Highlights from October 23 UCDSB Board of Trustees Meeting
Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019, for their regular Board meeting. They discussed several agenda items.
2018 Terry Fox School Runs Results
Superintendent Deanna Perry reported on the 2018 Terry Fox School Runs, informing Trustees that UCDSB schools raised a combined total of $88,096 last year for the Terry Fox Foundation through individual school runs. In nearly 30 years since the Terry Fox School Run began, UCDSB schools have raised $1.43 million.
The annual Ted Kennedy Legacy Awards recognizing the elementary and secondary schools that raised the most money per student in 2018 were also announced. Laggan Public School was the elementary school award recipient and Athens District High School was the secondary school recipient. ADHS Principal David Pier and VicePrincipal Laura Oliver accepted the award on behalf of their school. Representatives of Laggan Public School were unable to attend so Superintendent Perry, as the school’s superintendent, accepted their plaque on their behalf.
These awards honour the late Superintendent Ted Kennedy, who passed away in 2011 and was a vocal champion for students and schools engaged in community-based events, such as the annual Terry Fox Run.
Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) Program
Superintendent Susan Rutters and Principal of Safe Schools Don Lewis reported on the board’s Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) Program. All secondary schools can recommend students for participation in alternative learning directed by a SAL plan when all other program options at the school level have been explored and deemed insufficient to the needs of the student. These are unique programs for exceptional circumstances, designed to address the needs of students who are at risk of leaving school early. SAL is used for a small segment of the student population with a total of 16 students being placed with the SAL program in the 2018-19 school year.
SAL programs can include work terms in the community, counselling, volunteer work, or other skill development experiences. The program permits students to pursue their educational and personal goals, and still stay connected to their home school by allowing them to participate in extracurriculars. The goal is to assist students to either return to school or to proceed to a post-secondary option by the age of 18, such as apprenticeships, training, college, independent living, university or the workplace.
Summer Learning Program Report
Superintendents of Schools Bill Loshaw and Susan Rutters, along with Linklater Public School Principal Jennifer McMaster and TR Leger Principal Sandy McInnis, reported on the success of the 2019 Summer Learning and Summer Semester programs.
The Summer Learning Program ran in July at eight sites across our board. Eighty-six students participated. The program develops literacy and numeracy skills for students in Grades 1-3. It is offered to students needing intensive support and consists of 45 hours of instruction, as well as 15 hours of physical activity. This voluntary program also builds self-regulation, self-assessment, and goal-setting skills. It includes field trips in local communities and nutritious snacks for students.
Assessments revealed significant gains for our students, with 86 per cent of students in the 2019 program progressing at least one reading level, 54 per cent of students improving at least two reading levels, and many students increasing 4-6 reading levels. Students also learned more efficient strategies to solve math problems.
The Summer Semester Program, coordinated by the TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education, enables students to earn credits toward their diploma over the summer. The 2019 program saw 1,403 students earn 1,501 credits. The credits included 39 online courses for students in Grades 9-12. Grade 7 and 8 students could also take a “reach ahead” high school preparation course. The program included Summer Semester Cooperative Education courses, the Summer Semester Cadet Co-operative Education course, and a new course called Summer Semester Face-to-Face Civics and Careers for Indigenous Youth.
STEO Transportation Report to the Board
Janet Murray, General Manager for Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) updated Trustees on transportation issues ranging from school bus capacity to efforts to harmonize school bell times.
Murray began her report discussing school bus ride times, indicating that the average ride for students in 2019-2020 is 21.7 minutes, with 1.14 per cent of students having a 60 minute ride time. She noted that school bus route stabilization continues to occur throughout the year. She also reported on school bus capacity, which currently sees 20 passenger buses at 100 per cent capacity, 54-passenger buses at 78 per cent capacity and 72-passenger buses at 94-per cent capacity.
Murray stressed STEO ideally plans for an available capacity of 10 per cent to allow for flexibility to better handle emergency placements, new riders and other contingencies. Efforts to promote active travel within walk zones and the success of the first stage of the bell time harmonization were also included in the report.
In September, bell time harmonization took place in the north-western quadrants of both the UCDSB and Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO). That effort has allowed STEO to take 40 vehicles off the road without loss of service.
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