indigenous Education Programs Gail Brant-Terry was recently honoured with the Indspire Guiding the Journey Indigenous Education Awards in Leadership.  

 The award  recognizes educators who have made valuable contributions to community-based education and honour the principles of Indigenous knowledge. 

        Gail Brant-Terry's major leadership initiative is leading the UCDSB program, iLead, which engages community elders to share teachings and help students connect to the past. This program has a “teach the teacher” component, and it has inspired educators across the board to add Indigenous content to their lessons. She also co-authored a well-received paper with her daughter on the future of Indigenous education. 

        A member of the First Nation, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Brant-Terry has been in education for 33 years, which includes the past decade with the UCDSB.  Upon learning of winning the award, Brant-Terry says she was both surprised and honoured. She says working with the UCDSB has given her the opportunity to nurture her passion for ensuring Indigenous Education and Reconciliation becomes and remains ignited across the school communities, and that she’s proud of the school board’s work. 

        “UCDSB is known across our province for our work in Indigenous Education. Our two main initiatives, our iLead program and our TRC Gatherings, are the cornerstones of our work that have been going on for many years and I have had the privilege of being able to be a part of continuing to go deeper with this work,” she says. “I am only able to support everything we do in UCDSB because of the amazing people I get to work with across our system who are deeply invested in the important work of Indigenous Education.” 

         UCDSB Chair John McAllister says Brant-Terry’s commitment to bringing Indigenous Education programming into the school board is key to nurturing and building relationships. 

        “She has an incredible way to bring Indigenous history, culture and traditions to our school board, and introduces key voices from the Indigenous communities. I was pleased to see her in action supporting school initiatives that honoured Indigenous Education, such as the programming happening at the Smiths Falls and District Collegiate Institute,” he says. “We’re proud of Ms. Brant-Terry’s work, and this award is a deserving recognition for her dedication.” 

       Brant-Terry says it’s important to support teachers in their Truth and Conciliation Commission (TRC) program planning. 

        “Indigenous Education is about connecting the heart and the mind and being open to your own learning and often relearning. It requires people to embark on a personal learning journey where they have to individually invest the time in learning a history they were never taught in school,  nurture relationships to engage with cultural advisors and commit to using authentic resources by Indigenous authors where the teachings are respected and honoured,” she says. 

        “I would love to know that Indigenous students see themselves, their culture and traditions in our schools and non-Indigenous students have deep intercultural understanding, empathy and mutual respect,” Brant-Terry says, adding, “Ultimately, when you walk into every school in our board, you see and feel that honouring Indigenous ways of knowing and being matters.” 

        Brant-Terry will be recognized for her award at the Indspire Guiding the Journey Indigenous Education Award Ceremony on Nov. 26, 2020. 

Catholic schools grow by 2.6 per cent . . .

Financial Statements 2019-2020

        The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario has reviewed and approved the financial statements for the fiscal period of September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020. Ashley Hutchinson, Manager of Finance, presented the financial statements for the 2019-2020 school year, followed by Rob Clayton, Partner with KPMG, who presented an unqualified Auditor’s Report to the Board of Trustees.

        “As always, the Board strives to make the best use of its fiscal resources, to provide transparency and accountability with regard to the allocation of those resources, and to optimize resources in support of student achievement,” began Hutchinson.

        “As the GSNs are largely driven by enrolment, it is important to note that the Board has experienced a growth of approximately 323 FTE in 2019-2020, or 2.6 per cent over the 2018-2019 enrolment actuals. This increase has helped generate additional GSN funding in 2019-2020. CDSBEO is also forecasting an additional slight enrolment increase for 2021.”

        Total revenue for the 2019-2020 school year was $189.9 million, and expenditures totaled $182.9 million. The Board’s financial results include an accumulated in-year surplus of $5.5 million available for compliance. Additional in-year surpluses totaling $1.5 million were applied to fund items such as employee future benefits, interest accruals and school generated funds.

        “Initially, in the 2019-2020 revised budget, presented in December 2019, we had forecasted a balanced budget to the board, with a zero surplus/deficit. With the onset of COVID-19, the provincial school closures mandated by the Ministry of Education, from March 16 to June 30, certainly was one of the contributing factors to this year’s positive results,” noted Hutchinson. 

       “However, it is also important to note that while we are still investigating these details, we were tracking very well with our budget up to the point of school closures mid-March. We received a significant increase in GSN revenue due to increased enrolment, in the amount of just over $700,000. We also experienced approximately $1.4 million in savings from a supply staff perspective, again, partially attributed to the school closure period. Additional contributing factors to the surplus included a reduction in supplies and services, utilities and contractual costs, travel expenses, staff development and WSIB expenses,” noted Hutchinson. 

        Offsetting some of the savings were expenses incurred in August related to personal protective equipment for staff and students, to ensure a safe school start-up in September. 

        Additional enveloping provisions resulted in revenue deferrals of $2.3 million for several departments including Special Education, Student Achievement, and Indigenous Education. These funds will be deferred as they are protected envelopes under regulation, and they will be rolled forward for departments to use in the 2020-2021 school year. Planning is already underway to ensure these funds are spent for the purposes intended and in support of student learning and achievement.

        “It’s my pleasure to be here tonight to present the Auditor’s Report. KPMG has completed the audit, and in our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of CDSBEO as at August 31, 2020. The results of the Board's operations, and changes in its financial position for the year, are in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles,” concluded Rob Clayton, Partner of KPMG.

        Board Chair, Todd Lalonde, expressed his thanks on behalf of the Board. “Thanks, Mr. Clayton, for joining us this evening to provide the Auditor’s Report and thanks also goes out to our Finance Department for all of the hard work in preparing this report.”

        The 2019-2020 Financial Statements will be submitted to the Ministry of Education by mid-November.


CDSBEO virtual learning elementary school . . .

        The CDSBEO Virtual Learning Elementary School provides live interaction which takes place in real-time between the educator and students, while they are participating in learning activities. Students login on a daily schedule and can communicate directly with their teacher, and with each other. Synchronous virtual learning is, in many ways, similar to a physical classroom, and students have access to allow for immediate feedback, interactions with educators and peers, and guided exercises to motivate and increase student learning.

        Principal of Curriculum, Nancy McIntyre and Principal of the CDSBEO Virtual Learning Elementary School (VLES), Catherine English, presented information to the Board on the many successes of the new school, which includes 65 classrooms, 1672 students, 72 teachers, 12 early childhood educators, four educational assistants, one differentiated instruction teacher, one special education consultant, and two secretaries.

        “The highest student registrations can be found in the JK/SK level and the Grade 8 Level. Currently, 83 per cent of our virtual learners are participating in synchronous learning – which means that they are learning in real-time with their instructor. Approximately 17 per cent of our learners have chosen to participate asynchronously, which means that they complete their work without necessarily being part of the live instruction,” explained McIntyre.

        To help support this new school, the Board has purchased licenses for a variety of online, digital programs for Literacy, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Coding. Through these rich resources, teachers can access Ontario curriculum programming when planning for their students.

        “Our Kindergarten students all have access to a Math Gaming program Zorbits, that provides teachers with feedback that can drive their instruction and assessment on student learning,” noted McIntyre.

        “Many rich digital learning resources to support Mathematics and Reading have been provided to all teachers, including a digital textbook library with instructional resources categorized by theme or curriculum.”

        The Board continues to adjust, modify and adapt to the needs of virtual learning families through the development of new resources, parent tutorials, and consistent communication.

        “Daily, engaging routines have been established in the virtual classes to promote the tenets of our Catholic faith and to build school culture and community,” noted Principal, Catherine English.

        “There has been a strong emphasis on social-emotional learning activities whereby the students are learning about the benefits of a growth mindset and the acknowledgement of individual strengths.”

        Learning activities are linked to daily online lessons and delivered to both the synchronous and asynchronous students. Students are also engaged in learning strategies to promote self-regulation and mindfulness.

        “Thank you, on behalf of the Board of Trustees for providing us with this overview of how our students are thriving in this new virtual learning environment. We are excited to see how our staff and learners have adapted successfully,” concluded Chair Lalonde.