WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — October, 2020


Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, October 5, 2020 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, October 26, 2020 — Meeting Agenda Package


Math Update

On Monday, October 5, board staff presented a detailed update on the status of the board’s mathematics programs. The report covered the following key topics:

  • Highlights of New 2020 Math Curriculum, Grades 1-8 2.
  • Math Coaching Support Plan (Elementary)
  • Report on Pre/post Learning – September 2nd Math PD Day
  • Math Professional Learning Opportunities
  • Secondary School Priorities
  • Looking Forward/Next Steps

The Ontario Math Strategy is dedicated to strengthening math teaching and fostering learning environments that will lead to improved student performance for all students, including students with special education needs.

The primary goals of this strategy are to:

  • Support the effective implementation of the NEW 2020 Elementary Math Curriculum (grades 1 to 8)
  • Increase the performance of all students in targeted schools, including students with special education needs and students facing systemic barriers in their math learning (for example, Indigenous students, Black students and students in poverty)
  • Continue to strengthen educator math content knowledge and pedagogy on the fundamentals of math
  • Build awareness for parents about what their children are learning in school, and
  • Ensure that students, parents, teachers, and leaders have the support, tools and resources they need to advance student learning and confidence in math.

To assist in achieving the goals of the math strategy, targeted elementary schools have been selected based primarily on EQAO numeracy results over the past five years. In some cases, average daily enrolment, school size, and socio-economic factors were also considered.

These schools were identified in 2019-20 and remain the same for 2020-21, due to the absence of EQAO data from 2020:

  • Peter
  • Anne Cambridge
  • Michael
  • Gregory (795445)

The report begins on page 13 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Initiation of 2020/21 French Immersion (FI) Review

The recommendations of the 2017/18 French Immersion Program review concluded that a further update of the board’s plans for French Immersion (FI) be completed by 2023, including a plan related to secondary FI. In May 2020, the Long-Term Accommodation Plan identified undertaking this update in 2020/21.

The following factors are to be re-confirmed or addressed in this review:

  • Elementary school organization (i.e. grade structure, single track, dual track)
  • Grade 1 entry point
  • Approach to Grade 1 application for FI
  • Attendance of siblings in FI school
  • Impact of transportation, as it relates to school organization
  • Establish strategy for delivery of FI courses for grades 9 to 12 to meet secondary FI certificate requirements
  • Review and confirm criteria for selecting new elementary FI location(s)
  • Identify areas of future consideration for new elementary FI location(s)
  • Establish criteria for selecting new secondary FI location(s)

The expectation is that the review committee’s work would be initiated in November 2020 and conclude in the Spring of 2021, with a final report to the Board by June 2021.

The report begins on page 21 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Learning Commons Update

In 2017-18 WCDSB staff embarked upon a 5-year plan to refresh all the learning commons spaces in the school system.

During the summer of 2019-20, renovations at the following schools were completed:

  • Blessed Sacrament
  • Holy Spirit
  • John Sweeney
  • Our Lady of Grace
  • Anne, Kitchener
  • John Paul II
  • Kateri
  • Matthew
  • Teresa, Kitchener

In the current school year (year 4), the following schools will be updated:

  • Holy Rosary
  • Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Resurrection
  • Augustine
  • Clement
  • Mark
  • Teresa, Elmira

The report begins on page 23 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Well Being Plan Update

In planning our three-year Well Being Strategy, we looked to align a Catholic vision of the human person with our current Pastoral Plan – which in turn was influenced by the Ontario Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, Renewing the Promise.

With the collaboration of several working committees — Safe Schools, Mental Health and Wellness, Heathy Schools, and Equity/Inclusion — we have developed a three-year Well Being Strategy for all schools and staff within the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

Each stated goal includes strategies identified across our four domains of wellbeing – Safe Schools, Mental Health and Wellness, Heathy Schools, Equity, and Inclusion. Attention to the prayer and spiritual life of staff and students are embedded in the strategies. Each goal also identifies key performance indicators that will be used to monitor and evaluate the success of each school community in meeting the goals of overall wellbeing.

The Well-Being Strategy goals are aligned with our Pastoral Plan:

  1. Students and staff feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in their learning community. Pastoral Plan (Belonging)
  2. Students have equitable access to learning opportunities. Pastoral Plan (Becoming)
  3. Building a culture of well-being that supports success for all in the WCDSB community. Pastoral Plan (Building)

Next Steps:

  • Research confirms that students who feel welcome and accepted in their schools are more likely to succeed academically. At WCDSB, our core Catholic values are strongly congruent with the goals of the well-being strategy. We value the dignity of all learners and employees and work to ensure that everyone feels welcomed, included, and has opportunity to experience academic or work success.
  • Within mental health the goal is to expand the scope of the webpage, redesign the wellness resources that are supportive of the distance learning format, and launch the new “Faith and Wellness” classroom activity resource.
  • Looking ahead in 2020-21, the Healthy Schools direction will remain focused on supporting teachers in the elementary and secondary systems as they navigate safe ways to deliver physical education programming given the restrictions COVID-19 places on us.
  • Intentional expansion of St. Don Bosco Kitchener to enhance well-being programming for SAL and safe school students.
  • Executive Council is investigating the hiring of an Equity Officer to guide and animate the WCDSB Equity Action Plan as we move through revised estimates board budget process in late October.
  • Our Year 2 pastoral plan theme, Gathered to Become, will also contribute to overall staff and student wellbeing as we begin a year-long prayerful meditation on how we are each transformed by God’s word in our lives and how we are sustained in each moment by the grace of God’s abundant love discovered in our daily encounters with the person of Jesus.

The report begins on page 25 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Update on WCDSB Education Models

As we began the new school year, 13% of our student population — approximately 3,149 students — had opted for virtual learning and began attending our virtual school, St. Isidore.

We had approximately 2,401 elementary students and 740 secondary students who had selected virtual learning. We have since completed two additional surveys – one for elementary and one for secondary students — to determine their preference for learning face to face or virtual. That has resulted in an additional 766 elementary students learning virtually in elementary and an additional 337 students learning virtually in secondary. With the additional secondary students and finetuning of student preferences, we have approximately 4,187 students learning virtually and 19,900 students learning face to face. Thus, at this point approximately 17% of our total student population has opted for the virtual learning environment.

We have appointed a principal for St. Isidore, as well as 3 elementary Vice Principals and currently, a secondary Vice Principal, as well as an administrative assistant and a guidance counsellor to assist with the many tasks associated with setting up and supporting this number of students in a virtual environment. The transition of additional students at the Thanksgiving benchmark resulted in an additional 29 teachers transitioning to St. Isidore, resulting in a total of 119 virtual classes, K-8.

Our start up thus far has gone smoothly. The number of positive cases in our schools are relatively low and we have had no cases of in-school or workplace transmission. We believe our schools and workplaces remain safe, but the desire for choice has been presented to parents and we realize people are in different places with their comfort level with COVID.

We have parents share success stories of their children’s joy in being back in a face to face learning environment, and we hear success stories of the work happening by our St. Isidore team. We have sincerely enjoyed the process of welcoming back our staff and students as we know everyone is happy to return to a dynamic learning experience, but we are also aware that there are a number of persisting questions and considerations given the ever-changing landscape.

Things do continue to evolve despite the best of planning. What has remained constant throughout is the dedication and resilience of our staff, students and WCDSB community.

To that end – and based on stakeholder feedback — the school board is eliminating the November transition window and will continue to operate in two modalities (virtual and face to face) in secondary schools for Quadmester 2. That said, options are still being explored for Quadmester 3 and 4.

The report begins on page 33 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Board Chair’s Update

Each month, Board Chair Bill Conway reports on the activities of the Board of Trustees. The report for October 2020 is available on page 38 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Trustees Update

Student Trustees Abby Barbosa and Kate Morrison presented their monthly update – covering activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools. It is available beginning on page 36 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, November 9, 2020: Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre