Home/NewsWire

WCDSB Administration Presents Catholic Trustees with $314.7 Million Balanced Budget

Waterloo Region, ON – Trustees of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have received the Board’s $314.7 million 2020-21 school year budget. The budget vote is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, June 20, 2020.

The budget presentation is available beginning on page 10 via this LINK.

Quick Facts

> The overall budget is as follows:

    • Total Operating: $294.3 M
    • Total Capital: $20.4 M
    • Total Operating & Capital: $314.7

> As always, budget decisions have been guided by the key priorities captured in the following plans:

> Budget decisions have also been guided by new and emerging considerations related to re-opening schools within the current COVID-19 reality – chief among them, health and safety considerations.

> In the spring of this past school year, the school board was able to deploy just under 3,000 Chromebooks to the WCDSB community to facilitate learning at home. The 2020-21 budget continues to invest in learning technology that will support the school system in its goal to continue as an innovation – and learning – leader.

> Also reflected in the 2020-21 budget is the change in class size at the secondary school level, from 22:1 to 23:1. There is no change to elementary school class sizes.

> Additional key budget impacts are as follows:

    • Return of funding to support special education needs and STEM learning through the “Support for Students” fund. This has allowed the restoration of most of the positions that were impacted in last year’s budget, when the Learning Priority Fund had been suspended.
    • Continued funding for the Ministry Learning Disability pilot project, which will further support the delivery of literacy programming, allowing continued service for students with special education needs.

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.

July 13th, 2020|

Upcoming Board Meeting – Monday, July 13, 2020

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees (Special Board Meeting – Budget Presentation) is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, July 13, 2020.

As a result of the current State of Emergency resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

WATCH HERE

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.

July 9th, 2020|

Important Survey to Support Government Review of Ontario’s Child Care & Early Years System

The Ontario government wants to hear about how the early years and child care system is meeting the needs and expectations of parents, guardians and child care stakeholders.

This information will support the review of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) and help improve the system to better meet the needs of families.

The government recognizes that the province’s state of emergency and its ongoing efforts to promote physical distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have had a substantial impact on both parents and the child care and early years sector.

The government also recognizes the integral role that child care plays in supporting families, especially when it comes to enabling parents to return to work, and to contribute to the economic recovery of the province.

This SURVEY asks you to comment on your experience with:

  • the current child care and early years system, including its strengths and opportunities for improvement
  • before-school, after-school and other children’s recreation programs
  • quality of child care and early years programs and the inclusion of all children, including those with special and/or medical needs

The survey takes about 15 minutes and is open until July 21, 2020.

For information about WCDSB’s Extended Day Program, please click HERE.

To register for the 2020-21 School Year, please click HERE.

July 8th, 2020|

NOW’S THE TIME!! Kindergarten Registration is STILL OPEN! Sign up for School Today!!

Several years ago, the WCDSB established a very easy-to-use online pre-registration portal to make the registration process as convenient as possible.

Parents of children scheduled to begin JK in September 2020, are encouraged to complete the pre-registration process as soon as possible.

There will still need to be some in-person contact with the school, but that will be handled at an appropriate time after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

For non-Catholic families wishing to register in a WCDSB elementary school, your school Principal will reach out to you to complete the required interview process – again – at an appropriate time in in the most appropriate manner, including via phone.

Please CLICK HERE for all the information you need to start the registration process!

June 23rd, 2020|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meeting – Monday, June 15, 2020

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees (Committee of the Whole) is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, June 15, 2020.

As a result of the current State of Emergency resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

WATCH HERE

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.

June 11th, 2020|

Important Information Re: Availability of COVID-19 Testing

Dear Parents / Caregivers:

The well-being of all members of our WCDSB community — including students, families, and staff — is a top priority for our school board. We are writing to let you know that COVID-19 testing is now available to any Ontarian who needs it.

Ontario’s testing guidance now indicates that you should visit one of Waterloo Region’s Assessment Centres if you:

  • have at least one of the symptoms of COVID-19
  • do not have symptoms but are concerned you might have been exposed
  • do not have symptoms but think you are at risk through your employment (for example, if you are an essential or health care worker)
  • would like to be tested

If you do choose to get tested, here are a few important notes:

  • Testing is voluntary.
  • You do not need an OHIP card to be tested. It is a free service.
  • Some assessment centres may require you to book an appointment first or have certain restrictions (for example, some are unable to test young children).
  • You can also take an online self-assessment to help determine if you should get tested.
  • If you are free of symptoms and have not had contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 when presenting for testing, you will not be required to self-isolate. However, you should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days regardless of your test result. If you begin to develop symptoms, self-isolate and contact your local public health unit for further advice.

Local information about COVID-19 is available from Region of Waterloo Public Health.

June 5th, 2020|

Kindergarten Registration is STILL OPEN! Sign up for School Today!!

Several years ago, the WCDSB established a very easy-to-use online pre-registration portal to make the registration process as convenient as possible.

Parents of children scheduled to begin JK in September 2020, are encouraged to complete the pre-registration process as soon as possible.

There will still need to be some in-person contact with the school, but that will be handled at an appropriate time after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

For non-Catholic families wishing to register in a WCDSB elementary school, your school Principal will reach out to you to complete the required interview process – again – at an appropriate time in in the most appropriate manner, including via phone.

Please CLICK HERE for all the information you need to start the registration process!

June 5th, 2020|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — May 2020

Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, May 11, 2020 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, May 25, 2020 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

School Travel Planner Update

School Travel Planning in Waterloo Region is directed and funded by six contributing organizations including the City of Cambridge, the City of Kitchener, the City of Waterloo, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, the Waterloo Region District School Board, and Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region. This work has two mandates: to reduce traffic at school sites, and to encourage more families to use active travel for the school journey.

School Travel Planning uses a multi-pronged approach to address its mandates by implementing actions from the “Five E’s” that include Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation. While Education and Encouragement activities are easy starting points for many schools because they help to raise awareness of and celebrate the benefits of active travel, they are unlikely to achieve long-term changes in student travel behaviour on their own. Therefore, it is recommended that each school consider actions from each of the five E’s for a comprehensive school travel plan that will make walking to school an easier choice for families.

While schools often hold individual events, STSWR supports and tracks the following shared events to acknowledge those who regularly use active transportation and to encourage other families to try. The events are also a great way to get positive active transportation messaging out to all students.

  • iWalk Day
  • Winter Walk Day
  • Crossing Guard Appreciation Day
  • A Walk in their Sneakers
  • Bike to School Day

There are a handful of externally run programs that support active school travel in Waterloo Region. As appropriate, our facilitators introduce School Travel Planning schools to these programs as options to be included in the school’s comprehensive action plan to solve various barriers to active travel. It is important to note that while STSWR is not responsible for delivering these programs, facilitators spend various amounts of time supporting the decision-making process for schools.

  • Walking School Bus Waterloo Region
  • Cycling into the Future
  • Children’s Safety Village
  • CAA Standing Foot Patrol

The full report is available on pages 8-22 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Mathematics Update

WCDSB staff provide the Board of Trustees with regular updates on the Board’s mathematics programs. The report presented on May 11, 2020 provided updated information with respect to the following:

  1. Math Coaching Update for Targeted-Support, Board-Identified & Intermittent schools
  2. Elementary Math PD: new to EQAO, Math Leadership Series for Admin. & Math Lead Teacher
  3. Knowledgehook Update
  4. Math AQ Subsidy
  5. Supporting Distance/Remote Math Learning
  6. Next Steps for Math Professional Learning: Elementary & Secondary

The report also outlined next steps for math professional learning in both elementary and secondary schools:

  1. Create & facilitate Curriculum Implementation supports by grade band by Family of Schools (FoS) upon the release of the new Mathematics Curriculum, 1-8
  2. Optimizing learning on Numeracy PD Day – further unpacking/understanding of new curriculum; needs learned through distance learning, high impact strategies & practices
  3. Continue to refine high impact strategies & apply practices in the gradual release model in math coaching. Use data to plan forward for future school & board improvement planning.
  4. Maintain focus to build capacity for high impact strategies & monitoring for uptake and student achievement with administrators

The full report is available on pages 23-27 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Long Term Accommodation Plan

The Long-Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP) is a complete multi-year plan that focuses on all aspects of planning for student accommodation. The LTAP also provides an update on enrolment and demographic trends as they relate to future accommodation initiatives — and provides a listing of strategic initiatives including potential boundary reviews, new schools, and additions/renovations.

Overall, WCDSB enrolment is projected to increase significantly in both the elementary and secondary panels over the next 10 years.

The board’s market share (percent of students in the Region attending WCDSB schools) has risen for the third straight year and this trend is expected to continue.

Highlights of the LTAP include:

  • In addition to the capital priorities requests filed by the Board in September 2019, applications for four new schools and two school additions are identified.
  • Co-building/co-campus opportunities with other partners have been identified.
  • Significant growth will require modifications to boundaries across the Region in the coming years.
  • Staff are actively working to acquire school sites or are reserving sites in plans of subdivision to meet the board’s needs.
  • There are no planned school closures.
  • Major investments into the renewal of schools are highlighted in each school profile as well as in a summary appendix at the end of the LTAP. It should be noted that the Facility Condition Index (FCI) data has been removed from this year’s LTAP, as the data in the Ministry’s facility database can be misleading.
  • The Board’s aging portable fleet will require a strategy to renew owned portables. These assets will continue to play an important part in accommodating students as growth continues. Further investigation into a renewal strategy will be required through 2020/21.

The full report – including an Executive Summary – is available on pages 28-140 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Stakeholder Feedback on Distance Learning

Over the course of the second week into our new Distance Learning landscape, we wanted to know how things were going with “Phase 2” and identify where we might still have room for further reflection and/or action.

We invited students, parents, staff, and community members to engage in a Thought Exchange to uncover key questions and concerns about their experience so far. Our goal was to identify the areas where the Board could refine our support and communications to better serve the health, safety and well-being of our staff and students.

The ThoughtExchange was launched on April 14th, 2020 (and remained available for 1 week):

Question posed to Stakeholders:

As you consider Waterloo Catholic’s response toward learning at home, what questions or concerns do you have?

The three key themes that emerged were the need for connection between educator and family and between students and their peers; concerns regarding equity and the need for multiple entry points for our students, and there were many comments related to learning tasks.  This survey was done early in the process and much has been done to respond to these comments and themes, as well as many others.

Responses to the focus question allowed Board staff to identify key themes and sub themes which will inform the evolution of our new Learning @ Home reality going forward.

The full report is available on pages 141-162 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) has a long history of environmental protection and awareness, and of innovative action toward sustainable operations. The Board’s collective dedication for creating a better future for its students, staff, and community members stems from a deep appreciation of God’s world.

WCDSB conservation measures to date are a broad sweep of inspirational ideas. The way in which these initiatives have been adopted and supported across the Board is a direct result of the Board’s successful history and optimism for the future. While these strategies have provided excellent resources for staff, if we are to truly “live our mission” then green thinking must be woven throughout all future planning and day-to-day operations. An action-based, goal-oriented Energy and Environmental Plan is needed.

The WCDSB Energy Conservation and Demand Management Report – presented to the Board of Trustees on May 25, 2020 — is written to satisfy legislative requirements as they relate to energy conservation, local commitments made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), a need to address budget pressures and the current state of our environment, supporting the creation of a sustainable future for younger generations, and in the context of the requirements contained in the Multi-Year Strategic Plan.

WCDSB is actively addressing long term sustainability in the following key areas:

  • Energy & Water;
  • Purchasing & Waste;
  • Buildings & Grounds;
  • Food & Drink;
  • Inclusion & Participation; and,
  • Local Well-Being.

This is in keeping with the guidance of Pope Francis in his historic encyclical, Laudato Si’ – On Care for our Common Home – as well as WCDSB’s own mission and vision.

The full report is available on pages 24-49 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Seat Belts on Buses

Following a presentation by the General Manager of Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) in February 2020, the Board of Trustees requested additional information on the gradual implementation of seat belts on buses in Waterloo Region.

School buses are one of the safest modes of transportation available and provide protection for passengers through the use of the following features:

  • seats with padded high backs
  • seats in close proximity to each other to form compartments
  • seats filled with energy absorbing material
  • seats with strong anchor points
  • vehicle weight which favours the momentum of the bus in a collision versus other vehicles on the road
  • high standards for strength of steel cladding on the sides of buses

Crashes and crash tests have identified opportunities to improve safety on school buses, especially in the case of side impacts and roll overs with the addition of 3-point seat belts.

Given the attention paid to this topic to date, governmental momentum, parental expectations, a desire to provide students with a safe journey to school, and pilot projects already in place, it is expected that seat belts may become mandatory in the coming 1 to 3 years.

In anticipation of this requirement, and because of the advantages and safety improvements that are offered by seat belts, management will be working with STSWR and WRDSB to develop student and driver seat belt training, mock routing, and processes to ensure students buckle up safely when they board the bus.

Further, operators will be ordering and putting into service up to 12 replacement buses with seat belts through the 2020-21 school year.

The full report is available on pages 50-56 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Special Education Update

In accordance with Ontario Regulation 306, Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) is required, every two years, to prepare and approve a report on the special education programs and special education services provided by WCDSB, and to submit it to the ministry. Each board is required to maintain a special education plan, to review it annually, to amend it from time to time to meet the current needs of students with special needs, and to submit any amendment(s) to the Minister for review. One of the purposes of a school board’s Special Education Plan is to inform the Ministry of Education and the public about special education programs and services that are provided by the board in accordance with legislation and ministry policy on special education.

The WCDSB’s Special Education Plan builds capacity, skills, and knowledge in educators to ensure that high quality programs and services are provided for our students. The Special Education Liaisons (SELs), the Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA), Applied Behaviour Analysis Facilitators (ABA), the Chief Social Worker, Principal of Special Education and Senior Manager of Student Services all play a pivotal role in building capacity with educators in our community who have the most contact with our highest needs students. We are continuing to foster a system of inclusion that nurtures the whole student, ensuring wellness across their development; spiritually, emotionally, socially, physically as well as academically.

In compliance with Ministry priorities, the WCDSB Multi Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) and the WCDSB Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BIPSA), students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) — particularly a learning disability — has been a focus for professional development for our WCDSB staff. Universal Support Tools were a priority for the system. This system-wide support tool helps all educators create the inclusive environment which promotes independence, prevent problem behaviour, increase learning opportunities, and assist our students accessing the curriculum. By building independence and resiliency in our students, we can ensure positive outcomes for our students, so they are contributing and caring citizens upon graduation from WCDSB. Further to this, WCDSB designed and began the implementation of a Social Skills Development program, using PEERS, an evidence-based curriculum for young adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in all five Secondary Schools.

Current IEP Demographics:

As of October 22, 2020, approximately 13.6% of students in Elementary (n = 2409) and 18.8% of students in Secondary (n = 1628) are supported with an IEP (Figure 1). Relative to three years previous (2017), we have proportionally fewer students with an IEP in both Elementary and Secondary (14% of students in Elementary, n = 2215, and 24% of students in Secondary, n = 1681).

The full report is available on pages 57-76 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Trustees Update

Each month, Student Trustees Meghan Cymbron and Rori Schaefer present their monthly report on activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools. The report is available on pages 79-80 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Chair’s Update

Each month, Board Chair Bill Conway reports on the activities of the Board of Trustees. The report for May 2020 is available on page 81 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, June 15, 2020

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, June 29, 2020

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 –

For more information, please contact:

John Shewchuk – Chief Managing Officer | (519) 578-3660 | john.shewchuk@wcdsb.ca

 

 

May 26th, 2020|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meeting – Monday, May 25, 2020

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, May 25, 2020.

As a result of the current State of Emergency resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

WATCH HERE

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.

May 22nd, 2020|

Special Message from the Minister of Education

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, the Ontario Government announced that schools will remain closed under emergency order until September, 2020 (Announcement).

The extension was based on expert advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health officials on the COVID-19 Command Table and is part of the government’s ongoing effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Yesterday, the Minister of Education released this SPECIAL MESSAGE to parents.

As we move forward, please remember that on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home, where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage, as well as our FAQ page.  You can also follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.

May 20th, 2020|