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WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — October, 2020

Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, October 5, 2020 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, October 26, 2020 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

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

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, November 30, 2020: 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 184-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

– 30 –

October 27th, 2020|

October Check-in: Message & Invitation from the Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you are well in body, mind and spirit.  We know that can be challenging in these times but we hope that you are drawing energy from our students, and from their experience of being re-engaged in their learning and forging new friendships, while rekindling old ones.    Every day we hear stories and bear witness to the good work of our staff, and we know that they are making a difference to all the students we serve.  The purpose of this letter is to share a few brief updates and then offer an invitation.

To begin, at the October Board meeting last night we brought a series of important updates in relation to our ongoing operation of schools in our new COVID-19 reality.  We shared that it is our intention to eliminate the November transition window in elementary.  We have been listening to our stakeholders – parents, teachers, administrators and students, and while we know that it can be attractive to provide flexibility to accommodate changes between face to face and virtual, we also know that it takes a toll on everyone when there is disruption to pre-established classes.  No one asked for this new reality in which we are all living, and I think we can all appreciate that compromises are necessary, and that as a school board, we are delivering on a promise not fully of our own making.  Having said that, I am extremely proud of all our staff and all they do each and every day to help us deliver on that promise.  Our staff in our bricks and mortar schools, and our St. Isidore staff, are all hitting homeruns each and every day.  We anticipate that some parents may be disappointed to not have the additional transition opportunity, but we hope that in the main, people will agree that it was important to listen to the voices of our stakeholders, and to attempt to provide maximum stability moving forward.

In this same vein – we have been deliberating how to best proceed in secondary, in order to meet a variety of needs.  We have an additional 377 students who want to transition to St. Isidore in secondary and 40 who wish to return to face to face.  (Generating a net 337 increase in students to St. Isidore, or 14% of our total secondary population now studying in virtual).

A great many boards are now looking at a hybrid model of delivery in secondary, but again we tried to listen to the voices of our staff who told us a pivot in late November to a different model of delivery, other than what we currently experiencing, might be too stressful for all involved.  We know our staff have been working so hard and we are not looking to disrupt your reality again.  We also want our students to have the best educational experience possible.  To that end, we will continue with the current delivery model and take the next quadmester to fully consider options for the remaining two quadmesters.

We have had a few cases of COVID-19 in the past few days.   It is perhaps inevitable that when the provincial numbers rise, we too will see some cases.  I realize that if you get a letter saying there has been a case of COVID in your school that it is most unsettling.   I am pleased to report that to date our cases remain relatively few, they seem to be quickly managed and most importantly, we have had no cases of COVID-19 transmission in our schools to date.   Our safety protocols are working.   I know how much we all value reading that statement so I cannot state strongly enough the importance of following our WCDSB operational guidelines, of wearing masks as warranted, good hygiene practices and most of all, strong daily implementation of the self-screening tool.  We will only navigate this time together and fortunately, I have full confidence in our TEAM! #StrongerTogether

And now to the invitation.  As we did this past spring, we are launching a ThoughtExchange today and it will remain open for the next week.  We really do want to hear from you.  To gain insight into your thoughts about the past several weeks and our launch to the 2020-21 school year.  A reminder that you can add thoughts at any time, but do not forget to return perhaps more than once to star ideas as they populate.  As was the case last spring, it will give us insights into your impressions, your questions and assist us in knowing where we need to focus more energy.

The ThoughtExchange is available at: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/474084826

Please know that it is also available on our main website.

As indicated above, please remember that all students (or parents on their behalf) should complete this updated self-screening tool every day:  COVID-19 school and child care screening tool and a reminder that no staff should come to school without completing the adult self-assessment:  https://covid19checkup.ca/

The process of self screening each day is a vital step in ensuring the continued safety of all our schools, so sincere thanks to all for remaining faithful to this and to all our required protocols.

We are so very happy to be back to learning in our schools.  We have transitioned to Year 2 of our Pastoral Plan – Gathered to Become.  We look forward to our CSAC Chair and New Administrator Commissioning event Wednesday evening.  It feels so important to continue to find ways to foster community.  How blessed are we that we share one family in Christ as WCDSB – he nourishes and strengthens us daily.

We sincerely thank you for journeying with us.   Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether  #WeGotThis

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                                                 

Director of Education    

October 27th, 2020|

Build A Dream – Virtual Career Discovery Expo

Dear Young Women and Parents/Guardians,

On behalf of Build a Dream and in partnership with Kitchener-Waterloo School Boards (Waterloo Region DSB, Waterloo Catholic DSB, Upper Grand DSB and, Wellington Catholic DSB), you are invited to a FREE VIRTUAL CAREER DISCOVERY EXPO on November 18th from 6:00pm-8:30pm for parents and young women between Grades 7 to 12.

This online event will highlight opportunities in a number of careers to better assist young women to make informed career choices. This event will include careers in:

  • Skilled Trades
  • STEM
  • (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  • Emergency Responders
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Advancing Women

Parents play critical roles in the education of their children. This is an opportunity for families to learn collaboratively about the many careers in these growing sectors.

The event features:

  • Dream Maker Panel: Women from various careers share their stories and inspire
  • Employer Spotlight: Hear what employers look for in new employees!
  • Pathway Spotlight: College, University and Apprenticeship
  • Games, Prizes, Survey and More!

REGISTER TODAY AT:

dreambigkitchenerwaterloo.eventbrite.com

For additional information, please contact: info@webuildadream.com

October 23rd, 2020|

Upcoming Board Meeting – Monday, October 26, 2020

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, October 26, 2020 — at the Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre.

Meeting Agenda

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 48 schools and five adult education facilities serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 184-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

October 23rd, 2020|

Catholic Schools Foundation Merges With Catholic Community Foundation

Two successful and long-standing foundations (the Waterloo Region Catholic Schools Foundation and the Catholic Community Foundation of Waterloo Region), supporting both Catholic education and the community-at-large, have strategically merged, under the name “The Catholic Community Foundation of Waterloo Region Inc.”, to establish a new organization to better serve the community.

For more than 25 years, these foundations have granted millions of dollars to various worthy community causes and organized numerous community events, with an emphasis on Catholic schools and the Catholic community across the Region of Waterloo.  These foundations have also collaborated with other partners, including the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation, and the Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation, to fund significant community projects.

Fortunately, this a proactive strategy and both foundations are moving forward in this merger contributing leadership and strong governance infrastructures, positive reputations in the community, and solid financial positions. The united front will ensure continued evolution and sustainability.

“We will be a stronger, more effective contributor to our communities through this consolidation” states Chris Gehan, Co-chair of the new board of directors.

Co-chair Deb Zettel-Schmitt shared, “Our mandates are complimentary and pooling our resources is a logical progression to ensure that we continue to effectively fund the Catholic community and to demonstrate leadership, especially during the challenges to community in 2020 created by the pandemic”.

“The fundraising and granting programs of both organizations were effective in the past but always evolving” states the president of the new organization, Vic Degutis.  “Over the coming months, new programs will be introduced with a strong emphasis on community partnership and collaboration. Better utilization of social media to support community communication and relationships will also be a necessary priority.”

October 23rd, 2020|

Secondary School Transition Survey for St. Isidore Virtual Learning School

Dear Parents / Guardians:

When we commenced the school year back in early September, we announced that the first transition point for families of secondary school students to switch their children from virtual learning to face to face learning (or vice versa), would come in November, at the end of the first Quadmester.

Please note that your opportunity to state your preference for a transfer for your child’s learning mode begins at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 19, 2020, and ends at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

A special online survey has been created for you to state your choice. The survey is not yet active. It will be activated at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 19th.

You only need to complete the survey if you are looking for a transfer.

The form will be available on our main webpage in the spotlight section – www.wcdsb.ca

Please ensure you complete the survey during the stated October 19th to 21st time fame, as there will be no requests for changes granted after the survey closes.  It closes at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21st.

Thank you for taking the time to state your choice and for assisting us in having the staffing, resources and programming in place to assist the ongoing learning and success of your children.

October 15th, 2020|

2020/21 French Immersion 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.   

The board will be undertaking the 2020/21 French Immersion Review starting in November and running through to the Spring of 2021.  

The board is looking for 3 parents/guardians of elementary French Immersion students and 3 parents/guardians of elementary English students attending dual track (English and FI) schools to be part of the review committee.  Applications for these positions are open until October 22, 2020.  Please apply online. 

October 9th, 2020|

Special Thanksgiving Message from the Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

It has been exactly one month since we made our first tentative steps back to full learning at Waterloo Catholic.  Today, as we stand on the cusp of the Thanksgiving Weekend, I must reflect that despite some of the obvious challenges, we have much for which we can be grateful.  While it is most certainly difficult to contemplate a Thanksgiving table that might not be as populated as we might like it to be and while we may share concern about the presence of COVID-19 in our lives, it has been a sincere joy to welcome our students back to learning.

This next week the Waterloo Catholic community pastoral plan makes the transition from Called to Belong to our second year theme of Gathered to Become.  So, while this past year we could reflect that we were (and are) indeed a connected community grounded in hope and our shared faith, this year we celebrate the transformation that happens when we gather around the table of our Lord.  We celebrate the gift and power of the Eucharist.  What a well-timed reminder that in our schools, our staff and students are called as community and transformed in their learning and by their faith journey.  As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables, we offer gratitude that even in small numbers, we share God’s love, the opportunity to access education, and the gift of sharing the hope provided by Christ.

We are one month into our new school year and as I have visited some of our schools I have seen the resilience of our students, their appreciation in being able to learn with their teachers and their friends again, and I have witnessed staff who seem genuinely pleased to be back in their schools, connecting with one another, their vocation and their students.  We feel so blessed that to date our schools have remained fully safe places to be.  We have had only 2 early cases of COVID across all of our schools, over this full month, and both cases are now resolved.  We have had no cases of school transmission and indeed across the province, those cases are very few and far between.  Our students are benefitting socially and emotionally by being back together and by experiencing school as a young person is intended to experience school.  In community.

We are so proud of the many accomplishments of our system.  This is a most timely occasion to offer thanks to our staff for all they have done to adapt to our new circumstances, for their commitment, be it in our face-to-face school or in our virtual school, St Isidore.  Central and school-based staff alike went the extra mile to ensure we were ready and to provide their very best for our students.  For that we truly do thank them.  We did have some families who, when given the choice a second time, did choose to move to virtual learning.  As a result, we are preparing to move some teachers from our conventional classrooms to our virtual school.  This has caused some re-organization at the school level and the move will be effective Tuesday, October 13th.  We apologize for this inconvenience.  We realize this is not ideal, but we have neither the staff nor the money to simply add additional teachers to St Isidore.  We sincerely appreciate your understanding in this matter.

We are living and learning in unique times.  Above all else, the health and safety of our staff and students remains our number one priority.  As the province, public health and provincial health authorities have updated their guidance to us, we too have updated our guidance to you.  We realize that sometimes there is a great deal to process.  For our students there has been a new daily self-assessment tool released in the past week.  The tool allows for 2 levels of screening, and narrows down those children who should be sent for testing versus those who should simply stay home until symptoms have resolved.   Please remember that all students (or parents on their behalf) should complete this updated self-screening tool every day:  COVID-19 school and child care screening tool and a reminder that no staff should come to school without completing the COVID-19 adult self-assessment:  The process of self screening each day is a vital step in ensuring the continued safety of all our schools, so sincere thanks to all for remaining faithful to this and to all our required protocols.

We are so very happy to be back to learning in our schools.  We are so fortunate to have the sure knowledge that we are called together as a family in Christ, and in the Eucharist we are gathered as community to be become so much more than we are as individuals.  Let’s continue to be grounded in the faith, hope and love of Christ for surely that will be our strength in times of adversity.

We sincerely wish every member of our Waterloo Catholic family a restorative and healthy Thanksgiving weekend, rich in the blessings and bounty of this beautiful season. Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether  #WeGotThis

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten, Director of Education

October 8th, 2020|

Upcoming Board Meeting – Monday, October 5, 2020

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, October 5, 2020 — at the Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre.

Meeting Agenda

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 48 schools and five adult education facilities serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 184-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

October 1st, 2020|
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