Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met virtually on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 for a regularly scheduled board meeting.
Student Survey results detail pandemic learning experiences
Staff presented the results from its online student survey conducted this spring, of Grade 9-12 students. The survey received responses from 28 per cent of UCDSB Grade 9-12 students, with representation from all secondary schools and grades.
Overall, students are accepting of the quadmester model and understand the need, given the pandemic. Students outlined both the benefits and challenges associated with the quadmester model. For instance, some students find it easier to focus with just two courses while others outlined that it’s hard to stay motivated for the duration of the longer classes. Also, close to 60 per cent of respondents said they are confident about moving to the next level in their studies; half of respondents said they were more stressed this year and directly attributed their stress to the pandemic; most respondents are reporting using healthy stress management strategies.
Senior staff will collaborate with school principals and teaching staff about possible adjustments to current quadmester practices to incorporate student feedback regarding quadmesters. As well, staff will continue to connect with parents/guardians, students and UCDSB student senate to increase awareness of mental health resources and supports within our schools.
Asymptomatic testing rollout continues across School Board
All school boards across the province follow a prescribed approach to voluntary asymptomatic testing clinics, with the goal to test two per cent of the total student population each week. Testing is provided by a third-party licensed service provider assigned by the Ministry of Education.
To date, the UCDSB has hosted four asymptomatic pop-up clinics at the following schools: Carleton Place High School, North Dundas DHS, Seaway DHS and Almonte DHS. At each location, the elementary feeder school staff and families were invited to attend the voluntary clinic. Staff shared that 114 tests were performed at the Carleton Place clinic; however, aggregate data is not yet available for the remaining clinics.
STEO update to Trustees
Trustee John Danaher, who is the UCDSB representative on the Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) Board of Directors, brought an update to trustees from STEO’s March meeting. Changing inclement weather bus cancellations from a regional approach to a more targeted approach was discussed at the meeting. However, the bus consortium has indicated that due to variety of reasons, including scheduling and routing, a targeted approach to bus cancellations is not possible at this time. Trustees asked that Danaher bring back the topic to the STEO board of directors to get clarity around the obstacles. Danaher also indicated that the planning is on track for phase three of the bell time alignment initiatives. He indicated that parents will be getting more information from STEO regarding any changes to bus pick-up/drop-off times in June.
UCDSB responds to concerns with Ministry E-Learning plans
Trustees discussed their concerns related to media reports outlining a long-term proposal for e-learning reportedly being considered for Ontario Schools. Trustees passed a motion that the Chair write a letter to the Ministry of Education outlining concerns regarding the possible extension to e-learning. Trustees passed a second motion that directs the Chair to convene a meeting with municipal government leaders across the school district to share their concerns around e-learning. Trustees passed a third motion to ask that the provincial government establish a Royal Commission into the future of education in Ontario, prior to making significant changes to the public education model.
Winter Director’s Award of Merit Recipients announced
Director of Education Stephen Sliwa announced the recipients of the Winter Director’s Award of Merit. The Director’s Award of Merit seeks to recognize 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 our schools.
From the 69 nominations, seven recipients were chosen for their outstanding work within our school system:
Joanne O’Connor (Teacher – South Branch Elementary School);
Beverley Glover (Custodian – Athens DHS)
Jennifer Moore (Principal – Front of Yonge PS)
Jennifer Wagensveld (Teacher – Morrisburg PS)
Laura Panyszak (Teacher – Rockland DHS)
Monique Favreau (Guidance Counsellor – TRL Carleton Place)
Paddy Houston (Special Services Counsellor- East)
Full details on presentations, reports and discussions can be found in the agenda or reviewed in the recorded broadcast.