Board Meeting Highlights for June 2020
For Immediate Release
June 24, 2020
GUELPH, Ontario – The June meeting of the Upper Grand District School Board was held on June 23, 2020. The following provides highlights from the meeting.
Distance Learning Updates
When the provincial school closures were announced in March, UGDSB departments and staff came together to move an entire school system to working and learning remotely. Staff collaborated across many departments including Information Technology, Program Services, Elementary and Secondary Curriculum, Early Years, Equity, and Senior Administration to move more than 35,000 students to a distance learning model and thousands of staff to working remotely. At the Board meeting, staff presented an overview of the work done to date in distance learning and working.
With student and staff well-being as the top priority, and through careful and intentional planning, board staff: met staff and students where they were at and helped them feel comfortable in this new environment; collected data and used evidence to guide their planning; focused on using a phased-in approach, being measured and careful at each step; and changed and adapted as necessary.
Some of the work involved and highlights included:
- Developing synchronous and asynchronous learning options for staff and providing training in new platforms to staff, students and parents
- Offering robust tech support for staff, students and parents
- Providing extensive support for staff to enable them to connect with families, provide effective feedback and assessment, collaborate with Special Education support staff, increase student engagement, and more
- Offering training tools and supports to increase educator mental health literacy in order to support student mental health, and ongoing and urgent consultations with educators around specific student mental health needs
- Distributing technology to more than 4,500 families, including Chromebooks, adding security software to each device, and providing funding for families to support data needs
- Providing print resources prepared by teachers to be available by school pick-up or home delivery, and providing reading books, workbooks and other physical materials as required
- Developed and provided resources and tools for students with special education and/or mental health needs, and making connections to community services and supports for student mental health and well-being
- Adapting and adjusting School to Careers programming, including Co-op and SHSM, and providing Experiential Learning opportunities and Career Life Planning
Staff were also involved in a number of system-level committees that included developing plans for safe access to schools and board sites for essential work and retrieving student belongings, staff working effectively remotely, and numerous operational and health and safety considerations.
Summer School Programs and Updates
Staff provided an overview of summer learning opportunities that will be offered by the UGDSB this year.
Summer learning opportunities for students include Online Summer School, 37 traditional summer school credits, which will be delivered virtually this year, Summer Co-op, Credit Recovery programs, Secondary Upgrading Credits, Dual Credit programs, Grade 8 Reach Ahead credits, and Grade 6/7/8 Literacy and Numeracy support programs. The board will also be offering a Grade 7 & 8 ESL summer program and Adult ESL summer learning.
Courses will be offered through the UGDSB’s Continuing Education department: https://www.ugdsb.ca/continuing-education/credit-courses/summer-school/
UGDSB Equity Plan 2019-2022
Staff gave a presentation on equity, Indigenous education and anti-racism work in the UGDSB, showing examples of the work that has been done in the past and work that will happen moving forward.
Highlights of some of the work that has been done in the past year include:
- Understanding identity, privilege, oppression and bias PD for staff
- Culturally responsive and relevant practices PD for staff
- Anti-homophobia training from EGALE Canada
- Anti-oppression training for staff
- Living in poverty experiential learning
- Providing schools with culturally responsive and relevant texts and resources
- Continual representation at numerous services and support groups throughout entire board catchment
- Identify areas of gap in representation and alignment with community partners
- Continuing with inviting Knowledge Keepers in classrooms with a focus on grade 7 history classes and Indigenous Studies classes
- Intermediate collaborative inquiry with Glenbrook ES, Sir Isaac Brock PS, William C. Winegard PS, Aberfoyle PS, Guelph Lake PS, King George PS, Centennial Hylands ES and Grand Valley and District PS on Indigenous teachings
- Secondary Indigenous Student Leadership Forum
- Continuing the Indigenous Knowledge Math Project at additional schools
- Indigenous Education staff PD for teachers, administrators and the community
Staff then presented trustees with the UGDSB Three-Year Equity Plan for 2019-2022, which will guide the board’s work in equity, anti-racism and anti-oppression.
The Equity Plan is divided into four main sections:
- Identify and Name Bias, Oppression and Racism through reflection, evidence, voice/feedback and data
- Build collaborative relationships to foster community and align
- Address and educate with accountable policies and practices
- Eliminate Bias, Oppression and Racism through disruption and action
To view the full Equity Plan and learn more about equity work in the UGDSB, visit www.ugdsb.ca/equity.
Trustees received the Equity Plan and also passed staff recommendations that will expand the role of the board’s existing Safe Equitable Inclusive Schools Steering Committee.
Police Presence in Schools
The Chair of the Board presented a report regarding the presence of police in UGDSB schools. Over the past several weeks, both staff and trustees have received numerous emails and phone calls regarding police presence in schools.
Trustees passed the following recommendations:
- That the report “Police Presence in Schools” dated June 16, 2020, be received.
- That a task force be established to review police presence in Upper Grand District School Board schools.
- That the membership of the Police Presence in Schools Task Force be comprised of 3 staff members and 3 trustees, and that this group develop a Terms of Reference that includes membership from the community and resources including a police service representative.
- That the trustee members be appointed at the June 23, 2020, Board meeting.
- That the staff members include the superintendent responsible for Equity and Inclusion plus two (2) other staff members selected by the superintendent by June 23rd, 2020.
- That the task force report back to the Board with recommendations no later than December 2020.
- That the Upper Grand District School Board continue its School Resource Officer programs in partnership with Dufferin OPP, Guelph Police Service, Orangeville Police Service, Shelburne Police Service, and Wellington OPP until the findings from the Police Presence in Schools Task Force have been reported, and any future actions have been decided and approved by the Board.
- That one of the 3 trustees on the task force will be a student trustee.
The following trustees were appointed to the Police Presence in Schools Task Force: Trustee Foley, Trustee Ross, and Student Trustee Luff.
Trustees also passed the following motions:
- That the report Police Presence in Schools: Town Hall Meeting dated June 23, 2020 be received.
- That the board direct the Police Presence in Schools Task Force to announce and organize a town hall meeting regarding police presence in schools at the earliest possible opportunity, ensuring that as many voices are included as possible, no later than Sept. 30, 2020.
Trustees approved the following revised board policies: Policy 204 Research Projects in Schools, Policy 308 Selection of Architects, Policy 316 Records and Information Management, and Policy 406 Health and Safety.
Trustees approved the release of draft Policy 303 Naming of Schools and Board Facilities for public consultation. The board is seeking feedback on this draft policy until October 16, 2020. To review the draft documents and provide your feedback, please visit https://www.ugdsb.ca/board/policy/policy-303-naming-of-schools-and-board-facilities/.
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 Sept. 1, 2020. Members of the public are welcome to attend. The meeting agenda and information about how to attend will be posted on the board website. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
About the Upper Grand District School Board
The Upper Grand District School Board serves approximately 35,000 students through 65 elementary schools and 11 secondary schools in the City of Guelph, County of Wellington and County of Dufferin. The UGDSB covers the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Six Nations of the Grand River, and Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territories. Student success is the goal of over 4,000 dedicated teaching and support staff who are aided by the contributions of caring volunteers and community partners.
Learn, Lead, Inspire…Together
Heather Loney, Communications and Community Engagement Officer
Upper Grand District School Board
Megan Sicoli, Administrative Officer, Communications
Upper Grand District School Board