Committee Of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, September 13, 2021 – Meeting Agenda Package

Public Board Meeting

Monday, September 27, 2021 — Meeting Agenda Package


WCDSB Promotional Video

The WCDSB’s new promotional video was officially launched at the September 13, 2021, meeting of the Committee of the Whole Board. Titled “Welcome to Waterloo Region’s Catholic Schools”, you can view it HERE.

Summer Boost/Summer Programming Update

Similar to last year, the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) provided school boards with funding to deliver 2021 Summer Learning Programs (SLP) with the intent to meet the needs of our most vulnerable students, parents, and communities.

Key focus areas included Numeracy, Literacy and preparing students for Gr. 9 Math De-streaming.

The funding directly supported the WCDSB Summer Boost Program that has run each summer for the past several years. Due to the Covid pandemic, as well as to ensure the safety of staff and students, the Summer Boost program was held virtually for all participating students and staff.

The 2021 Summer Boost program consisted of 9 classes and ran from July 5th – July 23rd inclusively for 3 hrs/day for a total of 45 hours serving 180 students.

Some key outcomes included:

  • 30% of our Early Learners and Grade 1-2 students progressed to the next stage of phonemic awareness, and 28% showed an increase in the same stage. In Grade 2 a greater percentage increased in the same stage (40%) while 10% advanced to the next stage.
  • In Grade 3 to 8, we observed an increase in the number of students at the “Got It” (60%) and “Getter There” (30%) stages, which is considerably higher than pretest levels of 33% percent in the “Got It” and “Getting There” stages
  • In Numeracy we witnessed an increase to “Got It” from PRE to POST in most questions across all grades. Student fair share, fraction, decimal. percent and equalities & inequalities capacity grew considerably across the 3 weeks.

The report is available beginning on page 11 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Equity Update

As a Catholic educational institution, we are guided by the Gospel in our pursuit of equity and justice as a value rooted in our faith. In our Catholic/Christian tradition, we have a moral imperative to act intentionally to ensure those we serve – staff, students, and communities – are treated with respect and dignity as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The WCDSB’s new equity officer role began March 1, 2021 — and became a full-time position May 3, 2021.

Key activities since then include:

  • Finalizing the Student Census Process
  • Creating Equity Professional Development Materials
  • Major Revision of the Equity Webpage

The new website includes a main page introducing the importance of equity at WCDSB. This page is titled Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: A Transformational Lens. Then there are tabs to the following pages:

  • A Strategic Framework for EDI throughout the Board
  • A Multicultural Calendar
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Conversations and News
  • An Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Glossary of Terms
  • Dismantling Racism
  • Human Rights and Equity
  • EDI Toolkit
  • Equity Quiz

The webpage will be periodically updated (e.g., equity quiz, calendar) to keep the information current and interactive. The purpose of the page is to educate, but also to pique people’s interest in equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The report is available beginning on page 22 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

2021-2022 Re-Opening Update

As we begin the 2021-2022 school year, we once again find that the schools of Waterloo Catholic are opening and operating within a pandemic reality that has caused us to consider our models of delivery, our processes, our health and safety protocols and essentially all aspects of our operations.

Over the course of a very busy summer, updated guidance was provided by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and more specifically through the Ministry of Education. Further we held meetings with Region of Waterloo Public Health and the Waterloo Region District School Board to attain a measure of understanding and alignment regarding the most prudent courses of action.

On August 4, 2021, the Ministry released its first draft of provincial Operational Guidelines, with a second draft received August 13, 2021. Further direction regarding declaration of immunization status and updated testing programs and updated screening protocols were received on August 20, August 24 and August 27. Updated and more comprehensive documentation on immunization declarations and related obligations were released on September 2, 2021. A final statement of formal Instruction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health was received on Tuesday September 7, 2021.

Informed by the various communications, our full Operational Guidelines for a safe return to school are found from our WCSB homepage.

While the year is definitely off to a strong start, it will not unfold without its challenges. In some respects, there are more layers to navigate than last year, but we remain completely heartened that our staff and students are back to full time learning. There are strong opinions on a variety of matters and in all cases, WCDSB will be relying on expert advice. That is – we will be guided by science, by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and our colleagues at Region of Waterloo Public Health.

Every student and staff member who comes into our schools are members of a community and a collective, and we all have a responsibility to one another. Health and safety will continue to remain our primary concern and motivator. We will also continue to rely on our faith and on the good will of all our stakeholders to ensure that we not only are able to successfully navigate the challenges ahead, but that we are able to thrive and see our students fulfill their greatest potential – heart of the community, success for each and a place for all.

The report is available beginning on page 25 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Summer Construction Update

During the 2020-2021 school year, numerous construction projects were undertaken at many of our schools throughout the Region. As in previous years, all projects were funded by the Ministry of Education and were related to School Renewal Allocation (SRA) funding, School Condition Improvement (SCI) funding and Capital Project monies.

Recognizing that COVID-19 created new demands in our schools, the Ministry also introduced a new, time limited COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS) fund to address various infrastructure needs. With the Board allotted funds, approximately $3.8 million was spent on SRA projects which capture non-building envelope items such as flooring, millwork, and painting and approximately $8.5 million was spent on SCI projects capturing repairs to building components, energy efficiency projects, and improving accessibility. Approximately $8.1 million was devoted to CVRIS projects such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades, replacement and/or refurbishing of portables, window replacement projects and a variety of smaller projects.

In addition to these projects, construction of the new St. Boniface CES in Breslau was completed. The school successfully opened on September 7, 2021.

Other projects in the works include:

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

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


For a number of years, WCDSB has used Grade 7-10 Literacy and Numeracy Continuing Education funds to deliver a brief, yet timely, holistic, non-credit, preparation summer program for incoming Grade 9 students to each of our 5 Catholic Secondary Schools.

At the end of August each year, hundreds of students voluntarily participate in Get a HeadStart to Grade 9 (aka 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 connections critical to school start-up success.

Pre-pandemic, HeadStart engaged upwards of 1000 students, with 60% of all WCDSB Grade 9’s choosing to participate in this summer program.

This specific Continuing Education funding envelope has always supported smaller class sizes and WCDSB commits to averaging a 15:1 student to teacher ratio for HeadStart. The program format had to change the last two years to accommodate Covid-19 restrictions, yet all Grade 8 students are given the opportunity to register and participate in HeadStart.

Some Key Performance Indicators include:

  • Numbers of HeadStart Registrations = 820 students
  • Retention rate (between registered and attending) = 96%
  • Participation rate among all Grade 9’s enrolled as of September 2021 = 46% (down slightly by 4% from 2020 and 14% from pre-pandemic 2019) – yet St. David saw an historic 66% participation rate
  • Satisfaction survey results from Parent Feedback Survey showed a 99.1% satisfaction / program recommendation rate
  • Numbers of returning teachers to a HeadStart role = 9 new teachers of 29 (69% return rate in 2021)
  • Teacher survey indicates an 86% probability of returning in 2022.

The report is available beginning on page 24 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Learning Renewal Plan (BIEPSA)

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s Board Improvement & Equity Plan for Student Achievement (BIEPSA) sets specific operational direction to ensure that the key components outlined in the WCDSB’s Multi Year Strategic Plan as well as other relevant initiatives and priorities are addressed. This document is updated annually and is responsive to shifting contexts and needs throughout the year. The BIEPSA reflects our system’s continued commitment to improved student achievement and responding to planning for equity/diversity and well-being. It assures that the board’s mission, “As disciples of Christ, we educate and nurture hope in all learners to realize their full potential to transform God’s world”, is embedded in all we do and aligned with our Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations (OCSGEs).

The BIEPSA has been revised through an ongoing and collaborative process involving WCDSB staff. It is a live document that will continue to develop as more data is gathered and identified needs arise from that data. Equity will be an overarching theme within the development, as will attention to our re-engagement strategy as we align support for our students impacted by interrupted learning and other impeding factors.

Next Steps:

  • The 2021-22 school year will include a focus on working towards eliminating disparities and disproportionalities that impede achievement, well-being, and success. This aligns with the Ministry of Education (MOE) goals
  • The 2021-22 WCDSB Board Improvement & Equity Plan for Student Achievement (BIEPSA) reflects current Board and provincial priorities and contexts and helps guide individual school sites as they set targets and priorities reflecting their particular needs. Their (school’s) plans are articulated through each site’s School Improvement & Equity Plan for Student Achievement (SIEPSA)
  • SIEPSAs are to be created collaboratively (School Improvement Team) and are to identify targets within each pillar, with Equity considered throughout
  • SIEPSAs state student learning needs, identify a learning outcome, and set out a plan to reach these goals
  • The WCDSB BIEPSA will be shared with the Ministry of Education in September and will guide ongoing discussions with our partners there throughout the year as we work collaboratively to ensure goals are met.
  • SIEPSAs are developed with the beginning focus on data collection and goal development — which then will move into identifying our learners, basing goals on that, improvement actions, monitoring the program and responding to needs. School SIEPSAs are shared with superintendents in November and form the basis of year-long conversations regarding the monitoring of student learning.
  • SIEPSAs are shared with each school community via Catholic School Advisory Councils and are posted on school websites
  • The WCDSB will support educators through a responsive and renewed professional capacity-building strategy that leverages instructional coaching in a job-embedded format (i.e., PD Days, coaching, staff meetings, etc.) that differentiates according to audience and school/staff need and readiness.

The report is available beginning on page 31 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 September 2021 is available on page 41 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 38 via this link: Meeting Agenda Package

Upcoming Board Meetings

Committee of the Whole Board Meeting

Monday, October 4, 2021

Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre

Regular Public Board Meeting

Monday, October 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 185-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

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