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Minister of Education letter to parents about the next phase of Learn at Home

April 1, 2020–Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education released a letter to all families about COVID-19 and next phase of Learn at Home.

Minister Letter to Parents, March 31, 2020 (Pdf)

Text version

Dear Parents,

I am writing to you today exactly two weeks since our government declared a State of Emergency in the province.

I know this period has not been easy for you or your children, especially as the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak begin to have increasing effects on your day-to-day lives and livelihoods.

The battle against COVID-19 has not been easy, but I continue to be incredibly inspired by the bravery and steadfastness you and your children have demonstrated in our efforts to stop the spread of this outbreak. Since Cabinet made the decision to close the public-school system on March 12, we have seen cascading steps taken by the public and private sectors to protect our most vulnerable.

I want to assure you that, as Minister of Education, the health and safety of your children remains our government’s utmost priority; there is simply no priority more critical. Every decision we make is rooted in the fundamental commitment to safeguard your children’s well-being. We are incredibly grateful for the considerable understanding and flexibility you and your children have shown during this period of school closure.

With that commitment in mind, today our government decided to extend the closure of public schools in the province to May 4, along with child care centres and private schools until April 13. In ordinary times, this would be a difficult decision. However, given that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health concurs that this is in the best interest of you and your children’s’ health, this decision was clear and obvious.

While this announcement is consistent with public health policy, I know that this will raise questions about what your children will be doing over the coming weeks with regards to their education, as in-school instruction will not be taking place.

Today, I was proud to announce our government’s plan for the next phase of Learn at Home and how we are supporting students, families, and educators during this period.

To start, we have instructed school boards that, by Monday, April 6, teacher-led learning will resume across the province. Students will begin receiving communication from their teachers and school board staff this week to determine the best way your child can continue learning during this period. For our youngest learners, especially, I am asking you to lend a helping-hand in facilitating these initial conversations with educators when they begin reaching out. This early communication will help ensure all students can participate actively and fully in the rich online learning strategy. We have designed the strategy based on the technology and resources that currently exist at home.

I also know many families in the province may not have access to the technology and broadband connection needed to participate fully in online learning. To remedy this situation, our government has instructed local school boards to offer their existing inventory of computers and devices to students who do not have in-home access. Boards will work with the Ministry to develop a plan to expand the technology to those who need it. I also want to recognize that boards have explored alternative options for students’ access to technology, including engaging in regular conversations with telecommunications providers to determine what options exist to allow families to access Ontario’s world-leading online learning resources.

This is especially necessary for rural and remote communities where connections might not be optimal. I will update you as these conversations regarding technology and broadband options continue to evolve.
As part of this plan for online learning, our government has outlined the minimum expectations for student work-time in a given week based on learning materials and work assigned by your student’s teacher. These expectations, for each teacher, include:

  • Kindergarten to grade three: Five hours of work per student per week, with a focus on literacy and math;
  • Grades four to six: Five hours of work per week, with a focus on literacy, math, science, and social studies;
  • Grades seven to eight: 10 hours of work per week, with a focus on math, literacy, science and social studies; and,
  • Grades nine to 12: Three hours of work per course per week for semestered students, and 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students, with a focus on credit accumulation and graduation.

Based on these expectations, this second phase of LearnAtHome will require students to adopt academic discipline and commitment to ensure that they can experience continued academic growth and achievement. I know our students are up to the task.

While these are unprecedented times, I encourage you to support and enable your children to fully commit to the strong learning program we have created for this period of school closure. Your support, inspiration, and motivation will continue to prepare your children to succeed in their learning journey.

I know this period is concerning for parents of students in a graduating cohort. I have said before, and I want to reiterate: no student will have their graduation jeopardized by the developments of COVID-19. I am working closely with the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and the post-secondary sector. Our government will ensure students, who plan on entering college or university in September 2020, have our full support to accomplish this goal.

As students continue to accumulate credits during this closure period, we will provide further information about how students can align with the post-secondary application process in the coming weeks.

I understand parents with children who may have special education needs, have concerns about at-home learning and the physical absence of educational support staff and resources during this period. I am firmly and unequivocally committed to ensuring that all students continue to have access to the wrap-around supports that promote continued learning and development.

Our government has instructed boards to enable immediate restoration of communication between students and educational assistants, paraprofessionals, and other education workers to reintroduce the continuity of professional support to students. We will not allow any student to fall through the cracks during this unprecedented time. My Ministry is equipping educators with the tools and supports they need to maximize the opportunities and achievements of all learners in the province in an online setting.

While much of the discourse around COVID-19 focuses on the impacts on physical health, I want to acknowledge the significant effects this outbreak may be having on the mental health of Ontarians. Particularly, our youngest learners may be struggling to fully understand and process what it means to their lives, families, friends, and communities. This may very well be a time of fear and anxiety for your child, even if it is not readily apparent.

While you and your children may have many questions about what the future holds, I want to express my heartfelt hope that all children know there are a variety of supports to help process and overcome the multitude of emotions and reactions they may be facing during this period. Our government has directed school boards to ensure mental health workers and professional staff are ready to engage with students immediately in a secure and safe conversation. We continue to support the incredible work being done to provide wrap-around counselling and resources to students across the province.

We have numerous organizations providing critical and professional support for children facing mental health concerns or distress. For example, Kids Help Phone offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

As we move forward in the next phase of school closure, the expectations of parents, guardians, students, educators, and my Ministry will continue to rise. Having already met countless driven and determined students, educators, and educational workers across the province, I know that we are ready to meet the challenges ahead.

To you, and your child, I want to extend my sincere and unwavering commitment to ensuring every student in the province can continue learning in Ontario’s world-class education system. Our collective commitment to inspiring, supporting, and uplifting our future leaders during this time is unwavering.

Sincerely,

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education

Letter to families about extended school closures

March 31, 2020

Subject: HPEDSB school closures during the month of April (COVID-19 pandemic) (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

Let me start by sharing that, as an experienced educator in Ontario for the past three decades, I have never seen nor experienced anything quite like what we are going through now in public education. But perhaps more importantly, and more meaningful to most of you, as a father of two sons, I am sharing the same concerns and conversations that many of you are having. It is a time that we will look back on years from now, and talk about how we managed to work through it, how we became closer as a community, and I hope, how we, as families, became closer, as well. As I have remarked numerous times in the last few weeks, we are witnessing and living history in real-time, right before our eyes.

Earlier today, I participated in a conference call with the Minister of Education, Deputy Minister of Education, other Directors of Education in the province and Chairs of Ontario school boards. The nature of the call was to communicate expectations and provide direction as we prepare for a prolonged closure of all schools.

Today the Premier announced that all Ontario school boards are to close schools to teachers until May 1, 2020 and students until May 4, 2020. This unprecedented closure is based on the advice and evidence of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health. There is no further information at this time regarding whether the closures will go past that date. The decision is solely based on ensuring and protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario, including students, staff, families and our communities.

We, at the HPEDSB, realize that these closures present numerous challenges for learning, including having access to technology, graduations and the student school experience, in general. I also recognize that you have many questions, and I commit to all of you that we will try to answer and communicate information that is prudent, factual, and responsive to our school communities.

 Accordingly, the HPEDSB is taking the following actions at this time:

  • changing our entire approach to providing education and way of doing business during this extended school closure period;
  • providing a robust and credible continuity of learning environment that will be different from the regular classroom experience by utilizing technology, virtual and online learning, and remote teacher-student contact;
  • developing a plan for controlled access to schools to allow staff to retrieve professional materials and learning supplies, and families to access student personal belongings;
  • making available an inventory of credible online learning resources through our HPEDSB Learning at Home website for families to use at home, and staff and students to be able to use during this closure period; and
  • effective immediately, making available, through ads in weekly community newspapers, educator-created learning activities that do not require screen time or technology.

I recognize that you want to know more about the short- and long-term future of education and the many related concerns, such as supporting your children with special needs, accessing technology at home, teacher-student contact time, the future of students who are on track to graduate this June and even co-op placements. We are working very hard to address all of these scenarios during the most challenging situation many of us have faced, and amid a constantly changing environment.

We, at the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, also recognize that many of you are facing challenges in accessing food, clothing, technology and even safe housing. We accept that, throughout this time, the role of HPEDSB is changing and that we are being called upon, more and more, to assist in providing basic necessities for an increasing number of our families. We commit to serving this social responsibility.

The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board also strongly believes that our decisions must be made through an equity perspective.

My staff and I are committed to maintaining communication, timely updates, and clear and supportive actions under these incredibly challenging times. As I said in a previous letter home to families and staff, we need to safeguard the following priorities in this order of importance:

  1. our health, and the health of our families and loved ones;
  2. our safety and the basic necessities we are fortunate to have, and that others may not have;
  3. our responsibility to each other, especially our most vulnerable; and
  4. our children’s education and their academic needs.

With your support and the support of my team, we will approach a very uncertain future together, but one that we will overcome together, buoyed by resiliency and the strength of our families and communities.

I ask that you take all the necessary precautions and safety measures, and I wish you to all take very good care of yourself and each other.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

FAQs for COVID-19, school closures and more

Last updated March 30, 2020

These FAQs are for HPEDSB students and families. They will be updated as often as required. If you have a question that you don’t see here, email it to: [email protected] Please be aware that we do not have all the answers and say so if that is the case.

School and school closure FAQs

    1. Premier Doug Ford announced that schools will not open on Monday, April 6, 2020 as previously thought. When are they going to open? As of now, we don’t know when schools will re-open. This is all happening so fast. We will share more as soon as we know more.
    2. If schools close indefinitely will students start in their present grade or will they advance? For K-8, students will progress to the next grade in September. We are awaiting specific direction from the Ministry of Education for secondary school credits. Nothing has been communicated regarding this for any grades.
    3. If school is closed indefinitely, is there a plan for holding graduation ceremonies? We do not know the answer at this time and will share more as soon as we can.
    4. When can students get their belongings from school/their lockers? Not at this time. All schools have been cleaned and disinfected, and are locked until April 5, 2020 at this point. No one is allowed to enter the buildings.
    5. My child uses a SEA laptop and it is at the school. Can we get access to it? Not at this time. All schools have been cleaned and disinfected, and are locked until April 5, 2020 at this point. No one is allowed to enter the buildings.
    6. Can the school loan equipment for my child to use at home? Not at this time. All schools have been cleaned and disinfected, and are locked until April 5, 2020 at this point. No one is allowed to enter the buildings.
    7. For online learning, we don’t have a computer/we don’t have access to the Internet. What other options are available? We are investigating options and will share more as soon as possible.
    8. How can I get a copy of my transcript? We are unable to process transcripts at this time.
    9. When will my Learn While You Earn (co-op) start again? All LWYE Co-op is suspended until further notice.
    10. I am a student and have forgotten or am locked out of my login account, how do I get the password? Email [email protected] with your name and school with a request for your password to be reset.
    11. Will students receive report cards? We do not know the answer at this time and will share more as soon as we can.
    12. How will students be prepared for learning next year? There are presently two sources for online resources: HPEDSB Learning at Home resources; and Ministry of Education resources through TVO/TFO (linked off the HPEDSB resources page).
    13. Even if schools reopen and I’m not comfortable sending my child, will they be penalized? The re-entry plan for schools opening is being considered. We will share more as soon as we can.
    14. Will post-secondary institutions accept my child? The Ministry of Education is in consultation with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to plan for high school graduates going to post-secondary in the fall.
    15. My son was in a co-op placement. Will he still get his credits? Students will not be penalized for not achieving credits due to the school closures.
    16. I know the government is offering online learning, but there is no way I can help my children with science or math. How are they supposed to learn on their own? There are presently two sources for online resources: HPEDSB Learning at Home resources; and Ministry of Education resources through TVO/TFO (linked off the HPEDSB resources page). These resources are for voluntary use to support learning during this time and will not be assessed or evaluated by educators.
    17. Will students be disadvantaged who don’t do the online learning? No. Online learning is not mandatory. It is strongly recommended that students try to keep to a learning routine as much as possible.There are presently two sources for online resources: HPEDSB Learning at Home resources; and Ministry of Education resources through TVO/TFO (linked off the HPEDSB resources page). These resources are for voluntary use to support learning during this time and will not be assessed or evaluated by educators.
    18. My child’s teacher already had a digital aspect to their class through Google classroom/other. Can my child continue with work that was already shared or does he have to stop that work and start a whole new Ministry course for two weeks? Students can continue with online learning previously provided by their teacher.

Quinte Adult Education (QAE) FAQs

    1. Is Quinte Adult Education open? Not at this time. Questions can be sent to QAE through email at  [email protected]
    2. Can adult students still register? Yes, by going to www.quinteadulteducation.ca.
    3.  Are you offering correspondence courses? At this time we have moved all our courses online. Find out more at www.quinteadulteducation.ca.
    4. Where can I find the courses offered by QAE? Visit our website at www.quinteadulteducation.ca.
    5. Who can I call if I have a question?  Email [email protected] with a phone number and we will contact you.
    6. I have finished all my lessons and need to complete the exam, what do I do now? Final exams will be delivered online. Email [email protected] to set up your final exam.

If you have a question that you don’t see here, email it to: [email protected] Please be aware that we do not have all the answers and say so if that is the case.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

HPEDSB-verified resources for students to learn at home

March 23, 2020—Today the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board launched a new portal for students and families to access learning resources.

HPEDSB Learning at Home is a repository of over 100 learning resources to support and stimulate ongoing learning for children and youth while schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These resources are for voluntary use to support learning during this time and will not be assessed or evaluated by educators.

The portal is searchable by grade, subject and area of learning interest or priority. It includes the following categories:

  • elementary Ontario curriculum-based resources;
  • secondary Ontario curriculum-based resources;
  • other online resources that support learning but may not have explicit curriculum connections;
  • well-being resources; and
  • a link to the Ministry of Education Learn at Home resource page.

All resources have been reviewed and validated by HPEDSB educators. Staff who wish contribute additional resources can click the For Staff link the follow the prompts.

We recognize that not all families have access to online resources. This portal is  a starting point while we continue to navigate the weeks ahead in a most unusual time.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

 

Minister of Education letter to parents

March 22, 2020–Today Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education released a letter to all families about COVID-19 and actions to support keeping students safe and continuing their education at home.

Minister Letter to Parents, March 22, 2020 (Pdf)

Text version

Dear Ontario parents,

I am writing to you in unprecedented times.

The foremost priority of the government is to keep all Ontarians safe, including our students and educators. Working with our partners and all levels of government, we will do whatever it takes to deliver on this imperative.

Since we first learned of COVID-19, Ontario has been diligently monitoring the developing situation to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians. We have also taken decisive action to ensure the province is positioned to be ready for any scenario.

That is why on March 12, 2020, based on the advice of Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, I issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly-funded schools in the province until April 6, 2020. Our government took decisive action—one of the first jurisdictions in the industrialized world to have closed schools—with the aim of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

We are also the first province in Canada to declare a state of emergency. This declaration under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act enhances the province’s ability to support our heroic frontline workers as they continue to confront this challenge fully.

While this period is marked by uncertainty, I hope that this letter can, in some part, provide answers to some of the questions I know many parents have.

Although this virus has been characterized and spoken about largely in terms of physical impacts, I believe we need to acknowledge and respond to the sense of fear and concern that your children may be feeling, especially for our younger learners. We have heard from many of them and their parents directly that these reactions come from a place of uncertainty and heightened media exposure that leads to more questions than answers.

During this time, I encourage you to continue to have open conversations with your children about COVID-19 and acknowledge that their reactions to this period—however emotional—are understandable and normal. There are many resources available to you and your children, notably Kids Help Phone, which is Canada’s only 24/7 national support service. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French. Please visit their website: www.kidshelpphone.ca, call: 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

While the health and safety of your children is my priority, I also know many of you are wondering how we will ensure students continue their journey of learning while out of the classroom.

As a first step to ensure the continued learning of your children, our government has launched an online portal dedicated to curating and providing access to a wide variety of educational resources, for all students from Kindergarten through to Grade 12.

This online portal, which is available at Ontario.ca/learnathome, enables students at every grade level to continue learning while away from school. These resources are developed by Ontario educators, and resources for all grades are informed by leading instructional guidance. For those students who are in secondary school, we are providing access to online courses directly based on Ontario curricula.

Although publicly funded schools are ordered closed until April 6, the fluidity of developments around COVID-19 means we are preparing in the event the closure period is further extended.

Specifically, we are working to ensure that students will be able to continue their coursework and credit accumulation, even when we aren’t able to be in a classroom setting. Ontario is a leading jurisdiction in the availability and richness of online courses, so we will be continuing to leverage these tools and other resources to promote students’ learning and development. We are working with school boards to ensure students that currently do not have access to computers gain the technology needed to participate.

We know for those with children in a graduating year, there may be uncertainty about whether these students will be able to graduate. We want to make this clear: no graduating student will have their ability to graduate impacted by the two-week closure and the COVID-19 developments. For example, I have cancelled EQAO assessments for this school year. I have also approved a change in graduation requirements so the completion of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is not a barrier for students on track to graduate. We are also working with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to ensure students can apply to post-secondary education (including Apprenticeship, College and University), regardless of the situation this semester.

In this time, it is more important than ever that we take every precaution to ensure that, when students return to class, they return to a safe and healthy learning environment.

The Ministry of Education is providing all school boards with access to funding for the deep cleaning of school facilities, childcare centres, and school buses. Following the closure period, we will minimize any risks to students, learners and our educators.

And for those of you who are returning from travel outside of Canada, it is critical that you follow the strong recommendations of Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and self-isolate for 14 days when you and your family return. This means staying at home and avoiding contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease to members of your family who may not have travelled with you or to your community.

If you think you or a family member have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, in addition to self-isolation, please take the self-assessment test on ontario.ca/coronavirus to help determine how to seek further care. This site will also provide you with all the information you need to keep you and your family healthy and safe.

The Government of Ontario is committed to ensuring all Ontarians remain safe and secure during the challenging time. As the Minister of Education, I assure you I will make decisions based on scientific facts, the best advice of public health professionals, and always with the health and safety of your child at the top of mind.

While our work continues, we will continue to keep you informed along the way.

Stay safe.

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education

Information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Minister of Education letter to parents about the next phase of Learn at Home, March 31, 2020

Dear Parents,

 

I am writing to you today exactly two weeks since our government declared a State of Emergency in the province.

I know this period has not been easy for you or your children, especially as the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak begin to have increasing effects on your day-to-day lives and livelihoods.

The battle against COVID-19 has not been easy, but I continue to be incredibly inspired by the bravery and steadfastness you and your children have demonstrated in our efforts to stop the spread of this outbreak. Since Cabinet made the decision to close the public-school system on March 12, we have seen cascading steps taken by the public and private sectors to protect our most vulnerable.

I want to assure you that, as Minister of Education, the health and safety of your children remains our government’s utmost priority; there is simply no priority more critical. Every decision we make is rooted in the fundamental commitment to safeguard your children’s well-being. We are incredibly grateful for the considerable understanding and flexibility you and your children have shown during this period of school closure.

With that commitment in mind, today our government decided to extend the closure of public schools in the province to May 4, along with child care centres and private schools until April 13. In ordinary times, this would be a difficult decision. However, given that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health concurs that this is in the best interest of you and your children’s’ health, this decision was clear and obvious.

While this announcement is consistent with public health policy, I know that this will raise questions about what your children will be doing over the coming weeks with regards to their education, as in-school instruction will not be taking place.

Today, I was proud to announce our government’s plan for the next phase of Learn at Home and how we are supporting students, families, and educators during this period.

To start, we have instructed school boards that, by Monday, April 6, teacher-led learning will resume across the province. Students will begin receiving communication from their teachers and school board staff this week to determine the best way your child can continue learning during this period. For our youngest learners, especially, I am asking you to lend a helping-hand in facilitating these initial conversations with educators when they begin reaching out. This early communication will help ensure all students can participate actively and fully in the rich online learning strategy. We have designed the strategy based on the technology and resources that currently exist at home.

I also know many families in the province may not have access to the technology and broadband connection needed to participate fully in online learning. To remedy this situation, our government has instructed local school boards to offer their existing inventory of computers and devices to students who do not have in-home access. Boards will work with the Ministry to develop a plan to expand the technology to those who need it. I also want to recognize that boards have explored alternative options for students’ access to technology, including engaging in regular conversations with telecommunications providers to determine what options exist to allow families to access Ontario’s world-leading online learning resources.

This is especially necessary for rural and remote communities where connections might not be optimal. I will update you as these conversations regarding technology and broadband options continue to evolve.
As part of this plan for online learning, our government has outlined the minimum expectations for student work-time in a given week based on learning materials and work assigned by your student’s teacher. These expectations, for each teacher, include:

  • Kindergarten to grade three: Five hours of work per student per week, with a focus on literacy and math;
  • Grades four to six: Five hours of work per week, with a focus on literacy, math, science, and social studies;
  • Grades seven to eight: 10 hours of work per week, with a focus on math, literacy, science and social studies; and,
  • Grades nine to 12: Three hours of work per course per week for semestered students, and 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students, with a focus on credit accumulation and graduation.

Based on these expectations, this second phase of LearnAtHome will require students to adopt academic discipline and commitment to ensure that they can experience continued academic growth and achievement. I know our students are up to the task.

While these are unprecedented times, I encourage you to support and enable your children to fully commit to the strong learning program we have created for this period of school closure. Your support, inspiration, and motivation will continue to prepare your children to succeed in their learning journey.

I know this period is concerning for parents of students in a graduating cohort. I have said before, and I want to reiterate: no student will have their graduation jeopardized by the developments of COVID-19. I am working closely with the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and the post-secondary sector. Our government will ensure students, who plan on entering college or university in September 2020, have our full support to accomplish this goal.

As students continue to accumulate credits during this closure period, we will provide further information about how students can align with the post-secondary application process in the coming weeks.

I understand parents with children who may have special education needs, have concerns about at-home learning and the physical absence of educational support staff and resources during this period. I am firmly and unequivocally committed to ensuring that all students continue to have access to the wrap-around supports that promote continued learning and development.

Our government has instructed boards to enable immediate restoration of communication between students and educational assistants, paraprofessionals, and other education workers to reintroduce the continuity of professional support to students. We will not allow any student to fall through the cracks during this unprecedented time. My Ministry is equipping educators with the tools and supports they need to maximize the opportunities and achievements of all learners in the province in an online setting.

While much of the discourse around COVID-19 focuses on the impacts on physical health, I want to acknowledge the significant effects this outbreak may be having on the mental health of Ontarians. Particularly, our youngest learners may be struggling to fully understand and process what it means to their lives, families, friends, and communities. This may very well be a time of fear and anxiety for your child, even if it is not readily apparent.

While you and your children may have many questions about what the future holds, I want to express my heartfelt hope that all children know there are a variety of supports to help process and overcome the multitude of emotions and reactions they may be facing during this period. Our government has directed school boards to ensure mental health workers and professional staff are ready to engage with students immediately in a secure and safe conversation. We continue to support the incredible work being done to provide wrap-around counselling and resources to students across the province.

We have numerous organizations providing critical and professional support for children facing mental health concerns or distress. For example, Kids Help Phone offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

As we move forward in the next phase of school closure, the expectations of parents, guardians, students, educators, and my Ministry will continue to rise. Having already met countless driven and determined students, educators, and educational workers across the province, I know that we are ready to meet the challenges ahead.

To you, and your child, I want to extend my sincere and unwavering commitment to ensuring every student in the province can continue learning in Ontario’s world-class education system. Our collective commitment to inspiring, supporting, and uplifting our future leaders during this time is unwavering.

Sincerely,

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education

Letter to families and employees regarding extended-school-closures, March 31, 2020

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

Let me start by sharing that, as an experienced educator in Ontario for the past three decades, I have never seen nor experienced anything quite like what we are going through now in public education. But perhaps more importantly, and more meaningful to most of you, as a father of two sons, I am sharing the same concerns and conversations that many of you are having. It is a time that we will look back on years from now, and talk about how we managed to work through it, how we became closer as a community, and I hope, how we, as families, became closer, as well. As I have remarked numerous times in the last few weeks, we are witnessing and living history in real-time, right before our eyes.

Earlier today, I participated in a conference call with the Minister of Education, Deputy Minister of Education, other Directors of Education in the province and Chairs of Ontario school boards. The nature of the call was to communicate expectations and provide direction as we prepare for a prolonged closure of all schools.

Today the Premier announced that all Ontario school boards are to close schools to teachers until
May 1, 2020 and students until May 4, 2020. This unprecedented closure is based on the advice and evidence of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health. There is no further information at this time regarding whether the closures will go past that date. The decision is solely based on ensuring and protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario, including students, staff, families and our communities.

We, at the HPEDSB, realize that these closures present numerous challenges for learning, including having access to technology, graduations and the student school experience, in general. I also recognize that you have many questions, and I commit to all of you that we will try to answer and communicate information that is prudent, factual, and responsive to our school communities.

 Accordingly, the HPEDSB is taking the following actions at this time:

  • changing our entire approach to providing education and way of doing business during this extended school closure period;
  • providing a robust and credible continuity of learning environment that will be different from the regular classroom experience by utilizing technology, virtual and online learning, and remote teacher-student contact;
  • developing a plan for controlled access to schools to allow staff to retrieve professional materials and learning supplies, and families to access student personal belongings;
  • making available an inventory of credible online learning resources through our HPEDSB Learning at Home website for families to use at home, and staff and students to be able to use during this closure period; and
  • effective immediately, making available, through ads in weekly community newspapers, educator-created learning activities that do not require screen time or technology.

I recognize that you want to know more about the short- and long-term future of education and the many related concerns, such as supporting your children with special needs, accessing technology at home, teacher-student contact time, the future of students who are on track to graduate this June and even co-op placements. We are working very hard to address all of these scenarios during the most challenging situation many of us have faced, and amid a constantly changing environment.

We, at the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, also recognize that many of you are facing challenges in accessing food, clothing, technology and even safe housing. We accept that, throughout this time, the role of HPEDSB is changing and that we are being called upon, more and more, to assist in providing basic necessities for an increasing number of our families. We commit to serving this social responsibility.

The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board also strongly believes that our decisions must be made through an equity perspective.

My staff and I are committed to maintaining communication, timely updates, and clear and supportive actions under these incredibly challenging times. As I said in a previous letter home to families and staff, we need to safeguard the following priorities in this order of importance:

  1. our health, and the health of our families and loved ones;
  2. our safety and the basic necessities we are fortunate to have, and that others may not have;
  3. our responsibility to each other, especially our most vulnerable; and
  4. our children’s education and their academic needs.

With your support and the support of my team, we will approach a very uncertain future together, but one that we will overcome together, buoyed by resiliency and the strength of our families and communities.

I ask that you take all the necessary precautions and safety measures, and I wish you to all take very good care of yourself and each other.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

———————-

Letter to families and employees regarding novel coronavirus, March 9, 2020

To HPEDSB Families, Guardians and All Staff:

The health and safety of all students and employees is our top priority. We are working collaboratively with both the regional public health authority and our co-terminus school boards to remain proactive in our response and sensitivity to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation and your possible concerns.

At this time, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) continues to advise that the risk to the public remains low. Also, HPEPH advises that, as of now, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in our region.

At this time, the following actions are being taken at HPEDSB schools and administrative buildings to help prevent the spread of infection:

  • increased environmental cleaning (using a low-level disinfectant), with particular attention to high-touch surfaces such as desks, door knobs, light switches, phones;
  • additional education to school populations regarding infection control strategies, such as importance of hand hygiene and proper respiratory etiquette; and
  • providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer for front entrances and non-alcohol-based hand sanitizer for classrooms (with supervised access).

Public health also recommends the following infection control strategies for everyone:

  • wash your hands frequently using soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand;
  • if you use a tissue, throw it away immediately and wash your hands;
  • avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands;
  • get plenty of rest, eat healthy and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong;
  • stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with other people until you are better;
  • if you suspect you are sick, avoid visiting people in long-term care, or individuals with health concerns; and
  • if you are seeking medical care and are experiencing respiratory symptoms, always put on a mask when you arrive to help protect others.

We are committed to providing you with updates as we receive new information. The most current information about COVID-19 is on our website at www.HPEschools.ca, including links to local, provincial and national public health agencies.

Additional resources are available at the HPEPH website https://hpepublichealth.ca/. You can also call the Infectious and Communicable Diseases Program intake line at 613-966-5500 x349, talk to your doctor or call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.

Thank you for your support as we work to minimize the risk and spread of COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Reference documents 

More information

———————-

Updated February 12, 2020 to include another reference document.

January 30, 2020—Information about the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus is being shared through school boards on behalf of local, provincial and national public health agencies.

Outside Canada, a new virus (2019-Novel Coronavirus) not previously seen in humans, has been reported as the cause of several cases of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, China. This virus has spread from animals to humans and also between humans. Symptoms of this illness have ranged from mild cold-like symptoms to severe illness with fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia. Cases of the new virus have now been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and the United States.

The risk to Canadians is deemed to be low at this time; however, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is in continuous contact with Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health to monitor the situation. We are working proactively with local health care providers, hospitals, and schools to prepare for any potential cases, and to protect our community.

Preventing the spread of illness
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health provides these reminders of some key ways to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
  • If you use a tissue, throw it away immediately and wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands
  • Clean objects/surfaces that a lot of people touch (door handles, phones, light switches, desks)
  • Get plenty of rest, eat healthy and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong
  • Get your influenza vaccine
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone
  • If you suspect you are sick, avoid visiting people in long term care, or individuals with health concerns

Reference documents 

More information

Or contact the Communicable and Infectious Disease Program at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, 613-966-5500, extension 349

Read More

Letter to families about post-March Break contingency planning for students and staff

March 20, 2020

**Do you have questions for us? If so, email [email protected]. We will respond as quickly as possible**

Letter to students, families and staff about post-March Break contingency planning for students and staff (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

Like many of you, we at the senior level of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board have continued to watch the evolving events around the world as they pertain to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), and the responding actions being taken by countries, governments and even school boards. I think it is probably a safe assumption that there has been, at times, a surreal feeling about the reality that faces us all. In saying this, however, the Senior Administration and Board of Trustees have continued to work throughout this past week, attempting to mitigate every challenge that we face as a school board, and that face our students and families, and our staff.

As you know, the Minister of Education has directed all school boards in Ontario to close schools and general on-site operations until April 5, 2020. Today, the Premier of Ontario and the Minister indicated that should the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health advise the closures to go beyond April 5, they are prepared to take such action. At this time, we have not received that message or direction.

We, at the HPEDSB, realize that these closures present numerous challenges for learning, access to technology, graduation and the student school experience in general. To support students during this incredibly challenging time, the province has announced that as of Monday, March 23, 2020, TV Ontario will be used to provide a home learning platform called Learn at Home.”

We have been told that there will be an emphasis on literacy and numeracy activities, and that more resources will be launched to support students in the days and weeks ahead. I also want to let you know that our staff are compiling and building an additional repository of credible online learning resources that can be used at home, and these, too, will be available on March 23 on our website www.HPEschools.ca.

I also want to inform you that the Minister of Education has announced EQAO assessments for Grades 3, 6 and 9, and the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), will not occur this school year. For Grade 12 students set to graduate in June, the Ministry of Education has waived the OSSLT as a graduation requirement. Further, the Minister has provided assurance to every potential graduate and their families that graduation will not be compromised.

My staff and I are committed to maintaining communication, timely updates, and clear and supportive actions under these incredibly challenging times. Earlier today I communicated to the entire HPEDSB system, and shared that as staff and families, we need to safeguard the following priorities in this order of importance:

  1. our health, and the health of our families and loved ones;
  2. our safety and the basic necessities we are fortunate to have, and that others may not have;
  3. our responsibility to each other, especially our most vulnerable; and
  4. our children’s education and their academic needs.

With your support and the support of my team, we will approach a very uncertain future together, but one that we will overcome together, buoyed by resiliency and the strength of our families and communities.

I ask that you take all the necessary precautions and safety measures, and I wish you to take very good care of yourself and each other.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Provincial Learn at Home resources for K-12 during COVID-19

March 20, 2020—Today, the Ministry of Education announced measures to help students learn while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn at Home is a new online portal that provides resources so students can continue their education.

The Ministry of Education has partnered with TVO/TFO for the online resources to be available. Certified tutors will be available to answer questions.

More about the current status of education in Ontario

In addition to the above, the Ministry of Education has announced the following:

  1. all EQAO assessments area cancelled for the remainder of this school year. These include assessments for Reading, Writing and Mathematics for Primary (Grade 3) and Junior (Grade 6); Mathematics for Grade 9; and the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test for Grade 10. The OSSLT graduation requirement is waived for this year; and
  2. as of now, all schools in Ontario remain closed until April 5, 2020. The Ministry of Education will take direction from the provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health if any changes are required.

The HPEDSB Senior Team is in contact with one another and the Ministry of Education on a daily basis. Any updates about specifics for our students and families will be announced as soon as possible.

Please continue to follow the advice of health professionals by self-isolating as much as possible, washing your hands and coughing into your elbow. Keep in touch with family, friends, loved ones and neighbours to say ‘hi’ and check on their safety, and to be a caring, supportive contact.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

All HPEDSB schools to close, March 14 – April 5, 2020

March 12, 2020–Following a directive by the Ministry of Education, all publicly-funded schools will close for three weeks. This decision was made by the Ministry in consultation with the provincial medical officer of health and is in response to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic.

All HPEDSB schools will be closed to all students, staff, community groups and the public from March 14 to April 5, 2020.

All decisions taken both provincially, and locally in HPEDSB are based on one premise: the safety of our students, staff, volunteers and families.

Consequently, HPEDSB is taking the following actions effective March 14 through to April 5, 2020 (unless otherwise noted):

  1. During March 16-20, 2020 extensive cleaning and disinfecting will be done at all schools. Contractors scheduled to work in schools during March Break will continue to do so. Following that, ALL SCHOOLS WILL BE LOCKED AND INACCESSIBLE FROM MARCH 21 TO APRIL 5, 2020. NO STAFF OR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS WILL BE PERMITTED TO ENTER OUR SCHOOLS; THIS INCLUDES MAINTENANCE AND CUSTODIAL STAFF. The only exception will management and supervisors checking school heating and controls systems. It is imperative that NO STAFF OR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS enter our schools from March 14 to April 5, 2020 inclusive.
  2. All schools and administrative buildings are closed to lease and permit holders, including all day child care, before and after school child care and EarlyON programs.
  3. All community use permits are cancelled.
  4. Any March Break camps scheduled to be hosted in our schools are cancelled.
  5. The Education Centre and administrative buildings will be closed to the public.
  6. The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) scheduled for March 31, 2020 is postponed until further notice. At this time we have no information as to whether there will be an opportunity to write the OSSLT at all this year.
  7. Further to the cancellation of international trips announced earlier this week, all school trips–day trips and extended/overnight trips–are cancelled until further notice. This includes any trips within or outside Ontario.
  8. All student co-op placements and dual credit programs are cancelled, during this shutdown, and will be re-evaluated once we return to school and normal work structures.
  9. The Centurion Hoops Basketball Program is postponed until further notice.
  10. All local negotiations are suspended until further notice.

The most current information we have about the novel coronavirus is posted to our COVID-19 page.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Letter to families about cancelling international travel, March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020

Letter to families about cancelling international travel 

Dear Parents, Guardians, Caregivers and Students:

Like many of you, staff and Board administration have been watching the evolving events around the world as they pertain to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), and the responding actions being taken by countries, governments and even school boards. The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is no exception. Due to the increasing concern about the spread of COVID-19, the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is cancelling all international school trips effective immediately. The sole reason for this action at this time is the safety of students, staff and travelling chaperones.

This cancellation comes amid travel advisories for much of Europe and Asia to try to contain any further spread of the virus, and follows extensive conversations with local health authorities, the provincial government and representatives through the Ministry of Education, and school boards across Ontario.

I recognize that this will be disappointing to our students, staff and your families; however, we are not prepared to risk illness for unnecessary travel and are equally unprepared to compromise safety in any way.

Our schools are working with the respective travel companies to investigate options for accessing refunds. Please contact your child’s school if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

PDF version

Labour updates

This page is your source for information and updates about labour issues facing the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB). Updates will be posted as information becomes available.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170, extension 62354, [email protected], or your child’s principal.


March 9, 2020

Phase 7 of job action for ETFO and additional job action for OSSTF

Effective today, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario announced additional job action for its members. The job action involves picketing, making calls to MPPs, sending letters to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, organizing leaflet distribution, among other actions.

Also effective today, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation announced additional job action for its members. The job action involves interim report cards, non-attendance at meetings and professional development, among other actions.


February 28, 2020

One-day strike for OSSTF on Thursday, March 5, 2020

Today the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation announced its members at select school boards will participate in a one-day strike on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Students in Grades 9-12 should not go to school that day. This strike does not affect students in JK-Grade 8.

A voicemail message will go home to families of secondary school students by Monday, March 2, 2020. Messages are also posted to our Twitter and Instagram feeds at @HPEschools.


February 26, 2020

Phase 6 of job action for ETFO

Effective today, the following applies to elementary teachers.

ETFO teacher and occasional teacher members will:

  • do only their scheduled teaching and supervision assignments during their regular instructional time. Teacher and occasional teacher members will not agree to, or participate in, any additions/modifications to their schedule, with the exception of attending meetings to support students with special needs or to discuss student safety.
  • not do any coverage for absent members, regardless of the reason for the absence (except in the case of an occasional teacher hired to replace an absent teacher).
  • not accept/disperse students from/to other classrooms when a member is absent, regardless of the reason for the absence. (Note: If a member requires coverage for any reason, it is the responsibility of the school administration to arrange that coverage.)
  • not miss their regularly scheduled planning or preparation time.
  • not spend personal funds to purchase instructional materials or resources for students, the classroom, the school or the board.
  • not upload data related to assessments on board systems. Teacher and occasional teacher members will continue to do assessments using their professional judgement. Members may complete assessments for supports and/or funding for students with special needs or ELL students.

Read more at the link below.

https://etfocb.ca/phase-6-strike-protocol/


February 12, 2020

No school for all students due to province-wide strike on Friday, February 21, 2020

This afternoon school boards were informed that ETFO and OSSTF members will take part in a province-wide strike on Friday, February 21, 2020. All students in JK-Grade 12 should not go to school that day.

Families will receive a voicemail message about this over the next two days, on Thursday, February 13 and Friday, February 14, 2020.


February 5, 2020

No school for elementary students due to strikes

JK-Grade 8 students should not go to school on the following days:

  • Thursday, February 6, 2020 (all elementary teachers in Ontario on strike)
  • Monday, February 10, 2020 (HPEDSB elementary teachers on strike)
  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020 (all elementary teachers in Ontario on strike)

These strikes are being directed by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

Families of elementary students will receive a voicemail message about this on February 5, 2020.


January 28, 2020

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced that its members will engage in a one-day strike on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 and also Thursday, February 6, 2020. As a result, students in JK-Grade 8 should not go to school either day. Please note that if the provincial government and union come to an agreement prior to either day, the strikes will not happen. Updates will be posted here, on social media and through local media.

This strike does not affect students in Grades 9-12.

In addition, effective February 3, 2020, ETFO members will not participate in extracurricular activities at any time, as per the Phase 5 Work-to-Rule Protocols.


January 27, 2020

The provincial government released a document to support parents during job action. Support for Parents Program Frequently Asked Questions (Pdf).


January 23, 2020

Today the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced that its members will engage in a one-day strike on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. As a result, students in JK-Grade 8 should not go to school on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Parent letter from Sean Monteith, Director of Education (Pdf)

This strike does not affect students in Grades 9-12.


January 21, 2020

Letter to families about the OSSTF one-day strike and elementary report cards

Parents, guardians and caregivers: please see the letter from Sean Monteith, Director of Education (Pdf) about the one-day strike by OSSTF members scheduled for January 21, 2020 and also an update about report cards. If you have questions about how the strike will affect your child going to school, please contact the school principal.

Secondary

To confirm, the one-day strike on January 21, 2020 affects students in Grades 9-12 only; they will be redirected home if they show up at school.

Elementary

It is a normal school day on January 21, 2020 for all students in JK-Grade 8.


January 20, 2020

Childcare and before/after school programs in the event of an ETFO strike

In the event of a strike at HPEDSB elementary schools, childcare and before/after school programs may still operate at existing sites in schools. Parents/guardians should contact their provider to find out the status of the program (if it will be open or not) if a strike occurs.


January 17, 2020

Voicemail message to families this weekend

Families should listen for a voicemail message this weekend with information about the one-day strike by OSSTF members on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. A parent letter will be available on Monday, January 20, 2020.

Secondary

Schools will be closed to students in Grades 9-12 on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Any who show up at school will be redirected home.

Elementary

Schools will be open, as usual, on Tuesday, January 20, 2020 for elementary students, including for Grade 7s and 8s who attend classes at a high school.


January 15, 2020

OSSTF to hold a one-day strike at HPEDSB on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Today the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (OSSTF) announced that its members will engage in a one-day strike on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. As a result, students in Grades 9-12 should not go to school on Tuesday, January 21, 2020read more about the OSSTF job action

Secondary

To confirm, the one-day strike on January 21, 2020 affects students in Grades 9-12 only; they will be redirected home if they show up at school.

Elementary

It is a normal school day for all students in JK-Grade 8, regardless of where they go to school.


January 9, 2020

ETFO to escalate job action to Phase 3 on Monday, January 13, 2020; Phase 4 to follow on January 20

Today the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced that its members will escalate job action to Phase 3 starting Monday, January 13, 2020.

As of that date, ETFO members will:

  • not plan or participate in any assemblies, except to provide supervision to students;
  • not participate in extracurricular activities except for those that are scheduled within the regular school day;
  • not participate in field trips;
  • not arrive at work any earlier than 30 minutes before the start of the instructional day for students (or for hourly paid ETFO members, not arrive any more than 30 minutes before the start of the scheduled work day); and
  • not remain at the worksite later than 15 minutes after the end of the instructional day for students (or for hourly paid ETFO members, not remain later than 15 minutes after the end of the scheduled work day).

In addition, job action will escalate to Phase 4 Strike Protocol on Monday, January 20, 2020 at which time ETFO members will not participate in any school board or Ministry of Education professional learning.

ETFO has further stated that if no agreement is reached at the Teacher/Occasional Teacher and Education Worker Central Tables by January 17, 2020, ETFO locals will begin full-withdrawal of services strikes on a rotating basis effective January 20, 2020.


December 9, 2019

Letter to families (Pdf) about the one-day strike at HPEDSB on December 11, 2019. Parents/guardians and caregivers, if you have questions about how this will affect your child going to school, please contact the school principal.


December 6, 2019

OSSTF one-day rotating strikes on December 11, 2019

Today the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) announced that it will be holding rotating one-day strikes throughout the province on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

HPEDSB is one of the affected school boards.

The strike will include all OSSTF members, who are secondary school teachers and education workers (professional and para-professional support personnel, such as child and youth workers, social workers and speech and language pathologists, to name a few).

Secondary

As a necessary consequence, all secondary classes will be cancelled and our secondary schools will be closed to students in Grades 9-12 on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

Families of secondary school students will receive a voicemail message on Sunday, December 8, 2019. A letter will be available on this page and through schools on Monday, December 9, 2019.

Elementary

This strike does not involve the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) therefore all elementary schools will be open to students on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 and students should go to school as usual that day. 

Families of elementary school students will receive a voicemail message on Monday, December 9, 2019. A letter will be available on this page and through schools that same day.


December 3, 2019

Letter to families about the OSSTF one-day strike

Parents, guardians and caregivers: please see the letter from Sean Monteith, Director of Education (Pdf), about the one-day strike by OSSTF members scheduled for December 4, 2019.

Secondary

To confirm, it affects students in Grades 9-12 only; they will be redirected home if they show up at school.

Elementary

It is a normal school day for all students in JK-Grade 8.


December 2, 2019

Voicemail message to families this afternoon/evening

Families should listen for a voicemail message this afternoon/evening with information about the one-day provincial strike by OSSTF members on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

Secondary

Schools will be closed to students in Grades 9-12 that day. Any who show up at school will be redirected home.

Elementary

Schools will be open, as usual, that day for elementary students, including for Grade 7s and 8s who attend classes at a high school.


November 29, 2019

OSSTF one-day strike on December 4, 2019

Yesterday the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) announced that it will be holding a one-day strike throughout the province on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Secondary school students should not go to school that day.

The strike will include all OSSTF members, which are secondary school teachers and professional and para-professional support personnel, such as child and youth workers, social workers and speech and language pathologists, to name a few.

OSSTF has stated that negotiations at the provincial negotiating table will continue and if an agreement is reached before December 4, the strike will not happen. This one day strike will follow six days of information pickets and a limited withdrawal of administrative services that began November 26.

Secondary

All HPEDSB secondary schools, 7-12 schools and our K-12 school will be affected for Grades 9-12 only.

Elementary

All elementary schools, 7-12 schools and our K-12 school will be open, as usual, for elementary students on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

Communications from schools to families will be available on Monday, December 2, 2019.


November 22, 2019

Important information for families regarding OSSTF job action

On November 21, 2019 the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) announced that job action will begin across the province on Tuesday, November 26, 2019.

HPEDSB schools will remain open, as usual, during this job action. HPEDSB has approximately 4,600 secondary students at one K-12, four 7-12 schools and two 9-12 schools.

We will monitor the situation and keep you updated as information becomes available. Job action specifics posted on the OSSTF Provincial website


November 15, 2019

Important information for families regarding ETFO job action

Yesterday the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced that job action will begin across the province on Tuesday, November 26, 2019.

HPEDSB elementary schools will remain open, as usual, during this job action. HPEDSB has approximately 10,340 elementary students at 33 elementary, one K-12 and four 7-12 schools.

We will monitor the situation and keep you updated as information becomes available. Job action specifics posted on the ETFO Provincial website

Board Meeting Update #175

February 24, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, February 24, 2020 at the Education Centre. It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in March 2020.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge the land to show respect and recognize the First Peoples of the territory; their history, culture and perspectives and as a step towards reconciliation.

Character Moment of Reflection

Each Board meeting opens with a Character Moment of Reflection. At Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, Growing with Character is our intentional focus on creating safe, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environments where students develop the foundation for good character. Growing with Character is the foundation of the school board strategic plan. Through Growing with Character, we model, teach and expect demonstrations of our eight character traits which are: Caring, Cooperation, Honesty, Humour, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Trustworthiness.

This evening Kristen Parks, Trustee, Sidney and Frankford, asked all to reflect on Integrity: We do what is right for ourselves and others. We demonstrate values and ethics that are good for all. We speak directly, clearly, and respectfully.

Celebrating students

Centre Hastings Secondary School: Showcasing the skilled trades and Specialist High Skills Majors

group photo of the Centre Hastings Secondary School presentation team
Thank you to the CHSS presentation team pictured with Darren McFarlane, Experiential Learning and Safe Schools Lead (back row left); Mitch Darby, Automotive Teacher (back row second from left); Nicholas McFadden, Student Success Lead Teacher (back row second from right); Thomas Kirk, Communications Technology Teacher (far right); Dayna Scaletta, Principal (second from left); Jessica Davies, Grade 12 (front centre) and Sarah Wannamaker, Guidance Department Head (second from right). .
Centre Hastings Secondary School team doing their presentation
A different view of the Centre Hastings Secondary School team doing their presentation

The presentation showcased the skilled trades and Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) programs at Centre Hastings Secondary School.

SHSMs are Ministry of Education-approved specialized programs where students focus their learning in a specific economic sector. SHSMs assist students transition to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace after graduation. As part of the Construction SHSM, students have done work in the community, including building a bridge at O’Hara Mill and constructing buildings at the H.R. Frink Outdoor Education Centre. 

Student Jessica Davies, Grade 12, shared how the Construction SHSM changed her school experience for the better: she got excited to go to school, to do homework, to do the training and certifications. She will be going to Loyalist College for a 3-year architecture program after graduation.

In Jessica’s words: “I would 100% recommend SHSMs to other students. I tell people that if they’re interested in hands-on work and want to pursue a career in construction or mechanics, for example, the SHSM will give you a really good idea of what the work will be. If something breaks down, you’ll have an idea of what’s wrong or how to fix it before calling someone else.”

Another student, Nat, was featured in a video and said this about his SHSM learning: “If you want to get out of high school with enough knowledge to get to where you want to go, you will have the experience to get there.” 

Thank you to the CHSS presentation team:

  • Jessica Davies, Grade 12
  • Mitch Darby, Automotive Teacher
  • Thomas Kirk, Communications Technology Teacher
  • Nicholas McFadden, Student Success Lead Teacher
  • Sarah Wannamaker, Guidance Department Head
  • Dayna Scaletta, Principal

Recommendations

Fire alarm renewal at multiple sites

Board members approved a tender for fire alarm system renewal, including emergency lighting, at several schools totalling $1,948,145, as follows:

  • Ferguson Electric Company Ltd. for fire alarm system upgrades at:
    • Foxboro Public School in the amount of $129,000
    • Frankford Public School in the amount of $151,000
    • North Hasting High School in the amount of $539,000
    • Park Dale School in the amount of $164,000
    • Trenton High School in the amount of $269,000
    • V.P. Carswell Elementary School in the amount of $68,000
  • McClement Electric Ltd. for fire alarm system upgrades at:
    • Bayside Secondary School in the amount of $246,960
    • Harry J. Clarke Public School in the amount of $213,260
    • Prince Charles School (Belleville) in the amount of $167,925

2020-2021 School Year Calendar

Each spring, school boards are required to establish a school year calendar for the next school year in accordance with Regulation 304 School Year Calendar. This regulation sets the beginning and end dates for the school year, stipulates school holidays, and prescribes the minimum number of instructional days (194) and the maximum number of professional activity days (7), examinations days (10) and board designated holidays (2).

A consultation process occurred with employee groups, parents, school councils and community members. An online survey was also available for public input.

Board members approved the following dates for the 2020-2021 school year calendar. These dates are subject to Ministry of Education approval, which is expected by the late spring of 2020.

  • First day of school for students will be Tuesday, September 1, 2020
  • Winter Break will be be from Monday, December 21, 2020 to Friday, January 1, 2021
  • Semester 2 will begin Friday, January 29, 2021
  • Mid-winter Break will be from Monday, March 15 to Friday, March 19, 2021
  • Last day of school for students be Thursday, June 24, 2021
  • Seven professional activity days:
    • Monday, August 31, 2020
    • Friday, September 25, 2020
    • Friday, November 20, 2020
    • Friday, January 29, 2021
    • Friday, April 30, 2021
    • Friday, June 4, 2021
    • Friday, June 25, 2021
  • 10 examination days be approved for secondary schools*
    • Thursday, January 21, 2021 through to Wednesday, January 27, 2021
    • Wednesday, June 16, 2021 through to Tuesday, June 22, 2021

*Actual dates may vary, please confirm with each secondary school

The following dates are included for reference.

Statutory, Ministry of Education and School Board Holidays
Statutory Holidays Ministry of Education proposed dates for the 2020-2021 School Year Calendar HPEDSB dates for the 2020-2021 School Year Calendar
Labour Day Monday, September 7, 2020 Same
Thanksgiving Day Monday, October 12, 2020 Same
Winter Break (inclusive) Monday, December 21, 2020 to Friday, January 1, 2021 Same
Family Day Monday, February 15, 2021 Same
Mid-winter Break (inclusive) Monday, March 15 to Friday, March 19, 2021 Same
Good Friday Friday, April 2, 2021 Same
Easter Monday Monday, April 5, 2021 Same
Victoria Day Monday, May 24, 2021 Same

Information

Calendar of events

A number of district and school events (Pdf) are scheduled for March 2020.

  • March 2: Lacrosse Clinic K-8, Athol-South Marysburgh Public School
  • First week of March: Dr. Seuss Week at various elementary schools
  • Various dates in early March: PAWS Reading Program, Bayside Public School
  • March 11 & 12, 2020: Basketball Tournament, Bayside Secondary School
  • March 28: OPSBA Eastern Regional Meeting, Sophiasburgh Central School

Mental health and social/emotional supports for students

Highlights from this staff report included the following:

  • Use of a tiered approach to support mental health and well-being for all students:
    • Tier 1 is mental health promotion: universal class-wide mental health promotion initiatives (good for all); welcoming, inclusive, understanding environments using resources and supports that reinforce every day mental health practices in classrooms
    • Tier 2 is mental health prevention: supports for students who might be at greater risk for mental health problems (good for some)
    • Tier 3 is mental health intervention: services for students who experience mental health problems (good for few); interventions
  • Student Services is in the process of hiring an additional permanent full-time social worker for Centre Hastings Secondary School. Each secondary school will have one social worker
    • Social workers provide Tier 3 therapeutic support to students in secondary schools; in addition to providing therapy, they respond to crisis, trauma and suicide intervention situations
  • There were 149 Tier 3 files open in December, 86 crisis, trauma, and suicide intervention responses in December, with the primary reasons for referrals being anxiety, grief, and depression

Child and youth worker update

  • Child and youth workers have been redistributed in Belleville enabling service at Prince Charles School, Prince of Wales Public School, Queen Elizabeth School and Queen Victoria School
  • Supports have also been redistributed in the Centre Hastings and North Hastings school groups
  • CYWs continue to support Tier 1 and Tier 2 initiatives using evidence-based classroom programs, small groups, targeted intervention, crisis response and community connections in support of social skills, emotional regulation, improved attendance and positive mental health

boy in a cardboard car2020 Kindergarten promotion

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • Welcoming Kindergarten students and families into HPEDSB schools is one of the first steps in developing a long term partnership with parents, guardians and students and creating a sense of belonging
  • Kindergarten Orientation at schools will take place in the spring, between March 23 and May 29
  • Elementary schools will invite Kindergarten students and families to visit the school to:
    • learn about the Kindergarten program
    • interact with educators and others within the school community
    • interact with community partners who may be a part of their child’s early years and who can support in accessing services within the community
  • Promotions for Kindergarten were re-visioned through the Communications team, introducing a new theme of “Welcome to Our Family,” a new look and branding
  • Each family registering their child for Kindergarten will receive a book with a welcome message from the Director of Education printed inside the cover
  • Updated promotional materials have been created with a more comprehensive and family-friendly approach
    • tips on how families can be prepared for the first day of school
    • sample questions parents/guardians can ask during Kindergarten orientations
    • overview of the Kindergarten learning program, play-based inquiry, and communication with families

OPSBA Information exchange

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • Participation in a meeting of directors of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA)
  • An upcoming promotional campaign called “Take Your MPP to Work Day”
  • An OPSBA scholarship award for a student
  • A form letter circulating to trustees asking the OPSBA to take a stance on provincial negotiations

Report from trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • A proposal for the Board of Trustees to write a letter to the provincial government about e-Learning courses
  • The next Trustee Retreat is April 17 and 18, 2020 at Wesley Acres in Prince Edward County

Parent Involvement Committee update

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • A written summary of public Board meetings from October 2019 to January 2020 and from the October 2019 Parent Involvement Committee meeting
  • Planning is underway for an event in the spring hosted by the Parent Involvement Committee and student trustees

Ontario Student Trustees’ Association Conference update

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • Participation in the above-noted conference in Ottawa this past weekend; more will be shared at a next meeting

Upcoming meetings

All meetings take place at the Education Centre unless otherwise noted.

  • Monday, March 2: Executive Committee, 1:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 9: Public Committee of the Whole, 6:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 23: Public Board Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 26: Special Education Advisory Committee, 5:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

How can we improve HPEDSB? We invite you to share your thoughts

January 6, 2020—With the start of the new year comes an opportunity to be part of shaping the future of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.

We are creating a new strategic plan and are committed to getting better at serving students. An important part of our planning involves hearing from our families, students, employees and community members about how we can improve and build confidence with you. letter to parents/guardians, community and elders (Pdf)

We want to hear from you about how we can improve Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. That’s why we’re inviting you to participate in our Thoughtexchange. It’s an online crowdsourcing forum where you can share your ideas, and read about and rate the thoughts of others. The premise is to seek and accept everyone’s thoughts about what we want HPEDSB to be, how we can improve and be the public education choice in our communities.

Using Thoughtexchange, you can share your thoughts and suggestions, building on the ideas of others. Thoughtexchange is anonymous and includes thousands of voices in the conversation, not just a handful. All thoughts and ratings are public but your identity remains private.

The brief  introductory video (.mov) includes stories from our students and a message from Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, so be sure to watch it.

As you reflect on your interactions with HPEDSB, please consider this question: What are the most important things we can do as a public education system to improve and build confidence with you? when you input ideas.

We invite employees, students, families and the community to be part of this movement and opportunity to share your thoughts and experiences to improve Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

 

 

Teachers, interested in taking the Principal’s Qualification Program?

event flyerFebruary 10, 2020—The spring offering of the Principal’s Qualification Program (PQP), Part 1, is being hosted at Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.

The PQP is organized into 12 modules, six in part one and six in part two. The modules incorporate the five domains of the Ontario Leadership Framework and Personal Leadership Resources. This Additional Qualification (AQ) course is developed based on the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) PQP guidelines. The expectations are met through eLearning and face-to-face interaction between the candidates, instructors and guest presenters.

Find out more at the Ontario Principals’ Council.

 

 

Board Meeting Update #174

January 27, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, January 27, 2020 at the Education Centre. It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in February 2020.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge the land to show respect and recognize the First Peoples of the territory; their history, culture and perspectives and as a step towards reconciliation.

Character Moment of Reflection

Each Board meeting opens with a Character Moment of Reflection. At Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, Growing with Character is our intentional focus on creating safe, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environments where students develop the foundation for good character. Growing with Character is the foundation of the school board strategic plan. Through Growing with Character, we model, teach and expect demonstrations of our eight character traits which are: Caring, Cooperation, Honesty, Humour, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Trustworthiness.

This evening Krista McConnell, Trustee, Belleville/Thurlow, asked all to reflect on Humour: We celebrate the fun in life. We lighten the emotions of others by interacting in a joyful manner.

photo of presenters
Thank you to Stephanie Taylor-Harvey, Principal and Tera Brough, Vice-principal, Prince Charles School (Belleville) and guest presenters Aaron denEngelsen, Grade 6 student who has participated in many of the initiatives; Mark Hymus, Community Partner; and Marg Werkhoven, Community Partner.

Celebrating students: Leveraging Community to Support Student Achievement, Prince Charles School (Belleville)

The Prince Charles School (Belleville) community works closely with the community to engage and support students. The adults care about students and go the extra mile to help students achieve success. The education and care of children in the school is a shared responsibility and opportunity to be difference makers for all.

Thank you to Stephanie Taylor-Harvey, Principal and Tera Brough, Vice-principal, Prince Charles School (Belleville) and guest presenters:

  • Aaron denEngelsen, Grade 6 student who has participated in many of the initiatives
  • Mark Hymus, Community Partner
  • Marg Werkhoven, Community Partner

Marg and other volunteers connect with the school through the One 2 One Readers program. Mark connects with the school through the Game On program and Kids Connect. Additional community partners include Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, City of Belleville, Belleville Police, Good Live Fitness, Canadian Tire, Belleville Dodge Chrysler, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Girls Incorporated, Giant Tiger, Loyalist College, Queen’s University and Centennial Secondary School, to name a few.

In the words of student Aaron, “Participating in the programs gives me a chance to be a role model.”

Information

Calendar of events

A number of district and school events (Pdf) are scheduled for February 2020.

group photo of presenters
Thank you to school administrators for being part of a BIPSA sub-committee: Louise Gunning, Principal, Madoc Township Public School; Ian Press, Principal, Bayside Secondary School; Stephanie Taylor-Harvey, Principal, Prince Charles School (Belleville); and Eric Fetterley, Vice-principal, Eastside Secondary School.

New process for developing the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement

Promoting increased student achievement needs to begin in a context closest to the students served in HPEDSB. This required a change to the process to develop the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BIPSA) (Pdf). In keeping with the HPEDSB approach of putting all students first, BIPSA development was flipped to be based on trends and themes that emerged from school improvement plans. This change represents a commitment to intentionally reflect the student and staff learning needs in the development of the BIPSA as a responsive plan versus a system direction that potentially drives improvement practices in areas that are not indicative of student and staff needs.

Educators in all schools engaged collaboratively in a process led by school administrators to:

  • collect and analyze school specific student data;
  • set goals related to student needs;
  • identify actions to implement to support increased student achievement; and
  • establish relevant measures to monitor impact and growth.

Thank you to school administrators for being part of a BIPSA sub-committee: Louise Gunning, Principal, Madoc Township Public School; Ian Press, Principal, Bayside Secondary School; Stephanie Taylor-Harvey, Principal, Prince Charles School (Belleville); and Eric Fetterley, Vice-principal, Eastside Secondary School.

2019 Director’s Annual Report

Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, presented this interactive, online annual report. It showcases student and employee learning and leadership during the 2019 calendar year, celebrates community engagement and well-being initiatives, while also describing progress made on building renewal and information technology projects.

Report from Trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • Presentation to a provincial government committee for pre-budget consultations
  • Fundraising by student groups to support secondary school initiatives
  • Student Senate work on advocacy and media

Upcoming meetings

All meetings take place at the Education Centre unless otherwise noted.

  • Monday, February 3: Executive Committee, 1:00 p.m.
  • Monday, February 10: Public Committee of the Whole, 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 20: Parent Involvement Committee, 5:30 p.m.
  • Monday, February 24: Public Board Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 27: Special Education Advisory Committee, 5:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

HPEDSB and CUPE heading to conciliation

January 15, 2020—Today the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1022 announced that the parties will be moving to conciliation.

To date, five days of local bargaining have occurred since late November 2019.

“We value CUPE employees who support and engage with students every day. Our focus through these negotiations has been all students first and that focus  will continue. We believe in collective bargaining and going to conciliation is a next step in the process. We will continue to have discussions in good faith with the intention on coming to a settlement that is agreeable to both parties and supports student achievement.” – Sean Monteith, Director of Education.

Meeting dates will be set once the two sides agree on a conciliator. This is a normal process of collective bargaining.

Nothing further will be released at this time.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Invitation to provide input to the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board

January 13, 2020—Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is creating a new five-year strategic plan. An important part of the planning involves hearing from families, students, employees and community members about how we can improve and build confidence with them.

We want to hear about how we can improve HPEDSB. That’s why we’re inviting stakeholders to participate in our Thoughtexchange, an online crowdsourcing platform where people can share their ideas, then read about and rate the thoughts of others. The purpose is to seek everyone’s thoughts about what they want HPEDSB to be, how we can improve and be the public education choice in our communities.

“Our unwavering belief is all students first and we are committed to getting better at serving students. Creating a new five-year strategic plan is important work for the Board of Trustees and staff. We’re looking forward to getting input from our families and communities because it will help us understand what to focus on as we plan for the future of education at HPEDSB. I invite everyone to participate.” – Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board.

Using Thoughtexchange, you can share your thoughts and suggestions, building on the ideas of others at this link: http://bit.ly/howcanweimproveHPE. Thoughtexchange is anonymous and includes thousands of voices in the conversation, not just a handful. All thoughts and ratings are public but your identity remains private.

A brief introductory video includes stories from our students and a message from Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board.

As you reflect on your interactions with HPEDSB, consider this question: What are the most important things we can do as a public education system to improve and build confidence with you? then add your thoughts.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

HPEDSB honoured to receive Commendation Certificate from National Cadets organization

Group photo
Sean Monteith, Director of Education (third from left) was presented with the Commendation Certificate by Barry Leonard, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Officer of the Regional Cadet Support Unit. Spencer Hutchinson, Trustee for Trenton/CFB Trenton (third from right) was also at the presentation.

Commendation Certificate
This Commendation Certificate is signed by Brigadier-General D.B. Cochrane, Commander, National Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers Support Group and is in recognition of the 35+ year partnership between that organization and HPEDSB.

January 10, 2020—It’s not every day that a Commendation Certificate is awarded by the Canadian Armed Forces. This recognition was given to Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board by Brigadier-General D.B. Cochrane, Commander, National Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers Support Group.

Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Leonard, Commanding Officer of the Regional Cadet Support Unit travelled from Base Borden to present Director of Education Sean Monteith with the certificate at CFB Trenton.

“It is truly an honour to receive this Commendation Certificate. Being a Cadet helps youth develop citizenship and leadership skills, and be active in their communities. Partnerships like this mean so much because they help to keep kids engaged in school. We truly value the long-standing relationship with the Trenton Cadet Training Centre.” – Sean Monteith, Director of Education.

The certificate reads as follows:

“For over 35 years, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board has demonstrated professionalism, community spirit, and inter-organizational friendship with the Canadian Cadets Organizations. This outstanding support and cooperation has allowed countless local cadet unit activities to be conducted within Southeastern Ontario and at the Trenton Cadet Training Centre. The Board’s continued and distinguished support of Canadian Youth is sincerely appreciated by both the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Central) and the National Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers Support Group.”

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

HPEDSB not administering the Grade 9 Math EQAO assessment

January 8, 2020—School boards have received information from the Ministry of Education indicating that the administration of the Grade 9 EQAO Math assessment, scheduled for January 2020, will be a board-based decision.

At HPEDSB, the assessment will not be administered, meaning that students will not be required to complete it at this time.

This is in light of the current labour situation with members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). Under the terms of the job action, OSSTF members may not participate in EQAO preparation or testing.

If students or parents/guardians have questions, please contact the school principal.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Last updated: April 1, 2020 at 12:02 pm