Board Meeting Highlights - September 22, 2020

First Week of School

Schools across AMDSB welcomed students in a staggered fashion over the week of September 14. Grades 1 to 12 attended schools according to their last name and kindergarten students began in a staggered way as per usual practice. This slow welcoming of students enabled staff to review the new health and safety protocols with small groups of students and resulted in a very calm and organized start to the year. Staff received several comments in person and online from students, parents and others expressing their appreciation for this slow start to the year. See below for a look at Clinton Public School. 
Chair Geddes expressed her sincere thanks to staff who enabled a smooth transition to a very unusual school year. 

Shakespeare Public School Teacher Receives Summer Music Award

Trustee Bisutti presented a news article highlighting teacher Colleen Rothwell. She was awarded this year’s award for excellence in music education by Mark Fewer (artistic director of Stratford Summer Music). Read the full Stratford Beacon Herald article here

Grand Bend Community Foundation provides Grant to Exeter ES

Trustee Sygrove recognized the Grand Bend Community Foundation who provided a grant of $15,000 to Exeter Elementary School. This generous donation provides funding for one-on-one tutoring in support of Exeter Elementary students.

Stratford District Secondary School Receives WIFI Boost

Trustee Bisutti reported that the City of Stratford's Rhyzome Network has provided a boost to the WIFI at SDSS. This increased service allows for better WIFI access outside of the building and enables classes to move outside to continue learning which enables better physical distancing among students. Read the full Stratford Beacon Herald article here

Summer Learning Update

Superintendent Creery, System Principal Bevan Moir and Jodi Regier gave a presentation about the AMDSB Summer Learning program. This year it focused on literacy, numeracy and Social  Emotional Learning (SEL) and was delivered online to students in grades 3 and 4. Forty five students from 17 schools participated in 3 classes. Each day students participated in 2 hours of online learning with a mix of numeracy and literacy. SEL activities were completed each day. Students increased their confidence in technology use, literacy/numeracy, and SEL. Teachers involved in the program also increased their capacity for virtual learning via professional development and collaboration. A Special Education Resource Teacher also supported students with special needs. Parent evaluations of the program were completed and results were very positive. 
Superintendent Bruce described two summer programs. One for students diagnosed with Autism where students learned about a variety of topics including COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The Lexia reading program also continued throughout the summer to support students with reading. 

AMDSB Transition to School Program

At the September 16 Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting, system principal Debbie Green shared information about the AMDSB Transition to School program. The Ministry of Education released funding to support the transition to school for students with special education and mental health needs. AMDSB utilized the funding to hire staff in August to develop and implement detailed transition plans for at risk students to support their return to school following the extended school closures. Five hundred and sixty one students from 36 different schools had the opportunity to visit schools prior to re-opening. These transition plans went a long way to helping alleviate student anxiety, learn COVID-19 protocols, and connect with staff. Thank you to the many staff throughout AMDSB for their efforts to support the successful transitions of our students. 

Orange Shirt Day - September 30

Monique Pregent presented information about the significance of the land acknowledgement that is read before every AMDSB Board meeting and reminded trustees about Orange Shirt Day. On September 30, AMDSB students and staff are encouraged to wear an orange shirt to create awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools through Orange Shirt Day activities, and to promote the concept of "Every Child Matters." More details can be found on the Orange Shirt Day website

Student Senator Oath

This year's Student Senate repeated the Student Senator’s Declaration of Office/Oath of Allegiance. Full details on which students have been elected to this year's Senate can be found here

Stratford Transformation Update

The final Board report was reviewed by Superintendents Morris and Carter. The Stratford Transformation Committee (STC) met on August 27, 2020 and the highlights from that meeting can be found by clicking here. All of the memorabilia from Stratford Central and Northwestern has been organized and displays are being created by the Stratford Perth Museum and the Stratford Perth Archives. In addition, a teacher from Stratford District Secondary School recommended a display of athletic achievement in the SDSS gymnasium that will be put together in the coming weeks. The construction projects at SDSS were completed before the start of this school year and the construction on the Stratford Intermediate building continues as predicted with a section that is not occupied by students. The final meeting of the STC will be hosted on September 24. Details on the STC meetings can be obtained by emailing our Communications team at:

Senior Staff Updates

Avon Maitland Remote Learning School

AMRLS LogoThe new Avon Maitland Remote Learning School (AMRLS) has been set up for students choosing remote learning. There are almost 1000 elementary students and just over 500 secondary students enrolled as of today. The school is fully staffed with administrators, support staff, teachers, etc. and a new website is being set up. AMRLS is also providing students with technology (devices and internet access) support. 

Program Team Offers Professional Development for Teaching Staff

Support for educators in the remote learning environment is being provided by Technology Coaches and the Program team on how to best utilize the online platforms. In addition, teaching staff in the schools are receiving professional development on how to teach a full 300 minutes of one subject in one day (as per the current new quadmester system).  

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

COVID-19 related supplies for schools continue to arrive throughout the district. The Province and the Ministry of Education have provided the supplies that include Personal Protective Equipment for staff, cleaning supplies, etc.

Transportation Update (Bus Driver Shortages)

There are still some routes that have been cancelled over the first few days of school due to a province-wide driver shortage. Staff have been working with the bus companies to address the shortages, including reconfiguring a small number of routes. The bus companies have shared that additional drivers are now being trained and will be added soon.

Cartoon photo of school busThe new BusPlanner Delays app is now available in Huron Perth! The app will send immediate delay and cancellation information to users based on the routes that they have chosen to receive notifications for.


Optimizing Health and Filtration in Schools

Upgraded air filters (hospital grade) were installed in all buildings with filtered air systems across the district. In addition, portable filtration systems will be installed in some areas of eight schools across the district where air flow is a concern during the colder weather months, when windows cannot be left open.  

Future Board Meetings

  • Tuesday, October 13, 2020 (Committee of the Whole, Open Session at 4:30 via Microsoft Teams)
  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 (Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:30 p.m., Student Advisory Committee at 5:30 p.m. and Regular Board at 6:00 p.m.)
Meetings are hosted at the Education Centre unless otherwise noted

Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation

  • Stratford Transformation Committee – September 24, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Supervised Alternative Learning – September 28, 2020 at 8:30 a.m.
  • Audit Committee – September 29, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) – October 7, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.
Meetings hosted at the Education Centre unless otherwise noted