Board Meeting Highlights - September 26, 2023
Retirement Announcement for Dr. Lisa Walsh
With mixed emotions, Chair Nancy Rothwell announced that Dr. Lisa Walsh, Director of Education, will be retiring in August 2024. She expressed her gratitude and appreciation for Dr. Walsh's leadership over the last six years. Throughout her tenure at AMDSB she championed an inclusive and equitable education system that included training, support and learning to ensure the success and support of all students and staff. Her focus on teamwork, service and leadership has resulted in the significant progress of the board. Dr. Walsh said "I am very proud to be part of public education that plays such a vital and important role in society. It has been a joy to see so many children over my many years, thrive in our systems and to work with such engaging staff at all levels! I believe there is no career more rewarding!”. She has had a 35 year career in education and is looking forward to this next phase of her life. Congratulations Dr. Walsh!!!
AMDSB Schools Fundraise for the Terry Fox Foundation
Communications Manager Chera Longston highlighted the local school participation in the annual Terry Fox Run which raises funds for the Terry Fox Foundation to support cancer research. A number of events and activities were hosted across the board to showcase our support for this worthy cause.
Summer Activities (Elementary Camp I AM, Secondary Learning, ABA Camp)
Superintendent April Smith shared a summary of the elementary learning (Camp I AM) that was offered to students in grades 1 to 3 at three sites across the district over the summer. Literacy (reading), numeracy (math), and well-being guided the programming for the six classrooms. She also highlighted a secondary summer learning opportunity that was offered to grade 9 students that focused on the exploration of art disciplines to understand different cultural identities and histories. In addition, an Indigenous Feast was hosted in August that welcomed Indigenous students and families to share food, music and drumming, and games with our staff.
Superintendent Kathy Boyd shared details about the ABA Summer Camp - a skills development program for students with Autism. She reported that 22 students participated in the camp which focused on supporting the transition to and back to school – including following routines, using visual schedules, and more.
AMDSB Recognizes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Superintendent April Smith highlighted the activities that AMDSB is engaged in throughout the week leading up to September 30 (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day). Activities include: raising of Every Child Matters flags with a ceremony led by the Indigenous Education team; participation in a painting session (Art to Inspire Action) with an Indigenous artist from one of the communities Avon Maitland has a treaty relationship with; sharing a variety of social media posts that highlight resources and local events; supporting teachers with access to an internal resources website; and a variety of other commemorative activities that will be done at the school level.
Foundation for Education to Host Inspiring heARTS Gala
Trustee Bruce Whitaker shared that the Foundation for Education is planning a gala for November 4, 2023 (530-830pm). The event will be hosted at the Stratford Festival and will raise funds to support the Foundation's Caring Fund and arts-based initiatives. Details are posted on the Foundation website.
Board Approves Stratford and Area Boundary Review Consultation Process
The Board of Trustees approved a boundary review consultation process for the Stratford and area schools. Details about the process, the schools involved and the community committee that will be formed are posted on the Stratford Boundary Review page.
Student Trustee Update
Student Trustees Nathan Bean and Alex Dolmage led the Student Senators as they recited their Declaration of Oath. Their first meeting is coming up so they will provide a fulsome update at the next board meeting.
Senior Staff Updates
Director's Work Plan
Director Lisa Walsh and the entire senior team presented the 2023-2024 Director's Work Plan (DWP). The DWP is an annual plan that directs and defines the efforts of senior staff to support the priorities identified by the Board of Trustees. In general, the areas of focus throughout the DWP include the 3 main areas of the Strategic Plan (2020-2024): I am prepared, I am well, I am engaged. The full plan can be viewed on the Director's Work Plan page.
Future Board Meetings
Regular Board Meetings are held online unless otherwise noted and the links to join the meetings will be posted on the Board Meeting page the day before the meeting. The public portion begins at 4:45 p.m.
- Tuesday, October 10, 2023: Committee of the Whole, Open Session
- Tuesday, October 24, 2023: Regular Board Meeting at 4:45 p.m. and Committee of the Whole, Closed Session immediately afterwards.
Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation
- Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) – September 27, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.
- Accessibility of Ontarians for Disabilities Act Committee – October 4, 2023 at 3:00 p.m.
- Special Education Advisory Committee – October 4, 2023 at 4:00 p.m.