Board Meeting Highlights - February 28, 2023

Good News

Schools Promote Kindness on Pink Shirt Day

Communications Manager Chera Longston shared that schools participated in Pink Shirt Day on February 22. Students and staff were encouraged to wear pink and a variety of in-class and school activities were hosted to highlight the key theme of showing kindness. Check out the brief video below for a few examples. 

Trustee Whitaker Reflects on Environmental Sustainability Activities

Trustee Bruce Whitaker recently attended an Eco Club meeting at Stratford District SS. He was impressed by the student's involvement and willingness to volunteer for the activities of the club. He also reported that this topic was discussed at a recent OPSBA (Ontario Public School Board Association) meeting. He was pleased to highlight the work of the AMDSB Environment Committee and reported that other trustees were interested in this work and may connect to learn more about our work.  

AMDSB Exceeding Provincial Norm for Mental Health Support

Tree with colourful hands instead of leaves. Text: I AM WellSuperintendent Laura Marotta was pleased to share that despite the recent media attention (e.g. Global News article) highlighting that most schools in Ontario are in need of additional mental health supports, AMDSB is well positioned to meet the needs of our students. She highlighted the Mental Health and Well-being team and the number of board-employed regulated health professionals that directly support students in our buildings, along with additional support provided by local community partners. 



LDSS Student Chosen to Represent Perth-Wellington at Model Parliament

Grade 11 student Keira Schaefer recently returned from a three day Model Parliament experience at Queen's Park in Toronto. She was chosen to represent Perth-Wellington, play the role of a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and learn how parliament works through a series of workshops and presentations. See full website story for details. 
Keira standing with Perth-Wellington MPP Mathew Rae  Keira standing with Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma

Strengthening Our Support for Truth and Reconciliation

Superintendent April Smith highlighted that AMDSB continues to deepen a commitment to the Calls to Action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report . On February 15, facilitated by Indigenous Lead Monique Pregent, and Equity Resource teachers Jennifer Cronsberry and Katie Snell, 25 secondary educators representing 8 secondary schools and many different subject areas participated in a full day professional learning opportunity to further build their capacity to make direct links between course curriculum and Indigenous ways of knowing and being so that they can bring this important learning to their students.
Educators had the opportunity to learn valuable Indigenous perspectives from Christin Dennis, Knowledge Keeper from Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Kathleen Anderson, Thames Bluewater Metis Council. They reviewed various resources and supports available to support their instruction and they collaborated with colleagues to co-plan and share ideas within subject disciplines and school teams.
This work started in consultation with our Indigenous lead, program and school principals in March 2022, building on AMDSB’s commitment to ensure that every graduate is ensured learning about Indigenous histories and cultures as well as the need to address the devastating impacts of colonialism. 

Evidence of Our Work in Action

Vice Chair Michael Bannerman was proud to share that while attending a recent fundraising event for an Indigenous community, event participants were familiar, and able to sing, a song honouring Ojibway Spirit Horses. He pointed out that this was directly related to recent Spirit Horse visits to our elementary schools where Knowledge Keeper Christin Dennis taught students the song and those students then taught the song to their parents/guardians. 

Student Athletes Represent at OFSAA

Superintendent Paul Langis reported that several student athletes and teams from across the board, participating in a variety of sports, are heading to the Ontario finals (OFSAA). Athletes participating in individual and team events will be competing between now and the end of March. Congratulations and good luck to all student athletes! 

Staff Presentations

Update on the Director's Work Plan

Superintendent April Smith presented information about understanding and implementing the grade 9 program. This goal is connected to the I AM Prepared and I AM Engaged sections of the Director's Work Plan (DWP). She outlined the Ministry of Education's vision for de-streaming and provided an update on the work that has occurred thus far in AMDSB, including a mid-year check-in that showed 97% of grade 9 students achieved all four credits in their first semester. She highlighted next steps and the need to continue moving this work forward. 

Student Trustee Update

Student Trustee Abigail Peel reported that the Student Senate continues to work on its plans for this school year, including school-specific land acknowledgements and differing versions of the National anthem. She also reported that elections for next year's Senate are happening soon and they are hosting an orientation night in April for those new to the role. 


Chair Update

Chair Nancy Rothwell shared that trustees participated in recent professional development opportunities including one with governance expert Dr. Richard Leblanc (a follow-up Q and A has been shared with trustees) and a lunch 'n learn focused on how to write and present a land acknowledgement. 

Senior Staff Updates

Long-term Enrolment Projections

Superintendent Cheri Carter shared the updated Long-Term Student Enrolment projections for the board, which were prepared by Watson & Associates Economists Ltd ("Watson"). Watson Partner Jack Ammendolia recorded the video below, which was shared with trustees in the agenda package, along with the accompanying information report. Watson Senior Consultant Josh Valenti and AMDSB Facilities Administrator Hugh Cox were available to answer questions. All information can be found on the Board website on the Pupil Accommodation & Enrolment Projections page. The AMDSB Data Dashboards are also available on that page and provide information about student enrolment projections and school locations, structures and sizes, as well as AMDSB community demographic information. A full instruction manual can also be found for how to navigate and understand this information. 

Future Board Meetings

Meetings that include Regular Sessions will be hosted in person at the Education Centre in Seaforth (62 Chalk St. N.) with the option for connecting online. Members of the public are welcome to attend the Regular Board Meeting sessions (in person or online). Meeting details (including online meeting links and agenda packages) are posted on the Board Meeting page.
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2023: Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:45 p.m. and Regular Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 4, 2023: Committee of the Whole, Open Session
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2023: Committee of the Whole, Closed Session at 4:45 p.m. and Regular Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation

  • Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) – Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. via Microsoft Teams
  • Environment and Land-Based Learning Committee - Thursday, March 9 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Supervised Alternative Learning – Monday, March 27, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. 
  • Joint Health & Safety – Thursday, March 30, 2023