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Letter from Director Sean Monteith: Planning for school after the April break

April 8, 2021

Planning for school after the April break (pdf)

Dear Students, Families and Staff:

Planning for school after the April break

The much-anticipated April break is almost here. Schools will be closed from April 12 to 16, 2021.

The importance of supporting the emotional well-being of students and staff over the past year has become even more apparent in recent weeks with the increase of COVID-19 cases locally and across the province. We are doing our best to provide as much predictability as possible about schools being open for in-person learning.

At this time, we are planning for all schools to be open when school resumes on April 19, 2021. We continue to operate with as much consistency as possible, while respecting parent/guardian rights to decide whether or not to keep their children home.
Maintaining safe learning environments has been our commitment from the start of the pandemic and continues to be a priority. During the break, additional cleaning and disinfecting will be done at schools.

As a reminder, before coming back to school on April 19, 2021, students and staff must screen for COVID-19 symptoms. If you, your child or anyone in your household is ill, stay home and follow the guidance in the school screener. By following public health advice, we can all enjoy a safe April break and continue to support in-person learning in our schools.

We will share updates as information becomes available. Please continue to monitor our website and social media (@HPEschools), school social media and the local news. The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health website has information and several resources about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have a safe, fun and restful break.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Letter from Director of Education: students and staff please take personal belongings home

March 31, 2021

Letter to families regarding personal belongings (pdf)

Dear Students, Families and Staff:

Preparing for the long weekend, please take personal belongings home from school

The long weekend is almost here, a welcome break for all. Even so, it will look different this year throughout the province due to COVID-19 social gathering and other limitations, specifically in Hastings County and Prince Edward County, as ordered by Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health, on March 29, 2021..

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, as a precautionary measure, it is recommended that students and staff take home personal effects, including eyeglasses, shoes, and materials required for teaching and learning remotely, such as technology/SEA equipment,  before heading out for the long weekend.

At this time, it is anticipated that students and staff who are currently learning and working in-person will return to school on Tuesday, April 6; however, we want staff and families to be ready and supported if the Ministry of Education and provincial Medical Officer of Health announce a shift to remote learning for all students.

While this is not intended to cause speculation or added anxiety, our purpose is for students, families and staff to be as prepared as possible after the long weekend. Our hope is that this approach allows everyone to prepare for whatever scenario we may face in the coming days and weeks.

The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health website has information and several resources about the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will share updates as information becomes available. Please continue to monitor our social media (@HPEschools), school social media and the local media.

Thank you for your understanding and support of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. If you have any questions, or need further clarification, please contact your child’s principal.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith, Director of Education

Follow-up Letter from Director of Education Sean Monteith Regarding 2021-2022 Virtual School Registration

March 24, 2021

Follow-up letter from Director of Education regarding 2021-2022 Virtual School registration (pdf)

Dear Students, Families and Staff:

Every year at this time, we begin to plan for the upcoming school year, which starts in September. Part of this planning involves determining the number of students expected in our schools, which directs the number of teaching and support staff required.

To assist in this planning, we are asking families to let us know now if their child will attend in-person school or virtual school for the upcoming school year. Our intention is to be as informed as possible about family choices. This will assist in making accurate decisions to staff our schools, and be as prepared as possible for safe, welcoming and inclusive learning environments in the fall.

If you choose for your child to attend the virtual school in the fall, please contact your home/in-person school principal by Monday, March 29, 2021 to formally register for virtual school for the 2021-2022 school year. If you do not contact the principal by that date, your child will be registered for in-person school.

Please be aware that students currently enrolled in the virtual school will automatically be returned to their home schools at the end of June 2021.

As we look ahead to the fall, we know many Canadians will be vaccinated, and that COVID-19 health and safety practices are expected to remain in place.

In-person learning is the best way to meet students’ academic, social-emotional, physical and well-being needs. Although we expect that most students will return to in-person learning, the Ministry of Education has made it clear that families will have a choice, and that school boards must be responsive to those choices. That means offering a virtual school in addition to the traditional in-person school environment.

We are planning for a JK-10 virtual school to operate for the 2021-2022 school year. Programming for Grade 11 and 12 students will be provided through their home/in-person schools, enabling access to a greater variety of courses to support graduation pathways.

Thank you for your understanding and support of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. If you have any questions, or need further clarification, please contact your child’s principal.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith

Director of Education

 

Board Meeting Update 191: March 22, 2021

March 22, 2021—This update provides a summary of the online public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held March 22, 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 April.

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 students of today.

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. 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 Moira Gaddes, Student Trustee, Eastside Secondary School, asked all to reflect on Caring: We demonstrate concern for self and others. We show empathy and express genuine concerns. We consider the long term effect of our actions.

Presentation

Special Equipment Amount (SEA): Process and Assistive Technology Deployment Initiative

Providing students with technology to use for learning is a tremendous undertaking at any time and particularly during a pandemic. This presentation described what has happened in schools for all students in Grades 4-8 to have a Chromebook to use to meet their individual learning needs. Key highlights are that devices remain in classrooms rather than being moved from room-to-room or among schools; ability for staff to build sustainable best practices for teaching and learning; create a level playing field for all students to use technology rather than students with special needs feeling uncomfortable using it; and teachers being able to assess student work in ways not available when the work is only pen and paper based.

Thank you to presenters Geoff Courneya and Matt Charles, Student Services Coordinators; Tanya Whittaker, Principal and Michael McKeown, Teacher, Queen Elizabeth School; and Nathan Lumsden, Teacher, Prince Charles Public School (Trenton).

Recommendations

OSSTF/HPEDSB Tentative Collective Agreement

Board members ratified the terms of the local Collective Agreement between HPEDSB and Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 29 for the period September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022.

Policy 11-A: Committee of the Whole Board

Board members approved revisions to policy 11-A: Committee of the Whole Board. Find out more starting on page 14 of the March 22, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Appointment of QSS Ad Hoc Committee

Board members approved an updated list of names of people to participate on the QSS Ad Hoc Committee. One committee member approved earlier this month was unable to remain on the committee.

  • Trustees: Kiydan Zachariah, Student Trustee, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute; Lisa-Anne Chatten, Belleville/Thurlow; Spencer Hutchison, Trenton and CFB Trenton; Krista McConnell, Belleville/Thurlow
  • School staff: Anika van der Vink-Neri, Teacher, Prince Charles Public School (Trenton); Rhonda McFaul, Secretary, Park Dale School
  • Union representative: Jo-Anne White, President, CUPE Local 1022
  • Adult/Alternative Education Staff Member: Roger Ramsay, Curriculum Services Coordinator
  • Parents of students attending French Immersion programming: Christine Herrington, Harry J. Clarke Public School; Mark Langewisch, Prince Charles Public School, Trenton; Ashley Thomson, Bayside Public School
  • Community members: Kassandra Bateman; Jim Chapman
  • HPEDSB Senior Staff: Kim Horrigan, Senior Manager, Facility Services; Bessie Stelatos, System Lead, French Immersion

Find out more starting on page 20 of the March 22, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Information reports from staff

Secondary School Student Achievement Presentation

This presentation highlighted secondary school student achievement and the factors contributing to student success. It featured a comparison of credit completion rates for students in Grades 9-12 for the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school years; credit accumulation rates over this and the previous two school years; evolving culture changes at schools; changes in beliefs and practices; and teamwork and co-teaching. The presenters explained the focus on the tiered approach to supporting students and how it continues to be refined.

Virtual School Planning Report

This report provided an overview of planning for a virtual school operating for the new school year starting in September 2021. The virtual school will be for JK-Grade 10. Students in Grades 11 and 12 will participate in in-person learning to be able to access greater diversity of course offerings in support of their graduation pathways. Find out more starting on page 23 of the March 22, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Information reports from trustees

Student trustee updates

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • planning for the student-led mental health event;
  • student concerns about the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT); and
  • student concerns navigating classes using the hybrid model where some students are in-person and some are online.

Parent Involvement Committee from March 1, 2021

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • student trustees participating in the meeting and talking about mental health issues;
  • different ideas for food days at schools; and
  • next meeting is March 2, 2021 at 6:00 PM.

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) from February 25, 2021

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • discussion at the meeting about why SEAC exists;
  • school year calendar;
  • communications and strategies for supports through a student’s IEP; and
  • vaccinations for students with special needs.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Pathway Partnership Committee Report

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • discussion with Loyalist College about pathways in the skilled trades.

Indigenous Education Advisory  Committee Update from March 11, 2021

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • discussions with Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and upcoming meeting dates;
  • using data to make evidence-informed decisions in planning for outcomes; and
  • the next meeting is April 22, 2021.

OPSBA Information Exchange

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • next trustee terms begin in October 2022;
  • the OPSBA Annual General Meeting is scheduled for June 12, 2021;
  • the Canadian School Boards’ Conference is in mid-July, 2021 and will be online; and
  • the next regional meeting for Eastern Ontario school boards is in April 2021.

Questions from trustees

A question was asked about cameras on school bus arms. A question was asked about the new student information system, Aspen. A request for updates from the QSS Ad Hoc Committee to be on Board meeting agendas. Condolences to the family of Rick Locke, a former HPEDSB teacher.

Correspondence

Expression of Interest from YMCA about a child care centre at the re-purposed (former) Quinte Secondary School site.

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

Letter from Director of Education Sean Monteith Regarding 2021-2022 Virtual School Registration

March 11, 2021

Letter to Parent of Virtual School Students (pdf)

RE: Virtual School Enrolment for the 2021-2022 School Year

Dear Parent/Guardian and families of Virtual School student(s):

I hope this letter finds you well, and that you and your family continue to take care of each other as we deal with the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is truly hard to believe it was one year ago today when we learned our schools would be closed, and how we taught, learned, and interacted with one another in education would be altered in ways we had never imagined.

As we look ahead to September 2021 and the start of the next school year, we know many Canadians will be vaccinated, and that COVID-19 health and safety practices are still expected to be active. With this in mind, we are planning for the majority of students to return to in-person learning with enhanced safety precautions in place. We will continue to offer a virtual school as part of our pandemic response.

The establishment of the HPEDSB Virtual School was not part of a longer-term plan or vision, but rather a direct outcome and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person learning is the best way to meet students’ academic, social-emotional, and physical well-being needs. Acknowledging that there remains much uncertainty for the fall, HPEDSB will offer a Kindergarten to Grade 10 Virtual School option, should families decide it fits their child/ren’s style of learning and meets the needs of their family. Programming for Grade 11 and 12 students will be provided through their home secondary school.

This past year, families have had to navigate so much uncertainty. We want to foster predictability for all to reduce the amount of change for students and staff in the upcoming school year. Good planning provides room for modifications and reduces the chance of school reorganizations (e.g., changing classrooms, grade configurations, teaching assignments, or timetables). The more accurate our student enrolment information is now, the better our planning will be, reducing the likelihood of school reorganizations and promoting predictability for student learning in the fall.

Registering in the Virtual School for 2021-2022 is a full-year commitment with mandatory attendance expectations. There will be no transition dates provided throughout the year. We remain committed to providing high-quality programming through dedicated educators in all our schools, in-person and virtual, no matter which format you choose.

Overview of In-Person and Virtual Learning

In-Person Learning  Virtual Learning
  • All elementary programs will be offered
  • Full-range secondary programs will be offered
  • Specialized Program Classes will be offered
  • Students receive 300 minutes of instruction per day
  • COVID-19 safety procedures in place – distancing, masks, hand washing, protective equipment for staff
  • Cohorting of students and emphasis on smaller class sizes, where possible
  • Incremental resumption of regular operations, as possible, based on health guidance
  • Students enrolled in specialized program classes who opt for virtual learning will be enrolled in regular virtual classrooms
  • School day parental supervision required
  • Students receive 180-225 minutes of online (synchronous) instruction per day, with the remaining 75-120 minutes off-line (asynchronous)
  • Consistent course packages offered to students in Grades 9 & 10

To ensure accurate enrolment projections, all students currently enrolled in the Virtual School will be automatically returned to their home schools at the end of June. If you intend to have your child/ren continue with virtual learning in September 2021, you are asked to contact your home school Principal within the next two weeks. This contact will be considered your formal intent to register in the Virtual School for the 2021-2022 school year.

The conversation with your home school principal about your desire to register your child/ren in Virtual School must occur before the end of the school day on March 26, 2021. If you do not reach out to your child/ren’s home school by March 26, your child will be attending in-person learning in the fall.

In closing, our schools remain open and safe with enhanced health and safety protocols to protect staff and students from COVID-19. This commitment will not change.

I wish all of you the very best, and encourage all families, parents/guardians and students to remain safe, and equally importantly, remain hopeful.

 

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith

Director of Education

 

 

 

Board of Trustees accepts resignation of Director of Education Sean Monteith

March 10, 2021—The Board of Trustees has accepted the resignation of Director of Education Sean Monteith, effective June 30, 2021. The Board intends to begin its search for a new Director of Education quickly in the coming weeks.

Chair Lucille Kyle stated, “Upon accepting the Director’s decision to resign from HPEDSB, I would like to extend my best wishes to Sean Monteith as he pursues other professional and career opportunities. During his time with us, the Director demonstrated his willingness to work hard on behalf of the board and all its constituents.

“Among his accomplishments were his actions of increasing meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities in HPEDSB, working with the Board to develop a five-year strategic plan with a focus on equity, developing board structures intended to improve efficiency in delivering education for our students, and facilitating a fluid response to the significant and ongoing challenges of delivering education in the time of pandemic.

“Thank you for the work you have accomplished in this short time. I respect your desire to focus on your family’s, and your personal, best interests.”

Monteith, who has been an Ontario Director of Education since 2013, and with HPEDSB since 2019, commented after offering his resignation, “I want to thank the staff, students and families of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board for allowing me the privilege and honour to serve the interests in asserting a student-centered stance. I also want to thank the Board for the opportunity to support them in advancing the organization.

“I am proud of the fact that we created together a brand-new strategic plan that enforces principles of equity, student achievement, and outcomes for all of our learners. The Board’s commitment to reconciliation with First Nation partners is commendable and underscores the desire to be champions of equity and social justice.

“At this time, and with a few good years ahead, the prospect of being part of system-level change in support of Indigenous communities, and in continued support of marginalized and racialized students, is one that I am looking forward to. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been part of the HPEDSB Family and wish the organization nothing but the best.”

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613-966-1170, extension 62354, or 613-847-0696, [email protected]

Invitation to apply to become an external member of the audit committee

March 1, 2021 – Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is seeking one community member with financial expertise and business knowledge to serve on the Audit Committee for a 3-year term, effective spring 2021. The Audit Committee is comprised of three trustees and two independent members from the community at large.

Invitation to apply for audit committee The primary role of the committee is to assist the Board of Trustees in fulfilling its duties related to governance and oversight. The Audit Committee duties include the following key areas: financial reporting process; internal control framework; risk management practices; performance and function of the HPEDSB internal and external auditors; and HPEDSB compliance with obligations under legislation.

The Audit Committee meets at least three times a year, plus ad hoc meetings, as required. Induction training material is available online to all committee members to clarify roles and responsibilities of audit committees for the school board sector.

Candidate eligibility

  • Applicants must have sufficient accounting, senior financial management or other relevant business experience to understand public sector accounting and auditing standards.
  • Applicants must not be a current employee or officer of HPEDSB, or of any other district school board or school authority.
  • Applicants must not have a parent, child or spouse currently employed by HPEDSB.

Application submissions

Suitably qualified candidates interested in serving on the Audit Committee are invited to submit a letter of interest and resume by 4:00 PM on Friday, April 9, 2021 to:

  • Nick Pfeiffer, Superintendent of Business Services, 156 Ann Street, Belleville, ON, K8N 3L3, or email Carmel Lessard, Executive Assistant, Business Services, [email protected]

Candidates who are short-listed may be requested to attend a private interview conducted by the Selection Committee.

OPSBA Public Property Assessment Network Scholarship 2021

March 2—Grade 12 students graduating in June 2021 and going into the trades are eligible to apply for the OPSBA Public Property Assessment Network Scholarship.

The Public Property Assessment Network Scholarship: Eastern Region, 2020-21 School Year (pdf)

The Public Property Assessment Network Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded to one recipient of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association’s (OPSBA’s) Eastern Region. Scholarship recipients are students of strong character, leadership skills and potential, who care deeply about their communities and furthering their own learning.

Please send your package in PDF format to David Shields, Eastern Regional Chair at [email protected] by May 28, 2021.

More information about this scholarship

The funds were established from an organization with a core purpose to determine values for properties, which is the foundation for our property tax system in Ontario. This scholarship is to provide financial assistance to students who are pursuing an apprenticeship in the trades, more particularly the building trades, such as HVAC, carpenter, plumber or other property building trade.

Interested students should write a brief statement about why they are pursuing the building trades as an area of study, how the funds would assist them in pursuing this career, and how they intend to give back to the community.

Board Meeting Update 189: February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021—This update provides a summary of the online public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held February 22, 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 March.

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 students of today.

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. 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 Kiydan Zachariah, Student Trustee, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, asked all to reflect on Humour: We celebrate the fun in life. We lighten the emotions of others by interacting in a joyful manner.

Presentations

Centennial Secondary School: Engaging students through the Chromebook Project

The team from Centennial Secondary School presented their approach to fulfilling a vision of empowering empower all staff to meet the needs of every student with a focus on equity. The goals of the Chromebook Project were to create a culture of care and close the achievement gap, leading to a result of all students achieving. COVID-19 required the school to be nimble and able to quickly respond to changing delivery models. That is where the Chromebook technology came into play. By redefining the conditions for learning, and determining new learning models and expectations, the staff was able to distribute 660 Chromebooks. All classes from Grades 7-12 have a 1:1 ratio of students to Chromebooks, taking into consideration school-loaned devices, SEA equipment and student-owned devices.

Find out more by reviewing the Google Slides presentation.

Thank you to the presenters:

  • Marg Thompson, Principal
  • Geoff Courneya, Assistive Technology Learning Coach
  • Geoff Mortaley, Elementary Learning Support Teacher
  • Jessica Stuart, Secondary Learning Support Teacher
  • Blair Yarranton, Teacher

Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health: School-based testing

Dr. Oglaza presented about school-based surveillance of COVID-19. This included sharing caution for asymptomatic screening in schools and next steps. Dr. Oglaza explained factors that impact test performance, such as swab collection, processing the samples and an individual’s viral load. He described the manner in which COVID-19 is transmitted, which is through droplets containing the virus being expelled during coughing, sneezing and regular activities. Dr. Oglaza shared that the evidence suggests that schools are not the driving force of transmission in communities and provided data for local schools. With regard to the variants of concern, it is important to continue with the public health measures, including frequent handwashing, physical distancing and wearing masks.

To balance the benefits and harms of increased screening in schools, HPE Public Health proposes offering weekly testing at two schools which may have higher baseline vulnerability to outbreaks, or have decreased access to testing. Public health nurses would do the testing for students who volunteer to be tested.

Recommendation

Dates for the 2021-2022 School Year Calendar (subject to Ministry of Education approval)

Board members approved proposed dates for the 2021-2022 School Year Calendar. The dates are subject to Ministry of Education approval before they are finalized. The proposed school year calendar for 2021-2022 aligns within the start and end dates of the school year and holidays designated by the Ministry of Education. Submission to the Ministry of Education by May 1, 2021 is required for final approval. Public consultation reflected a significant increase in respondents this year: 2,100 as compared to approximately 750 in 2020.

Find out more starting on page 11 of the February 22, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Reports from staff

Kindergarten registration promotion for September 2021

HPEDSB is committed to providing safe, inclusive and welcoming learning environments for students entering Kindergarten. Promotional activities are underway now and include the following:

  1. Fulsome  website and social media presence
  2. Radio ads voiced by staff and students airing on eight local radio stations (thank you to the the team from Massassaga-Rednersville Public School: Taylor Merritt, Teacher; Sara Liscombe, Early Childhood Educator; and Keely, SK Student; and from Tyendinaga Public School: Stacey McDonald, Teacher; Jodi Burgess, Early Childhood Educator; and Aubrey, JK Student)
  3. Print ads in local weekly newspapers
  4. School-based Kindergarten promotional videos
  5. Online orientation sessions for currently registered and all potential incoming families
  6. A “Welcome to Kindergarten” picture book and message from Director Monteith will be distributed through schools to each registered family

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, public access to schools is unavailable at this time. Kindergarten orientation and events to engage families will happen online.

Find out more starting on page 14 of the February 22, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Early Years Capital Program

The Early Years Capital Program focuses on making child care more affordable, creating more available choices for families, improving quality and delivering high standards of care.

Currently HPEDSB has three pre-school aged child care programs:

  1. The Hub at Massassaga-Rednersville School with 50 child care spaces, created in 2014 and updated with a renovation in 2017 to create additional spaces, at an approximate total cost of $450,000
  2. Stirling Co-operative Nursery Little Sprouts at Stirling Public School with 35 child care spaces, created by an addition in 2015 at an approximate cost of $1.1 million
  3. Quinte Child Care Centre at Park Dale School with 50 child care spaces, created in 2018 at an approximate cost of $200,000

In collaboration with Hastings County, a joint submission was sent to the Ministry of Education on January 29, 2021, proposing three additional child care locations: Prince Charles Public School (Trenton), York River Public School and Centre Hastings Secondary School.

Find out more starting on page 16 of the February 22, 2021 agenda (Pdf).

Report from the Director of Education

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • reminder that March Break has been changed to the week of April 12-16, 2021;
  • concern about staff absences and the ability to find replacement staff;
  • planning for the ongoing impact of COVID-19 related to setting the budget and virtual schools;
  • destreaming Grade 9 Math (no more Applied and Academic) as announced by the Ministry of Education;
  • funding for technology allowed HPEDSB to procure approximately 1,100 Chromebooks and 170 laptops; and
  • Ministry of Education memo released today about teaching hiring practices.

Report from student trustees 

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • planning a mental health and equity event for students; and
  • editing Policy 3C: Student Representation on the Board.

Report from the Parent Involvement Committee meeting (February 1, 2021)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • participation at these meetings continues to increase each month; and
  • the topic of doing rapid testing in schools was discussed.

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting (January 28, 2021)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • SEAC drafting a letter to HPE Public Health about testing in schools.

Policy Review Working Group meeting (February 16, 2021)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • explanation of the policies being reviewed at this time.

OPSBA Information Exchange 

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • information shared at the Eastern Region meeting held online last weekend; and
  • shared notes with Board members from the Public Education Symposium.

Questions, reports and proposals from trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • a comment about Quinte Mohawk School taking the March Break holiday, as usual (not changing to the new April dates).

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

Tentative collective agreement between HPEDSB and OSSTF Hastings-Prince Edward

February 22, 2021—A tentative collective agreement has been reached between the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, District 29 Hastings-Prince Edward.

The agreement for approximately 325 permanent and 140 occasional secondary school teachers spans a 3-year period, from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022.

No details will be released until it is voted on by teachers and the Board of Trustees in March 2021.

QUOTES

“Reaching a tentative collective agreement with our OSSTF partners is welcome news for everyone involved. The negotiating teams were committed to the process and we are grateful for their work. Our secondary school teachers are doing remarkable work in their in-person and virtual classrooms during what has become another unusual school year. Thank you to everyone for helping our students of today to become the caring and contributing citizens of tomorrow. – Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board

“Congratulations to the local OSSTF bargaining representatives and leadership, as well as to the representatives for HPEDSB. I am very pleased and proud that they have reached this tentative agreement, especially during these incredibly challenging times. I also want to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our secondary school teachers who are important role models for students.” – Sean Monteith, Director of Education

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613-966-1170, extension 62354, or 613-847-0696, [email protected]

The Learning Foundation surpasses fundraising goal of $400,000

February 17, 2021- In October 2020, The HPE Learning Foundation identified areas of need and launched an ambitious Superheroes of Hope ‘Now More than Ever’ campaign. The campaign goal was to raise $400,000 to help support the Food for Learning, Student Emergency Fund and Food for Home programs.

As shared in the February 16 new release, the campaign goal has been reached, and for the Food for Learning and Food for Home programs, the fundraising goals have been surpassed! There were 536 donations to the campaign. Of that number, 192 were new donors and the largest donation was $125,000.

Programs supported by the campaign include:

  • The Food for Learning program: ensures that all students have daily access to healthy nutritious food while at school. Food for Learning supports approximately 4000 students a day which works out to 80-100,000 meals a month. FFL also supports an average of 175 students through the virtual program (students learning at home) by providing grocery cards and food vouchers.
  • The Food for Home program: provides students with food support during school breaks in the form of a weekly grocery cards. The program currently supports 226 students.
  • The Student Emergency Fund program: provides financial aid and/or gift-in-kind support to students and families (examples of types of support – food, medical/glasses, clothing, transportation etc.).
  • In addition, the Learning Foundation received 352 Student Emergency Fund requests

The Foundation is hopeful that its fundraising efforts will continue to be successful in this year’s Food for Learning Spring Event and Student Emergency Fund Golf Tournament. All contributors are Foundation Superheroes, joining Penny, Harry and Erica in providing equity, fighting poverty and helping the hungry!

For more information about how you can support student well-being and success visit www.hpelearningfoundation.com and @TheHPELF.

Learning Foundation campaign poster

Letter from the Director of Education, March Break postponed

February 11, 2021

Pdf version

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

This afternoon, the provincial government announced that the March Break will be delayed to the week of April 12, 2021. This decision was made with the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, including consultations with many local Medical Officers of Health.

For students and staff at HPEDSB, this means that school will proceed, as usual, for the week of March 15-21, 2021. There will be no school for the week of April 12-16, 2021.

I realize this decision by the Ministry of Education is not going to please everyone. I continue to hear from students, families and staff about the emotional rollercoaster they feel they are on—and have been for the past 11 months. For many families, taking another week off work in the middle of March was not an option. As Director of Education, I look at what is reasonable and, at this time, suggest that we try to put ourselves in another person’s shoes to understand their perspectives.

Another topic I want to address is about learning loss over the past 11 months. Again, I am taking a reasonable approach and ask you to do the same. Whatever learning loss has occurred, the five days of a spring break are not going to change the lifetime trajectory of a child becoming an adult. I believe we need to keep things in perspective and again ask that we respect one another’s positions.

The Hastings and Prince Edward region has performed remarkably well during the pandemic, so well, that we are in one of only three regions where restrictions were recently relaxed. We all have a lot to be proud of for our ongoing efforts to be safe and follow public health advice.

As I have said before, and want to assure you again, we continue to focus 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.

Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.

Take care,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Invitation to participate on the QSS Revitalization Ad Hoc Committee

February 11, 2021—The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is inviting school and community representation on the QSS Revitalization Ad Hoc Committee. This is part of a project to repurpose the former Quinte Secondary School (Pdf) to become a K-8 French Immersion school and become the location of administrative/maintenance offices.

The committee will consider opportunities that arise to address school capacity and enrolment challenges at the following schools: Bayside Public School, Bayside Secondary School, Harmony Public School, Harry J. Clarke Public School and Prince Charles School (Trenton). The committee will develop a recommendation to be presented to the Board of Trustees based on the proposed value of the revitalization project to students, families, community, staff and the Board of Trustees.

The 15-person membership of the committee will consist of:
• 4 trustees, including one student trustee
• 2 school staff (one classroom teacher, one education support staff member)
• 1 union representative
• 1 adult/alternative education staff member
• 3 parents of students attending French Immersion programming
• 2 community members
• 2 HPEDSB senior staff members

The QSS Revitalization Ad Hoc Committee will provide regular updates to the Committee of the Whole, and will also provide a final report, including recommendations and conclusions, at the public Board meeting in June 2021.

If you are interested in applying to participate in the QSS Revitalization Ad Hoc Committee, please complete the brief application by Monday, February 22 at 4 PM. Applicants will be notified by email if they are selected to be on the committee.

For more information about the committee, please review the HPEDSB/QSS Ad Hoc Committee Report and Terms of Reference (Pdf).

Questions? Email [email protected], or call 613-966-1170, extension 62201 to leave a message. Education Centre staff are working from home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Input needed for the 2021-2022 School Year Calendar

February 1, 2021—Each spring, school boards are required to establish a school year calendar for the upcoming school year, in accordance with Regulation 304: School Year Calendar and Regulation 364/15. These regulations set the beginning and end dates for the school year, stipulate school holidays, and prescribe the minimum number of instructional days (194), and the maximum number of professional activity days (7) and board designated holidays (Winter Break and Mid-winter Break).

In consultation with our two neighbouring school boards, Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board and Limestone District School Board, the following three options are being shared for input from employees, students, parents/guardians and community partners.

We need your input! Please complete the brief survey before 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2021 to share your preference and help shape the next school year calendar.

Option 1: Proposed Ministry of Education calendar

Students return to school: September 1, 2021, ahead of Labour Day

  • First PA Day: September 3, 2021 (Friday), ahead of Labour Day
  • Last instructional day of the school year: June 27, 2022
  • Last PA Day: June 28, 2022
  • Secondary Semester 2 begins: February 1, 2022 (Tuesday)
  • Follows a PA Day on January 31, 2022 (Monday)
  • Winter Break: December 20, 2021 to December 31, 2021
  • Mid-Winter Break: March 14, 2022 to March 18, 2022

Option 2: One PA Day to start the school year

Students return to school: September 7, 2021, after Labour Day

  • First PA Day: September 3, 2021 (Friday), ahead of Labour Day
  • Last instructional day of the school year: June 29, 2022
  • Last PA Day: June 30, 2022
  • Secondary Semester 2 begins: February 3, 2022 (Thursday)
  • Follows a PA Day on February 2, 2022 (Wednesday)
  • Winter Break: December 20, 2021 to December 31, 2021
  • Mid-Winter Break: March 14, 2022 to March 18, 2022

Option 3: Two PA Days to start the school year

Students return to school: September 7, 2021, after Labour Day

  • First PA Days: September 2, 2021 and September 3, 2021, ahead of Labour Day
  • Last instructional day of the school year: June 28, 2022
  • Last PA Day: June 29, 2022
  • Secondary Semester 2 begins: February 2, 2022 (Wednesday)
  • Follows a PA Day on February 1, 2022 (Tuesday)
  • Winter Break: December 20, 2021 to December 31, 2021
  • Mid-Winter Break: March 14, 2022 to March 18, 2022

Please complete the brief survey before 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2021 to share your preference and help shape the next school year calendar.

Questions? Please contact [email protected]

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]

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

———————

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: April 8, 2021 at 2:29 pm
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