UCDSB Trustees Meeting report

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Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on March 6. Key items discussed in the public session are as follows.

Director’s Work Plan Update – Student Success:

Executive Superintendent of Student Success and Innovation Eric Hardie, and Superintendent of Student Success and TR Leger Shelley Riddell gave an update to the Board of Trustees, specifically related to the 2023‑24 Director’s Work Plan goal to improve student success to attain and maintain a 90 per cent student graduation rate within the UCDSB.

Executive Superintendent Hardie noted that graduation rates are trending upwards, from 85.8 per cent to 87.5 per cent and that 95.6 per cent of our secondary schools have a student credit attainment of over 90 per cent. Hardie was confident that all elements outlined in the Work Plan will be completed by the end of the school year and based on the data the 90% graduation rate goal should be met soon.

Superintendent Riddell highlighted some of the programs that have been implemented to help reach the goal. The SST Lift initiative offers personalized programming in a multi‑grade/multi‑subject class that supports students attending regular courses that appeal to their strengths/interests (art, physical education, co‑op, etc). Students can complete alternative assignments for other classes in SST Lift, and access district workshops that promote mental health and wellness.

Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) enables students aged 14‑17 to have alternative learning programs set up outside of the regular day school program while still staying connected to their home school. Riddell noted that the number of credits achieved through SAL has increased from 68.5 in 2022‑23 to 129 in 2023‑24, with opportunities for part‑time employment, volunteering, counselling, and training/skills development also increasing year over year.

Looking ahead, Executive Superintendent Hardie outlined next steps for the Student Success Team including the continued pilot of the Recognition of Experiential Learning Credit (RELC), further expansion of tech and trades opportunities for students, professional development for Administrators and Student Success Leads, and expansion of Real‑World Learning course development.

Math Achievement Action Plan Update:

As required by the Ministry of Education, Principal of Teaching and Learning Amanda Nieman alongside Executive Superintendent Hardie presented a Math Achievement Action Plan update to the Board of Trustees. The Ministry focus on math for 2023‑24 includes additional funding for system staff to support staff and students, additional funding for online tools to support student practice of math concepts, and professional learning series for all boards across the province.

To emphasize the focus of the Ministry within the UCDSB Hardie and Nieman described the UCDSB Math Achievement Action Plan Pillars that includes a professional learning plan, math assessment tools, “How do I?” sessions, a focus on EQAO, and the implementation of various digital math tools.

Pulling from the data compiled though the UCDSB Math Assessment Tool, Hardie showed significant increases in students testing at grade level, with two schools showing an increase from 23 per cent and 46 per cent to 61 per cent and 96 per cent respectively, exemplifying the benefits of having this data readily available in instructor decision making.

Moving on to EQAO testing, Nieman spoke about the creation of EQAO resource packs that include practice questions connected to the curriculum, platform tips, common student misconceptions and distractors, and recommended manipulatives, models and strategies. Dedicated staff have also been visiting schools throughout the region, helping teachers understand the connections between the curriculum and EQAO.

Digital tools to support student learning in Math were also highlighted, with a significant uptake in software such as Knowledgehook and MathUP Classroom being seen throughout the board, with the UCDSB having the highest uptake rates of Knowledgehook in the province.

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