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Board Meeting February 27
Highlights from February 27 Board of Trustees Meeting
Posted on 03/05/2019
Board of Trustees

March 5, 2019 (Brockville, ON) – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 to discuss several agenda items. 

Financial Update for Trustees: Senior Business Adviser Richard Onley presented Trustees with a special report outlining how much of the 2018-19 budget has been allocated, as of December 31, 2018. He reported that one third of the operating budget has been spent. 

The report was requested by trustees at the January 30 meeting of the Board, after the first financial forecast of the fiscal year showed an expected deficit of about $4 million. The shortfall is due to an arbitration order resulting in increases in student transportation costs.

Trustees passed a motion requesting administration bring a report by the end of March to the Board of Trustees outlining a draft plan for deficit reduction. 

Special Education Advisory Committee Appointment: Trustees ratified the appointment of Mark Derose to the Special Education Advisory Committee. Derose is a representative of the Rural Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Support Network.

Annual Occupational Health and Safety Report: Health and Safety Specialist Dennis Koluk presented the annual Occupational Health and Safety Report for 2017-2018, which showed a 22 per cent decrease in the number of accidents reported by Board employees.

There were 112 accident claims filed in 2017-2018, compared with 143 the year before. Accidents causing employees to miss work dropped by 10 per cent; accidents in which employees could continue to work dropped by 32 per cent; and of special interest, the number of slips, trips and falls decreased by 24 per cent.

The decreases were attributable to improved health and safety workplace inspections, a focus on education and professional development to address issues such as slips, trips and falls and new health and safety programming.

Maple Grove Public School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness: Principal Nancy Keech told trustees how her school is improving academic results and student wellness through its School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness. Staff are striving to improve math and literacy scores by working on the fundamentals.

In math, this means working on improving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills for all students from Grades 1-6. In the fall, staff performed careful assessments to see how each student approached problems, where they were successful and where they were struggling. Staff then individualized instruction through guided math groups, targeted games and one-on-one coaching to help students improve.

In literacy, staff have gone back to basics by evaluating the building blocks of reading – letter and phonemic awareness – in Kindergarten and the primary grades. Staff use guided groups and other daily literacy activities to build that awareness. In the junior grades, staff are focusing on writing skills such as crafting a great sentence and a clear paragraph, and checking student work against success criteria that students have developed with their teachers.

The school is improving student wellness in several ways. The school has changed the schedule to allow each class to begin and end with sharing circles and check-ins. Staff have also introduced the Maple Grove R.O.C.K.S. program, which encourages positive behaviour in the areas of respect, ownership, community, kindness and safety.

The school also used a Community Connected Experiential Learning Grant to create a restorative spiral garden in the playground for students to walk in and calm themselves, as well as an outdoor classroom, and a walking path to connect the two areas.   

Montague Public School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (SIPSAW): Principal Paul LeRoy presented his school’s improvement plan and ways staff are enhancing student well-being, as well as math and literacy scores.

In mathematics, the school is assessing students’ mathematical abilities as measured by the progress of focus students and are developing strategies accordingly. They are now using strategies such as “Splats” to build addition and subtraction skills. Splats are number games in which a “black blob” partially covers number dots displayed in a math question. Students are provided with a number and must reason how many dots are hidden to make the designated number. Students are later put through a videotaped assessment of their skills. Teachers review the videos and determine further steps to help students improve. As a result, staff have seen an improvement in students’ addition skills.

In literacy, staff are helping students in many ways – including with improving their vocabulary. They are using assessments to implement effective teaching strategies based on student needs. As a result, students’ abilities to use different types of adjectives have improved.

Student wellness is being enhanced using the Positive Behavioural Interventions and Support Program, which encourages expected behaviours and celebrates them. 

You can view the complete agenda from the meeting here or watch the full recording for more details.

The next regular board meeting takes place Wednesday, March 6 in Brockville.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Stephen Sliwa
Director of Education
Upper Canada District School Board
(613) 342-0371 ext. 1188                            

John McAllister
Chair
Upper Canada District School Board
(613) 213-4094

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