Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, September 14, 2019 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, September 28, 2019 — Meeting Agenda Package


Summer Boost Program Report

The WCDSB offered 15 mornings of literacy and numeracy online learning support for students in Grades SK to Grade 7 through the Summer Boost 2020 program which ran from June 29 to July 20 (9-11 am). The program was supported with educational assistants and special education teachers. Summer Boost created opportunities for students to make new friends online and hone their literacy and numeracy skills through fun and engaging stories, games, activities, and weekly STEM challenges. Summer Boost utilized online resources such as Google Classroom, Lexia, Knowledgehook and MathUp as well as encouraged the use of the STEM Learn@Home kits. Students registered based on school site and learning profile with a maximum of 15 students per class. Students had a variety of opportunities for hands on virtual learning and were challenged to engage in regular physical activity. They engaged in fun literacy/numeracy activities at home virtually while receiving an integrated arts education as cooperative activities were designed each week to promote creative and thinking and expression through music, drama, and visual arts.

This year presented both challenges and opportunities to keep student motivated, engaged and interested through virtual learning. While the requirement for a fitness and activity program (in addition to the 30 hours of student instruction) had been removed for this year, many boards are reporting exciting ways to provide integrated online learning activities to keep students actively involved. e.g. virtual tour of a library (preferably a local library) connected to their literacy program, teacher led fitness break for students (not a recess break), virtual tour/Youtube video of local historical site integrated into student learning activities, visual of math manipulatives and mathematics strategies etc.

The report begins on page 13 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

International Education Program Update

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on International Education around the world. The economic and psychological impact on families has reduced the level of engagement in international education globally. Travel restrictions related to border closures and reduced flight availability have limited the ability for international students to enter our country. In Canada, borders closed to travel March 18, 2020. International students with study permits approved prior to March 18 were provided an exemption. Students with permits issued after this date are currently not eligible to enter the country. Due to the travel uncertainty, approximately one-third of our 155 returning students remained in Canada over the summer. Currently, we have 144 new or returning international students registered for studies in September. Of these students, 29 will be engaging in distance learning from their home country; eleven of these are new students to our system. The Ministry of Education has permitted school districts to issue OEN’s to students new to our school system who are beginning their learning in their home country. The goal is to have these students travel to Canada as soon as borders open. That being said, the Ministry will allow them to complete a full year of studies earning credits through distance learning from their home country if necessary.

The WCDSB’s Attestation of Readiness and supporting documentation will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education and reviewed by them jointly with Federal health authorities to determine a list of qualified districts. The intention would be to extend the exemption to all international students with valid study permits to approved school districts to enter the country, regardless of the issue date of their permit. This approval would open the border to our students presently studying through distance learning in their home country. It would also open the borders to new international students applying to our system.

The report begins on page 34 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package


For the past 10 years, WCDSB has used Grade 7-10 Literacy and Numeracy Continuing Education funds to deliver a brief, yet timely, wholistic, non-credit preparation summer program for incoming Grade 9 students to each of our five Catholic Secondary Schools. At the end of August each year, hundreds of students voluntarily participate in Get a HeadStart to Grade 9 (HeadStart) with the hope to ease their social anxieties, increase their academic readiness, engage in practical learning experiences that are both hands-on and digital, and to nurture those academic, social and spiritual connectors critical to school start-up success. In 2010, HeadStart engaged 86 students across all 5 Catholic Schools and we have now reached between 900-1000 students (a 50%+ participation rate for all incoming Gr. 9’s).

The program format has changed a few times over the last decade. HeadStart 2020 was originally planned as a two day, full day format and offered to two different cohorts to accommodate as many students as possible and employing potentially 35 teachers over four days. The Continuing Education Literacy / Numeracy grant allowed for lower teacher to student ratios, so when programming had to be shifted to accommodate Covid-19 restrictions, the funding envelope supported smaller class sizes.

Despite all the challenges of operating in the COVID-19 era, post-program D2L student surveys showed that 85% of the students DID feel more confident entering into high school and 90% of students would absolutely recommend HeadStart to a sibling or friend.

The report begins on page 30 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Summer Construction Update

During the 2019-2020 school year, numerous construction projects were undertaken at many of our schools throughout the Region. All projects were funded by the Ministry of Education and were related to building renewal, school condition improvement, and capital projects. Approximately $3.7 million was spent on school renewal projects, which capture non-building envelope items such as flooring, millwork, and painting. School condition improvement (SCI) funding was used for repairs to building components, energy efficiency projects, and improving accessibility. Total spending on SCI was approximately $6.9 million. Most of the work performed was completed during a nine-week period through July and August.

In addition to these renovation and renewal projects, an additional $12 million was spent on major capital projects including the ongoing construction of the new St. Boniface CES, completion of Phase 2 renovations at St. Clement CES, and renovations to St. Francis in Kitchener.

In mid-2020, the Ministry of Education announced their approval of funding to support the following projects:

  • Huron Brigadoon Catholic Elementary School Additional Funding – $6,162,784 (total project – $16.5M)
    • Current status: architect request for proposal document to be released in October. Expected school opening September 2022.
  • East Kitchener (7-12) Project – $37,699,818
    • Current status: launching program review which will inform program delivery model and facility design. Expected school opening September 2023.
  • South East Galt Catholic Elementary School – $8,652,378
    • Current status: partners in joint campus proposal are developing site concepts with a goal of determining potential interdependencies and integration of operations. Expected school opening September 2022.

The report begins on page 35 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Information Technology Services Update Summer 2020

The Information Technology Services (ITS) department had a very busy summer preparing for the 2020/21 school year. Covid-19 preparations, restrictions and technology requirements have presented a level of complexity and unique work made the summer very challenging. ITS successfully completed many technology related projects and initiatives that aligned with the Multi-Year Strategic Plan, which will enable staff and students to excel in the coming year in these unique times.

Key highlights include:

  • WCDSB moves into virtual learning due to COVID-19
  • Webcams distributed to all classroom data projector computers
  • Expansion of “Bring Your Own Device” Program
  • Classroom technology refresh (including classroom data projectors)
  • Identification of safe applications for educators and students (352 identified & categorized)
  • Phone system refresh
  • Launch of St. Isidore virtual school
  • Development of web resources and social media to support remote learning
  • Student data management system transition from “Trillium” to Follett Aspen
  • Implementation of School Messenger for elementary schools

Goals for 2020-21:

  • To continue implementation of emerging technologies that enable forward thinking, global education;
  • To ensure all program offerings are tied to student need and stakeholder interests, and that they will equip students to become globally engaged responsible citizens; and
  • To increase staff efficiency and reduce workloads though process improvements.

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

Board Chair’s Update

Each month, Board Chair Bill Conway reports on the activities of the Board of Trustees. The report for September 2020 is available on page 60 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Student Trustees Update

On September 28, the Board of Trustees welcomed incoming Student Trustees Abby Barbosa and Kate Morrison. Their first Student Trustees Update – covering activities in WCDSB’s secondary schools — is available beginning on page 59 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, October 5, 2020: Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, October 28, 2019: 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.