Highlights from the November 25 UCDSB Board of Trustees’ meeting
Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 for a regularly scheduled board meeting. Trustees conducted the meeting in person at the Brockville Board Office, with enhanced public health measures in place that provided the option for staff and trustees to connect by phone or virtually as an alternate means for attending the proceedings.
Two UCDSB Schools Awarded for Terry Fox Foundation Fundraising Efforts
Two schools were honoured with the 2019 Ted Kennedy Legacy Award at the Nov. 25 Board meeting. This annual award – named after the late Superintendent Ted Kennedy who had a passion for the Terry Fox Run – honours the UCDSB elementary and secondary schools that each raise the most funds per student for the Terry Fox Foundation. In 2019, Laggan Public School and Char-Lan District High School earned that honour and were recognized during Wednesday evening’s board meeting for their commitment to the fight against cancer.
Parent Involvement Committee Highlights Active School Board Connection
Trustee Jamie Schoular presented the Parent Involvement Committee’s (PIC) 2019-2020 progress to the Board of Trustees.
On top of its ongoing engagement, outreach, consultation and advisory activities, PIC also launched working groups last year. These groups connect PIC members with district staff to discuss topics that would enhance parental engagement and contribution. These working groups include the My Family Room Web Portal Working Group, Principal Profile Working Group and Parent Engagement Working Group, and each group had an initial start-up dialogue to set the groundwork for 2020-2021.
UCDSB Presents 2020-2023 Mental Health Strategic Plan
Staff presented the 2020-2023 UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan to trustees and highlighted the progress achieved from the 2017-2020 strategic plan.
The UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan (2020-2023) will continue to focus on four priority areas, which will be embedded in the UCDSB Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (BIPSAW). These four areas include educating students and staff on mental health resources; enhancing access to supports for stress and coping using evidence-based programming in all of our schools; articulating pathways to care ensuring appropriate levels of support for our vulnerable student; and, enhancing staff, student and family access to reliable, evidence-based and evidence-informed information and resources.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan will focus on continuing to emphasize classroom programs delivered by classroom staff and encouraging help-seeking by clarifying pathways to care.
Remote Learning Sees Increased Enrollment for In-class Learning Model
Staff presented its monthly remote learning report to the board, and outlined that as of Nov. 16, 80 per cent of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students were enrolled in the in-class learning model while 20 per cent of students participate in the remote learning model. These numbers show a one per cent increase for the in-class learning model. The school board also witnessed an increased shift to “non-digital asynchronous” learning for remote learners where workbooks based on the curriculum has been developed and distributed to students.
To support this shift to non-digital learning, the remote teachers’ team create bi-weekly elementary curriculum-based resources that include workbooks featuring daily lesson plans across all grades and all subjects for a 10-day period. These resources are posted centrally for all elementary teachers to use as part of daily classroom instruction, in addition to their own materials.
Monthly Financial Update on Potential Funding Sources
During this month’s financial reporting to trustees, administrative staff outlined sources of revenue for 2020-2021 that were not incorporated into the revenue estimates for the approved budget for 2020-2021.
In advance of the beginning of each fiscal year, the UCDSB board of trustees approves a budget representing an estimate of the coming year’s revenues and expenditures, based upon the best available information at the time.
Since that initial budget approval in July 2020, more than $6 million has been allocated to the UCDSB from Aug. 4 to Oct. 28. Most of the increased revenues comes from provincial and federal funding to cover COVID-19-related expenses. Listed as Priorities and Partnerships Funds, this $6 million will be dispersed to previously committed budget line items as well as to COVID-19 response expenses.
Grade K-6 Virtual School Feasibility Study Presentation
To support students and their families for learning opportunities and in response to Ministry requirements, the UCDSB created a unique remote learning model during this time of the pandemic., On Sept. 2, 2020, trustees arrived at a motion requesting further study and a follow-up report on the feasibility, cost and implementation schedule related to the set-up of a stand-alone concept for a virtual school for all students K-6 model.
At the Nov. 25 meeting, UCDSB staff presented a 24-page report created by an education consultant, who worked with senior-level staff for input and consultation. The report’s findings rejected the idea of creating a Virtual K – 6 Elementary School at this time. Specifically, changing from the current remote learning model to a separately staffed virtual school for the remainder of the pandemic would not be in the school board’s best interests. The absence of adequate provincial funding for synchronous remote learning as a stand-alone school was identified as a significant restriction for this type of approach.