Board Meeting Highlights - December 7, 2021 (Inaugural Meeting)

Board Elects New Chair and Vice Chair

Al Sygrove headshotCongratulations to Chair Al Sygrove who will lead the Board of Trustees in 2022. Al has served on the Board for 12 years, serving one year as Chair and two as Vice Chair. He brings a wealth of experience in the education sector due to his career as a teacher and administrator. Welcome Al!

Nancy Rothwell headshot
Trustee Nancy Rothwell was elected as Vice Chair. Nancy has recently served as the Ontario Public School Board's Association (OPSBA) representative and looks forward to this opportunity! 


Good News

AMDSB Schools Give Back

Communications Manager Chera Longston highlighted a few of the many ways that schools across the District are giving back this holiday season. From food drives to hot chocolate fundraisers, students and families show their support for our local communities. Trustee Carmichael also highlighted the Goderich District Collegiate Institute food drive where 180 students fanned out across the town and collected about 62 boxes of food for the Salvation Army.  

INDSPIRE Conference

Superintendent Creery reported that on November 25 and 26, teachers, principals, and Senior Staff attended INDSPIRE, the National Gathering for Indigenous Education. The focus of this virtual conference was “A Shared Responsibility: Charting a Course for Our Tomorrow.” During the two-day interactive conference, they heard many exciting and engaging speakers, stories, and even participated in panel discussions. Speakers were Niigaan Sinclair, Santee Smith, and Drew Hayden-Taylor. While the conference was virtual, it was an exceptionally interactive, informative, and motivating presentation. Looking forward to 2022 -- in person!

Congratulations to School Athletes

Trustee Bisutti wished to express congratulations to athletes who are wrapping up the fall seasons. She hopes that they enjoyed the return to sports and looks forward to the winter season! 

Leadership Learning Series

Superintendent Langis was pleased to report that over 70 experienced managers and administrators participated in the first of four sessions aimed at developing leaders in the system.  

Staff Presentations

Director's Work Plan Update (I Am Engaged/I Am Well)

Superintendents Creery, Langis and Bruce presented the work that addresses the pillars of I am engaged and I am well. System Principal Debbie Hodgins reported on the review of the STRIVE program which supports students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 who are lagging in skills in the areas of personal, social and emotional development. System Principal Marie McDade discussed a review of the inclusion indicators and showcased a website for educators that helps them determine if their practice meets the expectations. Superintendent Creery provided an overview of professional development opportunities related to equity, diversity, and inclusivity and Superintendent Langis provided a summary of the upcoming annual staff workforce census. 

Student Trustee Update

Student Trustee Elizabeth Benoit reported that schools who are creating murals to express what equity means to them have been given a deadline of May. They also discussed the top three concerns of vaping, bullying, and mental health. They plan to discuss these issues at their next meeting. 

Trustee Committee Updates

Trustees participate in a variety of committees across the board. These reports represent a summary of the key work happening at those meetings. 

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) (Trustee Geddes)

Equity lead Jason Burt led the committee through a scenario wherein a class went on a field trip that wasn't fully accessible for a student with a physical disability and discussed how such a situation should be handled. The solution is to ensure there are systems in place to prevent the situation from arising in the first place.

Pathways Advisory Committee (Trustees Hunking and Bisutti)

  • The ad hoc Pathways Advisory Committee has 45 participants this year, with representatives from our college and education partners as well as dozens of members from industries across various sectors throughout Huron and Perth counties.
  • The Pathways team provided a brief overview of the work from the previous year, including the committee terms of reference. They then shared priorities for this year, including enhancing Pathways awareness with social media campaigns, building partner promotion through virtual field trips and videos, and enhancing experiential learning opportunities for our students.
  • The meeting closed with breakout sessions where industry partners provided feedback on SHSM sector certifications.
  • Two additional meetings will be held in the 2021-22 school year. 

Special Education Advisory Committee (Trustees Geddes and Klassen)

  • The 2022-23 Special Education Budget meetings have been set for June 1 and June 15, with June 22 as the Budget Approval meeting.
  • Ongoing Resource Teacher training has proceeded throughout the fall. Learning Services Coordinators are leading a book study with Resource Teachers. They are reviewing the book, Your Students, My Students, Our Students by Jung, Frey, Fisher and Kroener.
  • The YMCA of Three Rivers, who provide settlement services to Perth County, are now using office space at the new CEL site in the basement of Stratford Intermediate School. Settlement workers will use this space to meet with newcomer families to support them with their settlement needs.
  • The AMDSB ESL team toured the TVDSB "One World" reception centre in London. They learned about the process for receiving newcomer families, helping them register and receive language testing before starting school. The team also visited Sir Arthur Currie PS in London, a large elementary school with significant numbers of English Language Learners. They discussed strategies and resources for supporting students' language needs and programs to help students to acquire language proficiency.
  • Members of the Learning Services Coordinator team presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Toronto. Their workshop focused on the work within AMDSB over the past decade to provide equitable and inclusive education for all students, which is making strides to include most students in mainstream education classes alongside age-appropriate peers. 

Student Information System Transition (Trustee Bisutti)

This ad hoc committee is responsible for the smooth transition from the board's current Student Information System (Maplewood) to a new system (Aspen). The committee is working through various issues related to data transfer, have created a variety of training materials for staff, and have set a 'go live' date for March 2022. 

Supervised Alternative Learning (Trustee Carmichael)

  • Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) is a program that is intended to re-engage young people aged fourteen to seventeen who are not attending school and who are therefore at risk of not graduating. The Attendance Counsellors are the Ministry-legislated leads on this process.
  • The Attendance Counsellor submits applications for the meeting of the Supervised Alternative Learning Committee, which meets once a month.
  • Each student on SAL has a program plan that may include e-learning and/or alternative supports, such as mental health supports.
  • Currently in AMDSB there are 138 students on SAL. 

Senior Staff Updates

Rapid Testing Kits Going Home this Holiday Season

Director Walsh reported that rapid antigen testing kits (provided by the Ministry of Education) will be going home with students before the holiday break. She encourages all families to take part in this program as it helps identify asymptomatic cases and reduces the spread of the virus. She also encourages all families and staff to continue to follow public health recommendations throughout the holiday break. 

Remote Learning Update

AMRLS logo
Superintendent Morris reported that the Avon Maitland Remote Learning School (AMRLS) has  received final numbers for students. Currently there are 170 students enrolled in the elementary panel (grades K to 8) and 160 in the secondary (grades 9 to 12).  

Future Board Meetings

  • January 18, 2022 – 4:30 p.m. Committee of the Whole, Closed Session, 5:30 p.m.Student Advisory Committee, 6:00 p.m. Regular Board Session
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

  • North Perth Boundary Review – Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. and
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Supervised Alternative Learning – Monday, December 13, 2021 at 8:30 a.m.
  • Huron Perth Student Transportation Services – Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Special Education Advisory Committee – Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.
  • Finance Committee – Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.