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News from October 24 Board Meeting
Highlights from October 24 Board of Trustees Meeting
Posted on 10/26/2018
Trustees at Board meeting

October 26, 2018 (Brockville, ON) – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, October 24 to discuss several agenda items.  

Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (BIPSAW): Principals of Teaching and Learning Jennifer McMaster and Shelly Corlyon discussed the 2018-19 BIPSAW. This plan sets out ways to improve student achievement in math and literacy. Under the plan, schools are being asked to focus on engaging learning experiences and improve assessment and feedback practices for students.  

The goal is to see more of our students reach the provincial achievement standard, where students obtain a score of Level 3 or higher on the assessments administered by the Education, Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). In this case, the Board’s Improvement Plan sets a target of a 3 per cent increase in the number of UCDSB students meeting the provincial standard for achievement or higher in junior and primary EQAO reading scores, and a 1 per cent increase in writing, by the end of 2019.           

The Board aims to reach its literacy goals for its students in several ways, such as: hosting staff conferences on how to improve student reading and writing, and assessment practices; the use of specialists to help teachers improve teaching practices; and working with students to set goals for achievement in reading and writing. 

The plan to improve mathematics skills is to create learning experiences with students that engage them through practical, real-life uses of math – such as the SFDCI Canoe Project. Teachers will receive support from board staff with specific expertise in this area and through staff development to improve instructional practices. Through this support, teachers will work further with students to boost their understanding and skill of the “basics” of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  

The plan also calls for ongoing monitoring and assessment of students’ success, which will inform planning for next steps for support for teachers in their work. 

International Baccalaureate Programme at Brockville Collegiate Institute: Trustees voted on Wednesday, Oct. 24 to discontinue the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Brockville Collegiate Institute as of June 2020. Students who enrolled in September 2018 can continue, but no new students will be enrolled. The IB program is an additional opportunity for BCI students to pursue at their school, in addition to the opportunity to complete the standard high school diploma offered by the province of Ontario. 

Trustees decided to close the program for several reasons: a review of this special program showed enrolment is declining, necessitating split classes to offer IB. In the last three years, no student has attempted or been granted a full IB diploma. The program is having difficulty aligning with IB program standards. To meet the program standards in full would double the annual cost of the program that is supported by the Board of Trustees, which is currently about $130,000 a year.  

Policy Changes to Reflect New Cannabis Laws: Trustees updated the Student Code of Conduct and Board policies regarding non-medical use of cannabis on school board property. The move reflects recent changes in federal cannabis laws, and resulting changes to the Ministry of Education’s own Policy and Program Memorandum. Superintendent Deanna Perry presented on changes to the UCDSB Code of Conduct, Code of Conduct Policy 124, the Student Discipline Policy, and the school board’s Smoke Free Environment policy to bring board regulations in line with Education Act amendments.

The changes make clear that the non-medical use of cannabis and its possession is prohibited on school property, inside all schools and on buses; that cannabis cannot be given to a minor; and no individuals can be under its influence at school or a school board workplace. The updates also ensure accommodations can be made for individuals who must use cannabis for medical reasons. A review of other policies related to non-medical cannabis use is ongoing. 

Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School (GISS) Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (SIPSAW): GISS Principal Bill Loshaw and Vice-Principal Lesley Mackellar told trustees how their school is improving students’ math and literacy scores, as well as their overall wellness. 

In mathematics, Mackellar said this year’s positive EQAO scores are indicators of the work accomplished over the last three years through a focus on learning in mathematics, under the leadership of Superintendent Jodie Barrett and her team. This focus encourages students to talk about how they learn new concepts. GISS’s improved results are also a reflection of the collaborative work of staff. Teachers are providing students with rich learning tasks and encourage respectful classroom discourse so students share their thinking and look at math tasks more openly. Teachers have used a team approach in co-planning and co-teaching, which has positively impacted student learning.  

To improve literacy scores, Loshaw said his school continues to take a school-wide approach to embed literacy into all subject areas regardless of grade or content. In addition, students will continue to complete practice literacy tests and will be given descriptive feedback, linked to success criteria, which will provide them with next steps for improvement. 

Regarding wellness, the goal is to create the conditions that support students and staff in experiencing a sense of belonging and comfort within the school.  

Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI) School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (SIPSAW): Principal Marsha McNair spoke of ways her school is improving student wellness - and their math and literacy scores – with a focus on Grades 9 and 10 students. 

In mathematics, SFDCI staff developed student multiplication and problem-solving skills and worked on approaches to providing feedback to students. Staff are monitoring and tracking student learning using the Lawson’s Continuum tool to decide next moves. Teachers also encourage students to discuss how they reach their answers so everyone can learn. 

To improve literacy skills, staff are teaching students to use reading strategies such as inferencing and making connections to strengthen students’ ability to read for meaning.  

For wellness, staff have created a student survey, which asks Grades 9 and 10 students about their wellness in areas from physical activity to use of technology. The survey information will help staff design strategies to improve student wellness by developing the “RedHawks Healthy Habits” of: eating healthy, sleep hygiene, physical activity, healthy technology use, mindfulness techniques, fostering healthy relationships, and connecting with their school community. The school also hosts weekly yoga sessions, and staff meetings include wellness moments to further explore mindfulness activities that can be used in the classroom.  

You can view the complete agenda from the October 24 meeting here.

Stephen Sliwa
Director of Education
Upper Canada District School Board
613-342-0371 ext. 1234

Jeff McMillan
Upper Canada District School Board

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