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Board Meeting Update #188: January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021—This update provides a summary of the online public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held January 25, 2021, livestreamed (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next regular meeting in February.

Land acknowledgement

Mike Brant, Trustee, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, recited the land acknowledgement: Let us bring our minds and hearts together as one to honour and celebrate these traditional lands as a gathering place of the Huron-Wendat, Anishinabek and Haudenosaunee people. It is with deep humility, that we acknowledge and offer our gratitude for their contributions to our community, having respect for all as we come together and walk side by side into the future to support our student of today.

Recommendation

Black History Month, Pride Month, National Indigenous History Month

Board members approved recommendations to encourage and honour Black History Month during February; encourage and celebrate Pride Month during June; and encourage and celebrate National Indigenous History Month in June.

These recommendations connect with actions and recommendations by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, specifically, “advocate to the Ministry of Education and the Education Equity Secretariat, that supporting the work of district school boards with regard to anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism be a priority. This support must include funding, and should involve the sharing of research, including the collection of identity-based data on educational outcomes, as well as effective practices, strategies, and approaches.”

Find out more starting on page 16 of the January 25, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Information

Policy #19: Board Improvement Plan

The 2020-2021 Board Improvement Plan (BIP) continues to reflect the goals identified in school improvement plans. The work of addressing underachieving results, reversing the declining trend in student achievement, and creating a culture of innovative thinking and evidence-informed risks continues despite the recent at-home learning and ensuing pandemic. The BIP focus continues to be on system culture and practices, leadership development, and on teaching and learning, all through an equity lens of hope, opportunity and outcome.

The work continues to be aligned with empowering all employees to understand and believe in themselves as part of the revitalized system vision of students first, closing achievement gaps, and getting students to graduation.

Though there have been various barriers to collaboration, teaching and learning, the fact is that  new thinking and new ways of addressing student achievement have emerged despite the inability to connect in ways that were once routine.

Find out more starting on page 18 of the January 25, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

QSS Revitalization Report

Consultants have been engaged to develop various plans to revitalize the former Quinte Secondary School. These include creating enrolment projections for a dedicated K-8 French Immersion program for the Belleville and Trenton areas, creating preliminary floor plans for a consolidated French Immersion school co-located with board administrative functions, reviewing  building systems and renewal needs at the Quinte Secondary site, and preparing detailed construction cost estimates. Transportation, financial, and funding analyses have been conducted already.

Find out more starting on page 21 of the January 25, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

2020 Director’s Annual Report

The 2020 Director’s Annual Report was presented for information. 2020 was definitely a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic was certainly front and centre, and it affected HPEDSB and everyone connected to our schools and communities. But that was only a part of story at HPEDSB. 2020 was also a year of revitalizing, refreshing and revisioning. A heartfelt thank you to Karen La Rose, Communications Officer, whose creativity, big-picture thinking and commitment to excellence created the comprehensive report.

Report from student trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • the three student trustees meet weekly with the director of education and Megan Adam, Student Services Coordinator;
  • revising the procedure about student representation on the Board; and
  • planning a virtual event for students.

Report from the Parent Involvement Committee meeting (November 24, 2020)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • 4o participants at the November meeting;
  • will be reviewing policies and procedures to provide input; and
  • reviewing the procedure for playground fundraising with the intent of making it more equitable among school communities.

Find out more starting on page 65 of the January 25, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Report from the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting (December 10, 2020)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • presentation about the universal design for teaching and learning; and
  • three break-out groups focused on mental health supports for student; IEP structure and strategy; and advocacy and social justice issues.

Report from the Policy Review Working Group

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • this committee will review sub-policies of Policy 11 and playground funding.

Report from the OPSBA Information Exchange

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • provided a reminder about the virtual Public Education Symposium taking place later this week and suggested that participants attend different sessions, take notes, which will be shared later.

Report from the Equity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee

Highlights from  this report included the following:

  • working with external advisor Erik Lockhart to brainstorm and start to process ideas and themes to work through over the next few months and into the next few years.

Questions from trustees

  • A question was asked about articles in the news about COVID-19 testing being done in schools; the Director of Education responded that it will be voluntary, with parent/guardian consent required; the testing will be to reinforce that schools are safe for teaching and learning; more information to come;
  • A question about the Tri-Board Student Transportation Services RFP (request for proposal) being deferred; the Superintendent of Business confirmed that the RFP closing date has been extended to the end of the summer due to complications experienced through provincial closure orders.
  • A question about the Ministry of Education eliminating the discretion to suspend students in Grades 1-3.

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

 

Letter from Director of Education, return to in-person learning on January 25

January 21, 2021

Pdf version

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

In this ever-changing time of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, I am writing with an update about students returning to school next week. Late yesterday afternoon, the provincial government announced that students in seven public health regions of Ontario will return to in-person school on January 25, 2021. Schools in Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board are in one of the regions approved to open. This decision is fully supported by Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health for Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

Please be aware that this is a full return to school on January 25, 2021 for all HPEDSB elementary and secondary students who normally attend in-person school. Our schools will be clean and safe, and staff will be ready to welcome students on Monday. We are working with our busing partner, Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, to ensure that busing will resume, as usual, starting on Monday. Anyone enrolled in virtual school will continue to learn online.

To ensure schools remain as safe as possible, it is important that students and staff self-screen each day using the enhanced provincial COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening. Please follow the directions in the screening tool and self isolate, or seek testing, if necessary.

To support the return to in-person learning, the government also announced additional safety measures to ensure schools remain safe, including mandatory masking for students in Grades 1-3. This will be a new approach at HPEDSB and for that reason, schools will provide masks for these students. Another new measure is the requirement for mandatory masking outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained. I recognize that this will be an adjustment for some younger students and ask that parents/guardians practise putting on and taking off a mask with their child at home. Additional information about how to use a mask properly, as well as other common questions from parents and students, is available at the public health website.

One other topic I want to address is the provincial Stay-at-Home Order announced earlier this month. Under it, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home. Therefore, we are mandated under the order to have as few people in business offices as possible. That means staff who work in our administrative buildings will continue to work remotely while the order is in place.

I want to assure you that, according to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and leading medical and scientific experts, including the Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario’s schools are safe places for learning.

We will continue to do our best to communicate as soon as we can. Even though the spread of COVID-19 may still present challenges in the future, our school and central office teams are doing all they can to support students and each other. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.

Take care,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Board Meeting Update #187: January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021—This update provides a summary of the online special public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held January 11, 2021, livestreamed (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next regular meeting later this month.

Recommendation

International Student Program Readiness Plan

Board members approved that HPEDSB maintain its long standing commitment to international education, in compliance with the guidelines for accepting international students established by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Canadian Federal Government.

The HPEDSB International Student Department has developed a readiness plan in compliance with the local, provincial and federal authorities. The plan includes mechanisms to address quarantining protocols, and support international students and host families during the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, 30 new students are enrolled for Semester 2 and are eagerly awaiting their Canadian education experience at HPEDSB. The Attestation of Readiness Plan and supporting documentation will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education for joint review with federal health authorities to determine a list of qualified districts.

Find out more starting on page 2 of the January 11, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

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

Letter from the Director of Education, return to school delayed

January 8, 2021

PDF version

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

Late yesterday afternoon, the provincial government announced that the return to school for elementary students will be deferred until January 25, 2021. This announcement was made in consultation with Dr. David Williams, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario.

According to the provincial announcement, These time-limited measures are being taken to help ensure that all Ontarians stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

For students of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board who normally attend in-person school, the delay in returning to in-person school means that remote/at-home learning will continue for the next two weeks.

This announcement does not affect students who are enrolled at the virtual schools.

Please be assured that your child’s teacher will continue to communicate with you and your child about the remote learning schedule.

Access to technology for remote/at-home learning

While the HPEDSB has distributed close to 5,000 devices to students this year, we know that some students may still require a device for this remote learning period. Families in need of supplemental technology are encouraged to contact their child’s school to make arrangements to obtain it. Please note that devices will be provided based on availability and may take time to distribute.

Support for students with special needs

Plans are in place to support students with special education needs with at-home learning through school-based staff and school board professionals. Schools staff will contact families directly.

Mental health supports for students

During the remote/in-person learning period, various school-based and community supports and resources are available for students, including the following:

  • Students will continue to have remote access to services, through school-based social workers, child and youth workers, and community partners. In addition, mental health resources are available, including Kids Help Phone, which 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.
  • School Mental Health Ontario also has a number of worthwhile resources for students and families on their website at smho-smso.ca.

Child care centres

Schools will continue to provide access to their on-site child care centres.

I want to assure you that we continue to be focused on supporting students and families during these unusual times. Even though the spread of COVID-19 may still present challenges ahead, our school and central office teams are doing all they can to ensure students are engaged in learning, and are keeping in contact with their teachers and classmates.

We will continue to communicate over the next couple of weeks as we know more. In the meantime, I encourage you to connect with your child’s teacher for any questions about remote/at-home learning.

Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.

Take care,

Director of Education
Sean Monteith

What to expect for returning to school in January 2021

Updated January 8, 2021—Yesterday the provincial government announced that in-person learning for elementary students will be delayed for two weeks, until January 25, 2021.

Read more: Province of Ontario news release

Read more: Letter from the Director of Education

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January 2, 2021— Returning to school on January 4, 2021 after the holiday break will be different than previous years. Read on to find out what to expect for learning at the virtual, elementary and secondary schools.

**Please be aware that this information may change if the Ministry of Education provides new details this week. Updates will be posted to this website and social media @HPEschools.**

K-8 and 9-12 virtual schools

Students who attend the virtual schools will have no change, their learning will be the same as before the holidays.

Elementary schools

Elementary schools are closed for in-person teaching and learning during the week of January 4, 2021. As of today, they will re-open, as usual, on January 11, 2021.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR STUDENTS/FAMILIES

  1. Students will learn remotely, meaning online from home for one week, taught by their normal teacher/early childhood educator, through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous approaches (see explanation below).
  2. This learning will take place in a variety of ways, such as through previously assigned work or new work, using the classroom teacher’s regular communication platforms (e.g., Google or D2L), based on students’ age and grade.
  3. The transition to remote learning will take place over two days, Monday, January 4 and Tuesday, January 5, 2021, with online classes scheduled to begin Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
  4. All homeroom teachers will contact families to make a personal connection, explain what to expect and how to access learning throughout the week.
  5. Educators will use their professional judgement in providing flexibility to students on an individual basis when students are unable to participate in synchronous learning.
  6. The school day will follow the regular daily schedule and subjects by block.
  7. Teachers will support students and families who are unable to access virtual learning synchronously and asynchronously.
  8. Daily attendance and a welcome discussion will occur synchronously to start each day.
  9. A reasonable timeframe for synchronous learning in Kindergarten is 100 minutes each day and in Grade 1-8 is 150 minutes each day during the three days of remote learning.
  10. Literacy and math will be be part of daily synchronous instruction.
synchronous and asynchronous learning

Secondary schools

Secondary schools are closed for in-person teaching and learning during the weeks of January 4,  11 and 18, 2021. As of today, they will re-open, as usual, on January 25, 2021.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR STUDENTS/FAMILIES

  1. Students will learn remotely, meaning online from home for three weeks, taught by their normal teachers, through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous approaches (see explanation above).
  2. This learning will take place in a variety of ways, such as through previously assigned work or new work, using the classroom teacher’s regular communication platforms (e.g., Google or D2L), based on students’ age and grade.
  3. Educators will use their professional judgement in providing flexibility to students on an individual basis when students are unable to participate in synchronous learning.
  4. Teachers will contact students to explain what to expect and provide direction for continued learning in Octomester/Block D.
  5. Students may receive up to 75 minutes of asynchronous learning, with teacher support available during that time.
  6. The regular school day schedule will be followed, with breaks and lunch the same as before the holiday break.

Students with special education needs

We remain committed to our focus on ensuring equity of access to learning opportunities for students in self-contained classrooms.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR STUDENTS/FAMILIES

  1. School teams will ensure plans are in place to support students with special education needs
  2. Education workers and school board professionals will be available to support remote learning
  3. Students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning based on student needs will be supported on a case-by-case basis
  4. Beginning Monday, January 4, 2021, secondary school administrators and learning support teachers will contact parents/guardians of students in regional programs to discuss options for students who may not be able to participate in remote learning due to the student’s individual learning profile

Mental health supports and services

Students will continue to have remote access to mental health support and services through school-based child and youth workers (elementary) and social workers (secondary), and community partners

  • Child and youth workers, and social workers are available to support students/families, and participate in school team meetings as required
  • Mental health resources:
    • Kids Help Phone offers 24/7 FREE counselling and referral services across the province, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868
    • School Mental Health Ontario has numerous resources for students, parents/guardians online www.smho-smso.ca

Devices and technology to use at home

Chromebooks and/or WI-FI devices may be available for students to use for remote learning. Please contact your child’s school to find out if any devices are available at this time.

Questions about remote learning?

If you have questions about remote learning, please contact your child’s school as they are best to respond. Alternatively, send an email to [email protected] for a response or re-direction to the school. Please include the school name in your email.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. These are new and different times for all of us. Everyone at at HPEDSB is working diligently to support students and families.

Last updated: January 25, 2021 at 9:08 pm
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