Board Meeting Update 179: June 15, 2020

Board Meeting Update 179: June 15, 2020
Posted on 06/08/2020

June 8, 2020_This update provides a summary of the public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, June 15, 2020 online through a livestream event (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 meeting in September 2020.

Ryan Gentle, Student Trustee, Trenton High School, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional and treaty areas of the Mohawk, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. We conduct tonight's business recognizing we are all Treaty people and give respect to this territory and all its young people.

Character Moment of Reflection

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

This evening Shannon Binder, Trustee for Southeast Hastings and Vice-chair of the Board 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.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, acknowledged and thanked the three student trustees who sat at the Board table this school year: Kristen Brant, Eastside Secondary School; Madison Davis, Centennial Secondary School; and Ryan Gentle, Trenton High School.


Appointment of student trustees for the 2020-2021 school year

Board members approved three student trustees for the upcoming school year. Their term starts August 1, 2020 and ends July 31, 2021. We welcome these student leaders who will represent the student voice at the Board table:

  • Moira Gaddes, Eastside Secondary School, as the Indigenous student trustee
  • Grace Whyte, Bayside Secondary School
  • Kayla Zachariah, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute

Tender for the K-12 addition and renovations at Centre Hastings Secondary School

Board members approved a tender in the amount of $2.7 to Peak Engineering & Construction Ltd. for an addition and renovations at Centre Hastings Secondary School. The work will involve building an addition for two Kindergarten classrooms, as well as doing various interior renovations to the existing school in order to consolidate students from Madoc Public School with Centre Hastings Secondary School to create a K-12 school. Pre-work planning with the contractor will begin this week with a start-date to be determined in the coming weeks.

Amendments to the 2019-2020 Special Education Plan

Board members approved amendments to the 2019-2020 Special Education Plan. This public document provides detailed information about Special Education programs and services for students available through Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.


HPEDSB Pandemic response update

Sean Monteith, Director of Education provided an update on actions at HPEDSB and within the province during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the following:

  • different options being considered by the Ministry of Education for school start-up in September, such as smaller class sizes, alternate day or week options, while also considering the possibility of a full in-school/in-class entry, fully remote approach (as is in place now), or a hybrid of the two (some learning happening from home and some at school);
  • no definitive direction from the Ministry of Education to school boards is expected until late July at the earliest;
  • HPEDSB is prepared for any number of options and all have implications for staffing, cleaning and maintenance of schools and transportation;
  • re-entry, whenever it occurs, will be non-traditional, it will be gentle, accepting and accommodating; the emotional and mental health needs of staff, students K-12 and families are going to be unlike anything we have ever seen before and the senior team has spent a lot of time preparing;
  • four child care centres in HPEDSB schools are anticipated to open next week (date to be confirmed);
  • consultation with the YMCA about the possibility of summer camps;
  • ongoing access to schools at this time for students and families to retrieve students' personal belongings from schools;
  • graduation is different from what we all want it to be; schools are doing what they can to make graduation real and meaningful; some are doing drive-bys, some online and some are waiting until the fall;
  • lawn signs celebrating the Class of 2020 are being distributed to Grade 12 graduates through all seven secondary schools;
  • the Summer Learning Program is expanded this year to include students in SK-Grade 8 and there has been a tremendous response for it;
  • families who now have HPEDSB technology are able to keep it in their possession during the summer if they wish; and
  • we are in discussion about whether the the weekly newspaper ads with no-tech activities can continue during the summer; more to come.

Board Improvement Planning for Student Achievement (BIPSA)

Members of the Curriculum Services team provided a year-end progress update and next steps about the implementation of the HPEDSB Board Improvement Plan (BIP). Reflecting on system and student achievement data of previous board improvement plans, the results are underachieving and unacceptable. The senior team committed to reversing the declining trend in student achievement by demonstrating a willingness to change system practices and processes specific to improvement planning and staff capacity building. This required an openness to innovative thinking and taking evidence-informed risks to provide increased autonomy to schools for improvement planning.

It is important to note that the 2019-2020 school year presented unique circumstances that influenced implementation and potentially impacted outcomes arising from some of the actions and strategies within the BIP, including the following:

  • interruptions to the learning environment, such as labour action, rotating work stoppages and school closures as of March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • school closures impacted the ability to implement some of the actions and strategies of the board improvement plan; and
  • unanticipated opportunities to think and act in more innovative ways also emerged in response to this unprecedented online learning situation that supported the goals of system culture and practices, leadership development, and teaching and learning.

Thank you to Tina Elliott, Superintendent of Education, and system leads Rob McFadden, Darren McFarlane and Bessie Stelatos.

Summer learning and student support

For elementary students, the Summer Learning Program (SLP) supports vulnerable SK-Grade 8 students who are experiencing achievement gaps, while mitigating summer learning loss. The Ministry of Education has provided HPEDSB with $60 thousand to operate the SLP. The online delivery will occur daily from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM from July 6 - 24, 2020. The primary focus will be on the remediation, or reteaching, of essential literacy and numeracy skills required for the start of a new grade in September. This gap closing approach may address curriculum expectations that were unable to be covered extensively during the Learn at Home phase of the pandemic.

For secondary students, the SLP is offered by eLearning through the Adult and Continuing Education Program. This year, summer school is scheduled from June 29 - July 27, 2020.

Additional summer funding has been allocated for mental health supports, staff resources to support students with special education needs and a transition back to school program.

Reports from trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • information about the annual general meeting of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association;
  • OPSBA seeking input on anti-racism; and
  • two scholarship recipients to soon be announced, including the regional recipient of the Public Property Network Scholarship which provides $1,000.

Audit Committee update

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • new committee member Kim Egan;
  • internal audits are continuing despite COVID-19; and
  • proposed meeting dates for the 2020-2021 school year.

Parent Involvement Committee update

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • at the last meeting, trustee representatives provided updates on Board of Trustee decisions, priorities during COVID-19; and a strategic planning update.

Questions, reports and proposals from trustees

  • In response to a question about report cards, Superintendent Tina Elliott reported that all report cards will be available online for parents/guardians to access. For elementary, the report cards will be available June 23, 2020; for secondary it will be June 26, 2020. Communications and instruction on how to access will be available. Anyone preferring to receive a paper copy can request one from their child's school.
  • Transcripts will be available during the summer which is a new and welcome approach for HPEDSB.
  • 99.3 County FM is hosting a radio broadcast to celebrate Grade 8 students in Prince Edward County. It will air on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 12:10 PM and again at 6:10 PM. All students in Prince Edward County graduating from Grade 8 will be announced. On-air messages will be broadcast featuring students, school board officials and school principals.
  • Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, made closing remarks reflecting on the 2019-2020 school year.

A special public Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17, 2020, online through a livestream event at 1:00 PM.

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