WCDSB Administration Presents Catholic Trustees with $322.4 Million Balanced Budget

Waterloo Region, ON – Trustees of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have received the Board’s $322.4 million 2021-22 school year budget. The budget vote is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, June 14, 2021.

Quick Facts

> The overall budget is as follows:

  • Total Operating: $301.2 M — ($6.9 M change from 2020-21)
  • Total Capital: $21.2 M — ($0.7 M change from 2020-21)
  • Total Operating & Capital: $322.4 M — ($7.6 M change from 2020-21)

BUDGET BOOK

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

> Once again, 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.

> Key funding areas of the operating budget include:

  • Learning Services — $208 M
  • Special Education – $39.2 M
  • School Operations & Maintenance — $26.6 M
  • Student Transportation — $7.6 M
  • Adult & Continuing Education — $9.4M
  • Board Administration — $10.4M

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.

June 7th, 2021|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meeting – Budget Presentation — Monday, June 7, 2021

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, June 7, 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…”.)

June 3rd, 2021|

WCDSB Board Meeting Bulletin — May 2021

Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, May 10, 2021 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, May 31, 2021 — Meeting Agenda Package

Highlights

Math Strategy Update

As well as providing an update with respect to the following listed math priorities, the Math Update also provided detailed information regarding steps currently being taken by WCDSB to continue proactively responding to the changing landscape of education, including:

  • Math Coaching Support (Elementary)
  • Math Professional Learning Opportunities: Reaching Educators Virtually & Digitally (Elem & Sec)
  • Secondary School Update – Preparing for 2021 De-streamed Culture
  • Resource Update: Usership data for Knowledgehook, Mathology.ca & Digital Tools
  • Looking Forward / Next Steps

The report contains many very instructive charts and graphs, that clearly chart the accomplishments, opportunities and ongoing challenges facing the school board.

Going forward into the 2021-22 school year, the following initiatives will be undertaken and/or continued:

  • Virtual Professional Learning – via webinars, to respond to teacher & student needs in real time
  • Math Coaching Support for targeted & board-identified schools – support for periphery schools ongoing by consultants; explicit support for St. Isidore staff ongoing by math coaches and consultants
  • Math Webinars for all divisions of educators and administrators to support the new curriculum, and the educational landscape serving all learners, as it evolves
  • Continuing Support for pedagogies that promote a blended learning environment
  • Ongoing Communication with Educators – keeping teachers informed of ministry math resource updates while also keeping them abreast of all support(s) being offered via the weekly Math News Updates
  • Prioritizing ‘Just-in-Time’ Support – for all educators, students, and administrators

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

Huron Brigadoon Boundary Review

In January 2021, the Board of Trustees approved the initiation of the Huron Brigadoon Boundary Review and in February 2021, approved the boundary review’s timeline.

The Final Staff Report was presented to the Board of Trustees on Monday, May 10, 2021. The report was provided for consideration in advance of the June 14, 2021, Board Meeting when a decision regarding the affected school boundaries is scheduled. The draft recommendations are as follows:

  • That the boundaries of Blessed Sacrament, John Sweeney, Our Lady of Grace, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and the new Huron Brigadoon Catholic Elementary Schools (CES) be modified in accordance with the preferred option (Option 1), effective September 2022 or at such time that the new school opens.
  • That Grade 7 students enrolled at Blessed Sacrament, John Sweeney, Our Lady of Grace, or St. Kateri Tekakwitha in the 2021/2022 school year, or the school year prior to the new Huron Brigadoon CES opening, be “grand parented” to finish Grade 8 at their current school.
  • That Grade 7 students “grand parented” at their current school be provided with transportation if they qualify in accordance with board procedure APO012 –Transportation.
  • That French Immersion be offered at the new Huron Brigadoon CES upon its opening in September 2022, or at such time that the new school opens, starting with Grade 1 and growing a grade per year.
  • That students enrolled at Blessed Sacrament, John Sweeney, Our Lady of Grace, or St. Kateri Tekakwitha in the 2021/2022 school year, or the school year prior to the new Huron Brigadoon CES opening, who were directed to attend the new Huron Brigadoon CES as an outcome of the Huron Brigadoon Boundary Review, be considered for “grand parenting” at such time as future boundary reviews are conducted in Southwest Kitchener.
  • That a Transition Planning Committee be formed to support all students who will be moving to the new Huron Brigadoon CES as an outcome of the Huron Brigadoon Boundary Review.

The report is available beginning on page 20 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

School Program Review: New Grade 7 – 12 School

In September 2020, the 7- 12 Program Review Initiation Report was presented to the Board of Trustees to begin the work to establish program recommendations related to the opening of a new Grade 7- 12 school in East Kitchener. The first and second phases of the review are now complete. The report presented on May 10, 2021, provided Trustees with key considerations resulting from research and consultation and provided recommendations for implementation of a Grade 7-12 school configuration.

Based on the public consultation on the draft key considerations – and the input received – the following reflect the final recommended elements which should form the operational and organizational principles for the establishment of a Grade 7-12 school. Trustees will make a final decision on May 31, 2021.

  • That a Grade 7-12 school will have a single identity for all students and staff and operate under a single name, uniform, teams, colours, and mission.
  • That a Grade 7-12 school will be administered by a single Principal, and that a Vice Principal(s) be assigned to the elementary (Grade 7 & 8) students and additional Vice Principals be assigned to the secondary (Grade9- 12) students in accordance with the board’s staffing protocol.
  • That a Grade 7-12 school will be designed to accommodate elementary and secondary students in a single building, while ensuring space for elementary students in a wing or floor(s), and that those areas use materials and finishes to define the space.
  • That students attending a Grade 7-12 school will dress in a common uniform which ensures students are distinguished from other persons in the school building.
  • That, consistent with the board’s secondary schools, a Grade 7-12 school will have security cameras throughout the interior and exterior of the building.
  • That a Grade 7-12 school adopt and implement safe schools practices employed in elementary and secondary schools and apply those practices to either or both panels as appropriate.
  • That a Grade 7-12 school have a common start and end time, if possible, to facilitate the efficiency of student transportation to and from school and provide opportunities for intentional coordination of supervised school activities involving both elementary and secondary students.
  • That a Grade 7-12 school have unique schedules for each panel to limit interaction between Grade 7 & 8and Grade 9-12 students.
  • That Grade 7 & 8 students in a Grade 7-12 school be assigned to a home room teacher and that program be delivered consistently with that offered in elementary schools throughout the board, while recognizing the opportunities of increased access to specialized classrooms.
  • That special education programming in a Grade 7-12 school be delivered consistently with elementary and secondary panel programming throughout the board.
  • That student success strategies used in elementary and secondary schools throughout the board be consistently delivered for elementary and secondary students in a Grade 7-12 school.
  • That Grade 8 to Grade 9 transitions will be managed and coordinated within a Grade 7-12 school.
  • That transition planning for Grade 6 students be developed to support the move from Grade 6 to Grade 7, which may include the development of orientation programs, school visits, and hosted events for feeder school students throughout the year.
  • That a Grade 7-12 school ensure panel specific opportunities for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for Grade 7 & 8 and Grade 9-12
  • That Grade 7-12 students will have access to a Chaplain and chapel in the school to support faith life and support positive, supportive relationships between students, staff, families, and community members

The report is available beginning on page 62 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. Vaccinations for 12-17 year olds are available throughout month of June.

We are now in the process of both working through the ever-evolving operational challenges of this year, as well as navigating our planning for the 2021-22 school year.  We met our staffing and budget deadlines which we hit toward the end of March and early weeks of April.  Given that we overstaffed this year to keep our class sizes smaller, we have 39 net teachers surplussed in bricks and mortar elementary schools.

Based on current information, St. Isidore elementary school will be reduced from 119 classes to 25.  We are receiving direction from the Ministry that would seem to position us for movement toward a more traditional school year. Parents must finalize their decisions regarding next year this week.

In elementary schools, there is an expectation that itinerant teachers will move from class to class, and over the course of the year extra-curriculars could return.  In secondary schools, the hope is with vaccination we may be able to offer students classes every day, as well as the hope that extra- curriculars will return to secondary schools over the course of the year.

We have been told at the secondary school level to plan to a 2-period day, with 300 minutes of instruction.  This poses challenges, as it is effectively a quadmester model, where in one term a teacher carries 2 courses and in 1 term, a teacher carries 1 course.  This imbalance is being worked on to ensure all teachers receive prep time.

With the release of the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) and other associated funding envelopes, we have been able to further refine what our staff and budget plans may look like.  We have been providing with discretionary funding that can be used to support needs that have arisen because of the pandemic, its management, and its impact.  We are looking at implications for early literacy, re-engagement, innovation, and class size.  Details will be fully revealed as the school year budget is finalized.

The report is available beginning on page 131 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Special Education Update

The report presented to the Board of Trustees on June 7 highlighted the special education programs and services that are provided by the WCDSB in accordance with legislation and ministry policy on special education as well as to provide an update on the strategic goals of the MYSP as they relate to special education.

The 2020-21 school year brought several challenges with respect to COVID-19 and provincial lockdowns, with two significant pivots to remote learning after both the Christmas and the April Break. To provide equitable access to learning opportunities for students as per the goal in the MYSP, technological devices were distributed to students with special education needs to access their learning. The number of SEA devices (Chromebook, laptops, iPad) totaled approximately 2,400 devices, which consisted of both existing claims and new claims deployed this year.  Training around the use of these devices consisted of 368 individual student training sessions and more than 600 staff that received training.  All WCDSB students and teachers continue to have access to Google Read & Write with a total of 14,000 accounts currently in place.

The Special Education Update report is lengthy and highly detailed. Key elements addressed include:

  • Community & ACTIVE Living Program Review
  • Staff Professional Development
  • Mental Health Supports & Professional Development
  • Professional Learning for Student Services Staff
  • Celebrations of Success

Looking ahead to Summer 2021, the Ministry of Education has provided targeted summer funding in the areas of: Student Mental Health, Transition to School for Students with Special Education Needs and Reading Intervention for students affected by COVID-19.

As a result, this summer Student Services will be supporting a variety of programs.  Both Summer Boost and Headstart will be supported by Student Services and special education staff to assist students with special needs who are registered in the programs.  Additionally, the Summer Boost program will include a mental health component and will be supported by our Mental Health Lead.

Like last summer, Social Workers will continue to take referrals and will be proactive in reaching out to disengaged students.  Special Education staff will work alongside Student Services staff to assist in transitioning targeted FDK students with high needs through a skill building program offered in August.  Similarly, elementary school students with high needs will be offered the opportunity to participate in a transition to school program.  Finally, we will be offering a virtual Reading Intervention Program to support students in Grade 1 and Grade 2 who would benefit from additional support in early literacy skills using evidence-based reading interventions. Registration for the Reading Intervention Program is focused on student need and acceptance is based on the learning profile of the student.

The full report is available beginning on page 114 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Energy Conservation Plan

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board 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-today operations. An action-based, goal-oriented Energy and Environmental Plan is needed.

The WCDSB Energy Conservation and Demand Management Report 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 plan is available beginning on page 33 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Multi-Year Capital Renewal Plan

As our buildings continue to age, major renovations and repairs are needed to ensure students and staff are safe and our buildings continue to be welcoming, operational and efficient spaces which support the communities in which they belong. Over the previous school years, the Ministry of Education has continued to provide two sources of funding to support major repairs and renovations – School Renewal Allocation (SRA) Funding and School Condition Improvement (SCI) Funding.

School Renewal Allocation (SRA) Funding is provided to allow school boards to revitalize and renew aged building systems and components. This includes replacing aged HVAC systems and roof replacement as well as installation of new building automation systems and air conditioning systems, improving accessibility and maintenance requirements such as painting, roof patching and asphalt repairs. There are no restrictions on its use except that the work performed must be capital in nature. For the 2020-2021 school year, School Renewal Allocation Funding totals $3,818,279. Annual funding for school renewal has supported HVAC improvements, roof repairs, upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems, etc.

School Condition Improvement (SCI) Funding is provided to address the needs at schools that are expected to remain open and operating for at least 5 years. The monies allow school boards to revitalize and renew aged building components that have exceeded or will exceed their useful life cycle. Items eligible for the SCI funding will be identified through the ministry’s School Facility Condition Assessment Program. School boards are required to direct 70% of their SCI funds to replace major building components and systems (roof, windows, HVAC plumbing, etc.). The remaining 30% can be used to address components and systems listed above or alternatively building interiors and surrounding site components. SCI Funding totals $8,561,730 for the 2020-2021 school year.

In addition to the school projects, the construction team has been working on the following projects:

  • New St. Boniface School – scheduled to open September 2021 (includes a childcare centre and EarlyON Centre)
  • Huron Brigadoon Project – $10,321,990 (includes a childcare centre)
  • East Kitchener (7-12 Project) – $37,699,818
  • Southeast Galt Project – $8,652,378 (joint venture with Waterloo Region District School Board and the City of Cambridge)
  • St. Agnes CES addition – $6,016,673

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

French Immersion Review

The 2020-21 French Immersion Review Committee (FI Review Committee) was established to provide guidance and advice to the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees related to French Immersion programming and future accommodation issues. Specifically, the following factors were to be re-confirmed or addressed in this review:

  • Elementary school organization (i.e., grade structure, single track, dual track)
  • Grade 1 entry point
  • Approach to Grade 1 application for FI
  • Attendance of siblings in FI school Impact of transportation, as it relates to school organization • Establish strategy for delivery of FI courses for grades 9 to 12 to meet secondary FI certificate requirements
  • Review and confirm criteria for selecting new elementary FI location(s)
  • Identify areas of future consideration for new elementary FI location(s)
  • Establish criteria for selecting new secondary FI location(s)

The following recommendations were provided for consideration of the Board on June 14, 2021:

  • That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board continue to offer French Immersion in Dual Track (English and French Immersion) elementary schools, and prioritize that French Immersion be offered in a Grade 1-8 configuration or a school configuration consistent with English programming in the same facility.
  • That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board continue to provide a Grade 1 entry point for French Immersion, and that available Grade 1 spaces be determined annually, based on facility and staffing limitations, and that a lottery be held, by site, where interest in French Immersion exceeds available space and that siblings of existing French Immersion students receive priority access when applying to attend French Immersion.
  • That consistent with the Board’s priority to keep siblings together, the Board review APA003 – Admission of Out of Boundary Students to reflect the admittance of siblings of French Immersion students in a capped school.
  • That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board continue the practice of not providing bus transportation to elementary French Immersion students who reside outside of a school’s English boundary.
  • That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board assess the impacts of offering transportation to French Immersion students living outside a secondary school’s English boundary, and that a decision on providing transportation to these students be made prior to November 2021.

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

Long Term Accommodation Plan

The 2021 Abridged Long-Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP) 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.

While the current year impacted by COVID-19 has resulted in enrolment in both panels which did not meet previous projections, enrolment is projected to continue to increase in both the elementary and secondary panels over the next 10 years.

Plan Highlights:

  • Four new capital priorities recommended for submission by May 21, 2021.
  • Sustained enrolment growth will continue to 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.
  • No planned school closures.

The full plan is available beginning on page 102 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

2020-2021 School Year Calendar

School boards are required to prepare, adopt, and submit to the Minister 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, 2021, and June 30, 2022, 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 7th, 2021. The last day of the school year will be June 29th, 2022. The last day of school in December will be December 17th, 2021, and the first day of school in the new year is January 3rd, 2022. Note: Christmas Break takes place between December 20th and 31st 2021.

The calendar – including a list of all PD Days — is available beginning on page 125 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 137 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 135 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Special Public Board Meeting – Budget Presentation

Monday, June 7, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, June 14, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

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

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June 2nd, 2021|

WCDSB Students Shine at Virtual Skills Ontario Competition

During the weeks of April 22- May 7, 2021, a total of 7 WCDSB high school students competed at the Virtual Skills Ontario Competition.

Due to the challenges we have all faced throughout the 2020-21 school year, this group of students faced adversity head on and competed in the first ever Virtual Skills Ontario Competition. Students practiced and competed from their homes, with emails of advice flooding their inboxes and video calls with their Mentors.

The WCDSB’s 7 students competed in the following categories:

2D Animation Jolee Da Silva & Perry Yenika St. Mary’s
IT Office Software Applications Manda Ilic St. Mary’s
Job Interview Melissa Valad St. David
Job Skill Demonstration Sabrina Bumbacco St. Benedict
Prepared Speech Tolu Akinyemi St. Benedict
Prepared Speech Alicia Tonleu Jemetio Resurrection

 

During the Virtual Closing Ceremonies, held on Thursday May 13, the WCDSB competitors eagerly sat at their computers and awaited their results. Three students brought home some hardware!

Please congratulate:

Tolu Akinyemi, St. Benedict C.S.S. – GOLD Medalist – Prepared Speech

Sabrina Bumbacco, St. Benedict C.S.S. – SILVER Medalist – Job Skill Demo

Manda Ilic, St. Mary’s High School – BRONZE Medalist – IT Office Software Applications

All competitors put in their best efforts and made the WCDSB community proud! For a full list of results visit: http://www.skillsontario.com/competitions/secondary

On Wednesday May 26, Tolu Akinyemi represented not only the WCDSB, but Ontario, as she competed in the Skills Canada National Virtual Competition. Tolu was tasked with delivering both an impromptu speech, and a prepared speech throughout the competition day. The 2021 Skills Canada Virtual Competition Showcase and closing ceremonies will take place on June 15, 2021. Registration is FREE and all are welcome to attend. Register here: https://scvnc.vfairs.ca/

Congratulations to all students who competed at the Skills Ontario Virtual Competition and thank you to all the teachers and mentors who supported them along the way!

Solange Saraiva – Experiential Learning Officer

Leonard Bumbacco– Experiential Learning Consultant/OYAP Coordinator

June 1st, 2021|

Important Message for Families of Elementary Transported Students

Dear parents and guardians of ELEMENTARY transported students,

Student Transportation Services Waterloo Region (STSWR) is eagerly preparing to transport students for the upcoming school year and we need families in bus zones to tell us their needs by Friday, July 1st, 2021 so we can provide smooth bus service for all in September. You can always let us know later if your plans change and you may opt out of busing altogether, or for either morning or afternoon busing only.

Parents/guardians can find out if they live in the bus zone by using the “Transportation Eligibility” portal on our website at www.stswr.ca.

Our “Do Not Ride” form is the right tool to communicate your transportation needs effectively now and any time your plan changes.

The “Do Not Ride” form lets your school, your bus driver, and STSWR know that your child will not be taking the bus in one, or both, directions. When STSWR receives this form from you, your child’s transportation arrangement will be changed accordingly within 2-3 business days.

For younger students, it is especially important to keep us informed of changes immediately to ensure your child is not assigned to a bus in error and inadvertently put on a bus at the end of the day if you are expecting them to walk or be picked up. 

Both WRDSB and WCDSB schools support active travel as a preferred method of transportation to school and offer a variety of programs that may be available to you. They also support a “Drive to 5” program to encourage those who must drive, to park a safe distance away from schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I use the “Do Not Ride” form if my child is eligible for transportation, attended in-person during the 2020-2021 school year and is continuing in-person for September 2021?

  • If your child is assigned to the bus this school year, do not use the form; they will be automatically assigned for September 2021.
  • If your child opted out of transportation this school year, but now requires transportation for September 2021, please use the “Do Not Ride” form to have their busing reinstated.

Do I use the “Do Not Ride” form if my child is eligible for transportation, enrolled in distance learning during the 2020-2021 school year, but is switching to in-person for September 2021?

  • Your child will be automatically assigned for September 2021.
  • If your child requires partial or no busing, please fill out the “Do Not Ride” form.

How do I opt back in to busing?

If your child qualifies for busing you can opt-in again at any time using the same “Do Not Ride” form.

What if my address changes?

All address changes must be completed at your child’s school before STSWR can add students to the bus to be picked up at that address. Call your school’s office to do so.

Does my child need to wear a mask on the bus during the 2020-21 school year?

Currently it is Public Health guidance that non-medical grade face masks are required on buses for all grades since physical distancing can be challenging on buses. STSWR will be taking direction from Region of Waterloo Public Health should this requirement change.

We encourage all parents to teach their children how to wear a face mask safely.

More details regarding busing for September 2021 will be posted when directives from the Ministry are announced. This will include any changes to Secondary busing. If you have any questions about your child’s school transportation, please contact Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region at 519-744-7575 ext. 221.

 

 

Benoit Bourgault, General Manager, STSWR, Inc.

 

May 31st, 2021|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meeting – Monday, May 31, 2021

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, May 31, 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…”.)

May 28th, 2021|

Important Message from the Director of Education re: Planning for the 2021-2022 School Year

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We are sitting on the cusp of June and at this point it is not 100% clear if we are headed back to face-to-face learning in this school year.   We will certainly be in touch should any development arise in this regard.   We know that this has been a challenging time for many students, their families and for staff to learn remotely online, but we are grateful to all for the many efforts you have made to make it work.  With that said – we are also very much planning ahead to next year at this time.  In that spirit, this letter contains a number of updates about the end of this year and the planning for next year.  I encourage every parent or guardian to read each of the updates very carefully.

Vaccination:

All students ages 12 to 17 years of age are now eligible for vaccination.  This is excellent and welcome news as we know that it will bring our students, their families and our schools an added measure of protection and safety.  Students who are 12 to 17 years of age (and any family member who is not vaccinated as yet) may register for and attend the vaccination clinics that will be available the weeks of June 14th and June 21st.  Some clinics will also be available the week of June 7th.  During those weeks – 12 to 17 years olds (and their families) will be the highest priority for vaccination.  Second booster shot vaccines will be available in August so that students can return to school fully vaccinated.   Further details will be shared through your local school as they become available, but all 12-17-year-olds are now eligible for vaccine pre-registration.

Waterloo Region Vaccination Pre-Registration

Transition Survey for 2021-22 School Year:

As mentioned in March and even more so now, our planning for the 2021-2022 school year is now underway.  We are working on staffing and budget, and we must make decisions for next year at this time.  For this reason, we are now asking ALL families to confirm if they have a desire for online learning for their child(ren).   Even if you completed the survey in March, you are asked to complete the survey again to confirm your choice.   If you do not complete the survey – we will assume your child is returning to face-to-face learning.  Next week – May 31st through June 3rd – we will have a survey on our Board website for any parent/family that wishes to choose virtual learning again for next year.  That said – it will be a one-time choice.  That is, there will not be transition periods during the year.  A choice for virtual will be a choice for September through June.  If you register for St. Isidore, our virtual school, you will no longer be affiliated with your current home school, (for the 2021-2022 school year).  You will have the option to re-register for the following school year (2022-2023).

A few things to note about your choice for online learning:

  • This is a single choice for the full year (September through June)
  • Vaccinations are expected for students 12 – 17; pediatric vaccine for those 5-11 are in development but cannot be confirmed at this time
  • All staff that wish to be vaccinated will be vaccinated by September
  • If you were a French Immersion student and you were online this year, if you choose a second year of online learning you will forfeit your spot in French Immersion
  • In secondary schools we expect to begin the year in a quadmester model with students attending two classes per day. If things progress well, we hope to see a semester model (carrying 4 courses over the course of half the year) by the second half of the year.  There is also the hope that extra-curriculars may return at some point next year.
  • There will not be the opportunity for inter-scholastic or varsity sports if you attend school virtually.
  • If there are not sufficient numbers for a dedicated online secondary school, a hybrid model will be considered.  This involves students connecting remotely to the face-to-face class using video conferencing, (as opposed to a dedicated virtual class).
  • Certain secondary subjects may not be possible or may be significantly compromised in their delivery through our online offering – for example, technology courses, some Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) red seal specialities, senior level sciences and some performing arts.

We know that some students have found virtual to be a good way to learn.  We do, in the main, feel that for a variety of reasons not only connected to academics, but to a young person’s social emotional well-being, that attending school in person is likely the preferred option for most students, when all things are equal.  Please give this decision careful consideration.

The transition survey will be available beginning on Monday, May 31 2021, directly from our Board homepage — or can be accessed directly here:

Transition Survey 2021-22

Graduation:

After further discussion with school and senior administrators about the best way to support and honour our 2021 graduates, it has been decided that the release of all WCDSB secondary school virtual graduations for this year will be postponed until October 2021.  This will allow time to properly gather data for all awards and designations and allow for schools to complete graduation preparations that were not yet completed due to COVID restrictions.

We will continue to plan for alternative ways to celebrate our graduates in June based on Ministry of Education and Public Health announcements and guidelines.  Any additional information will be posted to our Grade 12 Google classroom.  Similarly local elementary schools will share the details of graduations with parents.  While not the graduation celebrations we might have hoped for, we will do our best to honour this significant milestone in our students’ lives.

Once again, we 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 reach out to your local school principal.

If there are any further updates we will certainly share them as soon as possible.  Please know that we continue to be in this together, we have almost made it through this most exceptional of years and we are now looking forward to the promise of a new school year.  Thank you for your patience, your partnership and your support as we have journeyed through this year.  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

May 26th, 2021|

Updated Public Health Guidance: Employees with COVID-19 Symptoms Following Vaccination

The Ontario government recently updated its Public Health guidance for employees with COVID-19 symptoms within 48 hours of COVID-19 immunization.

The updated guidance is available via this link: Guidance for Screening Vaccinated Individuals (gov.on.ca)

The main intent is to provide guidance related to COVID-19 workplace screening for workers experiencing post-vaccine symptoms. This guidance does not apply to screening outside of workplaces.

This guidance document pertains only to workers who:

*Are required to be at work in-person; AND

* Have received a COVID-19 vaccine 48 hours prior to being at work (including day of vaccination, which is considered day 1); AND

*Do not have a known exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case in the last 14 days.

Workers who have received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 48 hours and are experiencing symptoms, and/or also have a known exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days should not attend work in-person, and should self-isolate and be tested for COVID-19.

Workers who are advised to self-isolate due to an exposure to a COVID-19 case or for any other reason, should also be excluded from in-person work.

May 25th, 2021|

Vaccine Pre-registration for Children Aged 12 -17!!

Yesterday, the Province of Ontario announced that as of the week of May 31, youth in Ontario between 12 and 17 years of age and their family members who have not received a vaccine, will be eligible to book an appointment to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, including at special dedicated youth and family clinics throughout the weeks of June 14 and 21, 2021.

The province will work with Region of Waterloo Public Health and our school board to offer second doses of the vaccine by the end of August.

Click Here to Read the Provincial Announcement

Get Vaccinated If You Are Eligible!

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) encourages all who are eligible to pre-register to receive their vaccine from Region of Waterloo Public Health.

When possible – and to best support your child(ren) with their learning – please be mindful of school hours. However, if you are only able to book an appointment during the school day, please do so. This is an important opportunity to prioritize the health of all in our community.

We are asking anyone who is eligible, including education workers, to make sure they are pre-registered on the Region of Waterloo Public Health website.

Details to Follow

The WCDSB will be working in coordination with Region of Waterloo Public Health and other local partners to develop a plan, and will share more information as it becomes available.

 

May 14th, 2021|

WCDSB Announces Chair’s Award, Community Partner Award and Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

Each year, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board proudly announces the recipients of three major awards: Chair’s Award, Community Partner Award and Distinguished Graduate Award.

This year’s recipients of those respective awards are John Dietrich (Principal of St. Mary’s High School), Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Parish (St. Mary’s Parish), and Dr. Laura Shoemaker (retired WCDSB Superintendent of Special Education).

The Chair’s and Community Partner Awards will be presented virtually on May 13, 2021. The Distinguished Graduate Award will be presented at a suitable time following the conclusion of the current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Chair’s Award:

Presented to a person or persons in the school system who has contributed significantly to Catholic Education. It is given annually in recognition of outstanding contributions made to the Catholic school system serving the students, staff and greater community of Waterloo Region or to the betterment of Catholic Education in Ontario in general.

During his almost 30-year career with WCDSB, John Dietrich has served as an Administrator at 4 of the board’s 5 secondary schools, where his organizational, technical and communication skills – as well as his great faith – have served as an inspiration for a generation of educators and school support staff.

Community Partner Award:

Presented annually in recognition of outstanding contributions made by a community partner or agency to the Catholic school system serving the students, staff and greater community of Waterloo Region.

Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Parish (St. Mary’s Parish) has been at the heart of Waterloo Region’s Catholic community – not to mention the City of Kitchener itself – since 1854. Being a downtown church, the parish has established an impactful ministry in assisting the needs of many neighbours for food, shelter, connection and belonging. The St. Mary’s Kitchen and Tiny Home Takeout initiatives are key examples of that ministry in action.

For more information about Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Parish, please CLICK HERE.

Distinguished Graduate Award:

Presented to a graduate of more than 10 years from our school system who has demonstrated outstanding examples of the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations. Awarded at the graduation exercises of the recipient’s Secondary School or other appropriate public venue.

Throughout her career, Dr. Laura Shoemaker worked tirelessly to ensure all students with special needs received the individualized programming necessary for them to reach their full potential. Her life’s work – providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for ALL students — has animated the very best of the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations.

For more information about the WCDSB’s Special Education programs and services, please CLICK HERE.

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May 12th, 2021|