Board Meeting Update: November 22, 2021

Board Meeting Update: November 22, 2021
Posted on 11/22/2021

This update provides a summary of the public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held November 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 October.

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 Jennifer Cobb, Trustee, North Prince Edward, 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.


Madoc Township Public School: Changing Our World, We Have a Dream

This presentation featured a video (9 minutes) showing how the student voice was harnessed to make a difference at Madoc Township Public School. This project started with playground access being restricted and led to students participating in an inquiry process about making change, taking responsibility and being leaders. Through the inquiry, students educated one another, learned about media literacy, helped to write a script and participated in a video.

Thank you to students Holden, Morgan, Mida, Natalie and Bella, for sharing their experiences and answering trustee questions, and also to Tera Brough, Principal; and Angela Burr and Brian Long, Teachers, for leading and learning alongside the students.


Rise and Report from the Committee of the Whole, where Board members:

  • approved the Multi-Year Annual Accessibility Plan for the period September 2021 to August 2026;
  • approved revisions to Policy 11-A: Committee of the Whole;
  • tabled Policy 18: Learning Foundation in order to form a working group with representation from The HPELF to review documentation and revise Policy 18; and
  • agreed to establish a Whistleblower/Disclosure of Wrongdoing policy to ensure ethical and professional conduct at Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and to demonstrate the Board's commitment to maintaining and enhancing public confidence in the integrity of trustees and employees to ensure protection against reprisal.

2020-2021 Consolidated Financial Statements

Board members approved the approve the Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ending August 31, 2021. Find out more starting on page 10 of the November 22, 2021 agenda.


Director of Education Report

Highlights of this report included the following:

  • As of today, there are 11 positive COVID-19 cases at schools; all schools are open as there is no evidence of transmission at any school.
  • A reminder for families, students and staff to screen for COVID-19 every morning prior to going to school/work and not to attend if symptomatic: stay at home if COVID-19 symptoms are present, or if waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms.
  • Everyone in a household, unless they are fully vaccinated, must also stay home until receiving a negative COVID-19 test result, are cleared by public health, or are diagnosed with another illness. Get a COVID-19 PCR test (not a rapid antigen test) if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are a contact of a known COVID-19 case.
  • Anyone who is sick or has any symptoms of illness, including those not listed in the screening tool, should stay home and seek assessment from their health care provider, if needed. These symptoms include fever and/or chills; cough or barking cough (croup); shortness of breath; decrease of loss of taste or smell; or nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Rapid antigen tests will be provided to every student to take home over the December break; they are voluntary to use; more information will be shared with families in the coming weeks.
  • Changing to the semester system at secondary schools is an option for February; we will be consulting with all stakeholders for input before making a decision.
  • Secondary schools will be used as COVID-19 vaccination clinics for children ages 5 - 11; information will be shared with families about the dates and times; clinics will be held after hours and will be staffed by public health staff, which will also ensure parent/guardian consent prior to administering the vaccination.
  • Early Progress Reports went home today after a printing issue caused a delay for some elementary schools last week.
  • It is the time of year when wintery weather is expected and therefore the potential bus cancellations. Teachers will be asked to help students access learning either online, by email or other method to enable students who may not able to attend due to transportation cancellation will still have access to learning. We realize that connectivity may be an issue, so flexibility in the mode for that learning will be necessary.
  • An operations review will be conducted at the Education Centre by the firm Optimus. This review is fully funded by the Ministry of Education and will investigate efficiencies and the effectiveness of roles supporting schools and students.
  • We received a letter from the Canadian Cancer Society recognizing the Relay for Life fundraising efforts at Eastside Secondary School and Trenton High School in the amount of $12, 772 in 2021.
  • Committees for Trustee Representation 2021-2022. Find out more starting on page 41 of the November 22, 2021 agenda.
  • Trustee Committee Selection for 2021-2022. Find out more starting on page 46 of the November 22, 2021 agenda.
  • Voting process for the Annual General Meeting of the Board in December 2021. Find out more starting on page 48 of the November 22, 2021 agenda.

JK-Grade 3 Suspension Review Initiative

In October 2021, school leaders engaged and were provided with school data sets, including students in JK to Grade 3 with suspensions in their discipline history, and asked to consider each learner's profile and work through a review process for each student including the following considerations:

  • How are our students on this list currently doing academically? Behaviourally? Socially/emotionally?
  • What have we learned about our students since the suspension was assigned?
  • What supports are currently in place? What additional supports are needed in order to improve the educational outcomes for each student?

Student Services learning support coordinators, system lead, and respective superintendents will continue to work collaboratively to support school teams as required to address complex student profiles in order to improve educational outcomes. This learner profile data will assist us in planning forward to access supports from various community partners, consider strategic classroom and program placements, as well as the allocation of various internal supports (Psychological Services, Behaviour Support Services, Mental Health supports, etc.). Find out more starting on page 50 of the November 22, 2021 agenda.

Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement update

This is the third and final year in the implementation of the current HPEDSB Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement. A revised plan will be created for the upcoming school year, transitioning to a new Board Improvement and Equity Plan (BIEP) template as required by the Ministry of Education for implementation in 2022-2023. Find out more starting on page 52 of the November 22, 2021 agenda.

Student Achievement during Quadmester 1 (September to November 12, 2021)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • The quadmester approach, in place at this time at secondary schools, involves students taking one course in the morning and another in the afternoon for 10 weeks.
  • This compares to the octomester approach from the previous school year (2020-2021), when students took one course (the same one each day) for five weeks.
  • Both approaches indicate an improvement in student achievement as compared to 2019, with the greatest improvements in the senior grades (11 and 12).

Student re-engagement update

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, HPEDSB has experienced a higher number of families who are choosing to homeschool their children. During the 2020-2021 school year, site-based teams began efforts to re-engage students through phone calls and home visits to families. Through these initial efforts, we were able to re-engage 212 students who returned to the register from homeschooling. This data included students who were not attending school for the purpose of instruction, but who were receiving regular check-ins from social workers, social services workers, and child and youth workers.

Re-engagement data indicates the following:

  • 352 students are currently homeschooling.
  • This data represents approximately 170 families who have made the decision to homeschool.
  • This number is slightly elevated from our typical homeschooling data which varies between 250 to 300 students per year, pre-pandemic.
  • Approximately 18% of these students (66 students) are homeschooling due to factors involving the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ongoing personalized efforts and thoughtful communication with families to build relationships and re-engage students when they are ready to return to school are underway. Find out more starting on page 54 of the November 22, 2021 agenda.

Report from student trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • meeting with advisors about school issues; and
  • creating a Google Form to seek feedback from students about mental health, timetabling (quad/octomesters), other topic important to students.

Report from the Special Education Advisory Committee, October 28, 2021

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • a video from the Ontario Public School Boards' Association about support materials for special needs;
  • update about re-engaging students in learning;
  • review of the Equity Action Plan; and
  • review of the student census project.

Report from the Audit Committee, November 10, 2021

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • review of the Consolidated Financial Statements;
  • review of internal processes/systems.

Report from the Parent Involvement Committee, November 15, 2021

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • presentation by the libraries in Prince Edward County about cyber-security;
  • how to use funds provided through the provincial Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grants; and
  • review of the draft equity policy.

OPSBA Information Exchange

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • asked questions coming through the OPSBA: What are the top three issues for HPEDSB? How can we better support student mental health needs?

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