Board Meeting Summary, March 27, 2023

Board Meeting Summary, March 27, 2023
Posted on 03/27/2023

March 27, 2023—This is a summary of the March 27, 2023 public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. Official minutes will be approved at the next regular meeting.

Acknowledgement of Traditional Lands

Recited by Ernie Parsons, Trustee, Sidney and Frankford: As Trustees for Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and as settlers to this land, we acknowledge and honour the land on which we reside, occupy and meet as part of the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat and Anishinabek people. These Indigenous Nations agreed to mutual sharing obligations and responsibilities as stewards of the land and water. Today these responsibilities and obligations extend to all Peoples. These lands are steeped in rich Indigenous history, traditions and modern cultures that are proud and vibrant. The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board supports and is committed to the stewardship of the land, and the responsibilities that we hold to ensure learning, education programs and services support all staff and students.

Presentation: School-based literacy programming at Athol-South Marysburgh Public School

Research has identified phonemic awareness as the most potent predictor of success in learning to read. It is more highly related to reading than tests of general intelligence, reading readiness and listening comprehension. This engaging presentation described word identification in the Primary (K-3) and what morphology looks like in the  Junior grades (4-6). Videos of students speaking about the end goal of understanding what they are reading and what it means to be a reader clearly illustrated their progress from last fall to now. At ASMPS, the joy of reading is celebrated every day, helping to make the community and world a better place.


Thank you to presenters Stefanie Cranshaw; Learning Partner; Heather McMaster, Principal; Sarah Isles, Grade 1/2 Teacher; Katie Lunn, Kindergarten Teacher; Cassie Lyon, Grade 5 Teacher; Johanna Partridge, Designated Early Childhood Educator; Mary Beth Strauss: Learning Support Teacher; and Andrew White, Grade 6/7/8 teacher.

Report from Trustees Appointed to External Organizations

Food for Learning Steering Committee, January 26 and March 23, 2023

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • explanation of the committee goal, which is to enhance student learning by arranging for breakfast and nutrition programs to be available in schools;
  • Food Safety Inspection Form circulated to schools for updating;
  • discussion about potential fundraising events and grant opportunities;
  • new partnership with McDougall Insurance, which has 33 employees volunteering with Food for Learning;
  • requests for equipment funding last full and funds are still available;
  • school programs are slow in re-starting due to lack of volunteers, which means several schools are using prepackaged foods; and
  • the next meeting is May 23, 2023.

Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA)

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • The Eastern Region Meeting was held this past Saturday at Shingwakons Public School in Stittsville. Trustees toured the new K-6 school, then engaged in discussion about OPSBA strategic priorities as part of their strategic planning process. Highlights from the discussion included the need to define a common understanding of the word “advocacy” and expand the organizational structure to include more diversity in working groups. The top three priorities identified by the OPSBA data collection so far include: Truth and Reconciliation, Student and Staff Well-Being, and Governance and Supporting Trustees.
  • Trustees received a verbal financial update. Of note, trustees are encouraged to review the initial analysis of the Provincial Budget. COSBBO has identified some initial key concerns including the following:
    • loss of $304 million Learning Recovery Funds;
    • expected deficits for boards province-wide for transportation and sick leave;
    • increased staff reductions (because of the LRF loss, or other programming cuts); and 
    • capacity of the government to fund pressures if agreement with teachers is more costly than CUPE.
  • More analysis will come as OPSBA staff delve deeper into the budget and the GSN is release.
  • Roundtable discussion about the role of Regional Council within the greater OPSBA organization; discussion about the possibility of developing Eastern Region priorities and creating ad hoc sub committees to deal with issues such as poverty reduction.
  • Presentation by Ottawa Carlton DSB on Student Achievement Through Equity (SATE), which is a pilot project that aims to ensure every student succeeds academically and develops a positive sense of well-being. It operates in six of their highest need/poverty schools and focuses on building the capacity of educators, parents, community members and students. It offers a pre-kindergarten summer program run by ECEs, parent teaching literacy sessions and staff development programming. It uses reading literacy as a measure of student success.
  • Presentation about the OCDSB Family and Community Engagement (FACE) partnership among families, educators and community partners, which aims to ensure all schools are welcoming for all students and families, develops sustainable community partnerships and strengthens school councils to enhance parent engagement, all while making the distinction between involvement/engagement and communicating with versus to families.

Standing Committee Reports Governance and Policy Committee, March 20, 2023

Board members approved the Governance Directive 7.1: Board Members’ Code of Conduct and subsequently revoked current Board Policy 8: Board Member Code of Conduct. Find out more starting on page 8 of the March 27, 2023 agenda.

Physical Planning, Finance and Building Committee, March 23, 2023

Board members approved a motion to award tenders for roof replacements at various schools. Find out more starting on page 16 of the March 27, 2023 agenda.

Statutory Committee reports

Special Education Advisory Committee, March 23, 2023

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • an explanation of what student exclusion means;
  • student executive functions; and
  • review of the Special Education Plan Part 3.

Supervised Alternative Learning Committee, February 22 and March 8, 2023

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • several students have been approved for Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) at the two meetings noted above; and
  • the next meeting is March 29, 2023.

Advisory Committee Reports

Accessibility Advisory Committee, March 8, 2023

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • verbal updates on the Multi-year Accessibility Plan; and
  • the new HPEDSB website is AODA compliant.

Indigenous Education Advisory Committee, February 8, 2023

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • overview of the Indigenous Education team and their roles;
  • supports in place at elementary and secondary schools for Indigenous students; and
  • 11% of HPEDSB students self-identify as Indigenous.

Student Voice Committee

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • planning for the Student Voice Conference scheduled for April 28;
  • promotions for this event are happening this week; the event focus is on mental health; and
  • student trustees for next school year will be elected at this event.

Director’s Report

The provincial budget was announced on March 23, 2023. While the Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) have not been announced, and are not expected to be for a bit of time, the budget revealed a few things. 

  • First we are not hearing about education as being one of the key priorities from the budget discussion. We know there are significant needs across the province that the government needs to take into consideration; however we are concerned that without education being on the forefront, the funds may not be flowing that way. What we have seen from the budget announcement indicates an increase of funding. What is likely shown is the increase in federal funding allocated through the Ministry of Education to support $10 a day daycare.
  • Second, it is clear that the COVID funding allocated in the past couple of years is not continuing. This constitutes approximately $3 million of revenue that will not be received this year. This is how we have funded virtual school the past few years.
  • Third, while there is funding mentioned to be allocated for math and literacy, it is unclear how these funds will be distributed and with what parameters. With this and some other indicators and timelines, we will be taking a conservative approach to staffing and the budget while still meeting the terms of our collective agreements. We will continue to look for efficiencies and opportunities for savings as we are with transportation.

As you know, we are committed to transparency and are open to feedback. This brings me to the transportation town hall meetings taking place as a part of our commitment to transparency and enabling input for families and the public. These meetings and our analysis of transportation is part of our work to be fiscally responsible and to align with funding.

I take opportunities to promote HPEDSB on a regular basis by being a guest on local radio. On March 2 I was on the Lorne Brooker Show and tomorrow, March 28, I will be on the Mark and Charity in the Morning Show. Our conversations are about the Long-term Capital and Accommodation Plan, transportation and education funding.

Recently I met with Mark Kirkpatrick, President of Loyalist College, to talk about partnerships and opportunities to work together. I also met with Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Development Board to continue our work with them and to ensure our students and staff are closely connected to community. Today met with David Lewis who is leading the Canadian Tool and Manufacturing Association/OCTE project to visit schools that received new tools as a result of the funding opportunity I shared with you earlier this year.

Staff Reports

Reading/Literacy update

Foundational literacy refers to the basic skills that individuals need to read and write proficiently. These skills are typically acquired during early childhood and are essential for academic success throughout one’s life. Foundational literacy skills include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. We can mitigate factors that may influence reading through a systematic approach to early screening, intervention, and explicit, direct instruction in phonics and phonological awareness, starting in kindergarten. Various resources have been provided to K-2 teachers to support evidence-informed instruction. Find out more starting on page 17 of the March 27, 2023 agenda.

Mental health and well-being update

As society returns to normal activities and events, many students continue to require assistance to navigate new and emerging situations. The Student Services team engages with school staff and students on a regular basis. For example, the team continually shares community resources, supports, along with links to mental health resources, crisis lines, financial and parenting, with school staff, students and families. Find out more starting on page 19 of the March 27, 2023 agenda.

Virtual School update

Highlights of this report included the following:

  • review of the various forms of an HPEDSB virtual school over the past few years and enrolment (which has declined);
  • presently awaiting direction from the Ministry of Education about a virtual school;
  • a possibility being considered for the 2023-2024 school year is partnering with other school boards in the eastern region to meet student needs for a virtual school; and
  • input has been gathered through a public survey which closed last week (140 respondents) and a review of the data is underway now. More to come.

Upcoming events

  • March 30, 2023: Tour at Loyalist College for Board members focusing on School Within a College and Dual Credits programs
  • April 27 & 28, 2023: Education Labour Relations and Human Resources Symposium for the Board of Trustees

Upcoming meetings

  • April 3, 2023: Student Learning, Well Being and Equity Committee
  • April 5, 2023: Indigenous Education Advisory Committee
  • April 11, 2023: Physical Planning, Finance and Building Committee
  • April 12, 2023: Student Alternative Learning Committee (Closed Meeting)
  • April 17, 2023: Governance and Policy Committee
  • April 18, 2023: Parent Involvement Committee
  • April 19, 2023: Equity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee
  • April 24, 2023: Public Board Meeting
  • April 26, 2023: Student Alternative Learning Committee (Closed Meeting)
  • April 27, 2023: Special Education Advisory Committee

A full list of committee and meeting dates/times is online.

School events
  • April 4, 2023: Central Hastings School, University of Waterloo Grade 12 Math Contest
  • April 20, 2023: Frankford Public School, Talent Show
  • April 27-29, 2023: Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, High School Musical, 7:00 PM

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