Board Meeting Highlights - March 22, 2022
Support Ontario Youth Engages Students and FunTECH Goes Home
Superintendent Morris was proud to share updates from the Pathways team. In early March, Support Ontario Youth brought their "Tools in the Trades Bootcamp" to three AMDSB schools. Students from FE Madill SS participated in the Electrical Bootcamp, students at Listowel District SS participated in the Transportation Bootcamp, and students from St. Marys DCVI participated in the Plumbing Bootcamp. Participants learned about each respective trade from industry professionals and were provided with $250 worth of tools relevant to that trade. Two media stories covered this initiative: one from CTV News London and one from St Marys Independent.
FunTECH (a program to expose Grade 6 students to the trades) was once again offered in an 'at home' format over the March Break. Over 300 students participated and could choose between a kit for cooking, assembling a propeller car, or assembling a table top game. Each kit included everything students needed to complete the activity, as well as information about skilled trades and apprenticeship opportunities available for AMDSB students. Students were also invited to share photos via social media using #FunTECHamdsb and #FunTECHMarchBreak for the chance to win a prize! One parent commented: "Sparked his curiosity and kept his interest. Included everything needed to complete the activity, making it easier on parents. Great introduction and explanation of different trades." Check out some of the students' handiwork below!
AMDSB Schools Acknowledge Pink Shirt Day and World Down Syndrome Day
Communications Manager Chera Longston reported that AMDSB schools participated in Pink Shirt Day on February 23 to stand against bullying in all its forms. Students and staff also wore colourful, crazy socks on March 21 to show support for World Down Syndrome Day. Check out the photo collages below!
Bluewater Coast ES Supports Jessica's House Hospice
Chair Sygrove recognized the Student Leadership Team at Bluewater Coast Elementary School, who initiated a candy gram activity for Valentine's Day. Students and staff were able to purchase candy grams for friends at 75 cents each. In all, they raised $690, which was donated to Jessica's House Hospice in Exeter. Way to go!
Director of Education Remaining with the Board until December 2023
The Trustees were pleased to announce that the contract of Director Lisa Walsh will be extended beyond spring 2023. She will continue her leadership role until December 2023. Congratulations!
AMDSB Environment Committee Hosts Inaugural Meeting
Superintendent Creery shared that a new Environment Committee has been developed which includes staff from all across the district. Their first meeting welcomed guest speaker Dr. Karen Acton, who discussed why environmental sustainability is essential for school boards, gave advice about getting the committee's work off the ground, and provided a variety of resources. The committee's next steps are to identify their initial goals.
Tu Puente Program Continues
Superintendent Bruce was pleased to share information about the Tu Puente program which supports our low German Mennonite community and their families who move to Mexico during the winter. AMDSB is part of a multi-district partnership that supports the program in Durango, Mexico. Students are provided the opportunity to engage in learning during the winter months. At a recent program meeting, members received a virtual tour of the new facility in Durango. The site is well appointed with technology and learning resources.
The Ministry of Education has provided $130,000 this year in support of the Tu Puente program, thereby reducing expenses for partner boards. With border restrictions being lifted, it is expected that additional AMDSB families will take advantage of the Tu Puente program in the coming years.
Update from the Office of Human Rights and Equity
Superintendent Creery and Human Rights and Equity Lead Administrator Jason (Burt) Burt provided an update on the work of the Office of Human Rights and Equity. Special guest Kristin Crane from the Huron County Immigration Partnership presented findings from a 2021 empirical study looking at discrimination experienced by Immigrants, Visible Minorities, and Indigenous Peoples in Huron County and Perth Region. Burt also highlighted the most recent work that included bathroom renovations, floor murals and a feature article in the Winter 2022 edition of the Ontario Principals' Council Register magazine.
Director's Work Plan Update (I Am Prepared/Engaged)
Superintendent Carter presented the work that addresses the intersection between the I am prepared and I am engaged pillars of the Strategic Plan. She highlighted the LTAP (Long-Term Accommodation Plan) Data Dashboards that allows the user to see historical and projected student enrolment for the board, by planning area and by school. It also includes information about the school size, capacity and other demographics. Future long-term enrolment projections will be provided via the Data Dashboards.
She also provided an update on the North Perth Boundary Review project. On March 21, a community consultation report was released to seek input on the proposed solutions. This included a report from staff along with resources and a survey from Watson & Associates. The report is posted on the North Perth Boundary Review page and the survey is open until April 3.
System Principal Emma Watts shared a summary of what is being offered to students in grades 8 to 12 throughout this summer. A wide variety of courses are available, including reach-ahead opportunities for Grade 8 students. Of particular interest is an in-person experiential education course called Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds where students learn about important elements of healthy living including outdoor experiences, personal fitness, eating well and connecting with their community. The full course offerings are posted on the Summer Learning page.
Student Trustee Update
Student Trustee Elizabeth Benoit reported that the Student Senate is working on school-specific videos that introduce the senators and highlight some of the projects they have been working on throughout this school year. She also reported that all of the secondary schools are finishing up their murals, which highlight messages of equity and diversity. Finally, she reported that several secondary schools have organized fundraisers to help support those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.
Senior Staff Updates
Director Walsh provided an update on the recent changes to COVID-19 protocols. She reported that although many restrictions have been lifted in schools across the province, Huron Perth Public Health reminds all residents that the virus continues to circulate in our communities. They have reported ongoing outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings. HPPH also reported that they will be receiving a supply of a new vaccine that provides an alternative for those who may be allergic to the other available options. She reiterated that self-screening, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, availability of vaccination, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, ventilation improvements, continued access to free PPE for students and staff, availability of rapid tests, and absence reporting (schools will continue to be expected to report absenteeism rates to HPPH greater than 30%) will all continue. She also reported that since the isolation requirements have changed, staff absence rates are beginning to improve but continue to put pressure on the system.
Remote Learning Update
Superintendent Morris reported that registration for the 2022/2023 online learning school closed last week and her team is examining those details and the implications on staffing. She will provide a fulsome update at the April meeting.
Future Board Meetings
- April 12, 2022 – Committee of the Whole, Open Session at 4:30 p.m. (online meeting)
- April 26, 2022 – Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:30 p.m., and Regular Board Session at 6:00 p.m.
Beginning April 26, meetings that include Regular Sessions will be hosted in person at the Education in Seaforth (62 Chalk St. N.). Members of the public are welcome to attend the Regular Board Sessions. Meeting details (including agenda packages) are posted on the Board Meeting page.
Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation
- Parent Involvement Committee – Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act – Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.
- Audit Committee – Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.