Board Meeting Highlights for April 2022
For Immediate Release
April 27, 2022
GUELPH, Ontario – The April meeting of the Upper Grand District School Board was held on April 26, 2022. The following provides highlights from the meeting.
Multi-Year Plan Update
Director of Education Peter Sovran provided an update on the board’s Multi-Year Plan (MYP) Process that is currently underway. The MYP Process sets the board’s priorities for the next four years. A school board’s MYP establishes the key directions that guide the organization’s actions for the students and communities that it serves. The MYP should articulate priorities that are future oriented, inclusive, and measurable. Director Sovran provided an update on the process timelines, including the upcoming consultation period that will gather voice from students, staff and communities. For updates on the MYP Process, please visit www.ugdsb.ca/myp.
COVID-19 Monthly Update
Staff gave a monthly update on the COVID-19 situation in UGDSB schools. The presentation focused on absenteeism, the importance of continuing to wear a mask, COVID-19 protective measures, COVID self-reporting and absence tracking, and mental health updates. The following provides highlights from the presentation:
- The board continues to request that staff and students wear masks indoors and is promoting this message through posters and classroom education materials.
- COVID-19 protective measures continue, including daily COVID screening, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, enhanced ventilation and air quality monitoring, more than 2,500+ HEPA filter units placed in schools, absenteeism reporting to the Ministry and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, distribution of rapid antigen tests, continued access to personal protective equipment, and more.
- The UGDSB is also providing a regular report of COVID-19 cases that have been self-reported to each school, as an additional layer of reporting during the sixth wave. As the board no longer receives case data from Public Health, reporting on self-reported cases is an additional layer of information for families.
- The UGDSB continues to report school absences on a daily basis, which allows staff to monitor trends in absenteeism rates. Generally, absences are now gradually trending down after peaking in early April.
- A number of measures continue to be taken to support student mental health and well-being. This includes the continued implementation of the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, support around stress and anxiety management, board-wide implementation of the Wellness Works initiative, parent webinars, continued collaboration with community partners, and resources and messaging for the upcoming Mental Health and Education Week.
The Board also thanked Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum, for once again joining the meeting to present the latest information on COVID-19 in our communities and answer questions. Dr. Tenenbaum’s presentation can be viewed on the UGDSB YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jhQ7kX-mNE.
Policy Resolution Submission to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA)
Board Chair Linda Busuttil placed three resolutions on the floor for trustee discussion. Trustees made one friendly amendment to the third resolution. The resolutions are as follows:
- Be it resolved, that OPSBA’s Whole Child and Student Well-Being Priority, recognize the environmental determinants of mental health on student achievement and well-being, and that this be included in OPSBA advocacy work plans and activities.
- Be it resolved, that OPSBA’s Whole Child and Student Well-Being, and Sustainable and Equitable Education Funding Priorities recognize the inequitable impact of climate change on Indigenous Peoples, young people and socially and economically disadvantaged populations, and advocate for local board efforts in addressing these inequities.
- Be it resolved, that OPSBA’s Sustainable and Equitable Education Funding Priority, advocate for dedicated Carbon Neutral, Capital and Renewal funding targeted to reduce School Board Energy and Transportation Carbon emissions.
Trustees then passed the following motion:
- That the three resolutions, the last one as amended, be approved by the Upper Grand DSB for submission to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association as a policy resolution.
2022-23 JK FI On-Time Application Overview
Staff provided preliminary information on the number of applications received for Junior Kindergarten French Immersion (JK FI) for the 2022-23 school year, as well as a comparison with previous years’ on-time application information.
The on-time window for applications to attend JKFI in 2022-23 opened on January 4, 2022, and closed on January 21, 2022, at 4:00pm. The on-time window was extended by one week due to the pandemic. Where the number of on-time applications to a school offering JK FI did not exceed the JK FI cap imposed, applicants were placed directly into JK FI. Where there was more JK FI applicants than spaces available, a random selection process was required.
The Board approved JK FI caps for the 2022/23 school year in November 2021. JK FI caps remained unchanged from the last year. The on-time application window occurred at the same time as the Board’s general JK registration period.
The report presented to Board outlined the JK FI Application Summary for the 2022-23 school year, the random selection process, how late applications and out of area/out of district applications are handled, as well as information on siblings of students already enrolled in FI applying to FI for the 2022-23 school year. For the full report, please visit the board website.
Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Non-Profit in Education
Staff gave a presentation about work completed to expand the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program.
Through the analysis of provincial Labour Market Research, a need was identified to develop a SHSM sector for students that represents careers in Education. The aim of the SHSM Non-profit Education Stream is as follows:
- Assist the future workforce in developing the skills that would make them great educators
- Encourage students to explore teaching in the French language
- Identify teaching as a viable career option for students regardless of the sector they are interested in
In order to fit the needs of all students interested in pursuing a career in education, the following pathways have been developed:
- SHSM Non-Profit in Education
- SHSM Non-Profit in Education, French Immersion and Extended French
The SHSM Non-Profit in Education stream will allow students to further explore the Education sector through a set of curated course credits and certifications. The benefits to students include:
- Exploring the education sector while completing their high school diploma
- Developing the skills necessary to excel in an education environment
- Exposing the pathways that lead to education including right to work, apprenticeship, college and university pathways
The French stream will also help to create a future workforce that can fill critical French language teaching positions, and provide students with work experience in a French language education environment.
In the 2022-23 school year, four SHSM Non-Profit in Education stream programs will be offered, located at Centre Wellington DHS, John F. Ross CVI, Norwell DSS, and Orangeville DSS.
The UGDSB is an avid supporter of the SHSM program, with a 41% SHSM footprint, compared to the provincial average of 18%. This translates into 91 programs, representing 12 different sectors, and participation from all 11 UGDSB secondary schools.
Preliminary Elementary and Secondary Staffing for 2022-23
Trustees approved staff recommendations regarding preliminary elementary and secondary staffing for next school year. Based on the projected enrolment and system needs, a preliminary allocation of elementary teaching staff will be set at 1411.7 FTE teachers for the 2022-23 school year. A preliminary allocation of secondary teaching staff will be set at 747.83 FTE teachers for the 2022-23 school year.
Trustees approved the following board policies:
Trustees approved the release of the following board policy for public consultation:
The public consultation period will be open until May 26, 2022, at 4pm. To review the draft documents and provide input, please visit the board website.
To view all UGDSB policies and procedures, and to provide feedback on draft policies, visit www.ugdsb.ca/policy.
The next regular monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday May 24, 2022. Meeting details will be posted online at https://www.ugdsb.ca/board/board-meetings/.