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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]

Last updated: February 22, 2021 at 9:34 pm
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