A Statement from Director of Education Loretta Notten

Findings of Independent Investigation “a Blueprint for Further Action” 

Says Director of Waterloo Catholic District School Board

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Board calls on province to address “critical support gap” for students in crisis

Waterloo Region, ON — Yesterday, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board received the results of the independent investigation into police involvement at a school.  Loretta Notten, Director of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board says, “We deeply regret the obvious hurt and distress caused to this young child in our care, and to his family, and indeed the Black community.  I want to assure the family, and the community, that we are committed to doing better.  We will do what needs to be done locally.  We will also highlight the changes that need to happen provincially to support students in crisis.

Says Notten, “With this investigation complete we now need to work at the changes that need to happen to ensure the best possible experiences for the students in our care. The report is a blueprint for further action for us — on anti-Black racism, on how we support a student in crisis, and on our relationships with parents. “

Notten stresses, “There is a significant issue highlighted in this report — and it requires both a response from the Ministry of Education and our local school board.  There is a critical support gap for students in crisis — one that must be solved in our protection of students and school staff safely moving forward.”

Explains Notten, “Everyone in education knows that there are more students than ever presenting with violent behaviors that risk and cause physical injuries to the student themself, as well as other students and staff.  It is likely quite challenging for someone outside of the education realm who has not experienced such a situation, to imagine a scenario with a child so young, yet this is a reality in schools across the province.

As boards, we put every single measure in place to support that student, and that can include a comprehensive safety plan.  Unfortunately, when every educational strategy is exhausted, by our expert, caring staff and the student remains in crisis with an on-going risk of self-harm, or harm to others, the final option for school boards is to call 911 and emergency services.

That is not a choice any educator ever wants to make.  We care deeply for the children entrusted to us. We also know these choices are not neutral, even if the policy is. That a call to police for a Black student has an impact that is different, that it is more significant as a result of a history of systemic racism.  We need provincial assistance in knowing who to call when in the discretion of the principal, under their duty of care, they decide that an emergency call is necessary.

The school system needs to be able to work with its community partners to provide a variety of options for interventions that are culturally responsive and can meet the needs of our diverse community.  This is not a unique or rare circumstance.  It is common across the province.  It needs a provincial response.  One that better support the student in crisis, and also the staff and other students at the school.”

At the same time, Notten explains there is more need for work at the local level, specifically around anti-Black racism. Says Notten, “Waterloo Catholic prides itself on being Heart of the Community, providing Success for Each and A Place for All. It is clear we have more to do when it comes to Black students and families feeling that vision is equally true for them. We are engaged in this work — which we have undertaken over the course of the last number of years — with renewed energy and commitment. I will share at the April 4th Committee of the Whole Board meeting a more fulsome response to the review and some of the progress to date and the plans moving forward. We know we need to hear with open hearts and minds the genuine concerns of parents of Black students. That we also need to support Black parents as they navigate our systems and processes – and to change systems and processes that are systemically racist. We will do this critical work.”

Concludes Notten, “We are an organization that places the care of children at the centre of all we do. Our staff care deeply about the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of each and every child.  We will do whatever it takes to make that care felt by each child we serve.  That’s a promise.”

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Media Note: 

For follow up interviews, please contact publicrelations@wcdsb.ca 

March 31st, 2022|

Updated WCDSB Inclement Weather Day Procedures

With the provincially mandated end of school COVID-19 restrictions, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board is returning to pre-COVID bus cancellation and school closure procedures.

Winter weather can be very unpredictable. So, it’s best to be prepared. Here are some key things to remember – because not every day with snow is a “snow day”:

During bad weather, schools and school board administrative sites may still be open, even if school buses are cancelled.

Between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on mornings when inclement weather has been forecast for Waterloo Region, Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) — the arm’s length body that coordinates and operates student transportation for the school boards — assesses the current weather conditions, in consultation with local bus companies, if necessary.

If a recommendation to cancel transportation (including potential closure of schools) is to be made, the local school boards are contacted, and a joint decision is made between STSWR and the boards.

All reasonable efforts are made to announce any cancellation of buses or school closures by 6:00 a.m.

Please note that public announcements will only be made if buses are cancelled and / or schools are closed.

It is recommended that parents, guardians, staff and students tune in a local Waterloo Region radio station and also monitor the following online information sources for information about potential closures or cancellations:

STSWR Websitewww.stswr.ca/

STSWR Twitter Feed: @STSWR

WCDSB Websitewww.wcdsb.ca/

WCDSB Twitter Feed: @WCDSBNewswire

March 29th, 2022|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — March 2022

Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, March 7, 2022 – Meeting Agenda Package

Special Public Board Meeting

Monday, March 21, 2022 — Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, March 28, 2022 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

St. Louis Adult Learning Update

St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres continues to embody the Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s (WCDSB) vision as ‘Heart of the Community’ by continuing to be a welcoming place of hope for a large and widely diverse range of children, youth and adult learners, as they strive to achieve their goals.

Highlights of 2020-21 – presented to the Bord of Trustees on March 7, 2022 — demonstrate the 20/21 school year was a time of continued growth and focus for St. Louis. This growth is evidenced by success in several key areas of the WCDSB’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan, specifically:

  • Nurturing our Catholic Community: Promote a culture of belonging and respect, that supports success for all.
  • Student Engagement, Achievement & Innovation: Nurture a culture of Innovation; Foster maximum opportunity for success for all
  • Building Capacity to Lead, Learn & Live Authentically: Investment in global competency development and leading technology; Nurture the well-being of all students and staff

Intentional, focused efforts were keenly directed to professional development, partnership activities and facility upgrades.

As St. Louis ‘gathered to become’ in ways hard to have imagined just a year earlier, St. Louis is poised to build a better future for its students.

The report is available beginning on page 7 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Assessment & Evaluation Practices at the WCDSB

Assessment and evaluation in the context of the ongoing pandemic and varying learning scenarios continues to be a topic of importance for educators, students, and families alike.

There continues to be concern regarding potential learning loss. Educators are using rich and authentic tasks, respecting the uniqueness and diversity of the individual student, to re-engage students in deeper learning, while also supporting students in meeting learning expectations through a variety of appropriately challenging assessment opportunities.

Additionally, this year has also brought a greater focus on differentiated assessment in de-streamed Grade 9 Math classes. This emphasis on differentiation will be expanded in the coming school year, as all Grade 9 courses will be de-streamed.

All assessment and evaluation should lead to hope, as educators encourage a growth mindset in all students. The report presented to the Board of Trustees on March 7, 2022, captures some of the most significant developments related to assessment and evaluation, responsive strategies implemented to support educators and students, and next steps to be taken during the remainder of the school year and into 2022-23.