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September 21, 2011 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
September 21, 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, September 21, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.
Present Trustees:
H. Brown, Chair
G. Beavis
H. Chadwick
A. Goodfellow
D. Jackson
S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
K. Burra, Assistant to the Director and Supervisor of Safe Schools
B. Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
B. Hunter, Director 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 Trustee Murray, who was at another meeting.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

        Chair Brown advised that Superintendent Labrie would provide information regarding unsanctioned trips, under the Other Business section of the agenda.

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

Student Achievement Results

        Superintendent Marsh advised that the highlights of the 2011 EQAO results package that was distributed, has more detailed information in it, than what is being presented this afternoon.  She stated that if Committee members have further questions, they should feel free to ask them during the question time or after the meeting.

        Superintendent Marsh stated that Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics includes two assessments, one at the academic level and one at the applied level.  She indicated that the assessment covers the knowledge and skills students are expected to have acquired by the end of Grade 9.  The results are reported using a four level scale consistent with the expectations of the provincial curriculum.

        Superintendent Marsh provided an overview of the 2011 Highlights: EQAO Grade 9 Mathematics.  She reviewed the achievement information, as follows:

        Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Applied Results – Board vs. Province, as well as the Academic Results – Board vs. Province.  She indicated that we are achieving at a higher level than the province in Applied Mathematics.  She further indicated that there has been growth for us over the past five years, noting that we have improved by 15%.

        Superintendent Marsh reported that Academic Results show growth in the number of students achieving at Levels 3 and 4.  She said that we are achieving above the province.  She indicated that we are closing the achievement gap, and we are shown a similar trend of improvement as in Applied Mathematics, 15% over the past five years.

        Superintendent Marsh advised that in the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics, the proportion of students who met or exceeded the provincial standard increased by seven percentage points to 85% in Academic Mathematics, and increased by eight percentage points to 50% in Applied Mathematics. The gap between the results of the Applied and Academic assessments is smaller in LDSB than for the Province as a whole. A higher proportion of students achieved levels 3 and 4 on both Grade 9 Mathematics assessments since they wrote the Grade 6 provincial assessments in 2008, and the proportion of students who improved their achievement since Grade 6 is above the provincial average.  While LDSB students enrolled in both Applied and Academic Mathematics are performing better than the provincial average, closing the achievement gap between Applied and Academic Mathematics will remain a focus for the Board.

        Superintendent Marsh stated that Grade 9 results have improved in each of the past five years in both Applied and Academic Mathematics, noting that we will focus on sustaining the gains we have made and will work collaboratively with our teachers and administrators to further increase achievement, particularly in Applied Mathematics.  She further stated that analysis of this year’s results will assist school and district staff to provide further opportunities for success to all students as we recognize the importance of mathematical literacy for our students' lifelong success.  The mathematics curriculum is designed to support critical thinking and creative problem solving - the development of both will serve our students in a variety of contexts throughout their lives.

        Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Achievement of Grande 9 Students with Special Education Needs for Grade 9 Applies Mathematics and Grade 9 Academic Mathematics.  She advised that we are doing a lot of assistive technology for student with special needs, noting that we are better served in the Limestone District School Board than the province.   She said that we have had an area of growth as a result of the assistive technology.  She said that we want to see more success for students with special needs.

        Superintendent Marsh stated that there is a gender gap in student attitudes towards mathematics with more males than females having positive attitudes towards mathematics.

        Superintendent Marsh reviewed the following information with regard to Areas to Acknowledge: Grade 9 assessment of mathematics:

1.      Significant improvement in achievement on the EQAO grade 9 mathematics assessment for students writing the applied and academic assessments, and continued positive trends over time;   
2.      Higher participation rates on grade 9 EQAO mathematics assessment;
3.      Improved reported level of accommodations for students with special needs in grade 9 mathematics and increased participation of students with special needs;
4.      Reduction in the proportion of students achieving at or below level 1 on grade 9 EQAO math assessment and a positive trend in credit attainment on report cards; and
5.      Positive trends in achievement of provincial standard in applied and locally developed mathematics in grades 9 and 10.

        Superintendent Marsh provided the 2011 Highlights: Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).  She said that the OSSLT happens for students in Grade 10.  She advised that 76% of LDSB students were successful the first time they wrote the test, which is 1% below the province.  She said that the drop shows that we declined by 3%, as a district, from the previous year.
        Superintendent Marsh advised that a number of LDSB students received 295, noting that a pass is 300.  She said that if the students who received a 295, had received a 300, we would have been 80%.  She indicated that we will have intervention strategies this year to ensure that the students who are close receive specific interventions.  She said that despite the drop, we show a positive trend line, noting that the trend has been similar to the province.  We are slowly moving upwards.

        Superintendent Marsh stated that at the academic level, our students have been highly successful, at 94%, which is 1% above students in the province studying Academic English.  She indicated that our deferral rate is lower than at the province.  She reported that the EQAO now publishes participation rates, which is good news for boards like the LDSB.  At the Applied level 54% were successful compared to 50% at the provincial level and 3% were deferred compared to 5% at the province.  At the locally developed level 21% of students were successful compared to 9% provincially and that our deferral rate was 3% compared to 35% at the provincial level.

        Superintendent Marsh advised that the issue with the overall achievement is that more of the students are studying at the applied level.  She stated that we are more successful than the province at the academic and applied levels because we have more students at the applied level which affects the overall numbers.  She said that we are outperforming the province.

        Superintendent Marsh reported that a lot of the students at the locally developed level are not participating at OSSLT, and in order to graduate, students must pass the OSSLT.  She said that we want students to take the OSSLT as early as possible so if they are not successful, they can access the OSSLT course.

        Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Areas to Acknowledge: OSSLT, as follows:

•     Our students are performing better than the provincial average in each of the grade 10 English courses;
•     More of our students with special needs meet the provincial standard than the average within Ontario;
•     Our participation rate continues to be high, and is significantly higher than the provincial average for students with special needs and students taking locally developed English; and
•     Our use of assistive technology to support the achievement of all students has improved this year.

        Superintendent Marsh reviewed the Next Steps, as follows:

•     School Improvement Teams analyze the results for each school (achievement and anecdotal) to inform the school improvement plan and professional development needs.
•     Analyze cohort results and determine interventions based on grade 6 EQAO scores and report card grades.
•     Mathematical and Language Literacy Coaching will support teachers in instruction and assessment in grades 9-10 in select schools.
•     Extend the professional learning for teachers in grades 9 and 10 through collaborative inquiry.
•     Support the implementation of sound assessment and evaluation practices through professional learning and with an emphasis on assessment planning and feedback.
•     Extend the incorporation of student voice in school and board improvement planning.

        Following discussion, Director Hunter advised that we could provide the Board results, if the Committee would like to hear more qualitative information.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff noted that in response to Trustee Jackson’s questions around EQAO, prior to sharing qualitative information, the Board results and student survey results can be found at to

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that when we look at the elementary primary and junior results, we look at the data, what the data says, and what we do with that information as next steps.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reported that the percentage of all eligible Grade 3 students who met or exceeded the provincial standard increased by three percentage points to 61% in Reading, increased by one percentage point to 66% in Writing, and declined by three percentage points to 63% in Mathematics.  She advised that since the start of EQAO testing in 2001, the proportion of LDSB students reaching the provincial standard on Grade 3 assessments has increased by 14% in Reading, by 19% in Writing, and by 4% in Mathematics.
        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reported that Grade 6, the percentage of all eligible students who achieved the provincial standard decreased by two percentage points to 70% in Reading, increased by one percentage point to 68% in Writing, and decreased by 8 percentage points to 48% in Mathematics.  She said that trends of achievement over time show improved achievement on Grade 6 EQAO assessments, and mirror trends seen at the Provincial level.  She indicated that since the start of EQAO testing in 2001, the proportion of LDSB students reaching the provincial standard on Grade 6 assessments has increased by 14% in Reading, by 14% in Writing, and has declined by 5% in Mathematics. The latest Grade 6 results indicate that a higher percentage of students met the provincial standard in Reading and Writing since they wrote the Grade 3 provincial assessments in 2008.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff commented on the gender gap between boys and girls. She advised that a discussion was held with EQAO around that matter.  She said that as we teach through instructional strategies achievement for both boys and girls is improving, but we are not closing the gap.  She stated that EQAO student survey results show that boys do not respond as favourably to the questions regarding reading and writing.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that we are proud of our students with special needs, noting that they achieved well and outperformed the province.  She said that we improved from 20% to 28% in reading and from 30% to 47% in writing.  She reported that this year, student participation levels in all EQAO assessments have remained high, particularly for students with special education needs.  She advised that a greater proportion of LDSB students with special education needs achieved at high levels in comparison to the province in Grade 6 Reading and Writing.  She remarked that achievement of students with special needs was almost identical to the province on the Grade 3 assessments and for Grade 6 Mathematics.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reviewed the areas to acknowledge, as follows:

•     Continued positive trends in grade 3 reading and grades 3 and 6 writing;
•     Increased participation rates of students were sustained this year, despite increase proportion of students with special needs;
•     Reduced gender gaps in grade 6 with larger decreases in gender gaps over time than provincial averages; and
•     The achievement of all our students are to be celebrated, particularly those with special education needs.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reviewed the next steps, as follows:

•     Elementary administrators and staff will analyze school data, determine goals and identify instructional strategies to inform the School Improvement Plan and professional learning needs;
Student Achievement Results (continued)

•     Elementary administrators and staff will continue to use the School Effectiveness Framework to support improved student achievement in literacy and numeracy;
•      Elementary administrators will lead job-embedded professional learning based on collaborative inquiry for teachers in literacy and numeracy;
•     Elementary consultants, literacy coach, Grade 3-6 numeracy facilitator and the Student Work Study teacher will support professional learning in literacy and numeracy through the following projects:
        •     OFIP (Ontario Focused Intervention Project);
        •     Schools in the Middle;
        •     Student Work Study Initiative;
        •     Collaborative Inquiry in Learning – Mathematics;
        •     Leading Student Achievement;
        •     Early Primary Collaborative Inquiry; and
•     Elementary Program Team will continue to support student learning through the following programs:
        •     Right to Read Tutoring;
        •     Tutors in the Classroom;
        •     Read-a-Lot Summer Program; and
        •     Primary Summer Literacy Learning Project.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that we pleased with the areas where we have continued to make gains in Grades 3 and 6 this year, as well as with the achievement of our students with special educational needs.  She indicated that the focus in the elementary panel this year will be to sustain our progress and further increase overall achievement, with particular attention to Junior Reading and Primary and Junior Mathematics. She said that in Mathematics, our students demonstrated strong performance in the knowledge and understanding of skills; however, we need to work together to improve students’ skills in critical thinking application and problem solving.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that Senior Staff attended a Ministry of Education regional session, supported by the Student Achievement Division, and at that time, they discussed with those present, the provincial plan for the school year and upcoming themes to put into our work over the course of the year.  She said that the Board’s Senior Staff made a commitment to spend more time and to make more visits in each one of their schools to support them and monitor them on a regular basis and to collaborate in learning.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that she did meet with Ministry staff to talk about the Board’s plan over the course of this year and to talk about the instructional strategies we have in place for student achievement improvement.  She indicated that we received positive feedback from the Ministry.

        Director Hunter said that she was also at the meeting with the Ministry, as well as Supervising Principal Giles.  She said that she told the Principals that they can be comfortable with the work they are doing.  She said that the Ministry has supported and endorsed the work we are doing.  

        In response to comments, Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that it is important for parents to attend School Council meetings to engage in dialogue and hear direction around professional learning, and to hear about the kinds of tasks children are engaged in learning going on in their child’s classroom.  She said that when teachers put out classroom newsletters, and schools put out newsletters, they include the kinds of learning that is going on, and what the students are working on this year.  She commented that each month in the school newsletters, tips and strategies in terms of literacy and math for parents are provided.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that over the coming weeks, Principals will share school results with their school communities and will analyze the results in detail to identify next steps. Schools routinely consider EQAO data along with other information to support student success.

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

Draft Ministry Fundraising Guideline and Working Draft Administrative Procedure – School Fees and Ministry Guideline on School Fees

        Mr. Burra indicated that the Draft Ministry Fundraising Guideline and the Working Draft Administrative Procedure regarding Schools Fees and the Ministry Guideline on School Fees are inter-related, but are fundamentally different in the way they were put out to us.  He said that the Fundraising Guideline, for which there was a very broad call for consultation, was shared with Administrators, School Councils and the School Council Liaison Committee.  He indicated that it provides a framework of how fundraising should occur in schools.
        Mr. Burra commented that for the most part, the Fundraising Guideline does provide a great deal of latitude in terms of those funds once collected by the school.  He advised that the Ministry did mandate the tracking and handling of money.  He further advised that the Ministry did legislate that the funds could not be spent on capital expenses and for providing textbooks and other essential resources required.

        Mr. Burra stated that the deadline for consultation on the Fundraising Guideline is the beginning of November, and therefore, if Trustees would like to provide input into it, to please let him know.  He advised that the Ministry of Education hopes to have the final version of the document by the end of 2011.

        Mr. Burra reported that the Working Draft Administrative Procedure – School Fees complies with the Ministry Guideline.  The Ministry Guideline focuses on compliance with the items in the Education Act.  He said that there were no changes to this document for the most part, citing the section covered in the Education Act that speaks to what money can be collected for fees in schools.  He said that we are in the process of tracking what is occurring in our schools to ensure that we are in compliance with the Guideline.  He indicated that the Fundraising Guideline has been distributed to the various stakeholders in the system.

        In response to a question, Mr. Burra stated that fee schedules were available on secondary schools’ websites to start the year.  He said that he does not have the fees for each secondary school at this time, but will collect the information.

        Trustee Jackson suggested that this matter be discussed at the next Education/Human Resources Committee meeting, with regard to the sharing of revenue.  He stated that Trustees should provide feedback on the Fundraising Guideline.

        Chair Brown thanked Mr. Burra for providing the above-noted information.

Other Business

Non-Sanctioned Trips

        Superintendent Labrie provided information around unsanctioned trips.  He indicated that based on information the Board has received, the Board believes that there are various travel companies that are soliciting area teenagers to participate in their ski trips, and destination trips such as Cuba and Quebec City during the school year, which do not have any supervisors that are endorsed by the Board.  He said that these companies are asking their student representatives to encourage other students to participate in their trips.

        Superintendent Labrie stated that the Board is relaying to parents that the Board does not endorse students participating in these trips.  He said that for all approved field trips with the Board’s schools, correspondence is sent home on school letterhead and a teacher supervisor is identified as the leader responsible for the trip.  Superintendent Labrie stated that this information has been posted on the front page of the Board’s website.

        In response to a question, Superintendent Labrie stated that when it is discovered who the student representatives are, they are spoken to by the Principal.  He said that the student representatives are told that no materials can be shared at the school.  He advised that in once case, a Principal contacted the company’s corporate office indicating that no person employed by the company would be permitted on school property.

        Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Labrie for providing information on this matter.

Future Agenda Items

        Chair Brown advised that the following items will be placed on a future agenda:

•     Police Board Protocol
•     Supervised Alternative Learning
•     Parenting and Family Literacy Centres

        Committee members agreed that the matter of how the committee is structured, will be brought to the October 17, 2011 meeting of the Committee of the Whole Board (Policy) meeting.

        A request was made that an update on the Early Core French Project be brought to a future Education/Human Resources Committee meeting.

        Chair Brown stated that if Trustees have a topic they would like addressed at an Education/Human Resources Committee meeting, to please let Superintendent Labrie or her know.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.
        MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, that the meeting adjourn at 6:00 p.m.–Carried