Board Meeting Update #184: October 26, 2020

Board Meeting Update #184: October 26, 2020
Posted on 10/26/2020

October 26, 2020_This update provides a summary of the online public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held October 26, 2020, 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 meeting in November 2020.

Mike Brant, Trustee, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional territory of the Mohawk, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. We conduct tonight's business recognizing that 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 Lisa Anne Chatten, Trustee, Belleville/Thurlow, asked all to reflect on Honesty: We choose to live truthfully. We communicate and act in a sincere and respectful way.


Rihanna Harris, a Grade 6 student from Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, was welcomed to the meeting. Rihanna presented by connecting to the online meeting from home.

Rihanna's presentation was about reasons why Black history should be taught at all HPEDSB schools. She explained that her presentation was on behalf of every other child who is a minority today and for generations to come. Rihanna stated several compelling factors, including that it is important to stand up for vulnerable people; make a difference for change; and change perspectives through positive chain reactions. She highlighted that a balance between negative and positive aspects must be considered, such as slavery, racism and apartheid; as well as the civil rights movement and today's multiracial world.

The presentation also focused on the need for Black history to be included in The Ontario Curriculum because important for all students to learn about diverse perspectives and resources. Rihanna has reviewed the curriculum and highlighted areas where Black history could be improved.

Thank you to Rihanna Harris, Grade 6 at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, who presented to the Board of Trustees, through an online connection, about a need for Black history to be taught in all HPEDSB schools.

After sharing her own experiences and those of her younger brother at school, Rihanna's closing remarks focused on the reasons why this topic is important to her, including that how we talk to one another makes a difference in someone's life; that education is important in a child's life; and that if children are not taught about Black history, how can we hope to live in a world without racial discrimination in the future?


Appointment of the external auditors for 2020-2021

Board members appointed BDO LLP as the external auditors for 2020-2021, with remuneration of $41,100.

BDO has provided audit services to HPEDSB for a number of years and has developed a strong relationship with staff, management, Board of Trustees and other stakeholders, including Audit Committee members. Administration is satisfied with BDO's performance to date. BDO has delivered its services in a professional, timely and accurate manner.

Find out more starting on page 8 of the October 26, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

Audit Planning Report

Board members approved the Audit Planning Report, as required by Ontario Regulation 361/10. The plan includes the following topics: Engagement Objectives, Audit Strategy, Audit Team, Timeline, Significant Audit Risks, Reliance on an Expert and Materiality.

Find out more starting on page 9 of the October 26, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

2020-2021 Regional Internal Audit Plan

Board members approved the 2020-2021 Regional Internal Audit Plan. Through that approval, the Regional Internal Audit Team (RIAT) will conduct a minimum of two engagements at HPEDSB during 2020-2021, as well as perform follow-up procedures on outstanding recommendations from previous audits.

The 2020-2021 RIAT plan is subject to unknown factors that could impact the priorities of the current audit plan, such as:

  • another COVID-19 outbreak affecting the Board's operations; and
  • the results from the Strategic Risk Assessment.

Find out more starting on page 27 of the October 26, 2020 agenda (Pdf).


Aspen Student Information System project update

This report provided an update on the new Aspen Student Information System (SIS). The SIS is one of the most critical systems for school boards and impacts the work of employees in many roles, throughout all levels of the organization. The SIS is essential to support the recording and reporting of student achievement and attendance information, as well as special education data. The HPEDSB business operations rely on accurate data from the SIS during the Ministry of Education enrolment reporting periods.

The project is currently in the deployment phase with a focus on two areas: data validation; and module configuration. The project is on schedule and within budget.

Find out more starting on page 30 of the October 26, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

Lexia Literacy Report

This information report provided and update on licensing arrangements and distribution for Lexia to support reading intervention K-12.

The K-8 Curriculum Services team continues to support schools with best practices and implementation of the Lexia Core5 and PowerUp programs to provide intervention for struggling readers.

Find out more starting on page 34 of the October 26, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

Revitalization of Quinte Secondary School

This verbal report from Sean Monteith, Director of Education, was about next steps in planning to revitalize the former Quinte Secondary School to become a K-8 French Immersion school, as well as a consolidated site for the Education Centre, William R. Kirk and Georg Umb buildings.

Next steps involve creating an ad hoc committee to study and make recommendations for this project. This will include terms of reference, project scope and sequence and making recommendations.

In the meantime, Quinte Health Care (QHC) continues to use the facility as a COVID-19 testing site; the lease has been extended to the end of June 2021. QHC uses 32,000 square feet and in the future may reduce to 17,000-21,000 square feet.

The QHC use has not delayed the background planning as that work is ongoing. The director requested a one month delay in the initial report to Board members with it being presented in January 2021 (rather than December 2020) and a final report in June 2021.

Reports from trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • update from the recent Student Senate meeting, specifically future participation in the Ontario Student Trustees' Association (OSTA-AECO); the senators would like to hold on renewing the membership at this time with the option for student trustees to participate in meetings as non-members.

Reports from student trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • social workers supporting at secondary schools during exam times;
  • suggestion for all students who applied to be a student trustee to be part of the Student Senate; and
  • soliciting feedback from students about the octomester approach to learning.

Parent Involvement Committee (PIC)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • 39 people attended the recent online Parent Involvement Committee meeting, a higher number of participants than in the past; provided an update of the meeting topics.

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • community partnership programs;
  • committee goals for the year; and
  • grant funding.

Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) information exchange

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • the Annual General Meeting will be held online in early January 2021;
  • reported the number of COVID-19 cases reported at Ontario schools; and
  • referenced changes to Ontario Regulation 274: Hiring Practices and next steps now that it has been repealed.


Letters from Simcoe County District School Board and Halton District School Board.

Find out more on page 48 of the October 26, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

Next meeting

The next public Board meeting is Monday, November 23, 2020, online through a livestream event at 7:00 PM.

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