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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|

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you found ways to enjoy the Mother’s Day Weekend despite the less than spring-like weather and that fact that many of us were unable to celebrate in the more traditional ways that have characterized years past.  It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates.  As always, we sincerely hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  We want to commend our WCDSB community for the impactful and joyous ways we managed to still celebrate Catholic Education Week.  Few of us could have predicted how appropriate or needed our theme of Igniting Hope would be.  It was truly heartening to see the many videos, messages, artwork, pictures and reflections of hope in our schools and homes.  Truly we believe we all feel the importance of our faith and our community at this time.

We are now settling into our journey of educator-led distance learning.  We know that for some it will be going well and that for a variety of reasons, for others, it may still be a challenge.  Our realities are each different and at Waterloo Catholic we are working hard to ensure the best possible experience for our students.  You may recall the invitation we gave our stakeholders in the week of April 14th to 21st to engage in a Thought Exchange where you were invited to share your concerns and questions.  We have now processed all that feedback and we would like to share with you what you said and how we would like to respond.

We are pleased to report that we had over 1,900 respondents, 1,700 thoughts and 37,000 ratings.  We had a broad cross-section of voices and the number of respondents from each group was a good representation of that stakeholder group.  Parents in general did reflect that they appreciate the efforts of their children’s teachers and we could certainly not be prouder of the hard work of so many to connect our students with learning at this time.  Elementary parents told us that they can be over-whelmed at times with balancing their own responsibilities and their children’s learning, that sometimes they need better clarity on what is optional and that they would appreciate a better sense of routine.  Perhaps most of all – they desire that connection between educator and home.  Secondary parents are also looking for clear communication and want to remain involved in their child’s learning.  They would like to see the inclusion of synchronous (‘Live”) learning or video conferencing.  And there remains a concern about their children’s report cards and post-secondary impacts.

We would like to report that we have heard you.  We continue to provide our teachers with further guidance and clarity about assessment, evaluation and reporting during this time of distance learning.  We have also worked on staff communications that are intended to strengthen consistency and clarity of expectation, while also looking at ways to solidify our collaboration with one another as staff.  We have heard you that a sense of routine is important and we will be working to reinforce that message.  We are also providing further professional development on good practices connected to synchronous learning, which remains an option in a teacher’s toolkit.  No student should be adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 school closure and we are working hard to ensure that is the case.  We know that equity issues matter to you and we are doing our best to bridge gaps, but providing resources and supports where they are needed to the best of our ability.

We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.   One common theme regardless of stakeholder group-  was the desire for connection.  We miss one another – and that is both heartening and normal.  Schools are remarkable places where relationship and community are forged, and maintaining that strong sense of connection is hard work.  We hope you will agree with us that our staff have certainly risen to the occasion and we know that each one has put their best foot forward in support of our students.  The sense of care and the love for their students is evident.  The physical, mental and spiritual well-being of our students remains our priority.  That said – we will continue to prioritize this work and the strong sense of family that we have as the community of Waterloo Catholic.

Thought Exchange Thoughts and Themes

We know that further clarity about the length of the closure is likely to come later this week.  Full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming, but we are committed to sharing those details when we have them.  We also know that seminal spring events such as communions, confirmations and graduations are currently being re-imagined.  We are hopeful that we will be able to have fall convocations for our graduates.  We know that you are missing the opportunity to celebrate this spring.  There are some virtual and media events which will assist in the short-term.  Communions will be re-scheduled in the fall, parish by parish, as we are able.  Similarly, once we are able, more information will follow about confirmations, as we learn about the availability of the Bishop and/or Vicar, and balance that with the size of the confirmandee class.  There is an intention to proceed, once we are able.

As always, 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.

Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  As we have reflected before – we are apart but never closer.  Let us commit to being there for one another.  Reach out to us through your local school.  While our Thought Exchange is done for now, we are still interested in hearing from you and walking with you.  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.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                           Bill Conway

Director of Education                             Chair of the Board

 

May 12th, 2020|

We Asked, You Answered! Thanks for Your ThoughtExchange Feedback!!

On Tuesday, April 14, 2020 we asked our #WCDSBAwesome community this very important question:

WCDSBLearn@Home – How Are We Doing…?

And the response was extraordinary!

The tool we used is called ThoughtExchange. Here’s how it worked:

1. Specifically, respondents were asked to answer the question:

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

2. Once respondents shared their thoughts, they had the opportunity to read the thoughts of others and assign *STARS* based on how much they agreed (5 *STARS*) or disagreed (1 *STAR*). This rating system allowed the school board to identify the key areas of success, while also flagging the areas of greatest concern

Between April 14 and April 21, 2020 a total of 1,925 respondents provided 1,635 thoughts – which generated 36,941 *STAR* ratings.

The full report is available on pages 141 to 160 — via THIS LINK.

So, what did we learn?

At the highest level – it is clear that our community values the work our teachers and system have done.  There were a number of comments acknowledging the efforts of teachers to connect and to ensure the well being and engagement of students.

There were three key points of further feedback.

First, the need for connection remains high.  There is a desire for engagement between educator and family, between students and their peers, as well as a desire to have some “live” engagement.

Secondly, there is a concern about issues connected to equity – which invites us to be very thoughtful in providing choice and multiple entry points for students.

Finally, there were many comments related to learning tasks — with a desire for consistent expectations and routine as educators engage their students.

We have used the feedback, which is further detailed below, to continue to improve our service to our students, our parents and our staff.  We have already taken steps to support more consistency and a clear understanding of expectations, to strengthen our collaboration and to further ensure that each student is feeling a sense of connection.

Elementary Students told us they value the collaboration among teachers, so that they have a clear sense of expectations. Further, they value regular check-ins and are looking for a sense of connection. They are feeling isolated and are sometimes having difficulty navigating learning platforms without the assistance of a parent. They desire more descriptive feedback and want some consistency in learning tasks.

Secondary Students told us they too want clearer communication of next steps in distance learning. Some require more technical support, and they desire more consistency in the communication from different teachers. Some are also balancing personal or job responsibilities. They are looking for synchronous video conferences or lessons to assist with their learning and/or pre-recorded videos. There is a desire for a stronger sense of connection. Finally, they are very concerned about their assessments and the possible impacts to their post-secondary plan.

Elementary Parents articulated most strongly a sense of both gratitude but also a sense of being overwhelmed by balancing their own responsibilities. Further, elementary parents would like some consistency in terms of understanding expectations. They are not feeling fully clear on what is mandatory and what is optional. They would like further attention placed on wellness and on providing support to students that is more flexible and accessible. Equity is a concern for elementary parents.

Secondary Parents are valuing the continuity of learning that is happening. They are looking for communication to be clearer and wish to be involved in monitoring their children’s progress. They want communication to be more flexible and innovative, with a nod to desiring live lessons or video-conferencing. Not unlike elementary parents, they are finding it challenging to motivate their children to engage in the learning at times. Not unlike their children, they are also concerned about how assessments will impact post-secondary plans — and they are wondering about how assessments will inform final report cards.

Elementary Staff shared that the learning curve to embrace distance learning has been significant and that they are struggling with their own demands to balance work and home responsibilities. They are concerned about issues of equity and about what the gap may look like once students return to the classroom. They are also concerned about their safety when the time comes to return to the classroom. Finally, they are seeking further clarification on how optional subjects will be reported on the final report card and have general questions about writing report cards in this new landscape.

Secondary Staff are also concerned about the impact of the closure on the next school year and student readiness for the next grade. They expressed concerns that some students are struggling with the new learning format. Equity was also a concern for secondary staff and Administrators. Staff also commented on being concerned about mental health and wellness, and its significance to being able to positively engage in distance learning. There remain concerns about how to write an effective report card in light of the closure.

“The WCDSB’s Senior Staff – and, indeed, all WCDSB staff – have been listening and responding.  We are proud of the work our system and staff have done to mobilize, we value the thoughts offered, and we will continue to work with this feedback to refine both our care and our processes in this challenging time.

Our stakeholders clearly value the many efforts of staff thus far — and our central team, principals, teachers and support staff have responded to this unprecedented challenge in remarkable ways. We are so grateful to them.  We are in this together.”

 ~~ Loretta Notten, Direction of Education

Please follow us @WCDSBNewswire on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit www.wcdsb.ca to see the “Heart of the Community” in action.

The care for our students is core to who we are, and it will inform our decisions and actions as we move forward through this time of change.

Thank you all for your participation in helping us make WCDSBLearn@Home a success!

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 8th, 2020|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meeting – Monday, May 11, 2020

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees (Committee of the Whole) is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, May 11, 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 7th, 2020|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — April, 2020

Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, April 20, 2020 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, April 27, 2020 — Meeting Agenda Package

Monday, April 6, 2020 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020

Student Success Update/Plan

The Ontario Ministry of Education supports a range of initiatives to facilitate Student Success in secondary schools, and in the transition to secondary schools, with the understanding that every student learns in their own way. Ontario’s high schools are working with communities, employers, colleges, universities and training centers to offer more ways than ever to help students focus on their interests and support their learning.

The goal is to meet the needs, interests and strengths of all students, to engage them in their learning and to better prepare them for graduation and a post-secondary destination be it college, university, community supported living, work or an apprenticeship in a skilled trade. Student Success initiatives in place to support learning and engagement include:

  1. Education and career/life planning, orientation programs and extra help for students as they move from grade to grade and school to school.
  2. Students have the voice and influence to positively change their school environment and to become more involved in the life of the school and achieve their goals.
  3. Student success teams at each school include school administrators, teachers and guidance counsellors to provide extra attention and support for individual students.

The report presented on April 6, 2020 addresses in detail the following key issues / initiatives:

  • Transitions (Grade 8-9)
  • Program & Pathways
  • Student Success Consultants Intermediate (SSCI)
  • Experiential Learning
  • Graduation Rates
  • Re-engagement Strategy

The full report is available on pages 33-42 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

School Year Calendar

Ontario Regulation 304 provides that school boards are required to prepare, adopt and submit to the Minister on or before the first day of May, the school year calendar(s) to be followed by the schools in their jurisdiction for the subsequent school year.

School Boards are required to identify a minimum of 194 school days between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, of which a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 7 days may be identified as PD days. Three of these must be for Ministry priorities. The remaining school days shall be instructional days. Boards may designate up to ten instructional days as examination days. Each school year calendar must be accompanied by a general outline of the activities to be conducted on PA days. The minimum number of instructional days is 187.

The first day of the school year will be Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The last day of the school year will be June 30th, 2021. The last day of school in December will be December 18th, 2020 and the first day of school in the new year is January 4th, 2021. Note: Christmas Break takes place between December 21st, 2020 and January 1st , 2021.

For a full listing of key dates, please see pages 43-46 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Trustee 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 213-14 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 March 2020 is available on page 215 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2020

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 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. In addition to this, the Ministry of Education also introduced Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education: Discussion Document (2016) which has also served to guide our Safe and Caring Schools focus in WCDSB.

There are four key components at the foundation of Ontario’s well-being strategy:

  • Positive Mental Health
  • Safe and Accepting Schools
  • Healthy Schools
  • Equity and Inclusive Education

Well Being Strat

The WCDSB’s suspension data is a highlight of the report.

Controlling for the time range (up to and including February of each school year) for suspension and WCDSB enrollment, we are noticing the that number of students who are suspended each year (recidivism) has decreased in both panels over the past 3 years:

In the Elementary panel, there is a decrease of 0.15% when we compare the total number of students that had a suspension issued (note: a 0.15% decrease would approximate to 25 fewer students) in the 2019-2020 school year when compared to three years ago.

In the Secondary panel, there is a decrease of 0.16% when we compare the total number of students that had a suspension issued (note: a 0.16% decrease would approximate to 11 fewer students) in the 2019-2020 school year when compared to three years ago and a decrease of 0.94% when we compare the total number of students that had a suspension issued (note: a 0.94% decrease would approximate to 64 fewer students) in the 2019-2020 school year when compared to last school year.

A detailed update on WCDSB’s Well Being / Safe Schools efforts is presented in detail on pages 8-21 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2020

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

WCDSB has continued to promote and embrace a forward thinking and innovative culture that embodies ideas which are transformational and unique. Our innovation and learning focus and Technology Strategic Plan are strong drivers that have continued to shape the strong pedagogical practices and equitable access to curriculum and leading-edge technology in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

In alignment with the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BIPSA), Pastoral Plan, and Multi-Year Strategic Plan, IT resources and innovative initiatives are aligned with the academic and administrative objectives of the Board, including a common Innovation Framework and IT vision with clear purpose and direction.

Through stakeholder feedback, and with a strategic focus on the end user we are well positioned to address today’s challenges and opportunities to ensure our ongoing success.

The April 27, 2020 report provides extensive detail concerning WCDSB’s work in the following strategic areas:

STRATEGIC DIRECTION ONE — Guiding Question: How might we leverage our partnerships with families, parishes, and community partners to fulfill our mission with our Catholic Graduate Expectations?

STRATEGIC DIRECTION TWO — Guiding Question: How might we use the various aspects of technology tools (pedagogical, security, and technical) to provide a scalable, sustainable, and equitable strategy for technology?

STRATEGIC DIRECTION THREE — Guiding Question: How might we connect our innovators (staff and students) and amplify our learning community by sharing their innovative practices that lead to sustained deep learning?

As soon as schools were closed due to the COVID19 Pandemic, the Ministry of Education indicated that remote learning was going to be an avenue in which we would deliver curriculum to K-12 students.

With a focus on equity and accessibility of learning for our WCDSB students data was collected which has resulted in the distribution of Chromebooks, Internet Devices and SEA equipment.

The first Monday following March Break, #STEAMDays were launched with “S” for Science and the initiative picked up “STEAM” from there on social media and the WCDSB website.

Following #STEAMDays, WCDSBLearn@Home was launched in an effort to communicate clearly with families and support them in accessing the specific curriculum focused learning opportunities provided by educators beginning on Monday, April 6th, 2020. WCDSB Learn@Home continues to be the site that offers essential information for families looking for technology and access tips, additional learning resources, government updates, learning resources and support specific to Special Education, mental health resources, Kindergarten resources, WCDSBPray@Home information, and answers to frequently asked questions.

The full report is available on pages 25-57 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package. Specifically, the Information Technology Five Year Strategic Plan 2020-2025 is presented on pages 48-57.

St. John Boundary Review Recommendations

On October 28, 2019, the Board of Trustees initiated a boundary review with the goal of reducing enrolment pressure at St. John. The boundary review includes four schools: St. John, Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Rosary, and St. Nicholas.

On April 6, 2020, the Board of Trustees received the St. John Boundary Review Final Staff Report. That report provided a series of staff recommendations. On April 20, 2020, Staff provided the St. John Boundary Review – Response to Trustee Questions.

As a result of decisions made by the Board of Trustees on Monday April 27, 2020, the boundary changes in accordance with Staff Recommended Option 7b — generally described below — will take effect on September 1, 2020:

  • move sub‐areas X and Y from Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Nicholas
  • move sub‐area M from Holy Rosary to St. Nicholas
  • move sub‐areas E and B from St. John to Our Lady of Lourdes
  • move sub‐area F from St. John to Holy Rosary

Grade 6 and 7 students currently attending St. John and Our Lady of Lourdes, and their siblings, are being offered the opportunity to stay in their current school.  This grandparenting of current students is optional, and families can choose to move all students to their new school in September. Students living in Area M currently attending Holy Rosary may stay at that school, with transportation if they qualify.

All new students living in areas impacted by the boundary review will attend their new school as of September 2020.

Effective April 27, 2020 the four review area schools were closed to Out of Boundary admissions.  Grade 6 and 7 students who have been attending either of the four review area schools during the 2019/20 school year with Out of Boundary permission, may remain in their current school.  Younger siblings who may also have Out of Boundary permission are not included in this grandparenting.

No new Out of Boundary applications will be allowed in the four review area schools.  Appeals for Out of Boundary attendance based on extenuating circumstances may be considered.  Further information on the appeal process will be shared directly with current Out of Boundary students.

Student Trustee Update

Student Trustees Meghan Cymbron and Rori Schaefer presented their monthly report on activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools. The report is available on pages 27-32 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Chair’s Update

Board Chair Bill Conway’s April 2020 report on the activities of the Board of Trustees is available on page 33 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, May 11, 2020

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, May 25, 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.

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For more information, please contact:

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

 

May 1st, 2020|

Special Message from the Minister of Education

On Sunday, April 26 2020, the Ontario Government announced that schools will remain closed under emergency order until at least May 31, 2020 (Announcement).

Should schools be permitted to reopen at that time, school employees will have access as of May 29, 2020.

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.

Today, 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.

April 28th, 2020|