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April 20, 2011 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
April 20, 2011

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, April 23, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.
Present Trustees:
H. Brown, Chair
A. Goodfellow
D. Jackson
P. Murray
S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
B. Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
A. Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources
N. Marsh, Superintendent of Education
        Chair Brown called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to meeting.  She reported that regrets were received from Trustees Beavis and Chadwick.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

        MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Secondary School Improvement Planning

        Superintendent Marsh provided an overview of Secondary School Improvement Planning.  

        Superintendent Marsh stated that School Improvement Planning is a cyclic process.  The School Improvement Plan is a living document, one that is constantly monitored and revised as goals are achieved.  She said that the School Improvement Cycle involves three key areas: Planning, Implementing and Monitoring.  Superintendent Marsh indicated that goals are set, strategies are established to attain the goals, as well as who is responsible for each strategy is established.  The cycle also involves learning about and implementing instructional strategies.  She stated that the monitoring phase involves the measuring of progress frequently, adapting strategies when needed, analyzing the school’s performance (needs assessment) and establishing key area for improvement.

        Superintendent Marsh reviewed the School Improvement Timeline Planning Template, as follows:

August: share updated needs-assessment data with staff
September:      with teaching staff, revise all sections of the school improvement plan based on needs assessment and research-based strategies
September:      PAR and professional learning committees create professional learning plan based on staff input
October:        feedback provided

        Superintendent Marsh reviewed a sample School Improvement Plan for the 2010-2011 school year, as well as information relating to: Continuous School Improvement Continuum, Follow-up from the Continuum and School Improvement Plan Assessment.

        In response to a question from Trustee Jackson regarding the information that can be shared with Trustees about individual schools, Superintendent Marsh stated that she would forward his inquiry to the Director for response.

        Trustee Murray stated that it would be nice to have a flavour of the School Improvement Plan data during the PARC process.

        In response to a question from Trustee Ruttan, Superintendent Marsh stated that School Improvement Plans are shared with School Councils, but she does not believe that the comprehensive needs assessment information is shared with them.  She indicated that EQAO data is shared with School Councils.  Superintendent Marsh stated that the Tell Them From Me information has been shared with School Councils at their meetings.  They talk about instructional strategies and that information is shared with School Council groups.

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

Balanced School Day

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that the Balanced School Day is an alternative to the traditional school day schedule.  She said that while the traditional school day includes a morning recess, afternoon recess and lunch hour, the Balanced School Day divides the day into three equal instructional blocks of 100 minutes separated by two 40-50 nutritional/recess breaks.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised what the Balanced School Day and traditional school day timetables look like, noting that both include 300 minutes of instructional time, and 80 minutes for nutritional breaks and recess.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reviewed the benefits of the Balanced School Day, as follows:

  •         Daily uninterrupted instructional blocks for literacy and mathematics (School Effectiveness Framework)
  •         Increased on-task learning time
  •         Fewer transitions and interruptions
  •         Equally spaced nutritional and recess breaks
  •         Reduction of lost instructional minutes
  •         Increased opportunities for extracurricular events, clubs and team practices
  •         Fewer issues on the schoolyard
  •         Improved school cleanliness
        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff said that schools considering a Balanced School Day consult with school staff, School Council, Student Council, students and parents prior to submitting a request to Senior Staff for consideration.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that the Balanced School Day originated with the Peel District School Board in 2000, noting that other boards include: Hastings-Prince Edward DSB, Avon Maitland DSB, Thames Valley DSB, Hamilton Wentworth DSB, Ottawa Carleton DSB, Halton DSB, Waterloo DSB, and Upper Canada DSB.  She reported that currently, 19 LDSB elementary schools follow the Balanced School Day.

        Trustee Jackson suggested that if the Balanced School Day is a positive thing, then perhaps we should let the public know via the Board’s website and/or in the Board’s Annual Report, that this is one change that the Board has made to make our schools a better environment for students.

        Trustee Murray thanked Superintendent Fraser-Stiff for providing a report on the Balanced School Day.  She said that she is hearing in the community that this is a dramatic change to the school day for parents.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that a question from parents was how to plan for lunch during a Balanced School Day.  She said that some parents separated the food their children brought to school for first break and for second.  She said that schools worked with Public Health with regard to balancing nutrition overall, and that Public Health provided information for parents on nutritional snacks and lunches.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff said that if Trustees are receiving additional questions from the public to let her know, so that she can revised the Balanced School Day information that is distributed.

        Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Fraser-Stiff for providing the above-noted information.
Aboriginal School Update

       Superintendent Marsh stated that Trustees, after the Strategic Plan meeting, asked that further information be provided on the Aboriginal School.  She said that the Aboriginal School is a project for which the Katarokwi Native Friendship Centre received funding.  She said that they provided the facility, and also hired a counsellor to work with students.  She said that the Board’s responsibility is to provide a teacher and resources for learning.

        Superintendent Marsh reported that the Katarokwi Native Friendship Centre has rented space at the Girls and Boys Club for the Aboriginal School.  She indicated that they have received approval to start to build a school on their current land, and it is their intention to build a classroom facility for the school.

        Superintendent Marsh advised that currently, there are 11 secondary students in the program, from Grade 9 to senior level students.  She said that the need and enrolment allowed students in Grades 9 and 10 into the Aboriginal School.  She indicated that the program has been highly successful so far, in terms of engagement of students.  She said that the courses the students are taking relate to them establishing a sense of belonging and a sense of pride in their identity.

        Superintendent Marsh commented that the Katarokwi Native Friendship Centre has been fantastic in wanting this school to be successful for our students.  She said that the counsellor who has been hired, is highly skilled.

        In response to a question, Superintendent Marsh stated that the Katarokwi Native Friendship Centre is planning to build on their current site, and that they are proposing that the facility include two classrooms and a kitchen.

        In response to a question, Superintendent Marsh stated that the Aboriginal program for elementary students is housed at Odessa Public School.  She said that elementary students attend their regular school for part of the time, and the Aboriginal program at Odessa for part of the time.  She said that the elementary program is geared for students having a difficult time transitioning.  She said that the idea is that students would be in their home schools for the morning block for Math, Language Literacy, and that their other subjects would be at the Aboriginal program.  She said that the program is run out of Educational Services.  She said that perhaps the Board may consider shifting the program if students are from a different geographical area.

        Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Marsh for providing an update on the Aboriginal School.

Other Business

        Trustee Jackson suggested that the matter of linking reports and background material to agendas on the Board’s website be discussed at a future Committee of the Whole Board (Policy) meeting.

Future Agenda Items

  •         ITS Strategic Plan Update
  •         Overview of Continuing Education Programs
  •         Community Group Access to Students within Schools
  •         Privacy and Information Management Procedures
Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.
MOVED BY Trustee Ruttan, that the meeting adjourn at 5:30 p.m.–Carried