Committee Of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, November 8, 2021 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, November 22, 2021 — Meeting Agenda Package


Pastoral Plan Update

Catholic schools exist to support the evangelizing mission of the Church. Catholic parents send their children to Catholic schools with certain expectations. The overriding expectation is that their child will experience education permeated with religious values, religious instruction and be invited to participate in the sacramental life of the church. They also expect that Catholic values will be held, modeled, expressed, and taught within the Catholic educational community. Our three-year pastoral plan supports and animates the faith life of students and staff in the WCDSB.

Additionally, our Multi-Year Strategic Plan indicates that nurturing our Catholic community will be a priority area with opportunities to bear witness to our faith through joyful discipleship and our relationships with and in Christ as an essential strategic direction. To this end, we endeavor to provide opportunities to live out and inform our faith through implementation of our Pastoral Plan, which is informed by the Ontario Bishops’ pastoral letter, Renewing the Promise.

During our 2019 Spiritual Development Day, we celebrated and reflected upon our Year 1 theme, “Called to Belong”. While we continued to be unable to gather for larger events last year due to public health protocols, we used a video launch in early October to transition from Called to Belong to “Gathered to Become”, Year 2 of our Pastoral Plan. Having been gathered, blessed, and fed in the first two years of our three-year Pastoral Plan, the focus of year three is to intentionally look outward, under the theme “Sent to Build”.  Our keynote speaker was Fr. James Martin, S.J., who joined us live from New York, and spoke to us about the importance of reaching out to the people on the margins, about the need for compassion and sensitivity and invited us to reflect on how we are living out our vocation in the model of Christ.

The report beginning on page 11 via this link — Meeting Agenda Package – provides a detailed overview of the many events planned for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year.

School Resource Officer (SRO) Program Update

In January of 2021, the Waterloo Catholic District school board contracted Turner Consulting Group to review the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program after the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) halted the program in the region due to expressed community concerns. The WCDSB committed to undertaking a review of the SRO program to determine its efficacy in our secondary schools in relation to its stated goals.

The report surfaced some perceptions and lived realities of the students, staff, and broader stakeholders from WCDSB that did not fully align with the stated goals of the program. From this report there appears to be a strong indication that both the school board and WRPS must take the time to revisit the goals of the SRO program and ensure full alignment to both the goals and the strategic approach that will best support those goals.

On November 22, 2021, the Board of Trustees received an interim staff report on the status of actions taken to date. Next steps in the process include:

  • WCDSB is in the process of developing structures to track suspension and Violent Threat Risk Assessment data as it relates to racialized students.
  • The Waterloo Regional Police Service has committed to having all 14 Community Engagement and Wellbeing Branch officers trained in the Violent Threat Risk Assessment program by spring 2022.
  • Meetings with the Waterloo Regional Police Service will continue over the next 8 weeks (about 2 months) as we solidify our program and delivery support model. The student census data set will be used to determine any required focus for action at a board and program design level.
  • Senior team members as well as our Chief Social Worker, Mental Health Lead, and school social workers will be attaining a formal certification on Combating Anti-Black Racism through York University. WRPS Officers will also be invited to participate in this certification.
  • Administrators will be introduced to the “Check Your Bias” checklist which will challenge all to consider how they are working through progressive discipline issues.

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

Special Education Update

Last year, Student Services focused on supporting Special Education and classroom teachers in the virtual world and supporting schools through new protocols due to pandemic restrictions. The Special Education Liaisons created numerous resources which included educator tip sheets, Virtual Universal Supports, COVID-19 related IEP expectations, Jump Math, Empower, and Lexia for home learning.

The Special Education Return to Learn Website has been accessed more than 5,000 times by staff and more than 200 Learn@Home Kits to support alternative programming were provided.  Additional supports include a Google Classroom for alternative programming and numerous opportunities for virtual professional development for staff.

On November 22, 2021, the Board of Trustees received a detailed report focused on the far-reaching work of the following key staff teams:

  • Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs)
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Facilitators
  • Communicative Disorders Assistants (CDA)
  • Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP)
  • Psychoeducational Consultants
  • Vision Services Team
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Special Education Liaisons
  • Educational Assistants
  • Assistive Technology Resource Teacher

Guided by the WCDSB’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan, the specific goals of these teams are:

  1. Provide Equitable Access to Learning Opportunities
  2. Improve Secondary Literacy Achievement
  3. Improve Numeracy Achievement

The report is available beginning on page 56 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Mental Health Update

The WCDSB’s 2021-22 Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan is in alignment with key elements of School Mental Health Ontario’s Action Plan during the COVID 19 Recovery Phase as follows:

1) Amplify and promote the protective influence of schools.

2) Identify and address emerging and escalating student mental health problems.

3) Mobilize focused support for those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

4) Build and sustain strong safety nets.

5) Provide hopeful and aligned communication.

This work supports the overall goals of the WCDSB’s 2019-21 Well-Being Strategy:

1) Students and staff feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in their learning community.

2) Students have equitable access to learning opportunities.

3) Building a culture of well-being that supports the success for all in the WCDSB community.

The 2021-22 Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan is focused on 3 key priorities:

Priority #1: Goal-directed planning at all levels of leadership to improve the organizational conditions that will support mentally healthy schools, through a comprehensive approach to wellbeing.

Priority #2: Capacity-building — Building a foundation that fosters inclusion and belonging for all students, educators feel equipped to promote mental health and well-being through evidence informed daily classroom practices and classroom conversations that strengthen relationships, enhance protective factors, and promote specific resilience skills.

Priority #3: All students and parents/caregivers have equitable access to relevant resources that support mental health and wellbeing and can identify and access pathways to Tier 2 and Tier 3 supports when mental health needs arise.

The report is available beginning on page 63 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

English as a Second Language (ESL) & English Literacy Development (ELD) Programs and Services Update

Since its inception, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board has celebrated the contributions of its Multilingual Learners (MLs) and worked to meet their needs in a variety of settings. Teachers of MLs continue to work in all our schools to support staff, students, and families develop language skills necessary for success in a changing society.

The report presented to the Board of Trustees on November 22, 2021 provided an overview of current data and trends regarding ESL/ELD programs and services.


English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are for students whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools.

English Literacy Development (ELD) programs are for students whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools.

ML/MLs — As the WCDSB moves toward more inclusive language, MLs or Multilingual Learners respects the linguistic backgrounds of our students without centering English as the only language in which one can learn.  It celebrates multilingualism as a gift and places an asset lens to which we view students who are adding English to their linguistic repertoires.

Current data indicate a steady increase in the number of students registering at the WCDSB (JK-Grade 12) from various countries all over the world. Many of them have English as an Additional Language Learning program needs, at the earliest steps to proficiency. Many students are arriving to us as Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) — requiring foundational literacy and language development and orientation to school life in Ontario.

Despite current travel/immigration challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Newcomer Reception Centre (NRC) has welcomed more than 130 students to the WCDSB (newcomers with varying statuses in Canada including refugee, permanent resident, and VISA) this school year (Aug-Nov 2 data).

Support for MLs is articulated in the WCDSB’s Board Improvement and Equity Plan for Student Achievement (BIEPSA) as educators are called upon to clearly know the needs of these students and respond to them in a collaborative and effective manner. The board’s response to identified and emerging needs is informed and supported by a wide and impressive range of team members (i.e. family members, cultural community leaders, translators, health practitioners, employers, faith community leaders, etc.,) who work in a dynamic and collaborative manner.

The report is available beginning on page 51 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Community Planning & Partnerships Guideline

The Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline (CPPG) (Ontario Ministry of Education, March 2015) requires that boards hold at least one meeting per year to discuss potential planning and partnership opportunities with the public and community organizations. The guideline focuses on opportunities to share facilities with community partners when:

  • Building new schools
  • Undertaking significant renovations
  • Considering the use of unoccupied space in schools
  • Considering properties associated with schools that may close
  • Sites that may be considered for future disposition.

Further to the provincial guideline, APF012 Community Planning and Facility Partnerships provides a framework to work with community organizations to benefit the Board, students, and the community. The Board must hold at least one meeting per year to discuss potential partnership opportunities. The presentation of this report at a public board meeting fulfils all CPPG requirements.

Proposed new schools, additions, and significant renovations are identified in the Long-Term Accommodation Plan. Ideally, the Board would identify partnership opportunities one to three years in advance of any potential construction start date. In May 2021, capital priorities requests were filed with the Ministry of Education to fund the following building projects:

  1. New Rosenberg CES (Kitchener)
  2. St. Boniface CES addition (Breslau)
  3. St. Gregory CES addition (Cambridge)
  4. New St. Patrick CES (Kitchener)

The New Rosenberg CES has for many years been envisioned as a co-build with the City of Kitchener, as such no further partnership opportunities are contemplated.

St. Boniface CES opened in September 2021 with an on-site childcare and EarlyON centre. The addition would not facilitate additional opportunities.

The St. Gregory CES addition would not allow for co-building based on site size limitations.

The New St. Patrick CES capital priorities request was filed with a proposed childcare centre co-build, and no further partnership opportunities are feasible based on site size.

The report is available beginning on page 7 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 November 2021 is available on page 82 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Trustees Update

Student Trustees Sarah Simoes and Sarah Wilson presented their monthly update – covering activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools. It is available beginning on page 79 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Inaugural Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, December 6, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, December 13, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

– 30 –