Inaugural Meeting of the Board of Trustees

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees (Inaugural Meeting) is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. — Monday, December 6, 2021 at the Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre (35 Weber St. W., Unit A, Kitchener, ON – Boardroom (1st Floor) – Sitting room only due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Agenda:

Board of Trustees Meeting

Other Information:

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

(Agenda files can be large. If you are experiencing issues downloading a file, right click on the link and choose “Save Target As…”.)

December 1st, 2021|

School Vaccine Clinics: Dates, Times and Locations

The Region of Waterloo is hosting school vaccine clinics between December 2 – 23, 2021 across Waterloo Region to make it easier for 5-11 year olds to get vaccinated.

This message contains information on the following:

  • School Vaccine Clinics: Dates, Times & Locations
  • How to book an appointment?
  • Who can get the vaccine now?
  • What vaccine will be given?

Please see directly below for information about a special online parent information session being held on Thursday, December 2, 2021:

When: Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom Meeting Link

  • Webinar ID: 925 5066 5739

  • Passcode: 136870

School Vaccine Clinics: Dates, Times & Locations

Children aged 5-11 and their family members who still need a first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can book appointments at these school clinics. A parent/guardian must attend the clinic with their child. Evening and weekend appointments are available. Free parking is available on-site at all the clinics.

St. Peter Catholic Elementary School

92 Avenue Road, Cambridge

Thursday, December 2, 2021 — 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

 

Queensmount Public School

21 Westmount Road, Kitchener

Saturday, December 4, 2021 — 9:15 am – 3:15 pm

 

Wilson Avenue Public School

221 Wilson Avenue, Kitchener

Thursday, December 9, 2021 — 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 — 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

 

Sunnyside Public School

1042 Weber Street East, Kitchener

Wednesday, December 15, 2021 — 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Thursday, December 16, 2021 — 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

 

St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School

245 Lorne Avenue, Kitchener

Sunday, December 19, 2021 — 9:15 am – 3:15 pm

Monday, December 20, 2021 — 9:15 am – 3:15 pm

 

St. Anne Catholic Elementary School

250 East Avenue, Kitchener

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 — 9:15 am – 3:15 pm

Wednesday, December 22, 2021 — 9:15 am – 3:15 pm

 

Linwood Public School

50 Pine Street, Linwood

Thursday, December 23, 2021 — 9:15 am – 3:15 pm

 

How to book an appointment?

To book an appointment for your child and any family members who still need a first or second dose of the vaccine, please visit the Region of Waterloo website: regionofwaterloo/GetaVaccine

These clinics do not take walk-ins, an appointment is needed.

Who can get the vaccine now?

Children between the ages of 5-11 are now eligible to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone born in 2016 or earlier is eligible.

What vaccine will be given?

Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 years old. See the resources below for more information.

Thank you for your continued support in keeping our community safe.

November 30th, 2021|

IMPORTANT!! Vaccine Information Session for Parents/Guardians of Children (5-11)

Vaccine Information Session for Parents/Guardians of Children (5-11)

Presenter: Dr. Kelly Grindrod, Associate Professor from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy

Date: December 2, 2021

Time: 7- 8:30 p.m.

Zoom Meeting Link

There will be an opportunity to ask questions following the presentation.


Vaccines are an important tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and allow families to safely resume normal activities.

Although children and youth are less likely to get very sick from COVID-19 they can still:

  • Get sick from COVID-19
  • Be infected and not have any symptoms
  • Spread COVID-19 to others
  • Experience longer-term effects if they do get infected

COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada are safe, reliable, and can help protect you, your family, and our community from COVID-19. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines.

This webpage will be updated when additional information about COVID-19 vaccines for children becomes available.

Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Children born in 2016 or earlier are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Find information about how to get a vaccine.

A Parent’s Guide to Vaccination (available in 13 languages)

November 29th, 2021|

Special Message from the Director of Education – Important COVID-19 Updates

Dear WCDSB Community,

We hope that you continue to be well and that you have had a healthy and enjoyable fall season.  We are pleased that, for the most part, our schools continue to be safe and healthy places for learning to prosper.  We have not been without our challenges this fall, but with a few exceptions, our COVID-19 case counts have remained quite low and we are so grateful to both our staff and our families for working hard to follow all the necessary guidelines and precautions.

This letter once again brings a few very important updates of which we would like you to be aware as they are important to your understanding as to how things are unfolding and precautions we wish to continue to enforce, so that we may continue on a safe, healthy and positive path as a community.

Vaccination

As you have no doubt heard in the media, vaccination for children ages 5-11 is now ready to be rolled out in the province and within Waterloo Region.  The Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Province and local Public Health offer us the guidance, as the experts, that this is our best defense against COVID-19.  It will assist in keeping our children healthy, as well as all those with whom they have contact.  Vaccinations will be available at Public Health vaccination sites, community hubs, local pharmacies and at a few school pop-up sites (of which you will be informed when they are occurring).  A parent’s approval will be required for any child 5-11 to be vaccinated and any school-based sites will happen after hours.  Parents can begin making appointments as of today.

As a parent you may have questions about the vaccine for children 5-11 year old’s.  Our local Public Health Unit is sponsoring a virtual parent information session, via Zoom, on Thursday Dec 2nd, from 7 – 8:30 p.m.  The presentation, along with a question-and-answer session, will be given by Dr. Kelly Grind rod, Ontario College of Pharmacists Professor in Pharmacy Innovation and Associate Professor, University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy.  We would encourage any parent who still has questions about the vaccine to attend this session.

Rapid Antigen Testing for Students over Christmas Break

On November 18th, the provincial government announced that over the Christmas Break rapid antigen screen kits will be provided to any and all students who wish to take home 5 tests to be administered every few days between Dec 23rd and Jan 4th, so that we are better assured a safe and healthy return to school in January 2022, and a safer, healthier coming together with Friends and Family over the Christmas Season.

Sports / Athletics

As reported in previous letters, we have been pleased to see the return of athletics and sport to our schools and for inter-scholastic play to have returned for those age 12 and older.  The criteria to play is full vaccination and/or proof of a negative test.  This strategy is being used in a very targeted way for students who are not able to use our other usual strategies to ensure their safety – that is – they are unable to ensure masking and social distancing.  This strategy has now been endorsed by the province and will now continue for the foreseeable future for us at WCDSB.  We are extremely pleased by this decision.

Additional Health and Safety Measures

Also part of the November 19th announcement was the direction that all Parent-Teacher interviews should take place virtually (or by phone).  Similarly, schools are asked to ensure that assemblies occur virtually to ensure cohorts are not blending and social distancing is maintained.

Secondary Delivery Model

The province has opened the door to the second half of the year being delivered through a proper serestered model – which is 4 periods or 4 75-minute classes in a day.  This decision will have to be supported by Public Health based on cases and other relevant data.  At the current time we are hopeful that we will be in a position to return to a serestered/4 period day in February.

Potential Travel

A reminder that students under 12, travelling with vaccinated parents do not have to quarantine per se, but they are not allowed to return to school until 14 days from return have passed.  This guidance is found on our webpage.  This is federal policy we are sharing.

https://www.wcdsb.ca/covid-19-student-screening-and-testing/

Screening

As we have shared before, please know that one of the most important things you do each and every day is to complete the screening tool before you as a staff member or student (or parent of a student) arrive at school.  Any individual who fails the screener or who is symptomatic in any way should not be reporting to school.  That is part of our collective responsibility to one another.

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

Please review our full Operational Guidelines to ensure you understand how we are continuing to ensure a safe and happy school experience for all.

We continue to be exceptionally grateful for your support and partnership as we navigate this unique year.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

November 23rd, 2021|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — November, 2021

Meetings

Committee Of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, November 8, 2021 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, November 22, 2021 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

Pastoral Plan Update

Catholic schools exist to support the evangelizing mission of the Church. Catholic parents send their children to Catholic schools with certain expectations. The overriding expectation is that their child will experience education permeated with religious values, religious instruction and be invited to participate in the sacramental life of the church. They also expect that Catholic values will be held, modeled, expressed, and taught within the Catholic educational community. Our three-year pastoral plan supports and animates the faith life of students and staff in the WCDSB.

Additionally, our Multi-Year Strategic Plan indicates that nurturing our Catholic community will be a priority area with opportunities to bear witness to our faith through joyful discipleship and our relationships with and in Christ as an essential strategic direction. To this end, we endeavor to provide opportunities to live out and inform our faith through implementation of our Pastoral Plan, which is informed by the Ontario Bishops’ pastoral letter, Renewing the Promise.

During our 2019 Spiritual Development Day, we celebrated and reflected upon our Year 1 theme, “Called to Belong”. While we continued to be unable to gather for larger events last year due to public health protocols, we used a video launch in early October to transition from Called to Belong to “Gathered to Become”, Year 2 of our Pastoral Plan. Having been gathered, blessed, and fed in the first two years of our three-year Pastoral Plan, the focus of year three is to intentionally look outward, under the theme “Sent to Build”.  Our keynote speaker was Fr. James Martin, S.J., who joined us live from New York, and spoke to us about the importance of reaching out to the people on the margins, about the need for compassion and sensitivity and invited us to reflect on how we are living out our vocation in the model of Christ.

The report beginning on page 11 via this link — Meeting Agenda Package – provides a detailed overview of the many events planned for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year.

School Resource Officer (SRO) Program Update

In January of 2021, the Waterloo Catholic District school board contracted Turner Consulting Group to review the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program after the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) halted the program in the region due to expressed community concerns. The WCDSB committed to undertaking a review of the SRO program to determine its efficacy in our secondary schools in relation to its stated goals.

The report surfaced some perceptions and lived realities of the students, staff, and broader stakeholders from WCDSB that did not fully align with the stated goals of the program. From this report there appears to be a strong indication that both the school board and WRPS must take the time to revisit the goals of the SRO program and ensure full alignment to both the goals and the strategic approach that will best support those goals.

On November 22, 2021, the Board of Trustees received an interim staff report on the status of actions taken to date. Next steps in the process include:

  • WCDSB is in the process of developing structures to track suspension and Violent Threat Risk Assessment data as it relates to racialized students.
  • The Waterloo Regional Police Service has committed to having all 14 Community Engagement and Wellbeing Branch officers trained in the Violent Threat Risk Assessment program by spring 2022.
  • Meetings with the Waterloo Regional Police Service will continue over the next 8 weeks (about 2 months) as we solidify our program and delivery support model. The student census data set will be used to determine any required focus for action at a board and program design level.
  • Senior team members as well as our Chief Social Worker, Mental Health Lead, and school social workers will be attaining a formal certification on Combating Anti-Black Racism through York University. WRPS Officers will also be invited to participate in this certification.
  • Administrators will be introduced to the “Check Your Bias” checklist which will challenge all to consider how they are working through progressive discipline issues.

The report is available beginning on page 68 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Special Education Update

Last year, Student Services focused on supporting Special Education and classroom teachers in the virtual world and supporting schools through new protocols due to pandemic restrictions. The Special Education Liaisons created numerous resources which included educator tip sheets, Virtual Universal Supports, COVID-19 related IEP expectations, Jump Math, Empower, and Lexia for home learning.

The Special Education Return to Learn Website has been accessed more than 5,000 times by staff and more than 200 Learn@Home Kits to support alternative programming were provided.  Additional supports include a Google Classroom for alternative programming and numerous opportunities for virtual professional development for staff.

On November 22, 2021, the Board of Trustees received a detailed report focused on the far-reaching work of the following key staff teams:

  • Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs)
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Facilitators
  • Communicative Disorders Assistants (CDA)
  • Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP)
  • Psychoeducational Consultants
  • Vision Services Team
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Special Education Liaisons
  • Educational Assistants
  • Assistive Technology Resource Teacher

Guided by the WCDSB’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan, the specific goals of these teams are:

  1. Provide Equitable Access to Learning Opportunities
  2. Improve Secondary Literacy Achievement
  3. Improve Numeracy Achievement

The report is available beginning on page 56 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Mental Health Update

The WCDSB’s 2021-22 Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan is in alignment with key elements of School Mental Health Ontario’s Action Plan during the COVID 19 Recovery Phase as follows:

1) Amplify and promote the protective influence of schools.

2) Identify and address emerging and escalating student mental health problems.

3) Mobilize focused support for those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

4) Build and sustain strong safety nets.

5) Provide hopeful and aligned communication.

This work supports the overall goals of the WCDSB’s 2019-21 Well-Being Strategy:

1) Students and staff feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in their learning community.

2) Students have equitable access to learning opportunities.

3) Building a culture of well-being that supports the success for all in the WCDSB community.

The 2021-22 Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan is focused on 3 key priorities:

Priority #1: Goal-directed planning at all levels of leadership to improve the organizational conditions that will support mentally healthy schools, through a comprehensive approach to wellbeing.

Priority #2: Capacity-building — Building a foundation that fosters inclusion and belonging for all students, educators feel equipped to promote mental health and well-being through evidence informed daily classroom practices and classroom conversations that strengthen relationships, enhance protective factors, and promote specific resilience skills.

Priority #3: All students and parents/caregivers have equitable access to relevant resources that support mental health and wellbeing and can identify and access pathways to Tier 2 and Tier 3 supports when mental health needs arise.

The report is available beginning on page 63 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

English as a Second Language (ESL) & English Literacy Development (ELD) Programs and Services Update

Since its inception, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board has celebrated the contributions of its Multilingual Learners (MLs) and worked to meet their needs in a variety of settings. Teachers of MLs continue to work in all our schools to support staff, students, and families develop language skills necessary for success in a changing society.

The report presented to the Board of Trustees on November 22, 2021 provided an overview of current data and trends regarding ESL/ELD programs and services.

Definitions:

English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are for students whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools.

English Literacy Development (ELD) programs are for students whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools.

ML/MLs — As the WCDSB moves toward more inclusive language, MLs or Multilingual Learners respects the linguistic backgrounds of our students without centering English as the only language in which one can learn.  It celebrates multilingualism as a gift and places an asset lens to which we view students who are adding English to their linguistic repertoires.

Current data indicate a steady increase in the number of students registering at the WCDSB (JK-Grade 12) from various countries all over the world. Many of them have English as an Additional Language Learning program needs, at the earliest steps to proficiency. Many students are arriving to us as Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) — requiring foundational literacy and language development and orientation to school life in Ontario.

Despite current travel/immigration challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Newcomer Reception Centre (NRC) has welcomed more than 130 students to the WCDSB (newcomers with varying statuses in Canada including refugee, permanent resident, and VISA) this school year (Aug-Nov 2 data).

Support for MLs is articulated in the WCDSB’s Board Improvement and Equity Plan for Student Achievement (BIEPSA) as educators are called upon to clearly know the needs of these students and respond to them in a collaborative and effective manner. The board’s response to identified and emerging needs is informed and supported by a wide and impressive range of team members (i.e. family members, cultural community leaders, translators, health practitioners, employers, faith community leaders, etc.,) who work in a dynamic and collaborative manner.

The report is available beginning on page 51 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Community Planning & Partnerships Guideline

The Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline (CPPG) (Ontario Ministry of Education, March 2015) requires that boards hold at least one meeting per year to discuss potential planning and partnership opportunities with the public and community organizations. The guideline focuses on opportunities to share facilities with community partners when:

  • Building new schools
  • Undertaking significant renovations
  • Considering the use of unoccupied space in schools
  • Considering properties associated with schools that may close
  • Sites that may be considered for future disposition.

Further to the provincial guideline, APF012 Community Planning and Facility Partnerships provides a framework to work with community organizations to benefit the Board, students, and the community. The Board must hold at least one meeting per year to discuss potential partnership opportunities. The presentation of this report at a public board meeting fulfils all CPPG requirements.

Proposed new schools, additions, and significant renovations are identified in the Long-Term Accommodation Plan. Ideally, the Board would identify partnership opportunities one to three years in advance of any potential construction start date. In May 2021, capital priorities requests were filed with the Ministry of Education to fund the following building projects:

  1. New Rosenberg CES (Kitchener)
  2. St. Boniface CES addition (Breslau)
  3. St. Gregory CES addition (Cambridge)
  4. New St. Patrick CES (Kitchener)

The New Rosenberg CES has for many years been envisioned as a co-build with the City of Kitchener, as such no further partnership opportunities are contemplated.

St. Boniface CES opened in September 2021 with an on-site childcare and EarlyON centre. The addition would not facilitate additional opportunities.

The St. Gregory CES addition would not allow for co-building based on site size limitations.

The New St. Patrick CES capital priorities request was filed with a proposed childcare centre co-build, and no further partnership opportunities are feasible based on site size.

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

Board Chair’s Update

Each month, the Chair of the Board reports on the activities of the Board of Trustees. Chair Melanie Van Alphen’s report for November 2021 is available on page 82 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Trustees Update

Student Trustees Sarah Simoes and Sarah Wilson presented their monthly update – covering activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools. It is available beginning on page 79 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Inaugural Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, December 6, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, December 13, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

– 30 –

 

November 23rd, 2021|

Upcoming Board of Trustees Meeting

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, November 22, 2021 at the Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre (35 Weber St. W., Unit A, Kitchener, ON – Boardroom (1st Floor) – Sitting room only due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Agenda:

Board of Trustees Meeting

Other Information:

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

(Agenda files can be large. If you are experiencing issues downloading a file, right click on the link and choose “Save Target As…”.)

November 19th, 2021|

See This Important Invitation From The CCFOWR

November 2021

School Administrators, Parish & Community Partner Leads:

The CCFOWR values community and has a responsibility to offer a “hand up”, empowering the life journey of the marginalized and vulnerable within the Region of Waterloo, with a focus on youth. We believe in inclusion and equity and alignment with the 7 Social Teachings of the Catholic Church. We are committed to cooperating and collaborating with community partners in all sectors to support and evolve common goals.

In 2021, the new merged organization, in response to the unique community needs created by the pandemic over the past two years, responded with a just-in-time support program for our families and partner organizations:

  • $70,000 Food Card Program supporting families in our schools and parishes
  • $70,000 One-time Grants for our community not-for-profit
  • $100,000 Annual Scholarships/Bursaries/Awards
  • A Speaker Series to support families in our

The CCFOWR is also offering an additional $50,000 in grants to support programs and initiatives in our schools, parishes and community partner organizations.

The application process is simple and online for your convenience and framed within the following timelines:

November 2021  – Program launched and introduced to stakeholders

December 10, 2021 – Application submission deadline

January 2022 – Applicants will be informed of the status of their submission

The online application includes detailed information https://forms.gle/G48VSxeGGeXoRWQ66.

If additional information is required, don’t hesitate to contact me or the Grants Committee Chair: John Klein (email: john.klein@wcdsb.ca).

 

Vic Degutis
President, Catholic Community Foundation of Waterloo Region Inc.
Email: Vic.Degutis@outlook.com
Cell: 519.588.2426

November 16th, 2021|

Upcoming WCDSB Board Meeting

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees (Committee of the Whole) is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, November 8, 2021 at the Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre (35 Weber St. W., Unit A, Kitchener, ON – Boardroom (1st Floor) – Sitting room only due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Agenda:

Committee of the Whole

Other Information:

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

(Agenda files can be large. If you are experiencing issues downloading a file, right click on the link and choose “Save Target As…”.)

November 4th, 2021|

Important Update from the Director of Education

Dear WCDSB Community,

We hope that you continue to be well and that you are enjoying some of the beauty that the fall season affords us.  We are pleased that, for the moment, cases seem to be slowing provincially and in the region, and in general, currently we are seeing fewer cases in our schools.

This letter brings a few important updates of which we would like you to be aware as they are important to your understanding as to how things are unfolding and precautions we wish to continue to enforce, so that we may continue on a safe, healthy and positive path as a community.

Screening

As we have shared before, please know that one of the most important things you do each and every day is to complete the screening tool before you as a staff member or student (or parent of a student) arrive at school.  Any individual who fails the screener or who is symptomatic in any way should not be reporting to school.  That is part of our collective responsibility to one another.

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

Vaccination

We have started our conversations with Region of Waterloo Public Health about vaccination for our 5-11 year old but at this point, things are still in the planning and approval stage.  As updates become available and we have specifics to share, we will be in touch as promptly as possible.

Testing

On October 28th, the government did share additional updates in relation to program with PCR testing and rapid antigen testing (“Test to Stay”).  In both cases these programs feed from pilot programs in the province,  and will be utilized when deemed necessary.  Both are in relation to when there are positive cases being experienced in a given school community.  There are specific criteria tied to their use and are not general surveillance/screening tools.

Sports / Athletics

As reported in my last letter, we have been pleased to see the return of athletics and sport to our schools and for inter-scholastic play to have returned for those age 12 and older.  The criteria to play is full vaccination and/or proof of a negative test.  This strategy is being used in a very targeted way for students who are not able to use our other usual strategies to ensure their safety – that is – they are unable to ensure masking and social distancing.  We have been heartened by how well received the return to athletics has gone, and remain enormously grateful to our (coaching) staff for supporting this “return to play/competition”.  The tests we were able to provide, through the support of a local partner, are no longer available to us.  At a provincial level, informed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, they have indicated we are no longer able to access or provide the tests.  We are disappointed by this decision as we did feel it was a safe and equitable way to deliver sports.  Our policy that a player /athlete must be fully vaccinated or provide evidence of a negative test has not changed.  Families will now have to source the tests.  Below we provide some links where those purchases may be made.  Of course, vaccination remains an option.

https://rapidtestcanada.ca/product/covid-19-rapid-test-maple/

https://rapidtestandtrace.ca/

Inclement Weather Protocol

Every year at this time we like to share some reminders about protocols for snow days.  As you know – there are sometimes days in the winter when we have to cancel bussing due to the weather and unsafe driving conditions for our buses.  In the past, if roads were still passable, we would leave schools open.  On those days however, we often pooled classes based on the number of staff who fully attended and the number of students.  This year, as was the case last year, that is not possible due to our COVID-19 cohort – related restrictions.  In consultation with the public board, with whom we share bussing, when we cancel buses, we will close schools and have a remote learning day.  Your teacher will communicate with you in advance so you know where to look for school work for the day and protocols on such days, but in broad terms, the teachers will post work in the morning, no later than 9:30 a.m. and students will work on their own timing in their home.  It will allow all students to access some learning and we will be continuing to keep one and all safe.  We realize it may not be a perfect solution and learning day, but bus snow days rarely were.  We apologize in advance for any inconvenience and hope that we are not in this situation too often.

Potential Travel

A reminder that students under 12, travelling with vaccinated parents do not have to quarantine per se, but they are not allowed to return to school until 14 days from return have passed.  This guidance is found on our webpage.  This is federal policy we are sharing.

https://www.wcdsb.ca/covid-19-student-screening-and-testing/

Please review our full Operational Guidelines to ensure you understand how we are continuing to ensure a safe and happy school experience for all.

We are grateful for your support and partnership as we navigate this unique year.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

October 29th, 2021|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — October 2021

Meetings

Committee Of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, October 4, 2021 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, October 25, 2021 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

Information Technology Services Update — Summer 2021

The Information Technology Services (ITS) department had a very busy Summer preparing for the 2021/22 school year. Continued COVID-19 preparations, restrictions and technology requirements have presented a level of complexity and unique work, making an ongoing high level of service an incredible challenge. ITS successfully completed many technology-related projects and initiatives that align with the Multi-Year Strategic Plan.

The report addresses the following key priority areas and accomplishments:

  • Classroom Educator Devices, Hybrid Sit-Stand Desks, and Headsets (MYSP 1.b.ii, 2.a.i, 3.a.iii)
  • WCDSB Goes Virtual (MYSP 1.b.ii, 2.a.i, 3.a.i, 3.a.iii)
  • Safe Applications for Educators and Students (MYSP 1.a.iii, 1.b.ii, 2.a.i, 3.a.i, 3.a.iii)
  • Aspen Parent Portal (MYSP 1.a.iii, 1.b.ii)
  • Distribution of Learning Devices and Internet Hotspots to Students in Need (MYSP 1.b.ii, 3.a.iii)
  • Human Resources System Workflow Integration (MYSP 1.b.ii)
  • Summer Preparations for the New School Year (MYSP 1.b.ii, 3.a.iii)
  • Rural School Grant Project (MYSP 1.b.ii, 2.a.i, 3.a.i, 3.a.iii)
  • Refresh Classroom Data Projectors (MYSP 1.b.ii, 2.a.i, 3.a.iii)
  • Wireless Backend Upgrades (MYSP 1.b.ii, 3.a.iii)
  • Bring Your Own Device (MYSP 1.b.ii, 2.a.i, 3.a.iii)
  • Centralized Security Optimization (MYSP 1.b.ii)
  • Web Resources and Social Media (MYSP 1.a.iii, 1.b.ii, 2.a.i, 3.a.i, 3.a.iii)

Work completed in Summer 2021 includes:

  • Approximately 300 new Special Education student devices were imaged and prepared for distribution
  • More than 200 learning devices were repaired
  • 2,998 learning devices were refreshed with new devices replacing broken and out-of-date devices no longer capable of running required instructional apps or accepting security updates
  • Created 1,489 classes in Google and D2L
  • Purchased and allocated 2,500 WeVideo school accounts for elementary video editing projects and 2,500 Adobe Creative Cloud licenses for secondary design related classes
  • St Boniface CES (new school) security, network, wireless, projector, phones and technology setup
  • Construction projects which involved removal and installing of technology at St. Louis Adult Learning, St. Kateri CES, St. Daniel CES and St. Teresa (Kitchener) CES
  • Network replacement and security optimization at Resurrection CSS
  • 30 new portables and classrooms were configured for data projectors, phones, network, computers and wireless.

The report is available beginning on page 8 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Summer Transition Programs

In the summer of 2021, WCDSB provided a variety of programs to support the needs of students across the system. In July, a Summer Reading Intervention Program was provided for targeted Gr. 1&2 students for three weeks to support phonological awareness, phonics instruction and to support student wellbeing. During the last two weeks of August — in collaboration with Special Education Teachers at each school site — we implemented a Student Transition to Fall Program to meet the needs of a variety of students who were identified by each school team. Furthermore, during the summer months the Mental Health Lead and Social Workers were on call to support students in respect to their mental health and well-being.

The Summer Transition Program initiatives addressed the following MYSP Key Performance Indicators (KPI) regarding student achievement, student attendance, student well-being and parent engagement:

  • Increase in achievement for “marker students”
  • Decrease the gap in achievement between those students on an IEP and those who are not
  • Improved student attendance

As we move into the 2021-22 school year, now, more than ever we see the importance of continued investment in well-being. Our guiding principles provided by School Mental Health Ontario that shape our work include:

  • We prioritize mental health and well-being as a key condition for students to learn and flourish.
  • We lead with compassion and empathy and take action to address equity within mental health and well-being.
  • We protect and promote student mental health with caring learning environments.
  • We have strong mental health foundations to recognize and build on the learning and experiences of the pandemic.
  • We make our way together; schools are part of a wider circle of support

The report is available beginning on page 22 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Re-engagement Strategy: 2021-22

The 2020-21 school year was like no other. Students were impacted by many school closures and the transition to online learning. Across the province many more students than in years past disengaged from their learning — exhibiting an increase in truancy, a drop in achievement and observed changes in their attitude towards school.

Many groups of students were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Students identifying as Indigenous, Black and racialized, children and youth in care, students from low-income households, those with disabilities, special education needs, mental health needs as well as English language learners were identified as those who would benefit from additional support.

This year, the Ministry of Education provided funds to school boards to increase support to families to address gaps in learning, systemic barriers and disconnection with the school community. In budget deliberations last spring the Senior Team made a decision to augment these funds in order to create a specialized team that will provide concentrated support to families and students by identifying needs and assets, collaborating with all stakeholders and supporting the development and facilitation of an individualized reengagement plan.

The Student Re-engagement Team consists of two teachers and a social worker. The team is unique as both teachers have lived experience of disengagement and systemic barriers. The social worker on the team is assigned specifically for this strategy, and the team is multi-lingual.

The team’s goals for the 2021-22 school year are to:

  • Provide support to students experiencing disadvantages as a result of systemic barriers and COVID-19
  • Build on existing supports by providing concentrated intervention, collaboration with stakeholders and community resources
  • Develop individualized plans for students to reconnect with their school community
  • Re-engage students who have languished in their learning and attendance

The report is available beginning on page 32 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Learning Commons Update

In 2017-18 staff embarked upon a 5-year plan to refresh all library spaces in the system. This project is intended to enhance global competency learning for students in environments where collaboration and innovation are the norm. Included in the scope of the refresh is a rebranding effort and name change – to The Learning Commons.

At the end of the refresh period, all learning commons spaces will be outfitted with new collaborative furniture, shelving, Lego walls, branding, and additional electrical outlets to support use of mobile devices for collaborative student work.

In 2021-22, staff will create project plans for the final ten schools: St. David, Sir Edgar Bauer, St. Luke, Holy Family, Our Lady of Fatima, St. Agnes, St. Elizabeth, St. Nicholas, St. Brigid, and St. Vincent de Paul. The latter two are new schools, built to support global competencies and will receive final touches.

The report is available beginning on page 22 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Secondary French Immersion Site Selection

The 2020/21 French Immersion Review – Final Report was presented to the Board of Trustees on Monday, May 31, 2021. The final report identified site selection criteria to guide staff in the designation of future French Immersion sites and the need to assess the potential to transport secondary FI students.

The French Immersion Review Committee identified four key priorities for the selection of French Immersion secondary schools:

  • Availability of empty space
  • Feeder school relationship
  • Equity / range of neighbourhoods
  • Long term enrolment patterns.

The site selection criteria need to balance the objectives of each element when recommending a site to start the program.

Based on the secondary French Immersion site selection criteria, staff have determined that St. David CSS in Waterloo will accommodate the first cohorts of high school FI students starting in September 2023.

Secondary French Immersion students who reside outside of the St. David CSS boundary will be eligible for transportation. Transportation will be offered to those French Immersion students who qualify, generally in accordance with the hub style option outlined herein. Transportation will not be available to Out of Boundary non-French Immersion siblings wanting to attend St. David CSS.

The report is available beginning on page 28 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Update on Major Construction Projects

The Ministry of Education from time to time solicits applications from school boards for funding to support capital projects – new schools, additions, and major renovations.

The report presented to the Board of Trustees on October 25th provided an update on three major projects funded by the Ministry:

Huron Brigadoon Elementary School, Kitchener

In March of 2020, a funding approval was provided by the Ministry of Education to construct a new 650 pupil place school and an 88-space childcare in Southwest Kitchener. This school was scheduled to open in September 2022. Unfortunately, a time lag in the Ministry’s approval processes has pushed back the school opening date to September 2023.

St. Agnes Catholic Elementary School, Waterloo

In the fall of 2020, the Ministry of Education approved funding for an 8-classroom addition, gym, and library for St. Agnes School. Construction was projected to begin in the fall of 2021 with a completion date in spring of 2022. To date, the WCDSB has not received an approval to proceed to tender for a contractor.

Grade 7 – 12 East Kitchener High School

In March of 2020, the government announced an approval for a 1,400 pupil place Grade 7 – 12 school in East Kitchener, to help manage enrolment pressures at St. Mary’s High School and at elementary schools in the area. The government has approved management’s initial space templates and has issued an approval to proceed to tender for an architect. This tender was issued on October 18, 2021. Next steps include:

  • Boundary reviews will take place during calendar 2022 and 2023 to determine catchment areas for the new school
  • Architect selection – November 2021
  • Completion of severance by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and purchase of site by WCDSB – calendar 2022
  • Application for site plan approval to City of Kitchener – April 2022
  • Cost consultant’s report to Ministry of Education – May 2022
  • Tender for contractor – June 2022
  • Construction period – August 2022 to May 2024
  • School opens – September 2024

The report is available beginning on page 33 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Well-Being Plan Update

The 2019-2021 WCDSB Wellbeing Plan guides our work “towards meeting the cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual needs of all WCDSB students and staff, and to ensure all feel a deep sense of belonging in a Catholic faith-learning community where they are nourished to become builders of the local and global community”

Each stated goal within the plan includes strategies identified across our four domains of wellbeing – Safe Schools, Mental Health and Wellness, Heathy Schools, and Equity & 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 report presented to the Board of Trustees on October 25th provided a detailed update on progress being made in each domain, as well as outline some key next steps going forward. These include:

  • The WCDSB Wellbeing Strategy aligns goals outlined in our MYSP and our Pastoral Plan and includes a Catholic/Christian vision of the human person
  • The WCDSB Wellbeing Strategy includes strategies for both staff and students and will assume a lens of being trauma informed
  • Each school in the district will be invited to complete a Wellbeing Plan in the new year that will be shared with Family of Schools superintendents and when completed, posted on school websites
  • All school level improvement plans (SIEPSAs) will develop goals from an equity lens. This proactive step supports our commitment to eliminate disparities and disproportionalities that impede achievement, well-being, and success for our students
  • The MDI Survey will be administered in January 2022 and will be shared with all school administrators to help inform the specific strategic areas of focus for each school community
  • The Student Census will be open for completion from November 1 to November 12, 2021

The report is available beginning on page 37 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Equity Advisory Committee Update

Via unanimous Board motion on March 22, 2021, the Board of Trustees directed staff – following the engagement of a new WCDSB Equity Officer – to return to the board with a proposal to create a Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee, for implementation during the 2021-22 school year.

Board staff brought forward the report on October 25, 2021.

To effectively integrate the three key concepts of student voice, meaningful student involvement and student engagement, it is recommended the WCDSB create a Student Equity Engagement Council (SEEC) at each school. Having such councils will create the conditions, employ the practices, and nurture the attitudes and values conducive for effective student voice, agency, and leadership.

Councils in elementary schools it will consist of students in grades 7 and 8 — with at least one teacher serving as an advisor. Councils in secondary schools it will consist of students in grades 9 through 12 — with at least one teacher serving as an advisor. While it is the intention for students themselves to shape the councils and ultimately be the leaders of the councils, the school board does want students to engage in the following clear and consistent mandate:

  • Explore issues of inequity and exclusion within their school using their religious teachings and practice for guidance
  • Engage in education activism and promote multiculturalism, gender, and sexuality equity, anti-racism, antibias in schools (e.g., creating videos, pamphlets, educational opportunities for students)
  • Work throughout the school year with administrators to minimize these inequities and exclusions
  • Work with the Board researcher to assess their work and their impact on their individual school communities

The SEEC members each year will attend a SEEC summit organized by students, with the assistance of teachers and administrators.

The goal is to initiate a pilot project involving 10 WCDSB schools in 2021-22.

The report is available beginning on page 46 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Update on School Re-Opening and WCDSB Pandemic Management Education Models

The start to the 2021-22 school year has been a busy one for the schools of Waterloo Catholic as we are once again operating within a pandemic reality but with that said – as we have journeyed into October — there are a number of signs to give us hope, as well as some to give us some opportunity for pause.

Our models of delivery, our processes, our health and safety protocols and essentially all aspects of our operations are informed by direction through the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province, as well as the Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo. We continue to receive direction through the Ministry of Education, as well as our local Public Health department. We are continuing meetings with Region of Waterloo Public Health and the Waterloo Region District School Board to attain a measure of understanding and alignment regarding the most prudent courses of action. We have continued to make minor updates to our Operational Guidelines based on the most recent guidance we are receiving from both the Ministry and WR Public health.

The progress report presented on October 25, 2021, includes information regarding the following key issues:

  • Return to (In Person) Learning
  • Vaccination for Staff & Students Aged 12-plus
  • Vaccination for Students Ages 5 – 11
  • Case and Contact Management
  • Masking
  • Daily Screening
  • Rapid Antigen Tests
  • Sports
  • Ventilation

The report is available beginning on page 52 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Board Chair’s Update

Each month, the Chair of the Board reports on the activities of the Board of Trustees. Chair Melanie Van Alphen’s report for October 2021 is available on page 59 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Trustees Update

Student Trustees Sarah Simoes and Sarah Wilson presented their monthly update – covering activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools. It is available beginning on page 56 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, November 8, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, November 22, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 48 schools and four adult education facilities, serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary, and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 185-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

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October 26th, 2021|