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CDSBEO Board Meeting Highlights – from the meeting held on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

by | Jun 10, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

CDSBEO Board Meeting Highlights – from the meeting held on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Draft Annual Report on the Provision of Special Education Programs and Services 2021-2022

Superintendent of School Effectiveness, Heather Gerber, presented to Trustees a draft copy of the Annual Report on the Provisions of Special Education Programs and Services, to be submitted to the Ministry of Education later this month.

The Special Education Plan for 2021-2022, as outlined in the Standards for School Boards’ Special Education Plans, has been compiled through consultation with stakeholders and key participants, including the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). The report includes recommendations to be implemented, including staffing allocations for schools, professional development plans for communication, and parent involvement.

The staffing recommendations in the draft report include a total of 130.56 special education teachers, 161.70 educational assistants, and 32.50 student support worker positions within the Board. This proposal also allows for 19.30 extra support Educational Assistants.

“Along with staffing provided by Ministry of Education funding, we recommend the addition of 9.80 Special Education Teachers funded by the Supports for Students Fund, as well as a 1.0 increase to the Board Certified Behavioural Analyst professional. In addition, it is recommended that we convert the 1.0 Special Education Coordinator to a 1.0 Special Education Consultant, and a 1.0 Special Education Secretary to a 1.0 Itinerant ABLE Worker.”

“These staffing recommendations are based on the needs observed across our school system to best support our students. We feel strongly that the extra support should be allocated to our most vulnerable students, and we are grateful to CUPE for agreeing to this proposed change,” noted Superintendent Gerber.

“This year we also did a deep dive into the assessments that the Psychology Department are using, the content was updated to reflect current information and assessment tools that are being used at this time.”

The report will receive its final approval from the Special Education Advisory Committee on June 14th and will be received by the Board of Trustees on June 15th for consideration and approval. The report will then be submitted to the Ministry of Education. 

Chair Lalonde thanked Superintendent Gerber and the Special Education team for the significant work which has been done over the last few months to finalize this very detailed Annual Report on the Provision of Special Education Programs and Services.

Draft Proposed Budget for 2021-2022

Associate Director, Bonnie Norton and Manager of Finance, Ashley Hutchinson, presented details of the draft proposed budget for 2021-2022 to the Board of Trustees. The draft budget includes a total operating and capital expenditures of $205 million, including operating expenditures of $199.3M, and capital expenditures of $5.7M. On the operating budget, salaries and benefits make up 77 per cent of the budget and are expected to cost the board $152.8M, other operating expenditures, including supplies & services, travel, professional development, utilities, and contractual services total $35M, with interest and amortization of capital assets at $11.5M. The Board has estimated a balanced and compliant budget for 2021-2022. The capital expenditure budget of $5.7M will be used to keep school facilities safe, warm and dry. The details of the specific projects are yet to be determined.

“To begin our evening with some very positive news, we are projecting an enrolment increase of 190 FTE for the 2021-2022 school year, mainly in the secondary panel. At this time, our projections are showing that elementary enrolment is showing a slight increase of 69 FTE when compared with 2020-2021,” began Associate Director Norton.

For the start of the school year, the Board is planning primarily for full in-person learning.  Exceptions will be made, for at least the first half of the school year, to offer a remote learning option to elementary students in JK to grade 8, similar to the 2020-2021 school year. The continuation of remote learning for the second half of the school year will be based on further guidance and funding from the Ministry of Education. Additional health and safety measures are expected to continue in place at least for the start of the school year.   

“At the secondary level, the Board will continue with the quadmester model, however, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, all 300 minutes of learning must be in the classroom, therefore, secondary students will be reverting back to a normal dismissal time. Plans are in the works to open cafeterias for the lunch hour, but they will have limited offerings, and the Board will work with Chartwells to offer grab and go type food options as well as pre-packaged meal choices. Tables will be designated per cohort, and we will monitor this format and re-evaluate for quadmester two. This is the main change that we are proposing to the mode of delivery for September,” explained Associate Director Norton.

“At this time, our projections are showing staffing changes including a slight reduction in overall teaching positions of 1.57FTE. This included consideration for the Virtual Learning Elementary School for the first half of the year only, with additional teachers being added for the second half of the year so that we can remain primary class size compliant,” explained Manager of Finance, Ashley Hutchinson.

Despite the slight reduction, no teaching staff will be without a position due to retirements.

Hutchinson noted that additional staffing had been allocated for the 2021-2022 school year including a 1.0 Equity and Inclusion position, a 1.0 Itinerant Able Worker which is funded under Special Education, and a 1.0 Capital Financial Analyst.

“Thank you, Associate Director Norton, and members of your team, for a very professional presentation, which has been explained very well,” noted Trustee Eamer.

“We also appreciate that you provided the opportunity for us to view this information prior to this evening. It did take a lot of the questions away once we heard your presentation, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank you for that as I know this is a great deal of information to prepare,” concluded Chair Lalonde.

Management continues to review the 2021-2022 budget leading up to final budget approval. All expenditure areas will be carefully reviewed for efficiencies and to ensure excellence in Catholic program delivery for students across Eastern Ontario. The budget will be brought back to the Board on June 15, for final review and approval.

 

Draft International Education Student Readiness Plan 2021

The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario has prepared an International Education Student Readiness Plan 2021 to meet the Federal and Provincial requirements set out by the Ministry of Education, to welcome students from outside of Canada for the 2021-2022 school year. Associate Director Bonnie Norton and Principal of International Education JP Elliott presented details on the draft Student Readiness Plan, and the requirements for the Board to begin to receive international students for the 2021-2022 school year.

The Government of Ontario has been participating in ongoing discussions with the federal government on how to confirm and support school boards’ readiness to welcome back international students. After consultation with the local health units and the development of a detailed International Education Student Readiness Plan 2021, it has been confirmed that with proper health and safety precautions in place, international student registrations will be able to resume for September 2021. All school boards intending to accept students from outside Canada must have plans in place that include specific details about how they will meet the provincial and federal criteria to demonstrate readiness, and these plans must be submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval. Submission of a plan will not guarantee that the CDSBEO will be able to welcome international students in the 2021-2022 school year. Following local and provincial review and approval, plans will need to be submitted to the Government of Canada, which has the sole discretion regarding the decision to allow international students to enter Canada.

Associate Director Bonnie Norton, and Principal of International Education JP Elliott, presented details on the CDSBEO International Education Student Readiness Plan to the Board of Trustees, including details on the process for students to enter Canada to attend a program.

“Although we did pause our program for the 2020-2021 school year, we initially had 99 students from abroad, 17 of whom remained in the program for this school year: six remained in Eastern Ontario, and 11 learned virtually from their home country. Nine of these students will return for 2021-2022, and we have 17 new registrations currently for 2021-2022, pending approval of the Readiness Plan.”

“As noted, there are very strict requirements for us to prepare to receive international students for the 2021-2022 school year. The first requirement is for the board to prepare and submit a comprehensive readiness plan so that we can be included on the Designated Learning Institution List (DLI),” noted Principal Elliott.

The plan, which has been prepared in consultation with local public health, includes 23 detailed pages and 18 appendices. Additionally, the Board is required to complete a 12-page Ministry of Education attestation for Designated Learning Institutions detailing how the CDSBEO meets all requirements.

“We are also required to implement a quarantine program, which we are doing in partnership with our Homestay partner Muskoka Language International (MLI), and that plan has many pieces that require monitoring, accountability, as well as mental, physical and academic supports for our students that will be in quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.”

Principal Elliott noted that students will participate in a virtual pre-arrival orientation to become familiar with the quarantine plan document and ArriveCAN app, along with other related documents and to prepare for the 14 days of quarantine. Students will have programming and orientation virtually through Brightspace during quarantine, and daily screening will be completed before and during the quarantine, and students must present several negative COVID-19 tests at various points in the pre-arrival and quarantine period.

“School principals will receive a welcome letter from the International Education Department introducing the student, and describing the successful arrival process. It is important to note that rebuilding this program will include our well-established supports for diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness in our schools and communities,” added Elliott.

The Board of Trustees approved the plan as presented. The next step is for the Board to share the plan with the Ministry of Education for provincial and federal government approval prior to accepting students at CDSBEO schools.

“Thank you so much for this presentation. I appreciate this very detailed report. A lot of work has gone into this plan and I am pleased to see that many considerations are in place for the safety of our students and their families, as well as the host families,” noted Vice-Chair Wilson. 

“Thank you, Principal Elliott, your presentation was extremely thorough, and obviously much thought and planning has gone into the Board receiving international students for the 2021-2022 school year,” concluded Chair Lalonde.

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