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February 18, 2009 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
February 18, 2009

A meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee was held in the Board room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, February 18, 2009, at 4:30 p.m.               
Present Trustees:
B. McLaren, Acting Chair
H. Brown
H. Chadwick
A. Goodfellow, Ex-Officio
D. Jackson

Present Staff:
B. Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
G.Greer, Program Consultant
R. Holmes, Supervising Principal
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
A. Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources
N. Marsh, Superintendent of Education
J. Pratt, Elementary Program Consultant 
G. Beavis
Chair McLaren called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting.  She stated that she is filling in for Trustee Beavis who had sent his regrets.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

Chair McLaren advised that Trustee Brown will provide a report about the New Teacher Induction Program meeting that she had attended recently, and that she will provide information about energy drinks under the Other Business section of the agenda.  As well, an additional item concerning Secondary Principal, Vice-Principal, Assistance Vice-Principal Appointments, is to be added to the agenda in Private Session.

MOVED BY Trustee Brown, that the agenda, as amended, be approved.–Carried

“Welcome to Kindergarten” Program

Joanne Pratt, Elementary Program Consultant, provided an overview of the “Welcome to Kindergarten” program.  She reported that the “Welcome to Kindergarten” initiative is a partnership between the Limestone District School Board and The Learning Partnership, a national non-profit organization that tries to get businesses, government, libraries, communities, and school boards together to better the learning in young children.  

Ms. Pratt stated that the goal of Welcome to Kindergarten™ is to provide pre-school children with the resources and experiences to begin their formal education with a foundation in literacy nurtured in their home, before they actually start school.  The program helps parents support their child for school success and lifelong learning.  

Ms. Pratt provided information, as follows:

What is “Welcome to Kindergarten”?

•       New Junior Kindergarten students
•       Parents/guardians and their child are invited to attend a workshop at their new school
•       Centre approach
•       Each child leaves with a bag of “goodies”

Curriculum Connections

•       Early Literacy
•       Early Numeracy
•       Learning Skills

Ms. Pratt reported that this program was piloted at nine schools in 2007-09, noting that 200 families were involved.  She said that the LDSB provided in-services for Junior Kindergarten teachers, and that the program was introduced to all elementary schools in the 2008-2009 school years.

Ms. Pratt provided a series of pictures from the spring 2008 “Welcome to Kindergarten” workshop at Frontenac Public School.  She indicated that parents/caregivers and children receive early learning resources in the “Welcome to Kindergarten” Bag and learn strategies for using the resources at home.  At the orientation, families connect with kindergarten teachers, school resource personnel and staff from community support agencies.

Ms. Pratt showed the resources that go into the bag, magnetic letters and numbers, templates for letter and numbers, scissors, pencil, crayons, notepad, etc., as well as three books.  She said that the bags and contents cost about $12, noting that The Learning Partnership pays 80% towards the cost, and the LDSB pays 20% of the cost.  She also said that the Board pays for teachers to come in for in-services, and The Learning Partnership pays for the in-services.

Ms. Pratt commented that the feedback received from teachers is very positive.  She said that the staff are very excited about the program.

Trustee Brown stated that the program is a wonderful program for children and their parents.  In response to a question from Trustee Brown, Ms. Pratt stated that the nine schools where the program was piloted were chosen based on EQAO results and socio-economic data.

Trustee Goodfellow stated that she has an OPSBA Education Program meeting, and indicated that she would like to share information about the program.

In response to a question from Trustee Jackson, Ms. Pratt stated that The Learning Partnership will subsidize the costs of the program for two years, and then the Board will have to cover all of the costs after the two years has expired.  She said that all junior kindergarten teachers have been in-serviced, and the Board will just provide in-servicing for new Junior Kindergarten teachers in the future.

Chair McLaren thanked Ms. Pratt for sharing information about the “Welcome to Kindergarten” program.

Ms. Pratt withdrew from the meeting.

Provincial Report Card, Grades 1-8

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff provided the following information regarding the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1-8:

General Information

•       Full implementation of the Ministry of Education Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1-8 in September 1998
•       Ensures that all students attending publicly funded elementary schools in Ontario receive a standard report card
•       Provides clear, straightforward information to parents about how their child is achieving and progressing in school in relation to the provincial curriculum expectations

Context for Reporting

•       The Provincial Report Card is one of several means used by teachers to report student achievement to parents and students
•       Communication about student achievement is continuous and can include parent-student-teacher conferences, portfolios of student work, interviews, phone calls, etc.

Report Card Versions

•       There are two main versions of the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1-8:
        •       Grade 1-6 report card uses letter grades to show achievement
        •       Grade 7-8 report card uses percentage marks to show achievement
•       There are three reporting periods during the school year for both versions

Reporting of Student Achievement and Learning Skills

•       The Provincial Report Card focuses on two aspects of student achievement:
        •       Achievement of curriculum expectations in each subject
        •       Development of learning skills required for effective learning

Achievement Charts

•       Student achievement is based on the expectations of The Ontario Curriculum
•       In 2004, Achievement Charts were developed for every subject area – found in the curriculum documents
•       Chart identifies the correspondence between the levels (Level 1-4) of achievement and the letter grade/percentage marks
•       Chart identifies four categories of knowledge and skill – knowledge & understanding, thinking, communication and application
•       Each category outlines criteria, descriptors and qualifiers for reporting student achievement

Report Card Comments

•       Written comments regarding the achievement of curriculum expectations for each subject are created using the language of the curriculum expectations and the achievement charts
•       Comments regarding the learning skills required for effective learning are located at the end of the report card and summarize the strengths, weaknesses and next steps for student learning

Gary Greer, Program Consultant, provided a demonstration of the training software platform as to how comments are populated on report cards.

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff indicated that there may be similar comments on report cards, with some different qualifiers.

In response to comments by Trustee Brown, Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that some people would like to have comments in bullet format; however, some people say that they really appreciate the comments that are personalized as they feel the teacher is speaking to their child.

In response to a question from Trustee Chadwick, Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that comments are based on Ontario curriculum.  She said that the Ministry is looking at levels of achievement based on criteria-referenced assessment, rather than ranking student performance. The report cards look at the level of achievement rather than say this person has 85% or this person has 86%.  We can say this is Level 4 work.

Superintendent Marsh stated that level marks make more sense.  The criteria reference for level marks is what one needs to do to achieve in that level.
Provincial Report Card, Grades 1-8 (continued)

In response to a question from Trustee Goodfellow regarding how universities look at grade 11-12 marks, Superintendent Marsh asked if it is within the educational system to sort and do selections for universities or do they need to design their own?  She said that it is assumed that for university courses, marks will remain percentage based.  She said that more and more universities are looking at the experiences students bring in.  She said that the Ministry is talking about reporting learning skills on transcripts.

In response to comments by Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that the report card is only one method of communicating achievement to parents.  Teachers also make telephone calls to parents, parents come into the classroom to see what their child is doing.  She said that Principals in schools would be aware of families who might struggle with interpreting the report card.  Superintendent Fraser-Stiff commented that there is also the conferencing option available where parents can meet with the teacher to discuss their child.

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that the report card comments come from curriculum expectations with qualifiers.

In response to comments by Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Marsh stated that there is a lot of jargon in education.  She said that report cards reinforce the idea of standard.  The comments explain why a child is achieving at a certain level.

Trustee Goodfellow stated that if a review will be conducted in the near future, that the concerns of Trustees be brought forward.  She said that her experience is that parents know how their child is doing before getting a report card because teachers communicate with parents.

Chair McLaren thanked Superintendent Fraser-Stiff and Mr. Greer for providing information about the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1-8.

Mr. Greer withdrew from the meeting.

Choices at 7 Review Update

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff provided an update on the LEAP and Challenge Review Process, as follows:

Historical Background:

1.      2000                            LEAP and CHALLENGE opened
2.      June 2001                       Program Review
3.      2003 and 2004           Informal meetings with school staff about improving various aspects of the program, application process, equity and communications with parents
4.      2006                            Selection Process Review, LEAP and CHALLENGE Selection Process revised to include First and Second Round selection to improve equity of opportunity for students
5.      2008-2009 Review        Two step process:
                                        a)      Review of Selection Process (Dec. 2008-Feb. 2009)
                                        b)      Program Review (March-May 2009)

2008-2009 Review of Selection Process:

1.      October 28, 2008                Meeting with Principals and teachers from LEAP and CHALLENGE programs to review current selection process
2.      November 20, 2008               consultation with Research Analyst from Queen’s University regarding Review Design
3.      December 16, 2008               Meeting with Review Steering Committee (Principals, Vice-Principals, Curriculum Consultant, Research Analyst, Facilitator)
4.      January 14, 2009                Meeting with Review Steering Committee
5.      January 29, 2009                Meeting with CHALLENGE/LEAP Principals and Program Teachers

Next Steps:

1.      February 2009           Meeting with CHALLENGE/LEAP Principals and Program Teachers to finalize revisions to the 2009 Selection Process.  This Selection Process will be an interim process, pending the outcome of the full Program Review.

2.      March-May 2009  Program Review of LEAP and CHALLENGE programs, facilitated by Pat Warren-Chaplin

                                        Summary Report to be received May 2009

                                        Program adjustment recommendations made to School Principal and staff in June 2009 for 2009-2010 school year.

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that the selection process is very complex and staff want to make sure the review is complete and thorough so that excellent programs can be provided for our students.

Chair McLaren thanked Superintendent Fraser-Stiff for providing the above-noted information.

Other Business

New Teacher Induction Program

Trustee Brown provided a report on a New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) meeting that she had attend on February 17, 2009, stating that she is excited and appreciative of the assistance given to new teachers in our Board.  She said that the NTIP was initiated and is funded by the Ministry of Education, noting that mentoring is a key topic of the program.

Chair McLaren thanked Trustee Brown for her report.

Energy Drinks

Chair McLaren advised that she had attended a meeting of the Harrowsmith School Council wherein a parent brought forward information about energy drinks.  She suggested that the Board review this matter in terms of bringing attention and awareness about them.

A suggestion was made that this be reviewed in terms of Administrative Procedure 210, Creating a Healthy Nutrition Environment.  Superintendent Labrie is to bring this information forward to Supervising Principal Woodley.

Reduction of Child Poverty – Local Indicators and Targets

Trustee Jackson indicated that members of the Kingston Community Roundtable on Poverty Reduction are developing poverty reduction indicators and targets.  These indicators and targets will complement the broader indicators for poverty reduction being developed by the Government of Ontario. Specific local indicators will be used in Frontenac County and the City of Kingston. Roundtable members have noted that the province has tied its child poverty indicators to EQAO results.  The Roundtable is requesting guidance and assistance from local school boards as they develop and refine their specific child poverty reduction indicators and targets.  Trustee Goodfellow stated that he should contact the Director’s Office for assistance in guiding the Roundtable’s work.

Recess to Private Session

MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, that the Education/Human Resources Committee recess to Private Session.–Carried

Recess to Public Session

MOVED BY Trustee Brown, that the Education/Human Resources Committee recess to Public Session.–Carried

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at 4:30 p.m.

MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, that the meeting adjourn at 5:55 p.m.–Carried



For Information

Secondary Principal, Vice-Principal and Assistant Vice-Principal Appointments

The following appointment will be made to the Secondary Principal Pool, effective immediately:
Shawn Lehman, Principal, Upper Canada District School Board

The following appointments will be made to the Secondary Vice-Principal Pool, effective immediately:

James Bonham-Carter, Assistant Vice-Principal, KCVI
Maureen Bartlett, Assistant Vice-Principal, KCVI
Brent Pickering, Assistant Vice-Principal, Frontenac SS

The following appointments will be made to the Secondary Assistant Vice-Principal Pool, effective immediately:

Kristin Stevens, Teacher, Sydenham HS
Gary Greer, Consultant, Education Centre

Recess to Public Session

MOVED BY Trustee Brown, that the Education/Human Resources Committee recess to Public Session.–Carried