Board Meeting Highlights - October 27, 2020

Good News

Secondary Schools Celebrate Graduates in Unique Ways

Secondary schools across AMDSB showed their creativity over the last two weeks as they celebrated our 2020 graduating students. A variety of activities were organized including:
  • Virtual (video) showcases of speeches from school administrators, staff and students
  • Drive-through pick up events
  • Socially distanced, scheduled photo opportunities
The 2020 graduates have shown incredible resilience and perseverance during these unusual times. The last few months of their graduating year was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic and they have had to forgo many of the monumental events and celebrations normally associated with the final year of high school (e.g. prom). We congratulate all of our 2020 graduates. We are proud of you!!! 
Collage of photos from secondary school commencement celebrations

Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) Program Update

Trustee Carmichael reported that students from the Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) program had 984 English and social science lessons and 770 math and science lessons graded in the 2019/2020 school year for a total of 56.5 credits. This program supports students that may not be able to participate in traditional learning. 

Elma Township PS Dedicate a Sunshine Room to Former Teacher

Trustee Rothwell reported that Elma PS acknowledged the one year anniversary of the passing of loved teacher Stephanie McCracken. She has been likened to Elma’s “Sunshine”- bringing warmth and comfort (and a big dose of fun) wherever she went. They dedicated her classroom to Stephanie’s memory and it will be named the Sunshine Room.

Eco Exeter and Stratford District SS Organize PPE Recycling Programs

Trustee Sygrove reported that the South Huron District High School Eco Exeter group has once again made headlines by participating in an innovative recycling program. A partnership with Green Circle Salon has resulted in a recycling program for disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by school staff and some students. They purchased six PPE Recovery Initiative Containers and donated them to various spots in the community including Exeter Elementary School. The recycling program takes disposable masks, gowns, gloves and other PPE and after removing any metal from the items, incinerates the material. The heat is used to make clean energy, and all fumes are filtered. Any remaining ash is used in construction materials. See below for the CTV News London story on the initiative. Stratford District Secondary School is also participating in a similar program and the Board is working on plans to roll out the program across other schools in the district. 

Bruce Power Donates Needed Cleaning and Protection Supplies

Photo of staff member standing beside skid filled with buckets of technology cleaning wipes
Bruce Power has made two generous donations to AMDSB schools. First, technology cleaning wipes were received and are now being distributed to schools. This donation is much appreciated as these wipes are difficult to obtain and allow for students to use iPads and Chromebooks in the classroom setting. Safety goggles are also being delivered for use by elementary teachers and support staff. The Board and senior staff express their sincere thanks for this generosity. 

Treaty Recognition Week Celebrations Begin

On October 21 and 22, AMDSB educators participated in an online webinar with Indigenous Education Lead Monique Pregent. Fourteen intermediate and secondary teachers and 25 elementary teachers and principals participated. Pregent worked in partnership with other Program Service coordinators to create a session that included special guest Ray John Jr., a respected Knowledge Keeper from Oneida Nation of the Thames who explained the importance of wampum belts in the treaty process. Examples of activities teachers could use to educate students about the treaties that were made between groups before, during, and after Canada was formed were presented. Digital resources were also shared to enhance the learning experience.
        Photo of map with treaties              photo of monique pregent presenting to educators
Treaty Recognition Week will be celebrated November 1 to November 7 with a series of social media posts and a display at the Board office showcasing examples of treaties and educational resources. 

New Partnership for Newcomer Settlement Services

Superintendent Bruce reported that AMDSB has entered into an agreement with the Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA to provide settlement services in our schools. This is exciting news, as settlement supports will help newcomer families become connected with the community. Schools have been provided with consent forms that they provide to newcomer families as they register.

SHDHS Principal Runs to Support Terry Fox Foundation

Principal Jana Bayer-Smith with her running groupTrustee Sygrove recognized South Huron DHS principal Jana Bayer-Smith who ran 22 kilometres from Lucan to Exeter in support of her school's Terry Fox Run fundraiser. In total, the students and staff of South Huron raised nearly $4000 in support of the Terry Fox Foundation.


Staff Presentation (Summer School Update)

Superintendent Creery and System Principal Emma Watts provided a summary of the 2020 summer school. The program was offered virtually to students looking to reach ahead (grade 8 students), participate in credit recovery, upgrade a credit, take full or half credits, or participate in a co-op program. Feedback from students was very positive and the implemented changes were well received. 

Student Trustee Update

Our new student trustees (Makenzie Hallam and Elizabeth Benoit) provided an update. Elizabeth gave an overview of the OSTA-AECO student conference. Makenzie reported that the student senate is looking to focus on student well-being by providing students with resources that are COVID-19 protocol friendly. They are also looking at a pen pal program with local nursing and retirement homes and a program that provides healthy snacks in classrooms. 

Chair's Report

Chair Geddes sent correspondence regarding the education perspective on the Ministry of Finance budget consultation and the Ministry of Education PPM 164 (AMDSB perspective on the requirements for remote learning). She also highlighted Local Government Week which was celebrated October 19 to 23. AMDSB Communications posted information about the important role of trustees on the website. They also shared social media posts about what our trustees love about their job.  
Photo of Lynette Geddes with quote  photo of robert hunking with quote  Photo of Colleen Schenk with quote

Senior Staff Updates

Stratford Intermediate School Construction Update

Superintendent Carter reported that construction at the Stratford Intermediate site is progressing as planned. The final pieces of the work on the 1926 and 1972 sections, the roofing, is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. Grounds work, including paving is expected to be completed in November. Work in the new addition is progressing well; classrooms are primarily complete while the work in corridors is progressing well. The front entrance and the stairwell still has some work following a slight delay with the delivery of the windows. Inspections (elevator, fire alarms) and some moving of furniture are scheduled for November 6.

Bus Driver Shortage Update

Superintendent Carter reported that in the last weeks, our area has had very few route cancellations compared to other areas in the province and things continue to improve. In September we had 198 route cancellations, in October there have been 39. This significant improvement is a result of recruitment work on behalf of the bus operators.

Mental Health Update

Superintendent Baker highlighted the October mental health newsletter for families that provides information about Bullying Awareness Week (November 15 to 21) and Cyber Awareness Month (October 26 to November 20). A staff version was also released. The Communications team will also be releasing a social media campaign highlighting a variety of messages and resources for students and families. 

Parent Surveys to Address Remote Learning and Technology Needs 

Superintendent Morris reported that two surveys will be released to parents in the coming weeks. One that will ask about student technology needs should we be directed by the Ministry of Education to move to a different learning model (to Model B - hybrid or Model C - fully online). The other will be directed at remote learning families to determine if they plan to continue with remote learning, or if they wish to return to face to face learning. 

Approved Tenders

The following tender was approved:

Future Board Meetings

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (Committee of the Whole, Open Session at 4:30 via Microsoft Teams)
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020 (Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:30, Student Advisory Committee at 5:30, and Regular Board 6:00)
  • Tuesday, December 8, 2020 (Inaugural/Regular Board Meeting)
Meetings are hosted at the Education Centre unless otherwise noted

Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation

  • AODA – October 28, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Special Education Advisory Committee – November 4, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.
  • Audit Committee – November 11, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Huron Perth Student Transportation Services – November 17, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Parent Involvement Committee – November 18, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. (will be hosted online using Microsoft Teams. Details will be posted on the Parent Involvement Committee website (
  • Supervised Alternative Learning – November 30, 2020 at 8:30 a.m.
Meetings hosted at the Education Centre unless otherwise noted