Board Meeting Highlights - April 27, 2021
Art Class Showcase Their Work in an Online Format
Trustee Bisutti reported that Stratford District SS art teacher Michele Carter wasn't going to let a lockdown stop the public from seeing some of the amazing artworks that were created by her Grade 12 students this past quadmester. The website Twenty Two Days is the digital exhibition of what would have been their gallery show. Below are just a few examples.
Foundation for Education Perth Huron Supports Local Artist Guest Appearances
Trustee Schenk highlighted a Foundation for Education Perth Huron initiative where two artists presented to students in grades 7 and 8. Poet Britta B. showcased her poems and one teacher commented: "Thank you for this opportunity! Despite the silence on our side, the kids did really enjoy Britta's presentation. They were amazed that someone could make a living out of poetry. They thought that she was very charismatic and really enjoyed seeing poetry as something other than words from boring, dead guys. I have a lot of reluctant poets in my room, and this was super helpful. The class really liked listening to the poetry and thought her presentation really brought the words to life." Britta will be joining grade 9/10 and 11/12 classes on June 2 and 3 and there is still room for classes to sign up. Also, dancer Jason Sermonia presented his first dance workshop as he rolls out 10 presentations/week over the next few weeks.
SDSS School Council Highlights Racism, Equity and Inclusion with Local Guest
Trustee Bisutti reported that the SDSS parent council (with much help from member Ann Bagley) reached out to veteran actor and singer Marcus Nance to create a video about his life and experience in the theatre, with regards to racism, equity and inclusion. The 21-minute video below is Marcus speaking candidly about his experiences, as well as answering questions from students at SDSS.
Leadership Development Work Continues
Director Walsh (on behalf of Superintendent Langis) reported that AMDSB will be partnering with Brock University to offer the Principal's Qualification Program (PQP) 1 and 2 to aspiring leaders in our system this summer.
Students with Complex Needs Attend Face to Face
Superintendent Bruce reported that 135 students are involved in the face to face program that supports their complex special education needs. A variety of staff including Educational Assistants, Child and Youth Workers, teachers and administrators are working with these students and ensuring that they are well supported during the remote learning period.
IT Services Deploy an Additional 3000 Devices to Support Online Learning
Superintendent Morris highlighted the amazing contributions of the AMDSB IT Team as they have been deploying thousands of devices to support remote learning for students across AMDSB. The team works with school principals to ensure any student who needs a device receives one in a timely way. Morris thanked the team for handling this challenging task smoothly and with amazing efficiency. Great work team!
Mental Health and Well-being Team Adjust to Provide Student Support in a Virtual Format
Superintendent Marotta reported that the AMDSB Mental Health and Well-being team is working alongside a variety of community partners to provide virtual support to students. They are also developing online resources using Google Classroom to raise awareness about the impact of stress and how to deal with it in healthy ways.
Student-led Climate Action Initiative
Trustee Bisutti reported that she attended the Youth Speak Out on Climate Action for Our City presentation by students and members of the Eco Club at Stratford District SS. They discussed issues of transportation, waste, urban sprawl, and reforestation. The student panelists were Kashish Dhanoa, Camille Ditty, Maria Gheorghe, Sammie Orr, Christopher Rouse, Rachael Schieldrop, and Joelle Wiebe, and the moderator was Ms. Christine Ritsma, History and Green Industries teacher and staff advisor to the Eco Club. Full details here.
Student Trustee Update
Student Trustee Makenzie Hallam reported that the senators are winding down their projects. She asked if the Board is expecting a year-end presentation and Chair Hunking confirmed that no formal presentation is expected but a summary of the work is sufficient.
Director's Work Plan Update
Superintendent Morris and System Principal Emma Watts presented an update on the work of the Director's Work Plan from the Leading Learning Department. They provided a summary of the initiatives from the various pathways programs including Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, Specialist High Skills Majors, Dual Credit and Co-operative education. Superintendent Morris also discussed the work of the Pathways Advisory Committee, including a multi-year pathways plan. Finally, they outlined the work of the graduation coaches and the recommendations that have been developed for the alternative education programs.
Senior Staff Updates
Revisions to AP 198 (Flags) and Flying of the Pride Flag
Superintendents Carter, Bruce and Creery gave a brief presentation outlining the changes underway for AP 198 (Flags). They specifically discussed flying other flags (including the Pride flag) across AMDSB and provided information about how this will be rolled out across the district.
Busing Pilot Project for Stratford District SS
Superintendent Carter described a Huron Perth Student Transportation Services pilot project for Stratford District SS busing. The project involves families 'opting-in' for bus services. The hope is that bus routes are planned based only on students who intend to ride the bus. Details will be communicated to families in the coming days.
Future Board Meetings
- Tuesday, May 25, 2021 (Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:30 p.m., and Regular Session at 6:00 p.m.)
Meetings will be hosted online using Microsoft Teams until further notice. Links to join the meetings will be posted on the Board Meeting page.
Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation
- Special Education Advisory Committee – May 12, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.
- Pathways Advisory Committee – May 12, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Meetings will be hosted online until further notice.