Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, February 8, 2021 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, February 22, 2021 — Meeting Agenda Package


Early Years Report

In February 2020, the Board of Trustees was apprised of ongoing progress in implementing two renewed policies and programs in Ontario which form the core of Kindergarten: The Kindergarten Program 2016 and Growing Success: The Kindergarten Addendum 2016.

This year’s report provides further details regarding the ongoing implementation of the Kindergarten program, and the shifts that have occurred during the global pandemic to ensure the well-being of educators, students, and families and the integrity of the pedagogies within the Kindergarten program.

The report provided an overview of activities in the following key areas:

  • Getting Ready for School Re-opening in September
  • Early Literacy Skills and Development
  • Early Mathematical Skills and Development
  • The Communication of Learning (COL)
  • Community Partnerships

Next Steps toward 2021-22:

  • Partnership with local libraries across Waterloo Region to support Reading for Joy at Home, by getting more families connected to their libraries and more hard copies of books to kids on topics that interest them. This partnership includes: Waterloo Region District School Board, Waterloo Public Library, Kitchener Public Library, Idea Exchange and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir.
  • Build timely supports for administrators in using The Kindergarten Program 2016 as a professional learning tool to support deep learning in our Kindergarten programs Continue to develop accessible opportunities to build system understanding of learning through play and the significance of belonging and contributing to all classroom environments
  • Continue to support educators with intentional and collaborative planning practices using assessment data, program expectations, and student interests
  • Continue to support educators with pedagogical documentation practices
  • Continue to share Balanced Literacy Assessment strategies to support the development of phonological awareness and early reading development
  • Continue to align The Kindergarten Program with the new Ontario Mathematics Curriculum, 1-8.

The report is available beginning on page 10 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Annual Report – Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR)on STSWR

Each year, Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR), provides an annual report to the Board of Trustees.

Key highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Significant monetary savings resulting from not delivering services after March Break. These savings were re-invested into PPE and other equipment in preparation for the 2020-21 school year
  • Transition to a new provider for GPS services
  • Deferral of activities and training associated with active school travel (Sidewalk Smarts, Walk in Their Shoes, Bike to School)
  • Supported activities for families out walking during COVID19 school closure
  • Seat belt pilot
  • Customer service infrastructure investment and expansion of text-notification program for late buses
  • Bus driver pool was limited, but did not result in service disruption with thanks to bus operators
  • Planning for 2020-21 – multiple scenarios due to COVID19 and fluid direction from government

The report is available beginning on page 15 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Huron Brigadoon Boundary Review Timelines

On January 25, 2021, the Board of Trustees received a report entitled Huron Brigadoon Boundary Review – Initial Staff Report and Initiation of Review, which included a proposed timeline for the boundary review. The Board of Trustees approved the initiation of the boundary review and directed staff to return to the February 8, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting with alternative timelines for the execution of the review.

Board staff presented timeline options which would see the review extend from either March to June 2021 or April to December 2021 – with the board opting for the March to June, 2021 timeline.

The new school is anticipated to open in September 2022.

The report is available beginning on page 32 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Parent Engagement Update

Ontario’s parent engagement policy recognizes many different forms of parent engagement, and that each is an important contributor to student and school success. Within the policy, parent engagement includes:

  • Providing a positive learning environment at home, actively working with children to support what they are learning in school, and making learning an important part of the day
  • Having productive conversations with teachers so that there is clear communication between the school and the home
  • Becoming involved in school activities and volunteering to help with school events, trips, and other activities
  • Participating in School Councils at the school level and Parent Involvement Committees at the board level to provide perspective.

The WCDSB has continually focused on supporting the partnership between home and school to meet the various forms of parent engagement as presented in the Ontario Parent Engagement Policy by promoting and supporting:

  • Celebration of our Catholic School Advisory Council Chairpersons through our WCDSB annual commissioning ceremony
  • Parent Reaching Out Grants
  • Catholic Parent Involvement Committee Support to Schools and Catholic School Advisory Councils

The Catholic Parent Involvement Committee has been very deliberate in creating strategies to support a stronger presence in the WCDSB. A formal communication strategy has been developed and shared with all CPIC members, and structures for maintaining an open dialogue for CPIC members via a Microsoft Teams Group have also been established.

A list of the various upcoming events planned to support parent engagement in our WCDSB community and to find local solutions to involve more parents in support of student achievement and well-being will be provided as they are confirmed.

The report is available beginning on page 38 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Special Education – Multi-Disciplinary Team Approach

The Ministry of Education has been allocating funds for the hiring of professionals and processes to support to use of Multi-Disciplinary Teams in school boards across the Province. As a result of new funding in 2018, the WCDSB Special Education Department was able to hire several staff to enhance the Family of Schools (FOS) Collaborative team model currently in place, which also includes other members of the Student Services Department. For example, the newly developed position of an Educational Assistant Liaison Officer has been a significant support. This role involves providing professional development to support staff as well as working closely with Health & Safety to review each incident form submitted. By reviewing each incident report, we can look for trends, make recommendations or provide additional training to support staff and students to prevent future incidents. This is relevant to the Multi Year Strategic Plan (MYSP), as decreasing the number of reports of violent incidents is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) under the strategic direction of nurturing the well-being of all students and staff.

All Student Services disciplines and members of our collaborative teams utilize evidenced-based frameworks (e.g., Logic Models) to plan and monitor their collective efficacy to improve outcomes for the students they serve. All disciplines have a common theme of providing direct services to students and/or staff, providing recommendations for accommodations with the goal of improving outcomes for student learning. Team members gather information through observing, assessing, and discussing the exceptionalities of the learner through the lens of their various disciplines. Members of the FOS Collaborative team come together to assist students through a multidisciplinary approach, which means that they consider a holistic view of the student. Following their direct service, this multidisciplinary approach is used to collectively identify the learning needs of each student and provide recommendations for accommodations that are consistent with the profile of the learner and through the lens of all disciplines.

The report is available beginning on page 35 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Grade 7-12 School Program Review Draft Recommendations

In September 2020, management initiated a review to establish program recommendations related to the opening of WCDSB’s new 7-12 school in East Kitchener. The first phase of the review is now complete. The report presented on February 22 provided the Board of Trustees with key considerations resulting from this phase and provided next steps for phase two of the 7- 12 Program Review process.

Within the Grade 7-12 Catholic School, programming will be offered in a manner that is consistent with the Board’s existing elementary (grades 7 and 8) and secondary (grades 9 to 12) schools. The elementary students will take the same subjects as other grade 7 and 8 students, using similar learning blocks and breaks during the instructional day.

For the secondary school students, credit accumulation and courses will be delivered in a manner consistent with other Catholic secondary schools. What will be unique to a Grade 7-12 school program is the sharing of some larger and specialized spaces that a traditional JK-8 elementary school facility would not have. Specialized spaces would include a larger gymnasium, a library/learning commons, chapel, cafeteria, and classrooms set up for science, art, and instrumental music.

The report is very detailed, and begins on page 40 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

South East Cambridge Joint Use Feasibility Study

A joint school and community centre development has been proposed in south east Cambridge since the late 1990s. In 2007, the City of Cambridge acquired 32.5 acres of land in an area of future residential development east of Dundas Street South. The property was envisioned to accommodate a community centre, public library branch, and two elementary schools.

In June 2020, the City of Cambridge, Waterloo Catholic District School Board and Waterloo Region District School Board signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize their commitment to proceed with a Feasibility Study and future agreements to facilitate the development of the site and cost sharing of expenses related to that development. The MOU also established a terms of reference and timeline for the Feasibility Study, and parties to participate on a Steering Committee on behalf of the parties.

WCDSB Building Program

The Ministry of Education capital priorities grant approved in 2020 identified a $8,652,378 construction program premised on provincial standards for 354 pupil places and 42,645 sq. ft. Based on the Ministry templates and board preferences, the building program includes:

  • 354 students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8
  • 3 Kindergartens, 11 Classrooms, Art, Science, Special Education
  • Gymnasium, Library/Learning Commons
  • General Office, Staff, Custodial and support spaces
  • Outdoor amenities, such as asphalt play area
  • Space for up to 6 portables

The report – including the Feasibility Study – is available beginning on page 56 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

COVID-19 Update

With the return to face-to-face learning, there have been some additional safety enhancements that have been put into place in our Operational Guidelines. The changes have included mandatory masking in grades 1 – 3, so that now an exemption form is required if a child does not want to wear a mask in those grades. Locally we are still asking for masks in kindergarten. Masks are also now required outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Further – confirmation of daily screening is required by all staff and by our secondary students. This is an enhancement from the previous honour system. Now a firm confirmation is required. A staff system has been set up to facilitate this and students have a variety of ways they can confirm their screening, with a poster being available in every room should they arrive not having completed their screening.

Further, in terms of COVID-19 testing, the province is moving toward pop-up community sites for symptomatic individuals and we are helping to publicize these sites through school-based communication in the communities where the pop-up sites are located. As well – asymptomatic testing is now available for staff at local pharmacies.

Finally, 2 schools each week — representing approximately 5% of our schools or 2% of our student population — will be identified for targeted asymptomatic testing. Schools will be selected in collaboration with Public Health. Testing will be completed primarily by contracted companies and will be in both the PCR and antigen format.

As reported in January, at the conclusion of the secondary school survey – which was administered January 4th to 6th, we had 259 students who wanted to make the switch to virtual and 84 who wanted to make the switch back to face to face, with a net change/gain of 175 students to St Isidore.

The elementary school survey assessing families’ desire to transition was open Feb 16-18th – and the transition will be effective March 8th.

A total of 262 students will be moving from conventional learning to virtual learning and 290 students shifting back to conventional learning. This may necessitate some class reorganization, but we are hoping that it will be minimized.

The report is available beginning on page 208 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 January 2021 is available on page 214 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 211 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, March 8, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, March 22, 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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