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October 19, 2011 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
October 19, 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, October 19, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.                
Present Trustees:
H. Brown, Chair
G. Beavis
H. Chadwick
A. Goodfellow
D. Jackson
P. Murray
S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
P. Andrews, Manager of Parenting and Family Literacy Centres
K. Burra, Assistant to the Director and Supervisor of Safe Schools
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.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

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

Business Arising From the Minutes

Fundraising Guideline Feedback for Consultation

Chair Brown indicated that at the last Education/Human Resources Committee meeting, Mr. Burra indicated that he was accepting any feedback Trustees may have regarding the Fundraising Guideline.  She asked if Trustees had any comments.

Trustee Jackson indicated that at the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association’s Eastern Region meeting held on October 15, 2011, OPSBA regional representatives were disinclined to make any changes to the draft provincial Fundraising Guideline.  However, interesting suggestions were brought forward at the meeting.  He reported that one suggestion was a pairing between schools.  This would allow, on a voluntary basis, for a school located in a higher socio-economic area of a board to be paired with a school located in a lower socio-economic district.  Trustee Jackson advised that another suggestion was to use a school board’s in-house charitable trust so that some school councils could voluntarily donate larger amounts to their board’s charitable trust.  These funds could then be disbursed to those schools that have a limited ability to raise funds.

Trustee Chadwick commented that there are a number of schools in areas throughout the Board that have difficulty fundraising, and some school councils from other areas donate money to those schools that have difficulty fundraising.  She said that some of the school councils do not want to be recognized for donating money to other schools because they are doing so for philanthropic reasons.  She said that she does not believe feedback needs to be forwarded to the Ministry.

Trustee Jackson indicated that we might explore using in-hour charitable trust vehicles to direct money to schools councils that have limited ability to raise funds.

Committee members indicated that they did not need a letter crafted, sending further recommendations on the Fundraising Guideline to the Ministry.

Aboriginal Education Month

Superintendent Marsh advised that the LDSB has declared November as Aboriginal Education Month.  She indicated that the Board is distributing a poster that outlines how we can celebrate Aboriginal peoples in our schools.  She highlighted some of the activities that schools may wish to do, such as:

  •         highlighting First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures, histories, issues and perspectives;
  •         honouring Aboriginal veterans on Remembrance Day;
  •         exploring Métis history and culture on Louis Riel Day, November 16th;
  •         having students create posters; and
  •         incorporating strategies outlined in the board’s curriculum document, Getting to Know Turtle Island.
Superintendent Marsh stated that we wanted to highlight the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to ensure that they are part of the community, and when a month is dedicated, awareness is raised.

Superintendent Marsh stated that as we track self identification, those schools that participate in activities seem to show more families choosing to self identify.

Superintendent Marsh reported that secondary school students will be able to attend the 4th Annual Four Winds Student Conference on Aboriginal cultures at Queen’s University in November, noting that the conference is not just for Aboriginal students.  She stated that there will be workshops around Native languages, and cultural and historical issues.  She said that the Four Winds newsletter has been distributed and it includes the activities that we have been doing this past year for Aboriginal education.

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

Grade 9 EQAO Assessment Survey

Superintendent Marsh indicated that at the last Education/Human Resources Committee meeting held September 21, 2011, she was asked to provide information regarding the Grade 9 EQAO Student Assessment Survey, as a result of the Grade 9 Math results, which was part of last month’s agenda package.

Superintendent Marsh shared information about the Grade 9 EQAO Student Assessment Survey, which tracked the responses from students with regard to their attitudes and feelings about Math.

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

Parenting and Family Literacy Centres

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff introduced Paula Andrews, Manager of Parenting and Family Literacy Centres.

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that in late May 2011, the Ministry of Education contacted the Directors of the Limestone District School Board and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board to offer funding for Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in the Kingston area.  She said that we have worked co-terminously to support families and children from birth to six years to provide some readiness when the child enters kindergarten.  She said that parents/caregivers are fully involved in every activity with their child, which includes them in their child’s learning, builds confidence in their parenting skills and introduces them to the school system.  Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that we are thrilled to offer Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in three of our schools, and that there is also one centre in a Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board school.

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that Paula Andrews was hired as the Manager of Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, and she is present to provide information about the centres.  She reported that the Parenting and Literacy Centres in the LDSB are in the following three schools: Rideau Heights Public School, Frontenac Public School and Polson Park Public School.  She said that the centres opened on September 26th and that they have been well received by the community.  Superintendent Fraser-Stiff said that we were thrilled to hire Ms. Andrews in the summer, noting that Ms. Andrews has experience in management and child care, noting that she was a Program Manager at the Kingston Area Community Health Services.

Ms. Andrews shared an overview of the goals, structure and purpose of the Parenting and Family Literacy Centres.  

Ms. Andrews stated that evidence shows that good early child development programs that involve parents/caregivers of young children vastly improve outcomes for children’s behaviour, learning and health in later life.  She presented the following information:

Putting Science Into Action

  •         Experience-based early childhood interactions and stimuli, when provided in the context of a loving relationship, set neurological and biological pathways that affect health, learning and behaviour throughout life.
  •         The parent-child relationship is the most powerful influence on children’s early brain development.
  •         The learning capacity of a child entering the school system is very much a function of their development in the first years of life.
  •         Parental support can be very important for language development.  Language exposure can differ significantly by socio-economic status (SES).  Children from higher SES families are, on average, exposed to twice as many words by the age of three than children from lower SES families.
  •         Parental involvement affects student achievement and a child’s learning is maximized when strong educational partnerships between school, community and home are developed.
Ms. Andrews stated that a large body of research points to the fact that what happens in the prenatal period and in the first few years of human development set trajectories for lifelong health, learning and behaviour.

Parenting and Family Literacy Centre (PFLC) Program Goals

  •         Assist children to transition more easily to kindergarten by allowing PFLC staff, parents/caregivers and kindergarten teachers to work together.
  •         Support parents/caregivers of children with special needs.
  •         Collaborate with the community to offer a complementary and seamless delivery of programs and services to families in order to meet their individual needs.
  •         Provide developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate programming that supports the development of early literacy and numeracy skills for children from birth to six years old.
  •         Help children develop skills and competencies across all domains of learning (physical, emotional, social, language, and cognitive) for the optimal development of the whole child.
  •         Engage and support parents/caregivers in increasing their knowledge base, involvement and comfort level with schools, while recognizing the critical role they plan in their child’s learning.
PFLC Key Features

  •         Located in elementary schools to build familiarity and positive relationships with the school for both the child and parent/caregiver.
  •         Staff are school board employees who participate in all aspects of their school.
  •         Open 20 hours per week during the school day and mirror the school calendar.
  •         Parent/caregiver and child attend together.
  •         Attendance in the program is open to accommodate the needs of each family.
  •         Offered for multiple ages to maximize purposeful learning opportunities for all family members.
  •         Core program delivery model is responsive to local community needs, but is consistent across the province.
  •         Format or schedule of the day familiarizes the child with the rhythm and routines of the school day.
  •         Emergent curriculum that follows the child’s lead – with support and guidance of the parent/caregiver and parent worker.
  •         pportunities for staff and families to connect and work in collaboration with kindergarten teachers and local early learning and child care staff to support the child’s continuum of learning.
  •         Free of charge.
PFLC Essential Components

PFLCs provide relationship building opportunities in a multitude of ways and ensure children and families are supported in early learning by following essential program components.

  •         Learning through play
  •         Parent engagement
  •         Family literacy and numeracy
  •         Quality Early Learning Environment
Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that when the Ministry offered the opportunity to the Board, they provided specific requirements.  Each centre has one classroom per school.  She reported that the Ministry identified six schools in our Board where centres could be placed, and then we needed to ensure that the centres were accessible and near kindergarten classrooms.  There also had to be available space in the school.  She stated that the hours of operations for our centres are from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.  The centres operate in elementary schools and are run by trained Early Childhood Educators who are school staff.  Children and parents/caregivers attend together, and parents/caregivers are fully involved in every activity.

Ms. Andrews stated that with regard to letting people know about the centres, the Board did extensive face-to-face outreach in neighbourhoods where the school was located.  She said that information was handed out at apartment buildings, houses, libraries, grocery stores, and information was also sent to agencies the Board partners with so that it could be included in their newsletters.  Information was also distributed at Public Health.  Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that it is anticipated that the Ministry will make a formal announcement sometime after October 6th.

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reported that when she and Director Hunter were approached by the Ministry and the Ministry identified the possible schools for us to consider, she and Director Hunter asked if a centre could be placed in a rural area.  She said that they were told at that time, having a centre placed in a rural school was not an option. She said that the schools where the centres are located had to be within walking distance.  She said that when the Ministry asks for our comments, we will ask that they be offered throughout our district, including rural areas.

Ms. Andrews advised that with regard to the types of support for students with special education needs, our Early Childhood Educators are well versed in identification.  She said that we will build relationships with parents and work with schools as children with special education needs transition to kindergarten.  She commented on the information referral piece, with regard to parents being aware of what services are available for their child.  Superintendent Fraser-Stiff commented that there are many supports in the community for children with special needs, prior to them starting school, which parents can access if they know what supports are available.

Superintendent Fraser-Stiff indicated that if any Trustee wishes to visit a site, to please let her know so that a visit can be organized.

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

Police/School Board Protocol

Mr. Burra provided a brief overview of the Police/School Board Protocol “A Partnership for Safe Schools” document, dated June 17, 2011.  He said that the protocol governs the relationships between the police and the school board when a student demonstrates a serious behaviour.

Mr. Burra indicated that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services developed a template with regard to Police/School Board Protocol that local police and school boards could use to create templates within their districts.  As a result of this process, there was a greater consistency around a common understanding of each partner’s roles and responsibilities, as well as agreed-upon procedures and clearly delineated decision-making authority.

Mr. Burra reported that the document has been primarily updated to clarify concerns with the previous document and align it with updated legislation.

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

Future Agenda Items

Chair Brown asked that if any Trustee had any suggestions as to what they would like presented at a future Education/Human Resources Committee, to please let her know.

Chair Brown stated that the format of agendas was discussed at the Trustee Retreat, and indicated that in discussing this matter with Superintendent Labrie, staff are agreeable to whatever Trustees wish to do.

Following discussion, Trustees asked that the items that are brought forward annually be placed in a calendar on the Education/Human Resources Committee, that includes the month when the item is brought forward.  Another suggestion was that a chart be developed showing the item and the schedule.

Superintendent Labrie advised that he would map out a chart, and bring it to the next meeting for discussion.

A suggestion was made that the Education/Human Resources Committee meetings be moved to Committee Room A.  Trustees agreed that if Committee Room A was available, then the meetings be held in that room.

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

  •         Supervised Alternative Learning
Chair Brown thanked Trustees for their comments.        

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.

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