Board Meeting Highlights for November 2021
For Immediate Release
November 24, 2021
GUELPH, Ontario – The November meeting of the Upper Grand District School Board was held on November 23, 2021. The following provides highlights from the meeting.
Superintendent of Education Pool
At the November Board Meeting, staff announced the successful candidates that have been placed in the board’s Superintendent of Education pool. This fall, the board put out a call for dynamic leaders with diverse lived experiences who are interested in assuming the role of Superintendent of Education. The purpose of the Superintendent of Education pool is to ensure a strong group of candidates are available to meet the future needs of Senior Administration of the board. After a fantastic response from interested applicants both internal and external to the UGDSB, and a rigorous application and interview process, the following three candidates have been selected for placement in the pool: Wendy Donaldson, Adnan Shahbaz, and Belal Taha. Information about the successful candidates can be found on the board website.
Secondary Principal/Vice-Principal Transfers and Appointments
Please see below for the following Secondary Principal and Vice-Principal transfers:
Principal Appointments (Effective Nov. 23, 2021):
- April King from Acting Principal at Westside SS to Principal at Westside SS
Vice-Principal Appointments (Effective Nov. 23, 2021):
- Ben McCabe from Temporary VP at Guelph CVI to VP at Guelph CVI
Vice-Principal Transfers (Effective Nov. 1, 2021):
- Heather Ginzel from VP at College Heights SS to VP at the Secondary Remote Program
- Melissa McDowall from VP at the Secondary Remote Program to VP at College Heights SS
2021-22 Annual French Review Background Report
Staff presented the 2021-22 Annual French Review Background Report. This report reviews the experiences of the 2021-22 Junior Kindergarten French Immersion (JK FI) application process, enrolment, retention, staffing and cap related information in order to present recommendations to the Board with respect to the 2022-23 school year. Following review of the annual report, Trustees approved several recommendations:
- That Memo PLN:22-27 entitled “2021-22 Annual French Review Background Report” dated November 2, 2021, be received.
- That the JK FI on-time application window will open at 9am on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, and close at 4pm on Friday, January 21, 2022.
- That no new FI programs be established in 2022-23.
- That the JK FI enrolment caps not be adjusted.
Annual Accessibility Report
Staff presented the 2020-21 Annual Accessibility Report. The 2020-21 Annual Accessibility Report highlights the work accomplished throughout the school year despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
The UGDSB remains committed to working to exemplify and advance the four principles of accessibility: dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity. The UGDSB is advancing these principles by identifying, removing and preventing barriers for the 35,000+ students, 4,000+ staff and community members it serves in 65 elementary schools, 11 secondary schools and two remote learning programs.
The report supports and reflects all the objectives of the UGDSB’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and highlights measures the board has taken to identify, remove and prevent barriers for persons with disabilities in the areas of training, education, building an accessible culture and leadership, procurement, information and communication, employment, transportation, the built environment and outdoor play spaces.
Re-Engagement and Grade 7-8 Guidance Supports
Staff provided trustees with information about re-engagement supports and the work of Grade 7-8 Guidance Counsellors.
The Ministry of Education provided funds to support learning recovery to address impacts of the learning disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of those funds is focused on re-engaging students in the 2021-2022 school year, with a focus on students connected to the margins. The UGDSB allocated funds to hire two re-engagement leads. The purpose of this work includes:
- Reaching out to students who have not attended school, have had inconsistent attendance or have disengaged from their learning
- Connecting those students to a network of ongoing supports in the school community to build on their strengths and respond to their individual interests and needs
- Keeping students engaged in learning, connected to their school and motivated to achieve their best
Staff provided information on the work re-engagement leads do to support students in K-12 who have been disadvantaged and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in re-engaging and transition back to school, with a focus on students whose identities are connected to the margins, including students who are racialized, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIA+, low income, youth in care, students with disabilities, or with special education needs. Re-engagement leads will work with in-school teams, social workers, families and community partners to support students in their efforts.
Grade 7-8 Guidance Counsellors
Trustees also received a staff presentation from UGDSB Grade 7-8 Guidance Counsellors. The mission of these staff members’ work is to empower, guide and support students in their unique pathways. The areas of focus for students in Grade 7 includes support with pathways, identity, career exploration, and myBlueprint. In Grade 8, the areas of focus include pathways planning, transitions support, course selection, and volunteer hours. The Grade 7-8 Guidance Counsellors provide in-person lessons for Grade 7 and 8 students, remote lessons for the Elementary Remote Program, and small group transition support.
Renewal Projects 2021-2022
Staff from the board’s Capital/Renewal group provided an overview of renewal projects scheduled for this year. The Capital/Renewal group of the Operations Department is responsible for planning and implementing all new schools, additions, major renovations, energy initiatives and equipment replacement projects in UGDSB schools and administration buildings.
Their goal is to provide safe, serviceable, comfortable and affordable environments for students and staff, while seeking out and supporting environmental stewardship opportunities by linking the buildings to environmental education within the school system.
Renewal work planned for this year includes boiler replacements, LED lighting upgrades, control system upgrades, flooring replacements, paving and resurfacing project, washroom, classroom and library renovations, painting, and more.
Trustee expenses for the 2020-21 financial year were received by the board. The expenses totaled $2,781. Travel and Professional Development expenses were significantly lower in 2020-21 due to COVID-19 related restrictions. The expenses will be posted on the Finance section of the board website.
From December 1, 2021 to November 30, 2022, trustee honoraria will be set at the following:
- Chair – $18,652
- Vice Chair – $15,290
- Other Trustees: $11,929
The honoraria are set by base amounts plus an enrolment amount based on the Average Daily Enrolment (ADE) from the budget for the previous year.
COVID-19 Droplet and Contact Precautions – N95 Respirators
At the October 26 Board Meeting, trustees passed a motion directing staff to put together a comprehensive report and a thorough examination of potential staff use of N95 Respirators, as well as to reach out to other school boards that are also going through a similar exploration, and report back to the Board with all the relevant information to make a decision. Human Resources and Health and Safety staff prepared a comprehensive report detailing information including Occupational Health and Safety, N95 Respirators, and government and agencies guidelines on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
While UGDSB continues to align with the Ministry of Education and WDGPH direction that an N95 mask would not be considered enhanced PPE at this time, it should be acknowledged that for some staff, allowing such a substitution would assist in addressing potential concerns related to personal perceived risks associated with COVID-19 exposure.
Following the report presentation, trustees approved a motion, that:
“The Upper Grand District School Board establish a comprehensive application process through the Health and Safety Department for staff requesting the use of self-funded, fitted and acquired N95 masks (respirators) for COVID-19 purposes. This process would support the mental health and wellness of staff while complying with legislated responsibilities, as identified in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA, specifically sections 25-28).”
COVID-19 Monthly Update
The Ministry of Education recently announced that school boards will be permitted to resume a regular secondary school timetable of four courses per day for the upcoming winter semester. Before making a decision, board staff will take the time to gather input from UGDSB students, families and stakeholders. The board has developed a survey for all secondary students to complete and staff will gather input from Student Senate, the Parent Involvement Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, OSSTF, and Principals/Vice-Principals. As staff gather voices on this matter and plans are finalized for Semester 2, the board will keep the public informed.
Audited Financial Statements
Trustees approved the board’s 2020-21 Audited Financial Statements and the 2020-21 Audited Financial Statements of the UGDSB Trust Funds, prepared by KPMG. The audited statements will be posted on the board’s website.
Trustees approved the following board policies:
- Policy 704 – Advertising Expenditures
- Policy 508 – Educational Field Trips and Off-Site Activities
- Policy 113 – Director of Education Performance Appraisal
The following draft policy will be released for further public consultation:
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 December 14, 2021. Meeting details will be posted online at https://www.ugdsb.ca/board/board-meetings/.