Board Highlights - September 13, 2022

Good News

Schools Welcome Students Back for the 2022/2023 School Year! 

Communications Manager Chera Longston acknowledged the warm and supportive welcome that school staff provided to our returning students. Schools posted a wide variety of smiling faces on social media as they returned to our buildings. We are so happy to have you back!   
Collage of photos celebrating a warm and support welcome back to school


LearningHub Team Receives Prestigious Award

The Learning Hub logo - gears and text: The Learning Hub                 CEL logo
Superintendent Cheri Carter was proud to announce that on September 8, the Premiers of Canada announced the winners of the 18th annual Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Offered in every province and territory, the award celebrates “exceptional achievement, innovative practice and excellence in literacy”.  

One of the recipients: the Ontario e-Channel Team, which has been developing and delivering Literacy and Basic Skills services for people in Ontario who rely on distance learning. e-Channel specializes in supporting Indigenous, deaf, and francophone clients and has helped thousands of learners gain the literacy skills needed to achieve their education and career goals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, e-Channel was able to support in-person literacy providers by sharing their resources and expertise, so they could quickly and successfully pivot to online service delivery for their own clients. e-Channel consists of a network of six not-for-profit organizations dedicated to the advancement of literacy skills, including our very own LearningHUB program of the Centres for Employment & Learning (CEL).

The LearningHUB includes 30 CEL staff members and is led by Site Coordinator Nancy Lazenby and Principal of Adult and Continuing Education Kendra Brohman. Last year, the eChannel supported over 2,800 clients across the province in online literacy training. 

We are very proud of the LearningHUB Team!  

Full details can be found on Canada’s Premiers website

Indigenous Feast Brings Families Together

Trustee Lynette Geddes was pleased to share that on Sunday, August 28, the board hosted an “End of Summer Feast” in Brodhagen, West Perth for students across the Avon Maitland board. The intention of the event was to celebrate our students and families who self-identify as Indigenous and to raise awareness of and to the hundreds of Indigenous students and families who are part of the communities of Huron and Perth. Over 200 students and families enjoyed a meal prepared by local Indigenous caterer Howling Moon, listened to various speakers and joined in songs. It also introduced students and families to the AMDSB Indigenous Student Support Advisor, Alicia Park. Alicia will be connecting with these students throughout the year in our schools. 
Indigenous leader Christin Dennis playing a drume  AMDSB indigenous student support advisors along with one of their mothers and brother in ribbon skirts  Indigenous leader Christin Dennis playing a wooden flute

Partnership with Stratford Festival to Bring the Play "1939" to AMDSB Students

Superintendent Kate Creery was pleased to report that a new partnership with the Stratford Festival enabled a number of tickets for the new play by Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan. The amazing production is described as follows: 
Anticipating a visit by King George VI, an English teacher at a fictional Residential School in Northern Ontario enlists her students in a production of All’s Well That Ends Well. But her rigid ideas of how Shakespeare should be performed are challenged as her Indigenous students start finding parallels between themselves and the characters in the play – and, far from letting themselves be defined by colonial expectations, set out to make Shakespeare’s bitter-sweet comedy defiantly their own.  
This was a wonderful opportunity for students taking Grade 11 English (ENG3U/C/E) to view the play as part of their studies while in the company of fellow AMDSB administrators, educators and managers from a variety of departments! Additionally, local Indigenous elders, along with Indigenous Education Lead Monique Pregent and Director Lisa Walsh, were in attendance on September 7.  
Thanks so much to Daviorr Snipes from the Stratford Festival for helping us to organize this special offer and to Jenn Cronsberry, Katie Snell, Monique Pregent and Jason Burt for all of their help, all summer long, in organizing this event!

Booster Camp a Success for Grade 8 Students Over the Summer

Superintendent Kate Creery reported that Avon Maitland educators collaborated to provide a Booster Camp experience for Grade 8 students from across the district during the week of August 22 under the leadership of principal Amy Crummer. The goal of the camp was to support students with a smooth transition into high school, and reduce their stress and anxiety about their upcoming school year (as well as boost their confidence in numeracy and literacy). The full-day camp was facilitated at Mitchell District High School where students had an opportunity to further develop their literacy and numeracy skills, make new friends and talk about the transition to secondary school. Sixty two students were led by AMDSB staff in engaging, fun, and collaborative learning activities.
Feedback from parents, students and educators was overwhelmingly positive, with requests to run the program and expand upon it next year. Parents specifically commented on the resource that staff created for student participants to take with them for their first month of high school. Students have shared that the camp allowed them the opportunity to connect with peers and develop new friendships that they otherwise wouldn't have had the chance to make. They also shared their increased confidence to enter high school. Educators reported that the camp allowed them to further refine their practice through small group instruction and that they benefited from the opportunity to work with other educators from different panels across the district. In addition, parents and students have asked to facilitate the camp if it runs next year. The week was capped off by a full camp field trip to Canada's Wonderland.

Stratford Intermediate School Hosts Tour for Trustees

Last night's meeting was hosted at Stratford Intermediate School. Trustee Herb Klassen thanked staff for the tour of the school's newly renovated areas and remarked on the amazing improvements!  
New Pathways Innovation Centre at Stratford Intermediate     New Learning Commons at Stratford Intermediate

Chair Update

Chair Nancy Rothwell reviewed changes to upcoming meeting dates (all are posted on the Board Meeting page). She also described the upcoming orientation process that is being planned for newly elected Trustees who will be in place after the Municipal Election on October 24. She went on to report a very engaging and successful System Leader's Day which brought together the senior team, principals, vice principals, managers, and trustees. Special guest speaker Chris D'Souza kicked off the day with an inspiring talk that challenged the group's thinking about anti-oppression work that is happening in our board. Chair Rothwell also described the poster boards that were set up for participants which asked a variety of thought-provoking questions and enabled great discussion. She thanked the senior team for their work on organizing such a successful day! 

Senior Staff Updates

Student Transportation and Construction

Superintendent Cheri Carter gave a report from the Huron Perth Student Transportation Services. She reported that the start of the school year has gone relatively smoothly with respect to student bussing. She did put a call out for anyone interested in full-time, part-time or supply bus driving. All bus operators are currently recruiting. In addition, she reported that a training session focused on autism was hosted for over 170 bus drivers. She also provided a construction update and reviewed the numerous projects that began over the summer. 

Future Board Meetings

Meetings that include Regular Sessions will be hosted in person at the Education in Seaforth (62 Chalk St. N.) with the option for connecting online. Members of the public are welcome to attend the Regular Board sessions (in person or online). Meeting details (including online meeting links and agenda packages) are posted on the Board Meeting page.
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2022: Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:30 p.m. and Regular Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2022: Committee of the Whole, Open Session
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2022: Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:30 p.m. and Regular Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation

  • Special Education Advisory Committee – September 14, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.
  • Indigenous Education Advisory Committee – September 19, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Audit Committee – September 21, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Equity Steering Committee – September 22, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Supervised Alternative Learning – September 26, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
  • Environment Committee – September 29, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Joint Health and Safety Committee – September 29, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act – October 19, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.