Inaugural Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, December 7, 2020 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, December 14, 2020 — Meeting Agenda Package


Election of Chair and Vice Chair

On December 7, 2020, the Board of Trustees elected Waterloo / Woolwich / Wellesley Trustee Melanie Van Alphen as Chair of the Board, and Waterloo / Woolwich / Wellesley Trustee Jeanne Gravelle as Vice-Chair of the Board.

The Board of Trustees is comprised of the following representatives:

  • Bill Conway (Cambridge / North Dumfries) – Past Chair
  • Manuel da Silva (Cambridge / North Dumfries)
  • Kevin Dupuis (Kitchener / Wilmot)
  • Jeanne Gravelle (Waterloo / Wellesley / Woolwich) – Vice-Chair
  • Wendy Price (Cambridge / North Dumfries)
  • Greg Reitzel (Kitchener / Wilmot)
  • Brian Schmalz (Kitchener / Wilmot)
  • Melanie Van Alphen (Waterloo / Wellesley / Woolwich) – Chair
  • Tracey Weiler (Kitchener / Wilmot)
  • Abby Barbosa and Kate Morrison (Student Trustees)

FSL Program Update

English-language school boards in Ontario are required to provide students with a minimum of 600 hours of French instructional hours by the end of elementary school. In Secondary, one FSL credit (110 hours) is compulsory for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). A second FSL course can be counted towards the compulsory credits required for the OSSD. The Waterloo Catholic District School Board currently offers four program options for French as a Second Language:

  • Core French
  • Intensive French
  • Advanced Placement (AP) French
  • French Immersion

Unfortunately, like other school boards across Ontario the WCDSB has continued to be impacted by the province wide FSL labour market shortage. That pressure, coupled with the impacts of COVID-19, has made the past year quite challenging.

Despite that, our French Immersion program continues to grow. We opened a new FI site in September at St. Peter CES, and our FI Review Committee has begun to meet. The following factors are to be re-confirmed or addressed in this review:

  • Elementary school organization (i.e., grade structure, single track, dual track)
  • Grade 1 entry point
  • Approach to Grade 1 application for FI
  • Attendance of siblings in FI schools
  • 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 report begins on page 23 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Equity Action Plan Report

The Ministry of Education has made a commitment to every student in the province of Ontario that 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.

Accordingly, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s (WCDSB) vision commits us to being the “heart of the community”, offering “success for each and a place for all.” In support of our vision, the current theme of our three-year pastoral plan is “Gathered to Become: All of one in Christ Jesus.”

At WCDSB, our Equity Committee works to build educator capacity to serve all students and assist in removing identified barriers to success. We employ a lens of liberation theology with a strong emphasis on the social teaching of preferential option for the poor. This involves empowering students and their families to advocate for change so that they may not just survive but thrive in our school communities.

Our work is guided by the four priority areas of the Ontario Education Equity Action Plan:

  • School and classroom practices
  • Leadership, governance, and human resource practices
  • Data collection, integration, and reporting
  • Organizational culture change

With the harmonization of several working committees and planning tables – equity, well-being, pastoral – we continue to work together to achieve our goal of removing barriers to student success and well-being in Waterloo Catholic.

The report begins on page 27 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Update on WCDSB COVID Education Delivery Plan

At the current time, the schools of Waterloo Catholic are engaged in learning in our new pandemic reality. Our staff, students and parents have been introduced to a new way of experiencing learning both in our face-to-face learning environment, or in the virtual environment of St. Isidore. As reported in November, our numbers remain relatively stable with approximately 4,187 students learning virtually and 19,900 students learning face-to-face. Thus, at this point approximately 17% of our total student population has opted for the virtual learning environment. We do have some families requesting to move back to face-to-face and where that can be accommodated without being overly disruptive to the local school’s organization, we are endeavoring to honour those requests.

An important recent development involves our large International Education program. On November 13th, the province of Ontario was given permission by the federal government to welcome international students. At that time, each board was required to obtain individual approval from the Ministry, based on a comprehensive submission and an attestation of readiness. On November 24th we were informed that WCDSB is now on the list of boards approved to again welcome international education students.

Meanwhile, we are currently experiencing from 5-10 positive COVID-19 cases a week in our schools, but in virtually all situations, the reality continues to be that the positive case runs its course, with very few instances of any transmission. We have had since re-opening the school system five limited outbreaks, all of which were quickly resolved. This is a strong indication that all our protocols are working. Outbreaks are followed by an Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Assessment by Region of Waterloo Public Heath, and the results have been quite strong in all cases.

Health and safety remain our primary concern and motivator, as the COVID-19 situation in Waterloo Region continues to evolve.

The report begins on page 39 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 44 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, January 11, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, January 25, 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 184-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

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