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Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meetings – Monday, May 10, 2021

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. — Monday, May 10, 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

WATCH HERE

Agenda

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…”.)

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The WCDSB Committee of the Whole meeting will be followed immediately by a joint meeting with the Waterloo Region District School Board, concerning the 2021 Education Development Charges Review.

Consideration of By-Law Adoption

7:30 pm – Joint Public Meeting – By-law Passage (WCDSB/WRDSB)

Agenda

Live Stream

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 185-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

May 6th, 2021|

Board Meeting Bulletin – April 26, 2021

Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, April 19, 2021 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, April 26, 2021 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

Well-being Update – Safe Schools

At the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, we believe that every student has a right to learn in a safe, caring, and supportive environment. Our learning environments – whether face to face or virtual – foster positive Christ centered relationships that are at the heart of all our efforts to promote student achievement and well-being. The WCDSB vision for safe and accepting schools clearly aligns with the publication of Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Ontario Education (2014), wherein the Ministry of Education made a commitment to every student in the province of Ontario: Regardless of ‘ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other factors’, all students should be able to access the curriculum, feel safe at school, and have a sense of belonging.

Over the 2020-21 school year, the WCDSB has been intentional about supporting student wellbeing during these unprecedented pandemic times. However, because of the impact of the provincial lockdowns on schools and businesses and the restrictions posed by pandemic operational guidelines, some of our safe school initiatives have been paused and/or cancelled.

Regrettably, the Alternative to Suspension Program in partnership with the Cambridge YMCA did not receive renewed provincial funding and has been discontinued. Our partnership and training with Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) has been essentially paused due to gathering restrictions. However, consultation has been available as required.

We are continuing to notice fewer students who are being suspended when we look at the trends over the last three years.

Controlling for similar time ranges (e.g., September to February of each school year) when looking at students who are suspended and enrollment, we are noticing that total number of students who are suspended each year (e.g., recidivism) has decreased in both panels over the past three years in the following magnitudes:

  • In the Elementary panel, there is a decrease when we compare the proportion of students that were issued a suspension in the 2020-2021 school year when compared to four years ago (135 fewer students)
  • In the Secondary panel, there is also a decrease when we compare the total number of students that had a suspension issued in the 2020-2021 school year when compared to four years ago (168 fewer students)

To date, there have been no issued expulsions, up to and including the last day of February in 2019-20, and during the current 2020-21 school year. There were four recorded expulsions in 2018-19.

The report also provides updates in the following key topic areas and activities:

  • Anti-Bullying Week
  • The Umbrella Project
  • Human Trafficking and Exploitation
  • School Resource Officer Program Review
  • Safe School Ambassador Program
  • Professional Development for Educators
  • Digital Citizenship and Student Aware

The report is available beginning on page 17 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Multi-Year Information Technology Plan and 21st Century / Global Learning Update

The 2020-21 school year has continued to be one in which an innovative lens has not only been essential but paramount to the responsive needs that the COVID-19 pandemic has asked of WCDSB students, staff, and families. The foundational work of the Innovation Strategic Plan, which focused on the creation of a vision, mission, and strategic direction, enabled a responsive, targeted, and thoughtful system response to virtual learning needs as well as pedagogical support in order that all learners might achieve optimal student outcomes.

The learning opportunities that have been created during these unique times have catapulted teacher efficacy and systems thinking to new levels. We have been challenged to consider our obstacles as opportunities. With a progressive stance, the WCDSB continues to make decisions through an equity lens and our innovative endeavors continue to focus on strengthening educator capacity, building strong community partnerships, planning for opportunities for the traditionally underrepresented, and strengthening accessibility for all.

On April 26, 2021, the Board of Trustees received a detailed report describing the challenges faced and accomplishments made throughout the year. The report is divided into the following key areas:

  • Digital Citizenship Programming
  • Experiential Learning Programming
  • Global Competency Programming
  • Equity and Technology Governance
  • Classroom Technology and Innovation
  • Connecting Technology to Disciplinary Programming
  • Leadership for Innovation Learning Series

The report also includes the WCDSB’s Multi-Year Information Technology Strategic Plan for the years 2021 to 2026.

The document details the status of 2020-21 projects and outlines upcoming initiatives in several key areas, including:

  • IT Governance
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Staff Training, Support and Development
  • Infrastructure
  • Process Improvement

The report is available beginning on page 34 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

2021 Capital Priorities Submission

The current capital priorities program provides boards with an opportunity to apply by May 21, 2021 for funding to address up to 10 of their most urgent pupil accommodation needs including:

  • accommodation pressures;
  • replacing schools in poor condition;
  • supporting past consolidation decisions;
  • providing facilities for French-language rights holders in under-served areas; and
  • creating new licensed childcare spaces in schools.

Projects are expected to be completed and open no later than the 2024/25 school year.  This year’s program will prioritize projects where accommodation pressure is addressing utilization equal or greater than 100% in the 5th year after a project opens, and where there is a 2.5% or greater operational cost savings resulting from the project.

As identified in the 2020 Long Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP), the following list of projects were identified as priorities for the next round of capital priorities funding.  As such, the Board will apply for the following capital priorities:

  • New Rosenberg Catholic Elementary School – 400 pupil places
  • Boniface Catholic Elementary School addition – 92 pupil places
  • Gregory Catholic Elementary School addition – 92 pupil places

In addition, a new 400 pupil place elementary school project on the vacant St. Patrick CES site in East Kitchener would address the short- and long-term elementary accommodation needs in that community beyond the planned East Kitchener 7-12 school.

The report is available beginning on page 62 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Equity/Census Update

As a Catholic learning community, we are inspired and guided by the Gospel in our pursuit of equity and justice as a value rooted in our faith. In our Catholic/Christian tradition, we have a moral imperative to act intentionally to ensure those we serve – staff, students, and communities – are treated with respect and dignity as brothers and sisters in Christ.

A critical step to ensuring equity is to gain a clearer understanding of who our students are and of their school experiences. The purpose of enhancing data collection and performance measurement is to improve the achievement and well-being of all students and more precisely identify and address systemic barriers and disparities.

A consistent approach to collecting and analyzing voluntarily provided identity-based data will help WCDSB identify where systemic barriers exist and will help determine how to eliminate discriminatory biases to support equity, and student achievement and well-being through evidence-informed decision making.

Called to Belong

Our “Called to Belong” Workforce Census was launched on Spiritual Development Day in November 2019, but due to labour action and then the lengthy school closure period our completion rate was less than anticipated and the social/emotional context had changed so significantly that the data could not be used reliably.  We intend to re-launch our workforce census in May 2021. Consultations with staff from various equity-seeking groups took place during the week of April 19-23.

With the completion of our Workforce Census, we will have come to better understand the diversity of staff and identified barriers to workplace equity.  We will also have built capacity and understanding of the purpose of equity surveys with our entire employee population.  This will serve us well in completing our first Student Survey.

As we did with our Workforce Census, we have developed a draft Student Census survey to share with staff, students, parents, and community partners/organizations. Consultation with students, parents and community partners/organizations will take place which will involve a rationale for the census and a draft of the actual survey to share for feedback

Administration of the Student Survey will take place in October 2021, followed by analysis of data and development of a report that will be shared with trustees, the district community, parents, and community partners.

Once we have voluntary student data, will be able to compare staff to students to inform attraction to the teaching profession, leadership, and hiring and promotions so that eventually our workforce more closely resembles the students and families we serve.

The report is available beginning on page 65 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Update on WCDSB COVID Education Delivery Plan

At the current time, the schools of Waterloo Catholic continue to learn in our evolving pandemic reality, which currently has us under a provincial “stay-at-home” order.  Our staff, students and parents are yet again being asked to adapt, more so in our in-person learning environment than in the virtual environment of St Isidore.  That said – it is a challenging landscape across our province as we try to combat the third wave.  COVID-19 has changed the landscape of a traditional school experience and the staff of our board have planned, prepared, and now implemented in this new and continually evolving reality.  As we continue the journey further into spring, we are also looking to next year and what the school year will look like.

As was the case in January, when the full system pivoted to virtual, we are once again providing in person instruction and support to our special education vulnerable population.  Realizing that this was a possibility we might confront at some additional point in the school year, we began advocating earlier for the vaccination for all our staff – but with the staff who serve our vulnerable population as a priority. On April 21st, the government agreed to accept pre-registration for all Group 1 frontline essential workers – which takes in all our school-based staff. Meanwhile, targeted COVID-19 testing has continued in the Region over the course of this month.

WCDSB has also been the recipient of infrastructure funds released by the federal and provincial governments.  We have received approximately $8.1 million which will greatly assist in addressing some critical infrastructure needs connected to HVAC and windows. This investment will aid in improving the safety of our buildings – a much valued boost at this time when we are dealing with the impacts of the pandemic.  The specific investments are as follows:

  • HVAC projects – approximately 22 projects
    • Including replacement of roof top units, unit ventilators, heat pumps, exhaust systems, boilers, BAS upgrades and control systems
  • Window replacement projects – approximately 12 projects
  • Various other smaller projects including – automatic door openers, hand washing stations
  • Funding has also assisted with refurbishing 19 portables, some roofing projects and flooring projects as well.

These updates will primarily take place during quieter times in the schools, and as such much of the work will occur during the summer.

Finally, in March we conducted a preliminary survey to assess the level of interest in virtual learning for September 2021. The survey revealed that we have just under 600 elementary school students interested in virtual learning and fewer than 200 students in secondary schools. This will mean that we will offer St. Isidore as an option at the elementary school level in 2021-22, but we will have to consider our delivery model in secondary schools, given that the 200 students are spread over 5 schools, 4 grades and a variety of courses. Families will be asked to confirm their final choice of learning mode in June.

The report is available beginning on page 69 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 April 2021 is available on page 76 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 73 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, May 10, 2021

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, May 31, 2021

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.

April 27th, 2021|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meeting – Monday, April 26, 2021

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, April 26, 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

WATCH HERE

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 185-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

 

April 23rd, 2021|

Special Message Regarding Emergency Child Care

April 13, 2021

Dear WCDSB families,

Subject: Targeted Emergency Child Care is being offered effective April 19th, 2021

On Monday, April 12, 2021, the Province announced that elementary schools will be shifting to remote learning following the spring break for an unspecified length of time. During this time, all before and after school programs will be closed.

In support of health care and other frontline workers whose children are in school, the Ministry of Education will implement the targeted Emergency Child Care (ECC) program for school-age children. This emergency child care program is available at no cost to eligible parents, starting April 19th, 2021.

To determine if you are eligible to access emergency child care, please check the  Ministry of Education’s list of eligible workers.  If all parents/guardians in the household are required to work outside of the home and one (or more) parent/guardian is on the list of eligible workers, you can begin the application process for Emergency Child Care through OneList Waterloo Region.  Families are being asked to apply to one location only.  If your child care needs cannot be accommodated at your priority location, that program will assist you with accessing care at another location.

For more information, please go to the Region’s Emergency Child Care webpage. You can also email ECC@regionofwaterloo.ca.

Sincerely,

Barbara Cardow

Director, Children’s Services

Regional Municipality of Waterloo

 

April 14th, 2021|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meetings – Monday, April 19, 2021

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, April 19, 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

WATCH HERE

Agenda

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The WCDSB Committee of the Whole meeting will be followed immediately by a joint meeting with the Waterloo Region District School Board, concerning the 2021 Education Development Charges Review.

LINK (Meeting 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/c/WRDSBVideo/live

Meeting #1 –Policy Review Public Meeting – Joint Public Meeting (WCDSB/WRDSB)

Date: April 19, 2021, 7:30pm

Agenda: 2021-04-19 EDC Policy Review Agenda (1)

Meeting #2 – Successor By-Law Public Meeting – Joint Public Meeting (WCDSB/WRDSB)

Date: April 19, 2021, 8:00pm

Agenda: 2021-04-19 EDC Background Study Agenda (2)

For more information please visit:  Planning (wcdsb.ca)

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 185-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

April 14th, 2021|

Special Message from the Director of Education Regarding the School Shutdown

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

As you know we have commenced our well-deserved April Break and we hope that for each of you, it is starting as well as it can under our current circumstances.  No doubt you are likely also aware, the Premier of the Province has indicated that the return to school after the April Break will be remote.

That is, on April 19th both our elementary and our secondary students will begin their continued learning virtually.  The decision is being made out of an abundance of caution.  Experience has shown us that our schools are generally quite safe.  Our protocols have served us well and the cases of COVID are not starting, nor are they generally spreading, in our schools, but we are a reflection of the community.  We have also seen an increase in the variants, and they are proving more concerning.  Closing the schools to in person learning for the remainder of April will help us contain the cases that come into schools and ensure that when we return to our buildings, we are doing so in the safest manner possible.

We do not yet have a firm return date for in person learning but we know that we will pivot to virtual for a minimum of 2 weeks.  Once we have a firm return date for in person learning we will be in touch.

Just before we left for the break, out of an abundance of caution, we did make a “best efforts” attempt to send home Chromebooks with all those students for whom we had a prior request through our comprehensive survey.  If there are outstanding orders that were missed, they will be deployed upon our return on April 19th.   Schools and Extended Day programs currently remain closed and unavailable to staff, students and parents.  All school staff and teachers are on a well-deserved break and will be available for questions and updates as of April 19th, 2021.

The move to remote learning will be similar to January.  The school day will follow the bell times of your individual school and if not already received, you/your student will be given a clear indication of the daily schedule your child is to follow through your local school.  The first day back, April 19th, will look a little different – we will treat it similar to a snow day where work will be posted to the class site.  Students will work independently.  This is to allow our staff to prepare their virtual lessons and we will start full synchronous days on Tuesday April 20th.   This will apply to St Isidore as well.

Thank you for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff.  This will be more important than ever now – both for our schools and for our community at large.  During the April Break we must adhere to the guidance to limit our contacts and social gatherings.

Once again, we encourage you to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice. We also suggest checking out the WCDSB website https://www.wcdsb.ca/living-learning-looking-forward/ and Region of Waterloo Public Health website https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/2019-novel-coronavirus.aspx as they contain helpful resources and supports.  If you have any questions about what your particular school is doing, please let your school principal know upon their return on April 19th, 2021.

I will also take this opportunity to once again point out that mental health resources are available to students and families through Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

Vaccination does continue to roll out and while we are in the darkest of days right now, there is reason to believe there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.  Let us continue to be an Easter people, anchored in faith.  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.  #InThisTogether  #WeGotThis

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                                       

Director of Education 

April 13th, 2021|

Additional Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing for Staff & Students During “April Break”

The Ontario government has announced several opportunities to access COVID-19 testing for staff and students during the upcoming April Break.

Asymptomatic targeted testing expansion

The following options will be available to staff and students in the community.

In-Pharmacy Testing:

Existing Pharmacies

  • For the week of April 12-18 only, pharmacies that currently offer asymptomatic testing for education staff, will now accept appointments from students.
  • Children attending child care located within schools will also be eligible to access this testing. Please check with your local pharmacy on minimum testing age.
  • While students/children can access testing in pharmacies for April 12-18 only, this testing will continue to be available for all staff.
  • To book an appointment, visit the Covid-19 Testing Locations website, and select “pharmacy” as your location type, with the booking details requested.

New Pharmacies

  • In addition to these pharmacies, Shoppers Drug Mart is also able to offer additional in-pharmacy Rapid Antigen Screening for students and staff beginning April 14, 2021
  • Please see the accompanying list of participating stores
  • To book an appointment, please contact the store directly.

Assessment Centres

  • For the week of April 12-18, students and staff will also be able to access asymptomatic testing at local assessment centres.
  • Children attending child care located within schools, and child care staff, will also be eligible to access this testing.
  • This testing is only being offered to students, children and staff from April 12-18.
  • To book an appointment, visit the Covid-19 Testing Locations website, and select “assessment centre” as your location type, with the booking details requested

Participating Shoppers Drug Mart Stores

April 9th, 2021|

Special Message from the Director of Education – “April Break”

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

I sincerely hope this email finds you well and having enjoyed a safe and hope-filled Easter weekend.  Today I am writing to you with some updates as we prepare for our much anticipated April Break.  It is absolutely essential that we follow the guidance of Public Health and the province in order to ensure a safe return to learning by all.

As you know the province is now in a province-wide shutdown.  For you and your family during the break, this mean only socializing within your own home, taking advantage of testing opportunities, screening everyday for symptoms and staying home if you or anyone in your family feels at all ill.  Please take this very seriously as part of our collective responsibility to each other.

As of the writing of this letter, we are expecting to be back to in person learning on April 19th.  That said, we know the landscape continues to evolve so we will send students home with Chromebooks for those who require them.  Similarly, we encourage students to take home personal belongings so school cleaning can be facilitated.  We will certainly be in communication if anything changes about our status for return on April 19th, 2021.

Yesterday we were able to communicate that a small portion of our staff, specifically our special education staff can begin vaccination.  This is a hopeful sign and it has energized us for the journey forward.   This is a critical time.  The end is in sight, but we must do our utmost to follow all guidance at this critical time so that we can have a safe, happy and healthy return to school for all.

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.  #InThisTogether 

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                                       

Director of Education 

April 8th, 2021|

Vaccinations for Staff Providing Direct Personal Support to Students with Special Education Needs

April 7, 2021

For immediate release

Waterloo Region, ON — As the result of ongoing collaboration between Region of Waterloo Public Health, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, and the Waterloo Region District School Board, staff providing direct personal support to students with special education needs will now be eligible to receive their initial COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccination plan prioritizes vaccines for those at greatest risk of severe illness and those who care for them. Planning for how to prioritize this staff group has been ongoing.

These staff members play a critical role in our schools, supporting our students with the most complex needs to ensure they are able to participate as fully as possible in learning each and every day. Prioritizing their access to vaccination is an important step in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19, as these dedicated individuals work in close contact with highly vulnerable students, where physical distancing and mask wearing is not always possible, as well as providing personal care for prolonged periods of time.

‘We greatly appreciate the collaboration with Public Health in prioritizing the staff who work closely and provide care for our most vulnerable students, and we recognize the tremendous commitment of all of our staff to our students.’’ said John Bryant, Director of Education for the WRDSB.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Region of Waterloo Public Health to help us prioritize vaccination for our most vulnerable staff. We value the work and service of all our staff and this first step energizes us that things are moving in a hopeful direction.” added Loretta Notten, Director of Education for the WCDSB.

Eligible staff are being contacted directly with registration instructions. Ongoing conversations are taking place with Region of Waterloo Public Health to plan for the prioritization of vaccination for all educational staff as per the provincial framework.

# 30 #

 

April 7th, 2021|

Special Easter Message from the Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We have communicated a fair bit over the past year – certainly there have been more letters from my office than would normally be the case and we certainly know that there is a clear reason for that to be so.  The pandemic has changed our lives and has invited far more frequent communication.  Today I would like to reflect more meaningfully on just the next few days ahead.

We find ourselves in the midst of Holy Week as we prepare for the Holy Triduum.  We reflect on the fact that the only path to the joy of Easter Sunday is through the experience of the sorrow and loss of the crucifixion.  In many ways, this is an apt reflection for us as we impatiently wait for the end of our suffering and for the rebirth of our lives.  It has been a challenging year and I want to thank and acknowledge all our families for the confidence and partnership you have shown us.  We know that it has not been at all easy and there may yet be struggles ahead.

We need look no further than the example of Christ, who in His human form, prayed to God for strength and to be spared his suffering.  But God so loved the world that He gave His only son and it was through His love, that hope and rebirth was provided to all humankind.  As we look to the wondrous beauty of nature around us – as it is awakened and stirred into new life – may we know that hope is ours and that this darkness too shall pass.

I would like to take this opportunity to strongly ask that you not gather this weekend for Easter festivities.  Please confine your celebrations to your immediate family.  It is a hardship – there can be no doubt – but it is part of our collective responsibility to one another.  Please do not gather.  Please do not let children come together for play dates.  Please do not make exceptions to the guidance.  It will be a quiet Easter, but the end is in sight, and what we do now can really influence how we experience the last months of this pandemic before there is broader vaccination.

We will have more updates in the week to come, but today it is just a sincere wish for a happy and holy Easter season.  May all the hopeful jubilation that Easter Sunday brings be yours as we transition from the waiting and sadness of Lent to the unmatched joy of the resurrection.

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.  #InThisTogether 

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

April 1st, 2021|