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September 17, 2008 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
September 17, 2008

A meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee was held in the Board Room on Wednesday, September 17, 2008, at 4:30 p.m.          
Present Trustees:
H. Brown, Chair
G. Beavis
H. Chadwick
D. Jackson
B. McLaren
P. Murray
Present Staff:
P. Fisher, Assistant Supervisor, Purchasing
G. Greer, Program Consultant
D. Hannah, Literacy Consultant
C. Homer, Elementary Program Consultant and Elementary Curriculum Consultant
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
P. Lynch, Manager of Financial Services
A. MacLeod, Curriculum Consultant
N. Marsh, Superintendent of Education
A. Nahorny, Secondary Program Consultant
J. Pratt, Elementary Program Consultant
S. Raeburn-Gibson, Elementary Program Consultant
P. Warren-Chaplin, Superintendent of Education
B. Woodley, Supervising Principal and Executive Assistant       
Chair Brown welcomed those present to the meeting and called the meeting to order.  She reported that regrets were received from Trustees Crawford and Goodfellow.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

Chair Brown advised that the following item is to be added to the agenda: Request for Proposal for Long-Term Suspension and Expulsion Programs, after the introduction of the Program Team Consulting staff.  She further advised that the items on the agenda are to be re-ordered.  Trustee Jackson advised that he would bring forward an item regarding a delegation under the Other Business section of the agenda.
MOVED BY Trustee McLaren, that the agenda, as amended, be approved.–Carried

Introduction of Program Team Consulting Staff

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin advised that the members of the Program Team are present.  She introduced Joanne Pratt, Elementary Program Consultant; Charlene Homer, Elementary Program Curriculum Consultant; Stephanie Raeburn-Gibson, Elementary Program Consultant; and Gary Greer, Program Consultant.

Each member of the Program Team provided a brief description of his/her portfolio.

Superintendent Marsh introduced Anne Nahorny, Secondary Program Consultant;
David Hannah, Language Literacy Consultant; and Alistair MacLeod, Mathematical Literacy Consultant.  She stated that the members of the Program Team give support to students and those in the schools, and they are an excellent resource for Superintendent Warren-Chaplin, Supervising Principals Akey and Midwood and herself.

Each member of the Program Team provided a brief description of his/her portfolio.

Chair Brown thanked the members of the Program Team for attending this afternoon’s meeting and for the work they do for students and teachers.

The members of the Program Team withdrew from the meeting.

Request for Proposal for Long-Term Suspension and Expulsion Program

Peter Lynch, Manager of Financial Services, introduced Patrick Fisher, Assistant Supervisor of Purchasing.

Mr. Lynch advised that on February 1, 2008, the Ministry of Education enacted changes to Part XIII of the Education Act, noting that one of the changes is the requirement for boards to offer at least one long-term suspension and expulsion program.

Manager Lynch advised that the request for proposals for a long-term suspension and  expulsion program closed on Friday, September 12, 2008, at 12 noon with Trustee Brown present to witness the opening of the responses immediately following the closing. He advised that one response was received, which was from Youth Diversion, and that it did meet the mandatory criteria for being a valid proposal.  Manager Lynch advised that Youth Diversion has been providing a similar program to the Board and has a long history of working with the Board.

Manager Lynch advised that proponents were asked to address specific requirements of providing such a program and the associated cost, as well as accepting the Board’s terms and conditions.  He indicated that Youth Diversion did address each of the areas in the request for proposal and accepted the terms and conditions.  The proposed and annual fee for their services for this program is $51,000.

Manager Lynch said that the evaluation criteria in the request for proposal included agency profile, delivery of services and program, proposed fee and references.  The proposal submitted from Youth Diversion has been evaluated as meeting the requirements of the Board for this program.  Manager Lynch said that this contract has been included in the operating budget of SAFE Schools.  As per the Board’s Administrative Procedure 515, Purchasing Procedures, Section 6.2.3, a recommendation has to be submitted to the Board before an award is made when there is only one valid tender or RFP received.

MOVED BY Trustee Chadwick, the Education/Human Resources Committee recommends to the Board, that the proposal received from Youth Diversion for a long-term suspension and expulsion programs be accepted for contract award.

Trustees asked questions around the details of the contract to which Manager Lynch, Supervising Principal Woodley, and Assistant Supervisor of Purchasing responded.

The original motion was called and Carried.

Ms. Woodley and Messrs. Lynch and Fisher withdrew from the meeting.

Character Education

Superintendent Marsh stated that last year, the Education/Human Resources Committee saw a draft of the Character Education Framework.  She thanked Trustee McLaren for her contribution to the document.  

Superintendent Marsh distributed copies of the final Character Education document, advising that teachers will receive a copy of the document, noting that the next step is to use the family of schools’ model in order for schools to come together.  A teacher from each school who wants to be a leader in his/her school, will meet to discuss the attributes that make sense to them to establish a continuum from elementary to highschool.

Superintendent Marsh reinforced that prior to funding for character education, our schools created environments that modeled civic-minded citizens in communities.

In response to a request by Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Marsh stated that the Character Education document would be sent to the Trustees’ Area in First Class.

Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Marsh for providing information about the Character Education document.  She also thanked Trustee McLaren for her contribution to the document.

EQAO Results (Primary-Junior 2008)

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin stated that Senior Staff are pleased with the Board’s EQAO results in all areas, noting that they are especially pleased with the performance of our students with special needs.

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin reviewed the EQAO Results for the 2008 Primary (Grades 1-3) and Junior (Grades 4-6) Assessments in Reading Writing and Mathematics.  She reviewed the Percentage of All Students at or Above the Provincial Standard (Levels 3 and 4), 2007-2008; Grade 3 Results Over Time; LDSB Grade 6 Results Over Time; Grade 3 Gender: Board vs. Province; Grade 6 Gender: Board vs. Province.
Superintendent Warren-Chaplin reported that our results showed that we were slightly below the provincial standard in Reading at the Grade 3 level, and a bit below in Writing and Mathematics.  She said that at the Grade 6 level, our results indicate that we are a bit behind the province in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin stated that the percentage of Grade 6 students achieving the provincial standard in all subjects has increased, and a higher percentage of these students have met the standard in Reading and Writing since they wrote the Grade 3 provincial assessment in 2005.

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin advised that of the students eligible to write the assessment, the proportion of Grade 6 students who met or exceeded the provincial standard increased by one percentage point to 63% in Reading, increased by nine percentage points to 62% in Writing, and increased by three percentage points to 54% in Mathematics.  In Grade 3, the percentage of all eligible students who achieved the provincial standard was 57% in Reading, 59% in Writing, and 63% in Mathematics.

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin advised that in 2008, of the participating Grade 3 students (excluding students who were absent or exempt), 61% scored at or above the provincial standard of level 3 in Reading, 63% in Writing and 67% in Mathematics.   Of the participating Grade 6 students, 67% scored at or above the provincial standard in Reading, 66% in Writing, and 58% in Mathematics.

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin reviewed the following information:

Students with Special Needs At or Above the Provincial Standard (Excluding Gifted)

2007-2008 Provincial Grade 3
        Reading – 25%
        Writing – 37%
        Mathematics – 35%

2007-2008 LDSB Grade 3
        Reading – 25%
        Writing – 44%
        Mathematics – 38%

2007-2008 Provincial Grade 6
        Reading – 27%
        Writing – 28%
        Mathematics – 23%

2007-2008 LDSB Grade 6
        Reading – 30%
        Writing – 35%

        Mathematics – 23%

Superintendent Warren-Chaplin reviewed the Areas to Celebrate and Extend for 2007-2008 for LDSB, as follows:

Reduced gender gaps in achievement in Grade 6 Reading and Writing

The achievements of our exceptional students are to be celebrated

Grade 3
  •                 Continue efforts with focused attention on Reading and Writing through Board-wide strategies, e.g. Elementary Literacy Coach, Networking of Communities of Schools
Grade 6
  •                 Continue efforts with focused attention on Reading, Writing and Mathematics through Board-wide strategies, e.g. Pilot Projects in Families of Schools for Breakthrough Math, Networking Communities of Schools
        Superintendent Warren-Chaplin reviewed the next steps, as follows:

  •         Elementary teachers in division teams in schools will analyze school EQAO results on the September 19th PA Day in order to expand their capacity building activities.
  •         Elementary administrators and teachers will identify strategies to promote increased achievement and incorporate these into their school improvement plans.
  •         The Elementary Program Team will continue to support Board-wide strategies in Reading and Mathematics and build on the success in Grade 6 Writing through implementation of High Yield Strategies.
  •         The Elementary Literacy Coach will work closely with the Elementary Program Team and School Effectiveness Lead Principal to examine school specific strengths and areas requiring additional support in order to tailor support to match individual site needs.
In response to comments by Trustee Jackson regarding systemic changes and what is happening at schools, Superintendent Warren-Chaplin stated that we do try to understand and address some of the issues where there are dual track schools and we endeavour to provide strategies to support the needs of English Language and French Immersion students. She said that our Program Team looks at the kinds of services we need to provide through an analysis of the needs of schools.  Superintendent Warren-Chaplin said that Principals, this year after the September 19 Professional Activity Day, send a summary of their needs and their Framework for Planning.  The next step is to articulate how the Program Team can provide support.  She said that we might also provide support in different ways to differentiate our support to schools.

In response to comments by Trustee McLaren regarding the Board’s strategies with respect to the gender issue and whether the Program Staff had considered having one class of boys, and one class of girls, Superintendent Warren-Chaplin stated that the Board has not gone that far.  She said that we would like to see what kind of additional funding the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat will provide around the gender issue.  She commented that this year the Program Team will reorganize its actions to see how we can respond to the gender issue.

In response to comments by Trustee McLaren regarding poorly written literature in schools being removed, Superintendent Warren-Chaplin stated that we have had no discussion about the review of all books in schools.  She said that we could heighten that awareness with Principals.

Trustee Chadwick commented that to differentiate different schools’ needs would mean differentiating resources, and she does not think this would be easily undertaken.  She commented that this is more of an additional funding issue.  She said that she firmly believes that “fairness is not sameness”.

Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Warren-Chaplin for providing highlights of the EQAO Primary and Junior Assessments.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) Results

Superintendent Marsh reviewed the highlights of the 2008 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).  She reviewed the demographic information, noting that we have a higher percentage of special needs students and a higher percentage of students enrolled in the Applied and Locally Developed Programs.  She noted that there is a slightly less percentage of students who are ESL students.

Superintendent Marsh stated that last year our participation went up 2% over the previous years.  She said that when the OSSLT test was written, we deferred students who we believed were not ready to write it.  Superintendent Marsh stated that we encourage schools to have students write the OSSLT in their Grade 10 year so that they can free up their Grade 12 year for doing an apprenticeship or co-op experience.

Superintendent Marsh stated that overall we did have a decline in our students’ success on the OSSLT.

Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Results Over Time: 2003-2008 and Results by Gender information.

Superintendent Marsh reported that students in the academic stream who wrote the OSSLT were more successful than the Province.  She said that the Board needs to target the literacy skills of those students who are enrolled in Applied Courses.

Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Marsh for providing the above-noted information.

EQAO Math Assessment Results

Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Demographic Information, as follows:


Number: 493
Female: 45%
Male: 55%
First semester: 50%
Second semester: 48%
Full Year: 2%
ESL: 1%
Special needs: 37%


Number: 966
Female: 53%
Male:    47%
First semester: 45%
Second semester: 54%
Full Year: 2%
ESL: 2%
Special needs: 9%

Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Percentage of Students at or Above the Provincial Standard (Levels 3 and 4), 2007-2008 for both the Applied and Academic Programs.  She also reviewed the Applied Results Over Time for the percentage of all students in the Applied Mathematics Program at All Levels for the Board, as well as the Academic Results Over Time.

Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Applied Results over Time for the percentage of students at or above the provincial standards (levels 3 and 4) in Grade 9 Applied Mathematics, as well as the Academic Results over Time.

Superintendent Marsh reviewed the following areas that should be acknowledged:

  •         Improved achievement in Grade 9 Mathematics;
  •         Reduced gender gaps in Grade 9 Applied Mathematics; and
  •         The achievements of our exceptional students are to be celebrated.
Superintendent Marsh reviewed the EQAO Mathematics Assessment Results, indicating that Grade 9 Mathematics results have improved in each of the past three years in both Applied and Academic Mathematics.  This year a much higher percentage of girls in Applied Mathematics reached the standard as we continue to reduce the gender gap in performance.  She advised that the Board will focus on sustaining the gains made, and continue to work collaboratively with our teachers and administrators to further increase achievement, particularly in Applied Mathematics.

Superintendent Marsh stated of the students who participated in the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics in 2008, 72% reached or exceeded the provincial standard in Academic Mathematics and 38% of Limestone students achieved the provincial standard in Applied Mathematics.  Of the students eligible to participate, including those who were absent or exempt, 72% reached or exceeded the provincial standard in Academic Mathematics.  In Applied Mathematics, 37% of the eligible students reached the provincial standard.

Superintendent Marsh advised that the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics covers the knowledge and skills students are expected to have acquired by the end of Grade 9.

In reviewing the recent EQAO Math Assessment results for the Board, Trustee Jackson stated that he is interested in knowing how we are specifically following through with students to improve our results both on a school by school basis and systemically across the Board.  He noted that these results could include more detailed trend analysis as to why results are improving, declining or unchanged.   He indicated that this information would be helpful as the Board of Trustees and staff review and revise the Board's Strategic Plan.  He said that to help improve student results it would be useful to know which existing or new resources are successful in improving results as we refine our Strategic Plan.

In response to comments by Trustee McLaren on the extent of movie watching in classrooms, Superintendent Marsh stated that previously she had distributed a memorandum cautioning that when teachers show films in the classroom that they should be appropriate and relevant to the curriculum.  She said that an action research team considered the role of media in classrooms.  Superintendent Marsh stated that she will distribute a reminder to secondary school principals again this year.

In response to a question from Trustee Murray, Superintendent Marsh stated that there is no fee for secondary students to attend the Summer Literacy Camps offered by the Board.  Superintendent Warren-Chaplin advised that there is a fee for elementary students to attend these camps; however, there are subsidies available.

Superintendent Marsh stated that education research indicates that the number one factor, as far as students’ achievement and success, is the classroom teacher.  We try to create environments where teachers learn about research, implement strategies and reflect.  Teachers share best practices.

Superintendent Marsh reviewed the next steps, as follows:
  • Secondary Math Action Teams & Language Literacy Teams will analyze the results for each school – (achievement & anecdotal) to inform instructional strategies;
  • Mathematical Literacy Coach will support teachers in Mathematics instruction and assessment in Grades 7-9 in select schools;
  • Continue with Breakthrough Math in Family of Schools groupings;
  • Creation of Language Literacy Instruction Focus Team (LLIFT) for select family of schools to support the implementation of high yield strategies;
  • Targeted Language Literacy coaching at the secondary level; and
  • Continue with Summer Literacy Camps and Language Literacy Tutors.
Superintendent Marsh advised of the following Key Dates:

September 17 – Provincial, Board and school results released publicly by EQAO
September 22-26 – Schools receive Individual Student Reports (ISRs); Additional reports released to schools to support school improvement planning
October/November – Principals will share EQAO results with School Councils

Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Marsh for providing information about the OSSLT Results and the EQAO Mathematics Results.

Other Business

Trustee Jackson stated that he had been approached by a delegation who wants to come to the October Education/Human Resources Committee meeting to speak to their concerns about the LEAP and Challenge Programs’ selection process.

Trustee Chadwick stated that in accordance with Section 17.0.0 Delegations and Submissions of Policy 9 (Board Operations), persons wishing to make submissions on educational issues to the Board or its committees must apply in person or in writing to the Secretary of the Board.

Trustee Murray asked that information on how the system is reacting to the EQAO results be provided at the next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, October 15, 2008, at 4:30 p.m.


MOVED BY Trustee Beavis, that the meeting adjourn at 5:45 p.m.–Carried