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2021 Director’s Annual Report: Pandemic Portraits

 

Exploring the Pandemic Portraits of HPEDSB Snapshot of alternative learning models at secondary school
Leading the governance table through a student-centred approach Painting the picture of Grade 9 math single streaming
HPEDSB by the numbers Equity of opportunity and access through the Equity Action Plan
Re-imagining investments in schools Striving for precision with the inaugural This is Me in HPE census
Peering through a virtual lens Lighting the way to summer mental health supports
Precision focus on learning during the pandemic A dynamic collage of pandemic responses from support teams
Positive outcomes from Indigenous summer programs Showcasing the Arts during the pandemic

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Exploring the Pandemic Portraits of HPEDSB

Director of Education, Katherine MacIver
Katherine MacIver, Director of Education

I am pleased to share Pandemic Portraits, the 2021 Director’s Annual Report. While I have the privilege of writing this introduction as the new Director of Education, this report represents the combined effort and commitment of 2,200+ employees throughout the organization. It is the leadership of not one, but many, that makes our system strong and enables us to learn together.

The past twelve months will be recognized as a unique year in education history. As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the school year was spent in and out of in-person learning and constantly attending to safety concerns, including masking, sanitizing, cohorting and isolating. Students and staff started the calendar year learning remotely, returned to in-person and then back to remote learning due to virus spread. Through the combined efforts of our staff, students, families and communities, we returned to in-person learning in September, with access to extracurricular activities and relaxed cohorting.

 

 

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Lucille Kyle, Past Chair of the Board
Lucille Kyle, Past Chair of the Board

Leading the governance table through a student-centred approach

It is impossible to recall 2021 without acknowledging COVID-19. Already into its second year, the pandemic saturated every part of our lives—from home, to school, to work, and beyond. The world continued to change, just as it did at HPEDSB. As an organization, our ability to respond ramped up to levels we never thought possible before. We became more adept at responding to uncertainty and being better prepared for the unexpected.

Throughout the year, the governance work of the Board of Trustees focused on the priorities outlined in the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan:

  • Foster a Culture of High Excellence and High Expectations for All
  • Promote Safety and Well-Being
  • Strengthen Community through Equity and Social Justice
  • Improve Student Success and Achievement
  • Ensure Responsible Communications

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Stats for the 2021 school year                                          Learning Foundation infographic


Re-imagining investments in schools

More opportunity for fun with the new Marmora Public School playground

Being active outdoors and having equipment to play on can be the highlight a student’s day. At Marmora Public School, something delightful happened last fall, when the school received three separate play structures for K-8 students, along with swings and new benches.

Introducing the K-12 Central Hastings School

On September 7, 2021, the newly named Central Hastings School (CHS) opened as a K-12 school. This revitalized learning environment amalgamates two schools: Madoc Public School, which closed at the end of June 2021, and Centre Hastings Secondary School, which served students in Grades 9-12.

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Peering through a virtual lens: How teaching and learning adapted during the pandemic

Virtual school students learning onlineThe pandemic introduced many drastic changes to education delivery, by far the greatest of scope being the creation of separate, dedicated virtual schools. Beginning September 2020, for the first time in Ontario history, elementary and secondary school students could pursue entirely online learning to avoid the uncertainties of COVID-19 outside their homes.

As of February 2021, there were 1,380 Kindergarten to Grade 12 students enrolled in the elementary and secondary virtual schools, the students coming from every school in the district. The students were supported by 73 teaching staff, six educational support staff, three full-time office staff, two vice-principals and one principal. In the fall of 2021, the elementary and secondary virtual school evolved into one K-10 Virtual School.

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Precision focus on learning during the pandemic

kids learning mathMathematics assessment tools and coaching

In 2020, a new elementary Mathematics curriculum was introduced in Ontario, updating the content of math curriculum and the methods used to deliver it. To support this change, HPEDSB developed new K-8 mathematics assessment tools, founded in the new curriculum, to assist educators and administrators in knowing their learners and creating the best strategies to support their achievement. These tools focused on the fundamentals of math, including whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages.

Mathematics professional learning

As part of our commitment to learning together with our students, HPEDSB enhanced professional development in mathematics for educators by sponsoring various learning opportunities in 2021.

French language instruction

In 2021, HPEDSB enhanced French language learning by providing new digital programs to all elementary schools. The new programs, C’est Parti (Grades 4-6 Core French) and Mon réseau, ma vie (Grades 7-8 Core French) are engaging resources that focus on verbal communication through action-oriented tasks in practical, real-life situations.

English Language Learners (ELLs)

English language learners (ELLs) are students whose first language is a language other than English who may require focused educational support to assist them in attaining English proficiency. These students may be Canadian born or recently arrived from other countries. They come from diverse backgrounds and school experiences, with a wide variety of strengths and individual needs.

Grades 1-8 summer learning program

Recognizing the impacts of the pandemic on student learning, the Ministry of Education provided funding to school boards to deliver summer learning programming to students in Grades 1-8 to mitigate learning loss during the course of the summer, to support increased student achievement, and to close learning gaps in literacy and numeracy.

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Positive outcomes from Indigenous summer programs

Two indigenous summer programs that support the transition of students from Grade 8 into secondary school ran in August 2021. One was hosted in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, the other was held at the Boundless School in Palmer Rapids.

Tyendinaga

Twelve Grade 8 students from Quinte Mohawk School, registered to attend Eastside Secondary School in Grade 9, participated in the program. The program was organized as a day camp, with students dropped off and picked up at a central location each of day from August 23 to 27. The theme for this program in Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk) was Enskattsiró:tenwhich translates to Rekindling My Fire.

Boundless School – Palmer Rapids

Eleven self-identified Indigenous students attending Grade 8 at North Hastings High School participated in this program from August 25 to 29. The students and three staff spent five days at The Boundless School, an outdoor education center. Like the group in Tyendinaga, the participants opted to use the same theme, but in Anishnaabemowin, which translates to Maadijse Podaaweishkode – Rekindling My Fire.

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Snapshot of alternative learning models at secondary school

ESS StudentsAs the pandemic stretched into 2021, educators and students developed a new relationship with the term “pivot.” Never before had such unprecedented changes to education delivery happened so rapidly, frequently, and on such a large scale.

At the start of 2021, the cautious return to in-person learning had imposed a change for secondary students from typical 4-course semesters, to single-subject octomesters, where students went from four 75-minute classes to a full-day class of 300 minutes. This single-subject cohort would limit the number of shared spaces and in-person exposures in the school, reducing the chance of COVID-19 transmission.

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Painting the picture of Grade 9 Math single streamingdestreaming infographic

In September 2021, students entering Grade 9 were the first to experience a new approach to Grade 9 Mathematics. Courses in Grade 9 Applied and Academic Math were discontinued, and a single streamed course was introduced, Foundational Mathematics. The change was intended to provide every student with a solid secondary-level math foundation to support their understanding, ability and confidence. In the past, students who were Black, Indigenous, racialized, or from other marginalized backgrounds, were more often directed to the Applied stream. Introducing the new Grade 9 math course was the first step to removing early streaming in Ontario.

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Focusing on equity of opportunity and access through the Equity Action Plan

Equity Action Plan coverEquity, diversity and inclusion may have different meanings for everyone. Equity of opportunity and equity of access to all programs, services, and resources are critical to well-being and to the achievement of successful outcomes for all students.

HPEDSB is committed to excellence in education and supporting optimal student learning and achievement. Our role in HPEDSB is to ensure everyone finds their place to thrive in the work and in the learning. Our ultimate goal is for schools to be equitable, accessible and inclusive environments—places where all students, staff, parents/guardians and community members feel safe, appreciated, and respected for their unique contributions to the HPEDSB family.

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Striving for precision with the inaugural This is Me in HPE census

student census adIn 2021, HPEDSB, along with other Ontario school boards, completed a census of their staff and students. Directed by the Ministry of Education under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, school boards were to collect data and report on the data they collected, in order to gain a clearer understanding of the needs of their school communities. The census questions focused on individuals’ gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and other identity-based data, the goals being to identify and address systemic barriers to student success, close gaps in services, and guide decisions that support more equitable outcomes for all students and staff.

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Lighting the way to summer mental health supportsHPEDSB student mental health logo

In response to the additional strains on student mental health resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education provided funds to retain regulated mental health supports over the summer months while schools were on break.

Social workers and social services workers were available over the summer to ensure continuity of service and provide support to 89 students and families. Over the summer, there were 332 virtual contacts made and 112 in-person home visits.

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A dynamic collage of pandemic responses from support teams

The HPEDSB Information Technology (IT) and Facilities Services teams faced many new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2021. Featured here are highlights of the work completed by these teams to keep students and staff safe and learning together in a shifting learning environment. 

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Showcasing the Arts during the pandemic

Virtual Secondary Arts ShowArt show poster

In June 2021, HPEDSB hosted the first ever Virtual Secondary Arts Show, titled “Art in the Pandemic”. The traditional Secondary Arts Show would have seen its 32nd annual gallery event in the spring of 2020, with a showcase of exceptional student artwork displayed at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in the Belleville Public Library. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was unfortunately cancelled.

Sophiasburg Central School: Small but mighty in song

In September 2021, the Sophiasburg Central School Grade 7/8 class received new ukeleles through the fund-raising efforts of their school council. Weeks later, music teacher Misu Burns registered the class to participate in the CBC Music Class Challenge performing Ginalina’s song “Small But Mighty”.

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Showcasing the Arts during the pandemic

Virtual Secondary Arts Show

In June 2021, HPEDSB hosted the first ever Virtual Secondary Arts Show, titled “Art in the Pandemic”. The traditional Secondary Arts Show would have seen its 32nd annual gallery event in the spring of 2020, with a showcase of exceptional student artwork displayed at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in the Belleville Public Library. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was unfortunately cancelled.

In an effort to get ahead of the uncertainty of pandemic restrictions, a small committee decided early in 2021 to plan a virtual arts show for the year. The theme “Art in the Pandemic” was chosen to encompass both artwork that is directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also includes artwork that was created during this unique school year. The virtual event was livestreamed on the board YouTube channel, showcasing a wide variety of student artwork from every secondary school in the board in a video format.


Sophiasburg Central School: Small but mighty in song

In September 2021, the Sophiasburg Central School Grade 7/8 class received new ukeleles through the fund-raising efforts of their school council. Weeks later, music teacher Misu Burns registered the class to participate in the CBC Music Class Challenge performing Ginalina’s song “Small But Mighty”.

Explaining why she chose that particular song from the list of Canadian songs available for the competition, Burns said, “We have one of the smallest schools in the board, so this song resonated. I wanted to showcase how much I love our school, how great our kids are, and what a special place this is.”

Enlisting support from Grade 3/4 teacher Sam Hirst and Sophiasburg parent Caleb Hutton at Back 40 Productions, Burns’ small team took on the large job of creating a video entry for the contest, in a short period of time, while following all necessary COVID-19 safety protocols.

Hirst taught her class sign language, which accompanies the singers in the video. Burns taught the other participating classes a combination of singing, playing ukulele and movement.

“Learning Ginalina’s Small But Mighty for the CBC Music Class Challenge was indeed a challenge,” shared Burns, “but it also proved to be very rewarding, as the students improved with each class and all their hard work really paid off. Our school may be small, but we are mighty in heart and spirit!”

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A dynamic collage of pandemic responses from support teams

The HPEDSB Information Technology (IT) and Facilities Services teams faced many new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2021. Featured here is a collage of the work completed by these teams to keep students and staff safe and learning together in a shifting learning environment:

Information and Technology Services

  • Coordinated timed/scheduled access for all schools to retrieve materials for remote learning.
  • In addition to technology provided to students in 2020, deployed an additional 1,106 student Chromebooks to support remote learning. Educators received an additional 179 laptops to teach students remotely.
  • Telecommunications upgraded at Trenton High School and Central Hastings School, consisting of a new telephone system for school communications, new data center to secure servers and increase performance, video security system enhancements to ensure student safety, new overhead paging system for enhanced communication with the staff and students, and increased wifi access points to support student learning and safety.
  • Launched the ASPEN student portal allowing remote access to individual student records. Expansion of the student portal included elementary student access. Through the pandemic, this allowed all students and parents to view report cards online.

Facility Services

  • sanitation suppliesOrdered, organized, prepared and delivered school packages for:
    • PPE (gloves, masks, gowns, face shields, goggles), cleaning products, sanitizer, extra soap, and paper towel products.
    • Various signage (main doors, floors, walls, playgrounds, etc.).
  • Received and distributed over 317,000 face masks, 120,000 gloves, 4,700 face shields and 3,700 bottles of disinfectant.
  • Worked closely with the Ministry of Goods & Consumer Services on reporting, ordering, tracking weekly usage, and ensuring adequate supply of products for schools.
  • Enhanced cleaning:
    • Clorox 360 machines.
    • All high-touch surfaces frequently disinfected.
    • Additional funding for custodial staff.
  • Developed Health & Safety Protocol for Facility Services, and Information & Technology Departments (maintenance, custodian and contractors accessing board facilities).
  • Purchased, received, delivered, and installed HEPA Filter units for classroom spaces, where required.

HEPA filter black   HEPA Filter white School hallway  BSS ventilation

  • Coordinated and installed various physical distancing components (e.g., plexiglass, bagged fountains).
  • Reviewed and upgraded various building systems, including HVAC systems, where possible.
  • Created a ventilation strategy that included the following best practices:
    • Implemented a preventive maintenance inspection/service program on all mechanical units to ensure continued effective operation of ventilation equipment (including operating windows).
    • Increased filter ratings to catch smaller particles, as appropriate for each type of equipment and conduct more frequent filter changes.
    • Updated or added ventilation equipment at schools to provide a long-term solution to increased air quality and adjusted to do a 2-hour purge before and after the school day.
    • Placed standalone HEPA units in all Kindergarten classrooms and all occupied learning spaces without mechanical ventilation, as per Ministry of Education guidelines.

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Lighting the way to summer mental health supports

HPEDSB student mental health logoIn response to the additional strains on student mental health resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education provided funds to retain regulated mental health supports over the summer months while schools were on break.

Social workers and social services workers were available over the summer to ensure continuity of service and provide support to 89 students and families. Over the summer, there were 332 virtual contacts made and 112 in-person home visits.

The mental health team also introduced a new logo of a multi-coloured, flourishing tree that emphasizes the importance of nurturing the core four areas of an individual’s body, heart, spirit and mind, to support mental health, growth and well-being.

Throughout 2021, the mental health team was dedicated to offering guidance and support to students and their families as they negotiated the unique pressures of the pandemic.

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Striving for precision with the inaugural This is Me in HPE census

student census adIn 2021, HPEDSB, along with other Ontario school boards, completed a census of their staff and students. Directed by the Ministry of Education under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, school boards were to collect data and report on the data they collected, in order to gain a clearer understanding of the needs of their school communities. The census questions focused on individuals’ gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and other identity-based data, the goals being to identify and address systemic barriers to student success, close gaps in services, and guide decisions that support more equitable outcomes for all students and staff.

Following extensive internal and community stakeholder consultation, HPEDSB conducted a pilot This is Me in HPE student census at four schools in May 2021. Using the lessons learned in the pilot roll-out, the project steering committee refined the census, its delivery and supporting materials throughout the summer.

In the fall, an information sharing campaign prepared staff, students and their families for the upcoming launch of the census with virtual information sessions to address questions and concerns, digital media campaigns, radio interviews and ads, a dedicated census web page, FAQs, infographics, posters, learning supports, and more. The key message shared about the census was:

We are committed to learning together, with our school communities, to ensure our schools are equitable, accessible and inclusive environments—places where all students, staff, families and community members thrive, feel welcomed, appreciated and respected for their unique contributions to the HPEDSB family. 

The inaugural This is Me in HPE census was completed by staff in early November, followed by students in mid-November. The census was available through a secure online portal or could be completed on paper and delivered to a locked drop-box.

The data collected from the census will offer insight into the diversity that exists in HPESB schools in 2021, forming an important baseline against which future data will be compared, so the board can track and respond to shifts in local demographics. Reports based on the census data will be shared in 2022 and will be a key component of championing equity in HPE schools.

Student Census infographic

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Focusing on equity of opportunity and access through the Equity Action Plan

Equity Action Plan coverEquity, diversity and inclusion may have different meanings for everyone. Equity of opportunity and equity of access to all programs, services, and resources are critical to well-being and to the achievement of successful outcomes for all students.

In 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Education released Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, which establishes clear deliverables and targets that school boards are accountable to develop. At HPEDSB, we have committed to eliminating discrimination as outlined in that plan, along with the Ministry of Education Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

HPEDSB is committed to excellence in education and supporting optimal student learning and achievement. Our role in HPEDSB is to ensure everyone finds their place to thrive in the work and in the learning. Our ultimate goal is for schools to be equitable, accessible and inclusive environments—places where all students, staff, parents/guardians and community members feel safe, appreciated, and respected for their unique contributions to the HPEDSB family.

The Equity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee (EIAC), consisting of students, non-teaching staff, teaching staff, administrators and trustees, collected data from seven focus groups that included students, parents/guardians, community members, non-teaching staff, teaching staff, school administrators and trustees. The data collected was used to create the Equity Action Plan.

Released in the summer of 2021, the Equity Action Plan contains goals and action items in four priority areas that will guide our work from now until 2024. These four priority areas are:

  • School and Classroom Practices
  • Leadership and Human Resources Practices
  • Positive School Culture
  • Data Collection and Reporting

The plan is an extension of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan commitment to strengthening community through equity and social justice. It is a working document that the EIAC will review every year. Ongoing work is being done to bring the Equity Action Plan to life, starting with the creation of an equity web page and resource site, a quarterly newsletter, and a timeline of the three-year targets and deliverables.

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Painting the picture of Grade 9 math single streaming

destreaming infographicIn September 2021, students entering Grade 9 were the first group to experience a new approach to Grade 9 Mathematics. Courses in Grade 9 Applied and Academic math were discontinued, and a single de-streamed course was introduced, Foundational Mathematics.

The change was intended to provide every student with a solid secondary-level math foundation that will support their understanding, ability and confidence. In the past, students who were Black, Indigenous, racialized, or from other marginalized backgrounds, were more often directed to the Applied stream. Introducing the new Grade 9 math course was the first step to removing early streaming in Ontario.

On September 28, a virtual information night was offered to Grade 8 and 9 families looking to learn more about de-streaming. Hosted by Jason To, Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics for the Toronto District School Board, families had the chance to ask questions and explore the new de-streamed math curriculum.

The Foundational Mathematics course includes the following strands: number sense and operations, algebra, measurement, geometry, data, probability and financial literacy. Students learn to:

  • use mathematical modelling and coding to make sense of the mathematics they are learning;
  • apply their understanding to culturally responsive and relevant real-world situations;
  • enhance their mathematical reasoning skills, including proportional reasoning, spatial reasoning, and algebraic reasoning; and
  • solve problems and communicate their thinking.

The newly structured Grade 9 math sets the expectation for educators to support all students to be successful, well prepared for the senior secondary program, and able to pursue any post-secondary pathway they choose.

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Snapshot of alternative learning models at secondary school

ESS StudentsAs the pandemic stretched into 2021, educators and students developed a new relationship with the term “pivot”. Never before had such unprecedented changes to education delivery happened so rapidly, frequently, and on such a large scale.

At the start of 2021, the cautious return to in-person learning had imposed a change for secondary students from typical 4-course semesters, to single-subject octomesters, where students went from four 75-minute classes to a full-day class of 300 minutes. This single subject cohort would limit the number of shared spaces and in-person exposures in the school, reducing the chance of COVID-19 transmission.

The full-day learning model of the octomester resulted in a co-teacher model for each class, with one main teacher and one support teacher. Teachers were able to observe each others’ approach, teaching, and classroom management styles, and learn from each other. This collaborative approach evolved into a new teaching support model based on schedule flexibility (e.g., the science support teacher was scheduled for specific times so the other teacher could work with targeted students). With online learning, the support teacher was able to support students in multiple classrooms and locations simultaneously.

An unexpected benefit from the full-day class was that, with one main teacher per cohort, teachers and students had the opportunity to get to know each other better and on a deeper level. Practical classes, like shop and science lab, benefitted from not losing time to transitions between classes with equipment set-up/break-down, cleaning, and changing rooms. As 300 minutes a day of some activities was excessive, instructors of classes like physical education had to revisit their approach and implement alternatives to traditional learning.

Lockdowns in the spring of 2021, prompted the transition for all students to virtual learning. Teachers and students alike quickly figured out how to effectively navigate their new online classrooms and stay connected while apart.

BSS Bball teamBSS HalloweenIn the fall of 2021, secondary students again returned to in-person learning in a new model, a quadmester, with two 150-minute classes a day. The quadmester approach still limited the number of cohorts at school, while allowing for more variety of learning in a day.

When surveyed about their preference of quadmester or semester learning for the coming winter term in 2022, secondary students and their caregivers showed a decided preference for the quadmester approach. Multiple responses shared concerns over the current level of stress facing students, stating it was far better for students to focus on two subjects at a time, rather than be overwhelmed with four.

With each new learning model experienced in 2021, educators and students demonstrated their remarkable ability to adapt, collaborate and progress while learning together and staying positive through the pandemic.

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Positive outcomes from Indigenous summer programs

Two indigenous summer programs that support the transition of students from Grade 8 into secondary school ran in August 2021. One was hosted in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, the other was held at the Boundless School in Palmer Rapids.

Tyendinaga

Twelve Grade 8 students from Quinte Mohawk School, registered to attend Eastside Secondary School in Grade 9, participated in the program. The program was organized as a day camp, with students dropped off and picked up at a central location each of day from August 23 to 27. The theme for this program in Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk) was Enskattsiró:tenwhich translates to Rekindling My Fire.

There were two primary Indigenous facilitators, an OCT teacher and an Indigenous Grad Coach. They were joined by different guests who shared information, teachings and/or provided instruction with specific activities. Guests included, Knowledge Keepers, a traditional botanist, and an Indigenous practitioner who worked with the students on wellness goals and strategies.

The days were spent mainly outdoors, with most of the activities being land-based, including hiking, canoeing, picking and making natural medicines, and playing various sports. Everything was grounded in Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk) culture. For example, when the students learned how to make a fire, the teachings around what the fire represents and how the word fire in Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk language) relates to family and self, was very impactful.

The facilitators observed that many of the students were hesitant and apprehensive at first, but they built up their resolve, persevered and grew. There were huge strides made in the development of their self-esteem. The gaining of self-confidence was perceived to be the biggest positive outcome for the students in being prepared to transition into the secondary setting.

 

Boundless School – Palmer Rapids

Eleven self-identified Indigenous students attending Grade 8 at North Hastings High School participated in this program from August 25 to 29. The students and three staff spent five days at The Boundless School, an outdoor education center. Like the group in Tyendinaga, the participants opted to use the same theme, but in Anishnaabemowin, which translates to Maadijse Podaaweishkode – Rekindling My Fire.

Students had the constant support of three caring adults; an Indigenous Social Worker, Indigenous Grad Coach/Support Worker and a Teacher, as well as the Boundless School instructors who facilitated the outdoor activities, that included team building exercises, ropes courses, canoeing, and hiking. Students earned .5 credit in outdoor education from their participation. Cultural teachings centered around well-being were infused throughout the five days, as were strategies for success to prepare students for the transition into secondary school.

During the week, students learned various teachings of the drum and each student was able to make their own personal drum. The learning culminated in a ceremony for the birthing of the drums with students learning a song together.

Students found that, in addition to being a fun way to connect to the land and explore elements of Indigenous culture, the opportunity helped them build friendships and create a sense of community with the other students and adults. The relationships and support network developed during the program assisted students in making a successful transition into Grade 9 that fall.

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Precision learning during the pandemic

Mathematics assessment tools and coaching

kids learning mathIn 2020, a new elementary Mathematics curriculum was introduced in Ontario, updating the content of math curriculum and the methods used to deliver it. To support this change, HPEDSB developed new K-8 mathematics assessment tools, founded in the new curriculum, to assist educators and administrators in knowing their learners and creating the best strategies to support their achievement. These tools focused on the fundamentals of math, including whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages.

Within the 2020-2021 school year, a total of 15 schools received targeted math support, with all 11 of the Ministry-identified intensive support schools in HPEDSB participating in the new curriculum service model; many opting for follow-up rounds of support from instructional coaches.

In consultation with both curriculum and school teams, coaches were paired with two “early adopter” classroom educators in each school for a three-to-four-week block of time. Instructional coaches supported the educators in collecting student data using board-developed numeracy diagnostic tools, then used that data to determine instructional next steps at both the class and small-group levels. The emphasis of the coaching was on making connections between the supports embedded in the new math curriculum (continuums, sample tasks, high-impact instructional practices) and their positive impact on student learning.

The results showed that when educators purposefully used the data to identify a specific area of need, applied direct instruction related to that need, and allowed for practise, there was a marked increase in student achievement, within relatively short timelines. The graph below shows an overall increase in student understanding of concepts in mathematics.

boys learning math  math learning  math dominoes

In summary, there was a 29% decrease in questions coded as a challenge, a 10% decrease in questions coded as wondering, and a 38% increase in questions coded as an asset.

Co-teaching allowed for educators to reflect on their content knowledge, share best practices, and discuss how to reach all learners. The analysis of student work enabled greater precision of instruction, feedback and collaboration, as coaches worked with school teams to purposefully align resources with intentional direct instruction.


Mathematics professional learning

As part of our commitment to learning together with our students, HPEDSB enhanced professional development in mathematics for educators by sponsoring various learning opportunities in 2021:

  • Over 150 teachers and administrators attended the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education (OAME) and the Quinte St. Lawrence Mathematics Association (QSLMA) conferences.
  • Professor of Education from the University of Ottawa, Research Advisor to the Ministry of Education, Dr. Chris Suurtamm facilitated afterschool leadership sessions for administrators to further support the implementation of the new Mathematics Curriculum.
  • The Ministry of Education subsidized Mathematics Additional Qualifications courses for 50 HPEDSB elementary and secondary educators for the 2021-2022 school year.

French language instruction

French textbooksIn 2021, HPEDSB enhanced French language learning by providing new digital programs to all elementary schools. The new programs, C’est Parti (Grades 4-6 Core French) and Mon réseau, ma vie (Grades 7-8 Core French) are engaging resources that focus on verbal communication through action-oriented tasks in practical, real-life situations. The programs align with board and Ministry goals, the Ontario French as a Second Language (FSL) Curriculum, and the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), which prepare students to succeed at the DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française – Diploma in French Language Studies) exam in Grade 12 and receive international recognition as French bilingual.

To help remove barriers caused by limited testing access for HPE students, HPEDSB fully subsidized summer professional development for all interested FSL teachers to acquire a DELF examiner certification. The DELF is an internationally recognized French Language Proficiency Certificate awarded by France’s national Ministry of Education.

Following the training, HPEDSB had seven certified DELF examiners, an important step toward offering the DELF exam within the region to all students in HPEDSB, and to mitigate the financial and transportation challenges faced by students who must travel out of the region to complete the exam.


English Language Learners (ELLs)

English language learners (ELLs) are students whose first language is a language other than English who may require focused educational support to assist them in attaining English proficiency. These students may be Canadian born or recently arrived from other countries. They come from diverse backgrounds and school experiences, with a wide variety of strengths and individual needs.

In 2021, schools in HPEDSB provided direct K-8 support for over 65 ELLs and indirect support for close to 45.

The Steps Towards English Proficiency (STEP) Assessment, a Ministry-approved ELL proficiency test, was used to evaluate students’ proficiency in the English language, and showed that students experienced a positive impact in oral, reading and writing components of (STEP) assessment.


Grades 1-8 summer learning program

math block learningRecognizing the impacts of the pandemic on student learning, the Ministry of Education provided funding to school boards to deliver summer learning programming to students in Grades 1-8 to mitigate learning loss during the course of the summer, to support increased student achievement, and to close learning gaps in literacy and numeracy. Every student participant had been identified having gaps in foundational literacy and fundamental math skills.

The Grade 1-8 summer learning program involved:

  • 19 classes
  • 261 students
  • 32 teachers
  • 11 educational assistants
  • 2 early childhood educators
  • 1 principal

Each class had two teachers and a shared Educational Assistant, which offered many opportunities for small group and individualized instruction. Students developed new fundamental math skills and made significant progress closing gaps in their foundational literacy skills, with many students achieving mastery of early phonemic and phonological awareness skills. Student profiles were created based upon collected pre- and post-assessment data and shared with home schools and fall educators.

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Peering through a virtual lens: How teaching and learning adapted during the pandemic

The pandemic introduced many drastic changes to education delivery, by far the greatest of scope being the creation of separate, dedicated virtual schools. Beginning September 2020, for the first time in Ontario history, elementary and secondary school students could pursue entirely online learning to avoid the uncertainties of COVID-19 outside their homes.

As of February 2021, there were 1,380 Kindergarten to Grade 12 students enrolled in the elementary and secondary virtual schools, the students coming from every school in the district. The students were supported by 73 teaching staff, six educational support staff, three full-time office staff, two vice-principals and one principal. In the fall of 2021, the elementary and secondary virtual school evolved into one K-10 Virtual School.

Virtual school students learning online

From the onset, the school administration and staff set out to create a separate and unique school culture for their virtual students, with daily morning announcements, spirit days, assemblies, school trips, homeroom challenges, and more, all shared by students spread across the district through the portal of their computer screens.

Virtual school students learning online
“We DIVE into learning and have a WHALE of a time” Virtual School Logo

A school-wide contest was held for students to design a logo and slogan for Virtual School. More than 100 entries were submitted for students to vote on, and the results were an orca whale logo with the slogan “We DIVE into learning and have a WHALE of a time”. This logo was used to create school T-shirts and other Virtual School branding.

As an extension of the robust school culture created by staff and students in the Virtual School, the relationship between the students’ caregivers and their schools was also enhanced through this unique learning model. Both teachers and families quickly learned that, in Virtual School, someone is always watching and listening. Adjustments were required on both sides of the screen as classes learned to navigate this unfamiliar learning medium together; however, the increased interactions between the entire family and the classroom developed more familiarity for those at home with the teachers, peers, concepts, challenges and successes of their children, and how best to support their progress.

Samantha, whose daughter attended Grade 1 Virtual School, chose that learning option because her daughter had a lot of anxiety about attending in-person learning during the early months of the pandemic. When asked how she felt about the virtual school learning model for a young Grade 1 class she shared, “The teacher was really good with all the kids. It was challenging, particularly at first, but he did amazing.”

Many students with social anxieties and self-regulation challenges thrived in the virtual setting. Through virtual school, all students developed their technical computer skills, while connecting with classmates from across the region with whom they would not normally have the opportunity to interact and share learning.

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Re-imagining investments in schools

More opportunity for fun with the new Marmora Public School playground

Being active outdoors and having equipment to play on can be the highlight of a student’s day. At Marmora Public School, something delightful happened this fall, when the school received three separate play structures for K-8 students, along with swings and new benches.

Principal Steve McFadden said he was “awed, humbled, inspired and shocked” by a community that came together to build a playground in a school yard that hadn’t had equipment for more than a decade. He reflected on his first visit to the school, prior to taking over the role of principal two years ago.

“The one thing I noticed instantly was that we had no playground equipment,” he said. “It’s such an important part of a school.”

new playground ribbon cutting ceremony
Adults L-R: Principal Steve McFadden; Early Childhood Educator Christa Maloney; School Council Chair Holly Walker; Vice-principal Jason Carman; and Teacher Wendy Bateman cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the school’s new playground with a group of young students.
3 children on a slide
Avery Abraham, Evan McNab and Emmerson Walker try out the new slide.
four children on playground equipment
Sophia Miners, Evan McNab, Avery Abraham and Aurora Abraham play on the new school equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To help fund the $166,000 project, donations came from several local organizations, including the Marmora Crowe Valley Lions Club, The Marmora Boosters, M.A.R.S, the Marmora legion, and organizers of the Marmora and Area Canoe and Kayak Festival, along with local businesses, and countless volunteers. The school raised $75,000 towards the cost. Next steps include enhancing the track and adding outdoor shade structures.


The new Central Hastings School

school entranceOn September 7, 2021, the newly named Central Hastings School (CHS) opened as a K-12 school. This revitalized learning environment amalgamates two schools: Madoc Public School, which closed at the end of June 2021, and Centre Hastings Secondary School, which served students in Grades 9-12. Principals Kim Reid and Dayna Scaletta, both of whom were at the two schools previously, share responsibility for leading the school. The total September CHS enrolment was approximately 800 students.

In March 2018, HPEDSB received $5.8 million in Ministry of Education funding, with an additional $2.7 million in April 2020, to consolidate Madoc Public School and Centre Hastings Secondary School to create a K-12 school. The project involved constructing a two-room Kindergarten addition, as well as renovations within the school and improvements to the school grounds. 

The newly renovated school and playgrounds have been well-received by the close-knit school community as adaptable and dynamic spaces for students of all ages to enjoy as they progress through their educational journey in Central Hastings.

CHS Kindergarten classroom
Kindergarten classroom with HEPA filter
Buddy bench in the CHS playground
Buddy bench in the elementary playground
CHS stairs
Student climbs an educational staircase
CHS secondary students
Secondary school students Adelaide, Natalie, Ethan and Jack enjoy a break outside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leading the governance table through a student-centred approach

Lucille Kyle, Past Chair of the Board
Lucille Kyle, past Chair of the Board

It is impossible to recall 2021 without acknowledging COVID-19. Already into its second year, the pandemic saturated every part of our lives—from home, to school, to work, and beyond. The world continued to change, just as it did at HPEDSB. As an organization, our ability to respond ramped up to levels we never thought possible before. We became more adept at responding to uncertainty and being better prepared for the unexpected.

Throughout the year, the governance work of the Board of Trustees focused on the priorities outlined in the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan:

• Foster a Culture of High Excellence and High Expectations for All
• Promote Safety and Well-Being
• Strengthen Community through Equity and Social Justice
• Improve Student Success and Achievement
• Ensure Responsible Communications

One constant was evident: decisions were made from a student-centred approach, considering the impact on student achievement and well-being. As a public education organization, Board members have accountability for student achievement, fiscal responsibility, and advocacy, among other responsibilities.

It is our responsibility to hire the Director of Education. I am so pleased that Katherine MacIver joined the team mid-year. Her high energy, education knowledge and enthusiasm, and leadership experience make us well-prepared for the challenges ahead.

The HPEDSB Vision is: Lead with integrity and high expectations for all. I believe we have the right people in place at schools and the Education Centre to make that happen now and into the future.

Lucille Kyle
Past Chair of the Board

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Message from the Director

Exploring the Pandemic Portraits of HPEDSB

Director of Education, Katherine MacIver
Katherine MacIver, Director of Education

I am pleased to share Pandemic Portraits, the 2021 Director’s Annual Report. While I have the privilege of writing this introduction as the new Director of Education, this report represents the combined effort and commitment of 2,200+ employees throughout the organization. It is the leadership of not one, but many, that makes our system strong and enables us to learn together.

The past twelve months will be recognized as a unique year in education history. As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the school year was spent in and out of in-person learning and constantly attending to safety concerns, including masking, sanitizing, cohorting and isolating. Students and staff started the calendar year learning remotely, returned to in-person and then back to remote learning due to virus spread. Through the combined efforts of our staff, students, families and communities, we returned to in-person learning in September, with access to extracurricular activities and relaxed cohorting.

As disruptive as it was, the pandemic is not what we remember most. Rather, we acknowledge the resilience and fortitude of our students and staff who ensured that learning happened in any and every delivery mode. We celebrated the learning progress students made in reading, mathematics and credit accumulation. Clearly, this past year focused on equity, access and well-being. We continued to address each through lenses of equity of opportunity, access and outcomes for all students, no matter the circumstances.

We returned to school/work last fall to re-engage, recover and reimagine learning in our schools and workplaces. Students and staff were welcomed back to in-person learning and scaled down virtual learning. They re-engaged with one another to build classroom and school communities after being apart for so long.

Since joining HPEDSB in July 2021, I can say with confidence that all staff are caring, dedicated professionals. Educators know their learners and provide classroom activities that recover and reinforce key learning. Support staff are at the ready each and every day, contributing to student achievement through their unique roles.

I invite you to review our Pandemic Portraits, to see for yourself the incredible educators and students of HPEDSB—people who have met challenges and surpassed expectations; schools that have come together to strengthen community, and staff who continually go above and beyond no matter their role, to ensure students have welcoming and inclusive spaces in which to learn, be inspired and achieve.

I reflect on 2021 through the lenses of resiliency, flexibility, collaboration and character. It was an historic year that is captured here for your viewing.

Enjoy exploring our Pandemic Portraits.

Katherine MacIver
Director of Education

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Last updated: January 24, 2022 at 5:58 pm
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