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January 18, 2012 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
January 18, 2012

A meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee was held in Committee Room A at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.                     
Present Trustees:
H. Brown, Chair
G. Beavis
A. Goodfellow
D. Jackson
S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
K. Burra, Assistant to the Director, Safe Schools
B. Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
A. Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources
S. Lehman, Supervising Principal
N. Marsh, Superintendent of Education
        Chair Brown called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting.  She reported that regrets were received from Trustees Chadwick and Murray.

        Chair Brown stated that since she was not present at the November meeting, she would like to take this opportunity to thank Trustees for their participation and support over the last year.  She stated that she looks forward to another great year in 2012.  Chair Brown thanked Senior Staff and staff for their excellent presentations and work.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

        Chair Brown added that a Safe Schools Update is to be added to the agenda in Private Session.

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

Supervised Alternative Learning Program and Other Excusals from Attendance at School

        Supervising Principal Lehman provided information about the Supervised Alternative Learning Program and Other Excusals From Attendance at School, as follows:

Purpose of Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL)

•     To support students ages 14-17 years who have significant difficulties with regular attendance at school with an alternative learning experience and individualized plan to enable the student to progress towards obtaining an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or achieving his or her education and life goals.


•     Regulation 374/10 came into effect on February 1, 2011
•     Outlined new procedures for SAL, including a SAL Plan
•     Attendance Regulations (after 60 consecutive absences, a student must be taken off the school register)
•     Schools must keep a list of students under the age of 18 years who are not attending and contact them at the beginning of each semester
•     School Boards must keep a list of students under the age of 18 years who are not in school and ensure that they are contacted at least once a semester

Why Create a Supervised Alternative Learning Program?

•     More effective application of existing supports and resources, including learning opportunities within the community
•     More consistent approach and level of attention to these students
•     Greater accountability for the outcomes of these students (e.g. enrolment register)
•     Youth often need help addressing barriers to learning (e.g. drugs, mental health, anger)
•     Access to programs

Supervised Alternative Learning

Previous Structure:
•     Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils
•     Coordinated by Educational Services
•     SALEP committee included the Vice-Principal of Educational Services, a Trustee, community partners and the School Attendance Counsellor
•     SALEP referral facilitated by School Attendance Counsellor
•     SALEP placement monitored by School Attendance Counsellor
•     Approximately 10-15 SALEP referrals per year

New Limestone DSB Structure:
•     Supervised Alternative Learning
•     Coordinated by Student Success
•     SAL committee includes the Supervising Principal of Student Success, Vice-Principal of Educational Services, Lead Attendance Counsellor, Trustee, community partners and Family of Schools Attendance Counsellor
•     SAL referral facilitated by School Administration in coordination with School Attendance Counsellor
•     SAL placement monitored by primary school contact
•     Complete SAL package for referral

Supervised Alternative Learning

What’s the Same:
•     Every board is required to have a SAL committee
•     Composition of SAL Committee (trustee, supervisory officer and community member)
•     Students aged 14-17 years participate in working, studies and other activities approved by Board committee
•     Student is to be regularly monitored by school staff, but timelines are now defined
•     SAL students will continue to be recognized as full time for grant purposes, as long as they are enrolled in at least one course per semester

What’s Changed:
•     Increased emphasis on planning for learning, with a Supervised Alternative Learning Plan
•     SAL Plan to include a transition plan to prepare for the student return to school/next steps
•     Identification of a primary contact person for the youth, who will contact student at least once per month
•     Administrative processes specify timelines and procedures
•     Parents do not have to consent to the process

        Mr. Lehman reviewed the pyramid of interventions, noting that they include Supervised Alternative Learning for a few students, Board interventions for some students, in class and in school interventions for some students, in school and in class preventions for all students.  He stated that the goal is for students to re-enter a day school or alternative program.  He stated that SAL is useful for encouraging young people who are at risk of not graduating to continue their learning, if they are not attending school regularly and if other strategies have not been successful.  The focus is on a good outcome for each student.

        Mr. Lehman reviewed the overview of the steps in SAL, as follows:

1.      Application for SAL
2.      Consideration of the Application
3.      Implementation and Monitoring
4.      Review and Transition Planning

        Mr. Lehman reviewed the content of a SAL Application, as follows:

•     the SAL Plan
•     proposed primary contact
•     attendance report
•     OSR review
•     credit summary or transcript
•     employer agreement, if applicable
•     Individual Education Program, if applicable
•     other relevant documents as applicable

        Mr. Lehman reviewed the Supervised Alternative Plan, as follows:

•     Enrolment in one or more courses in which the student may earn a credit
•     Enrolment in a life skills or other non-credit course
•     Job-related training (e.g. earning workplace certifications, developing general employment skills)
•     Full or part-time employment at a work placement that has been visited and found appropriate
•     Volunteering (meet the community service requirement)
•     Counselling (to address barriers to learning)
•     Any other activity that will help the student reach their education and/or personal goals
•     Incorporates student’s educational and personal goals
•     Includes credit-bearing activities wherever possible
•     Outlines methods of assessing the student’s progress towards his or her educational and personal goals
•     Identifies a primary contact at the school or board and makes provision for monitoring, which must occur at a minimum once per month
•     Includes a transition plan for returning to school or for proceeding to a post-secondary option when the student reaches the age of 18 years

        Trustee Ruttan asked why is it legislated that a Trustee sit on the Supervised Alternative Learning Committee.  Mr. Lehman said that he would take Trustee Ruttan’s question and ask that question of the Ministry of Education.

        In response to a question from Trustee Ruttan, Mr. Lehman stated that the school contact person is in touch with a student in a SAL program at least once a month, at a minimum.  He said that a good model that we suggest is that added to the visits, the school contact person be in touch with the student via e-mail or telephone calls.  If the student is at a workplace location, the primary school contact person is out visiting the student at the site, and he/she is in contact with the employer.  Mr. Lehman stated that once per month, we ask that the school contact review the learning plan to ensure it is being followed.  He said that if the student is taking a course, the school is responsible for connecting with the teacher.  He said that if the student is in an at-risk situation, then the administrator of the school would be the primary contact person.

        Trustee Jackson asked what the overall results of this program would be in terms of success.  Mr. Lehman stated that he does not specifically have the results based on the success rate of students.  He said that we look at students taking credits to see how successful they were.  We also look to see if they were re-engaged back to regular school or an alternative program.  He said that he would provide that information at a future time.  He said that he would also provide information on the numbers of students that graduate.

        Mr. Lehman stated that most of LDSB students in a Supervised Alternative Program are unable to attend school as they have some personal issues, such as anxiety.  He advised that this program is for 14 and 15 year old students, noting that Focus Programs are not available to them until they are in Grade 11 or 12.  He reported that these students are not placed in a Co-operative Education Program; however, they may be getting work experience, but not in a Co-op setting.  

        Trustee Jackson how many students would return to a formal program.  Mr. Lehman stated that in most cases, we look at regular re-engagement, aside from SAL.  When most students come back to us they are returning into Alternative Learning Programs.  Mr. Lehman commented that most of the students in SAL are hopefully returning to an alternative site or regular school.

        Chair Brown stated that a Supervised Alternative Learning Program is wonderful for those students who do not attend school regularly.  She said that the counsellors become close to the students, searching them out and following them.  She stated that a lot of personal attention is given to these students, and that is what some of them really need.  She commented that the businesses that take these children are wonderful, giving them the recognition that they need.

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

Safe Schools Update

        Mr. Burra provided an overview of the Safe and Caring Schools initiatives from 2010-2011 and directions for 2011-2012, noting that student well-being and safety continue to guide initiatives.

        Mr. Burra reported that 2010-2011 included a number of initiatives that focused on ensuring alignment with Provincial expectations, updating local structures, and implementing Bill 157 initiatives.  He stated that many of the initiatives had the overriding purpose and goal of fostering and enhancing positive conditions for learning, and ensuring student well-being and safety across the system, noting that positive conditions for learning, and student well-being and safety align with the Ministry and Board goals of increasing student achievement and closing the gap.

        Mr. Burra provided information, as follows:

Emergency Procedures:  AP 141 was developed to ensure schools had effective mechanisms to address situations requiring the implementation of Evacuation, Shelter in Place, Hold and Secure, and Lockdown procedures.  The development of the procedure involved consultation with our emergency services partners (Police, Fire and Rescue, and EMS).

Police/Board Protocol:  Our local Police/Board Protocol has been updated and implemented.  All school administrators, union representatives, many Educational Services’ staff and over 50 police officers from across our district have been trained.

Safe Schools Information for parents and educators:  The LDSB Bullying Awareness and Prevention information pamphlet was updated.  Four further pamphlets were also developed: Threats to School Safety, Cybersafety, MEND Restorative Practices, and Safe Schools Legislation.  All five pamphlets are available on the LDSB website and paper copies are available in all schools.

Threat Assessment Training:  LDSB continues to provide training to all administrators and to representatives from partner organizations.  An increasing number of Educational Services staff, Success Teachers, Learning Program Support Teachers, Alternative Centre Teachers, and Guidance Teachers have also received the training.  LDSB now has six level one trainers.  Kevin Cameron delivered level two training during 2010-2011.   In addition, the LDSB Community Threat Assessment Protocol was updated and the 2nd edition was published.

Provincial Community Threat Assessment Protocol Meeting:  A joint  grant  application  from LDSB and Kingston Police yielded a grant to share our local expertise regarding threat assessments with school, police, and community representatives from across Ontario.

Safe Schools Training:  On an annual basis, safe schools training is provided to new administrators and new teachers.  These training sessions focus on legal requirements and responsibilities like the Bill 157 duties to report and respond, and progressive discipline.

Safe and Healthy School Teams and School Climate Surveys:  All schools developed a Safe and Healthy Schools Team.  The teams include the principal, a parent representative, community representative, student, teacher, and a non-teaching staff member.  In addition, all schools implemented a Board School Climate Survey.  Safe and Healthy School Teams review  emergency  procedures, review  school climate data, and provide input for the school’s School Improvement Plan (School Climate).  

Restorative Practices:  MEND use and training continue to expand across LDSB.  Approximately 300 LDSB staff are trained on a yearly basis.

Supports for Schools:  Numerous supports have been developed to help support schools in the area of safe schools.  For example, checklists for a variety of situations (emergency procedure development, safe schools considerations for annual review, and search and seizure among others,  comprehensive supports for emergency procedures including classroom posters and a staff training package, mechanisms for alternative dispute resolution, Bill 157 reporting procedures/flowchart, and five Safe Schools pamphlets.

Parent Outreach and Safe Schools:  Three parent forums were held during 2010-2011:  Wendy Craig discussed research regarding bullying and the critical relationship between schools and parents, Jackson Katz focused on Tough Guise and the impact of media on masculinity, and Therapist Meg Waurick discussed stress and anxiety, and the warning signs for teens.  

Mental Health Initiatives:  The Supervisor of Safe Schools  worked  with the Supervising Principal of  Educational Services who takes the lead on mental health supports and community partnerships.  For example, in partnership with HDH/KGH Child and Adolescent Psychiatry a pilot was completed in  three secondary schools.  The goal was highlighting mental health curriculum links in the Gr. 9 and 10 curriculum and assessing student knowledge of mental health issues, concerns, and available supports.

Long Term Suspension and Expulsion Program: A RFP was advertised for the program.  Youth Diversion was awarded the contract for the 2011-2012 school year.  Students in the expulsion program continue to be successful.  On average, students are receiving at least three credits per semester.  

        Mr. Burra reviewed the Directions for 2011-2012, noting that 2011-2012 initiatives continue to have the overall goals of ensuring student well-being and safety, while also fostering and enhancing positive conditions for learning for all students.  The Assistant to the Director & Supervisor of Safe Schools’ portfolio has been slightly adjusted to create greater alignment of Ministry initiatives.  Equity and Inclusion, and Character Education have been incorporated into the portfolio creating a new title of Assistant to the Director and Supervisor of Safe and Caring Schools.  The merging of Ministry initiatives related to Safe Schools, Equity and Inclusion, and Character Education into the Safe and Caring Schools’ portfolio will facilitate greater alignment and unity of message for safe and caring schools’ initiatives.  This change also represents a strong commitment to this overall philosophy of promoting student well-being and safety in schools.  For example, providing supports to equity focused student groups in schools to promote positive behaviour, increased awareness, and greater staff and peer support for students. Supporting the Supervising Principal of Educational Services in enhancing and building mental health supports for our students continues to be a critical component of the portfolio.

        Mr. Burra reviewed the following information:

Collaborative Problem Solving: We have initiated professional development and utilization of Dr. Ross Greene’s collaborative problem solving paradigm as outlined in his book Lost at School to try to better meet the needs of our students identified as hard to serve.  The book will be purchased for all administrators, and professional development will occur through Family of Schools.  System Professional Development with Dr. Greene is tentatively scheduled for November 2012.
Restorative Practices:  Provide continuing support for schools in utilizing MEND (restorative practices) approaches by providing Level 1 training opportunities to all staff, level 2 to administrators and central support staff,  and an enhanced Level 1 for staff previously trained in level 1 but who would like to refresh/upgrade their skills.

Bullying Awareness and Prevention:  Initiate a review of existing bullying prevention/ intervention methods across the district and provide support to schools and staff regarding effective, research-based strategies.  Explore utilization of existing programs that have proven efficacy like Olweus Program, Second Step, WITS/LEADS, and the Fourth R.
Safe Schools Update (continued)

Bullying Prevention and Awareness Coordinator:  A new, joint position with Educational Services has been created.  The safe schools component of this position focuses on bullying prevention and awareness.

Safe and Caring School Teams and Climate Survey:  Continue to support the establishment of Safe Schools Teams in every school and the inclusion of a Safe Schools goal in the School Improvement Plan (School Climate).  Climate surveys will again be conducted for all elementary and secondary students (Gr. 4-12), likely using the Tell-Them-From-Me (TTFM) platform.  This will allow for greater consistency and cohort analysis.  

Parent Engagement regarding Safe and Caring Schools:  Engage parents regarding safe schools initiatives in the district through family of schools.  Continue to provide the five safe schools pamphlets to schools.  The Regional PRO grant that our School Council Liaison Committee received to develop a parent-lending library will include resources to help parents support their children and address a range of safe schools related issues (mental health, healthy relationships, and bullying, among others).

School Supports:  Continue to provide quick and responsive support to schools.

Safe Schools Training:  Continued training for new administrators and teachers.  Continued Threat Assessment and Police/Board Protocol training for new administrators, police representatives, and community partners.

Mental Health Supports:  Continue to provide support to the Supervising Principal of Educational Services in expanding and building current community partnerships and supports for our students.

        Chair Brown thanked Mr. Burra for providing an overview of the Safe and Caring School initiatives from 2010-2011 and directions for 2011-2012.

2012-2013 School Year Calendar Process

        Mr. Burra provided information about the process for the 2012-2013 School Year Calendar to inform Trustees’ eventual decision about the 2012-2013 School Year Calendar.

        Mr. Burra indicated that Provincial Regulation 304 School Year Calendar, Professional Activity Days requires that the school year shall start on or after September 1 and end on or before June 30, noting that every school year shall include a minimum of 194 school days.  He reported at in the Limestone District School board, the 194 school days are made up of six PA days and 188 instructional days, noting that examination days for secondary schools fall under instructional days.

        Mr. Burra advised that Regulation 304 requires the following school holidays: every Saturday and Sunday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, 14 consecutive days for Christmas vacation, Family Day on the third Monday of February, five consecutive days for March Break, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Victoria Day.

        Mr. Burra reported that the Board shall submit an approved school year calendar to the Ministry of Education for approval by May 1, unless the Board is submitting a calendar outside of the parameters established above or deviates from the Ministry template for the winter or March Breaks, in which case the Board will submit a calendar for approval to the Ministry by March 1.

        Mr. Burra commented that usually school starts in Ontario the day after Labour Day.  For 2012-2013 Labour Day falls on September 3rd, providing 194 school days from September 4, 2012 to June 28, 2013 inclusive.  If days are scheduled before September 1 or after June 30, or the December and/or March Breaks deviate from the Ministry template, approval from the Board for a modified calendar must be submitted to the Ministry of Education prior to March 1.

        Mr. Burra remarked that the three largest boards in the Consortium (Limestone DSB, Hastings-Prince Edward DSB and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB) have traditionally agreed upon a common calendar in order to share transportation costs.  The Consortium agreement and practice is that should a Board decide not to conform to the common calendar that board must continue to pay for the transportation as arranged in the common calendar and is also required to assume 100% of the transportation costs for any additional days of transport.  In Limestone DSB each day of independent transportation costs $100,000.  Mr. Burra advised that the two small, geographically dispersed French Boards traditionally start school near the end of August, and pay independently for those days.

        Mr. Burra said that for the 2012-2013 school year calendar the same process used for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 is being used and consultation has been offered to parents and community partners through a survey (electronic/paper).

        Mr. Burra stated that this week, Limestone DSB School Councils and parents, as well as community partners (day cares, municipalities, Public Health, Business Associations, etc.) were invited to provide survey input to the Assistant to the Director.  Last year, close to 2,500 parents, and a dozen community partners responded.  They gave feedback on the advantages and disadvantages of the 2010-2011 calendar, recommendations for 2011-2012, and their preference for December break.  The 2012-2013 survey asks the same types of questions.

        Mr. Burra stated that facilitated by him, Limestone stakeholders met on January 10, 2012 to provide initial input for the 2012-2013 calendar.  He said that a second meeting will be held in late January or early February to provide feedback regarding a proposed calendar.  He indicated that stakeholders represent Trustees (Trustee Ruttan), parents (School Council Liaison Committee Co-Chairs), unions, federations, non-union groups, Human Resources and administrators.

        Mr. Burra reported that the Limestone DSB stakeholder input from January 10th was shared with the other four boards (Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB, Hastings-Prince Edward DSB, the French Public Board and the French Catholic Board) and Tri-Board Student Transportation Services today, for their input and to develop a draft calendar.  He indicated that once a draft calendar is created, consultation will also occur with the Upper Canada DSB, given the number of employees who work in one system and have children in the other board.  Alignment is particularly important for the December/January and March holidays.

        Mr. Burra stated that the resulting proposed calendar, plus feedback from parents, internal stakeholders, and the community stakeholders will be presented to Trustees at the Education/ Human Resources Committee meeting in February.

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

Future Agenda Items

        Chair Brown reviewed the agenda items for the future meetings of this school year, noting that the list can be added to if Trustees have other items they would like to bring forward.

        The future agenda items are as follows:

February 15, 2012       Program Pilots (ITS, Primary Core French)
                                School Year Calendar
                                Wireless Safety

March 21, 2012          Leadership Development Strategy
                                Mental Health Initiatives

April 18, 2012          Professional Learning Update
                               New Teacher Induction Program Update
                                Kingston Community Health Centres (Pathways to Education Update)

May 23, 2012            Outdoor Education
                                Healthy Schools Update

Private Session

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

Public Session

        MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, 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, February 15, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.  It was noted that the Committee would continue to meet in Committee Room A.
        MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, that the meeting adjourn at 5:45 p.m.–Carried


Safe Schools Update

        Mr. Burra provided a safe schools update.

Public Session

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